Last time we talked about St Pancras Crypt, we were considering buying a London Borough. This week, the tone was rather more sombre with a group show, Responses to Conflict and Loss installed in these meditative, subterranean vaults.
The Crypt is nigh on perfect for this sort of show. Its damp, fusty smelling waft and many vaulted rooms, nooks and crannies, with displaced gravestones lying around and family tombs built into the walls providing an atmospheric backdrop for this thoughtful show which features 16 artists plus the curator Garry Hunter.
The theme is approached from many angles, for example, black and white photographs of disused coastal fortifications, portraits of elderly people today who participated in the World Wars, soil samples from battlegrounds around the world, beautiful landscapes of Vietnam and mobile cameraphone shots taken inside a tube train on 7 July 2005. We were particularly struck by John Turner's Living History Documentation: photo portraits of battle re-enacters wearing their full period regalia but juxtaposed against the trappings of modern life; the burger van, their front door or in the kitchen. Then there's the very personal take on conflict and loss of the performance artist Michael Mayhew displaying the framed suicide note of his own father.
This is a free exhibition in an unexpected venue which offers an underground respite from the bustle of the Euston Road and quiet space to reflect on this diverse and affecting group show.
Responses to Conflict and Loss is at St Pancras Crypt (entrance on Dukes Place) NW1. Open noon to 6pm, Weds-Sun until 14 June.