Peckham. The mere mention of this seemingly blighted borough is enough to send some running for the hills. Much in the same way as mentioning Hackney in the 1980s would do. But this just makes its treasures more special. We aren't ashamed to say we are fans of Peckham. South London Gallery, created in the mid 19th century, is but
one of these treasures. What drew us here was a group show of artwork by an international selection of contemporary artists who share interests in play, sports and gaming. This alone was enough to spark our interest, not least due to an unfortunate run in with a curator when we were very young, and playing in a large metal sculpture. Apparently it wasn't an appropriate way of relating to art. But that's another story.
This exhibition, thankfully, is on the side of childlike play as a valid response to art. It is certainly a large part of the creative process, as most artists would agree. The show has delights such as a climbable modernist sculpture consisting of wall mounted crampons and copies of the Frieze magazine (you are allowed to climb it, we checked) and video pieces investigating the adult regulation of 'play' to sports. There are dance steps laid out on the floor for an impromptu dance through the platforms of the Mumbai mass transit system, oh, and the centre piece: what looks like a chunk of an adventure playground, or skate park.
We think it's well worth braving Camberwell to visit, especially if you like a more hands (or feet) on approach to art appreciation, or have small children in tow. And when you've finished at SLG you can pop across the road to visit our Sally.
By Oliver Gili
Games & Theory is at the South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Road SE5 until 7 September. Visit the website for more information.