For two weekends Archway is the centre of the art universe.
Islington Exhibits is a hugely ambitious series of artistic interventions, featuring over 100 artists in more than 70 venues across the borough, the majority of whom are Islington residents. It is so big that the organisers have learnt from previous experience and split the main events over two weekends – North is this weekend and South from Friday 22nd until Sunday 24th. Both include artists’ studios alongside more unusual venues open to the public.
This project is run on a shoestring, so takes advantage of digital media with an interactive map available for those with online access and street signage for those who are not. Visiting Archway on Wednesday, we saw a lot of strategically placed information boards at the myriad of pedestrian crossings and over onto the island of comparative tranquillity. Here is revealed Archway Close, a neat line of shops that ends with La Voute cafe, which is hosting the Insular series by Robert Marney, collections of modernist figures painted onto wood.
Archway's monolithic black tower that dwarfs all around it is disconcertingly reminiscent of the opening scene of 2001: A Space Oydssey, but instead of locals hurling tools fashioned from bones, they dodge the traffic, perchance to discover some art. We were unable to find Mark Hudson’s video installation at the Mio Mosaic restaurant, instead there were more paintings and the staff were unaware of any video piece, but it may be behind the shutters of the AdShel hut outside on the pavement?
That is part of the charm of placing art in unexpected venues, sometimes it is discovered by accident – so for the weekend events we intend to wander with smartphone, seeing what can be found. Locations housing art include a museum, a tattoo parlour, a farm, a hair salon, a law firm, public walls and gardens.
All venues open 10am–5pm unless stated. Find out more here.
By Harry Urgent