We Stayed Up Late For Art Night

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 19 months ago

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We Stayed Up Late For Art Night
Our favourite work of the night was Nina Beier's surreal apartment.

Yesterday marked London's first Art Night. An evening of art scattered around central London, some of it in areas normally off limits to the public with others out in the open.

If you saw some of it, or none of it we've pulled together some highlights and our thoughts on the inaugural event.

Time to head down to the disused Jubilee line platform at Charing Cross, for a light and scent work.

A massive highlight for us was the opportunity to head down to the normally off-limits disused Jubilee line platform at Charing Cross. The work itself was a combination of scent and light leaving us the opportunity to explore the secret venue while soaking it in.

We stepped inside Admiralty Arch for a surreal encounter with three women sipping squid infused cocktails at a bar, spied some risqué paintings up in the vacant Brutalist building at 180 Strand, sat in the architecturally beautiful church at St Mary le Strand and saw a mass yoga class in Somerset House's courtyard.

A bit of outdoor mass exercise. Artist Xu Zhen brings a small dose of China to London

Another highlight was a luxury apartment at 190 Strand which hosted the work of Danish artist Nina Beier. Men with face masks sit around the apartment, a man chain smokes outside and a dog lies down on the carpet. It's all very still, but we're invited to explore the apartment which is a comment of the passing of time and the ageing process, as everything looks very fresh but all things are in some state of decay.

The apartment at 190 Strand got more surreal as we continued to explore it.

Everyone we came across seemed to be enjoying themselves and plenty of people armed with a map were exploring the venues. There were some great works and the fantastic choice of sites made it all the more impressive.

Room for improvement

We really enjoyed ourselves but there were a few issues that could be improved for future Art Nights.

Around half of the events were ticketed and this made it really hard to simply walk around and explore. We appreciate it's difficult as there is limited capacity at many venues but it did feel quite restrictive. For example if someone stumbled across the initiative on the night, they would struggle to see around half of the works.

The performance on the Duke of York steps was delayed by rain. But when it got going it was a whole lot of fun.

There were a few technical hitches. One was perfectly excusable as the performance on the Duke of York steps was delayed due to rain. But in Covent Garden the delay was due to poor planning. A piece required projection on to the temporary mirrored surface of the market and it was pushed back as it was still too light for people to see it. It was due to start at 5pm and this issue really should have been identified earlier given the sunset at this time of year. Many people turned up only to find it had been delayed until 8.30pm.

These issues aside we think the first Art Night was overall a resounding success and we look forward to welcoming it back to London next year.

Art Night was on 2 July from 5pm-2am. All events were free to attend.

Last Updated 03 July 2016