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July 14, 2013 6:37 pm
Now we are six! The transformation of car park to sculpture park by young Peckham artists and curators began in 2007, and has become an annual event. Sculpture in the open looking on to the city skyline – exhibitions take place on the top floors of the 10-storey south London building – is irresistible. I always love it, and this year’s programme is even more ambitious. Yet there are losses too: as the team grows up, the place is less haphazard and surprising, with some works evocative of the predictable biennale circuit.
A magnificent innocence endures, though, in this year’s outstanding installation, “Derek Jarman’s Garden for Peckham”, created by landscape designer Dan Bristow and Keith Collins, Jarman’s last partner and keeper of his Prospect Cottage and garden in Dungeness
. The design here brings the free-spirited character of the original – the rough delicacy of its shingle patterns, hardy plants,
spurting biomorphic metal sculptures, bursts of colour, absence of boundaries or fences – to Peckham’s windswept roof: art and life flourishing in a harsh urban climate.
I enjoyed too Ruth Proctor’s “I See You Liking Everything” – monumental crazy sunglasses constructed from multi-hued tinsel banners, waving in the wind, offering a prism, ever changing in colour and light, on the city – installed opposite a formal octagonal timber temple, “Elements of Religion”, where collective Grand George explores “the necessary conditions for the formation of a new belief system”. What is sculpture? such pieces ask. How is it extended by audience participation, performance, functionality – Michael Levitt’s delightful steel installation “Artist Dining Space”, built between concrete slabs on levels seven-eight, for example, which is hosting “artist-devised banquets” in collaboration with the excellent on-site Frank’s Café.
From a diverse events programme, running through the summer, highlights are the 100-piece TROSP orchestra playing Brahms Symphony No 1 (August 31), and Basia Lewandowska Cummings’ Africa Film Season including films about hair and beauty by Akosua Adoma Owusu, which resonates with Peckham’s own hair salons.
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