5 Year Anniversary Celebration
Jennet Thomas | Robin Mason | Debra Allman | Robert Bell | Mike Ballard
Exhibition 9th March – 11th March 2017
4th March 2017 marked Block 336’s 5 Year Anniversary. To celebrate the event, works by 5 artists they have exhibited were shown alongside music from selected DJs. At the time, Block 336 had presented 22 exhibitions, 40 events, worked with over 100 artists, commissioned significant new works, produced 5 publications and provided studio space for 12 artists. The organisation had welcomed over 10,000 visitors. Alongside its exhibition programme Block 336 had worked with a number of charitable organisations including Lambeth & Southwark Mind, Certitude, Creative Future and the South London and Maudsley Hospital, hosting collaborative projects, for their staff and service users.
The work welcoming visitors into the underground space where Block 336 is located was by Jennet Thomas. Part of The Unspeakable Freedom Device, a larger film installation, the film explored the idea of Margaret Thatcher as an after-burn on the collective memory of British culture. It expressed a fever-dream fantasy emerging from contemporary global anxieties; ecological catastrophe and populist political extremism.
A number of works by Robin Mason were presented including recent paintings and drawings that span from 1984 – 2017. His paintings incorporate an obsession with a number of key works from art history and a sense of place. Many of the drawings exhibited had never been seen before and revealed a private activity that is integral to Mason’s working practice.
Happy Hour Futures is the outcome of a collaboration between Block 336 studio artist Robert Bell and musicians Joe Goddard, Owen Clarke and Lamis Harper who created a new sound piece specifically for the anniversary event. A world of mutating, pulsating, throbbing sonics was reflected in the animated forms that moved across the gallery walls. Deriving from Bell’s paintings, these alien forms appeared to be on the edge of breaking free and establishing their own reality. Mysterious in origin and ambiguous in scale these virtual and material creations reminded us of the micro or macro realm, the biological, the chemical or chemically induced.
I.D.S.T was a representation of a work first shown as a solo exhibition at Block 336 in 2012 by Mike Ballard. The acronym I.D.S.T, stands for ‘If destroyed still true’, and is used in graffiti to accompany a message. Given the limited temporality of such a statement ‘I.D.S.T’ suggests that in the event of its erasure or destruction, the proclamation would continue to exist as a truth. I.D.S.T explores ideas relating to transience, transgression, authenticity, appropriation and destruction that are inherent in graffiti and have always interested Ballard.
As a registered charity Block 336 relies on public grants, voluntary support and private donations to fund its programme, consistently prioritising the provision of time, space and support for the artists, curators and organisations that it works with. The production of ambitious, critically rigorous projects with high production values continues to be central to its ethos.