Essex Road 6 Ayo Akingbade, Adam Chodzko, Patrick Goddard, Lucy Harris, Rebecca Lennon, Maryam Mohajer, Melanie Smith, Webb-Ellis

10 January – 9 February 20


Ayo Akingbade, Hella Trees (NB SHORT EXCERPT ONLY), 2020,

AYO AKINGBADE’s work has emerged from and mediates the urban environment, which she distils into highly personal, idiosyncratic narratives.
Hella Trees, shot in the streets and small parks near Essex Road, follows a young obsessive Rafiki, whose artistic practice focuses on trees, their presence in our lives, their individuality and character. The film segues into a laconic conversation about identity, encouraging people to look closer, to go beyond the obvious and confound stereotypical assumptions.

Adam Chodzko, Fluid Dynamics; The Quail is Rising, 2020,

ADAM CHODZKO works across media, exploring our conscious and unconscious behaviour, social relations and collective imaginations through artworks that are propositions for alternative forms of ‘social media'.
Under Essex Road flows the remains of the New River, a project from the early 17C to bring fresh water to London. From its traces a dream flows; a ship, the TS Quail has become stuck in a glitch in the present whilst its crew try to navigate it along the the New River’s subterranean channels. Their actions restore a state of liquidity and in the future the New River resurfaces in a rewilded Islington.

Patrick Goddard, Black Valuation, 2020,

PATRICK GODDARD’s politically loaded video works are blackly comic. Shot in low-fi mockumentary style, they share an underlying dissection of authority, often turning the focus of subject onto the artist himself to question ‘the presumption that you are somehow outside of the situation in which you are talking, discussing, viewing or observing’.
In Black Valuation, Goddard impersonates the inheritor of the Tintype gallery building and has the property valued by an unsuspecting estate agent. Having convinced the agent earlier in the day that he would have to dash off to a Halloween party straight after their meeting, Goddard conducts the consultation in full ‘corpse paint.’

Lucy Harris, Reading Room, 2020,

LUCY HARRIS works with 16mm film to investigate sites, objects and sourced images –postcards, photographs, archive film – creating interweaving visual narratives that explore film as a site of illusion and allusion.
Her 16mm film Reading Room explores the surface and texture of the physical space, materials and architecture of Islington's South Library in Essex Road. Features of the library’s grand marble foyer, doors and windows are visually paired with images of books, their pages a portal to multiple experiences and landscapes of the imagination.

Rebecca Lennon, House of Wolf, 2020,

REBECCA LENNON works across media including video, text, performance, sound and music to think about and play with the shapes and rhythms of voice and memory. She brings weight to words, to the power of speech, to the power of repetition – abstracting, making surreal – bringing us back to the concrete and physical.
House of Wolf collages words from the names of shops and pubs in Essex Road and nearby Upper Street, with shots of surface cracks, statues, letting agency signs, hoardings and Christmas trees. Through poetic composition the film explores the way our streets and their architecture, our social fabric and rituals, attempt to own and contain the wild.

Maryam Mohajer, N1, 2020,

MARYAM MOHAJER’s wry, keenly observed, animated films focus on ordinary lives under pressure. Her works are strongly narrative; she is interested in the relationship between people and objects – and the stories these reveal. Textures are a large part of the hand-drawn and handmade feel of her works.
N1 links animated drawings that Mohajer made in the streets and cafes around Essex Road, with text that plays on observed relationships – revealing how people can be in conflict and collaboration at the same time. Visual details are gleaned from local shops such as Steve Hatt fishmongers, and the popular haberdashery shop Ray Stitch.

Melanie Smith, 5 Mins, 2020,

Working across a range of media MELANIE SMITH explores notions of modernity in relation to art history and contemporary society. Notions of place and site have been key considerations in Smith’s work. Her eye is attuned to surreal events in everyday life, the intensity of the street and finding potential in ‘messed up’ situations.
5 MINS focuses on the abstracted orange dots, dashes and signs that appear on the computer-generated timetables at a bus-stop in Essex Road. Signals and signs are interpreted as repeated frequencies and unintelligible blips – numbers and letters that jumble any rational logic or coordination of our bearings. Passersby and commuters are fleetingly caught on film, as we all are much of the time by street surveillance cameras.

Webb-Ellis, For One Who is Exhausted, 2020,

WEBB-ELLIS (Caitlin and Andrew Webb-Ellis) are a British/Canadian artist duo. Their films often reveal the story of their own making in which coincidence and fiction play a significant role. They regularly involve young people in their projects; their work seeks to address what it is to be human in these strange times.
What are the small but important rituals that give us solace? Do they unite us in a time of division? For One Who is Exhausted is structured as a list of everyday pleasures, collected from people on Essex Road. Shot near the Angel, a symbolic angel appears to hover above the action, an overseer of this intersection of human life, memory and the everyday.