Speak, Shape, Create.. strip it down... The Organ's Art pages, cut out the music (and the alternative activist stuff)and on these pages you'll find nothing but adventures in galleries,and indeed outside of galleries,and everything archived without all the clutter of music so you can find it without millions of record reviews in the way...
Back for a second run due to popular demand so it would seem, and judging by the crowds attending (and the amount of art being bought) during the first run, there really was a demand for more – no hype needed here, this is really happening. Tonight we’re back is the same place for more, tonight is the rather busy invite only party-preview thing ahead of Friday’s proper opening night of the forthcoming second run. Scroll down this very page for the full review from the first run back in October, this is just an update, news reports from the frontline as it were... So what have we got here this time that wasn’t at the last one? Is it worth going again? Well yes, if you haven’t already been then read the original review and grab this second chance while you can. If you have been already well you know what’s going on – street art, scrap sculpture, counter culture - all there, all out in the open air under the iconic Westway in Ladbrook Grove. Thankfully the Westway (a foreboding 60’s concrete motorway flyover that bisects West London) offers shelter from the December rain as well as more of that great Mad Max atmosphere. MuTate is alive underneath the Westway again...
Through the big wooden art-covered too-high-to-see-from-the-outside (besides the heads of the metal beasts and...) outer wall and in we go via the gate (kind of thing you see surrounding a building site) and yes, instantly greeted with new art. Art on the walls, on the motorway support columns and right there free-standing and reaching high up to the dark of the night, art everywhere you look. There’s new Mutoid Waste Company creations demanding instant attention, giant aircraft-monsters, different metal beasts, towering dinosaur-like creatures growing out of old car chassis-things, a biplane with some kind of strange wide-jawed roaring head (Bagpuss colours). That mutated Navy helicopter from first time around is still there... And once you eyes have adjusted to the very big sculptures, you start picking out the street art on the walls, the support columns and on the inside of that big perimeter fence - some familiar from first time around, some fresh and new – oh they’ve painting over that one, no!
Hard to put a figure on how much of the work is new and not things you would have seen first time around – certainly a healthy percentage. Yes certainly worth going again for the new pieces (be worth going again even if there wasn’t anything new here really...). Hard to say how much of the work is fresh and new for this second run? Forty percent? Perhaps more than that? Yes, more than that.... Things seem a little more subtle this time, a lot more peering in to dark corners needed (not so much fire and light this time?). There’s some impressive new pieces of imposing street art, some really good new pieces. Has to be said, one or two pieces that aren’t quite so impressive this time. Love the free-standing graffiti letter sculpture pieces that spell out Mutate just inside the main gate.
The main gallery room has lots of new work too - some seriously good canvas pieces, stencil work, smaller sculptures - the gap between gallery art and street art blurring once more? Political stuff, tongue-in-cheek graphic work, counter culture, older pieces deserving of their place in street art history. This isn’t quite the high art that was to be found at the Thousand’s show last month, this is very much still the scuzzy street, the grungy underbelly, still a blurring though. There’s more of the same as the first run, same only different – same attitude, different pieces. Excellent play on the Clash’s London Calling with that Mutate Calling piece (the Westway is serious Clash hometurf), loads of new work to explore in here alongside some of the pieces for the first run. Easy to overlook the gallery with all the attention-grabbing, fire-breathing sculpture and the twenty foot high wall work, easy to ignore the gallery with all the big pieces outside - worth going for the gallery alone.
Don’t want to turn this into a full on second review, we’ve already done that down the page... What you need to know is MuTate is back, lots of the stuff familiar from the first run, lots of new exciting stuff. Nearly all the new stuff as good as the old, some of it maybe even more impressive. Pushbike with no seat and skateboard for peddles, giant beasts with camera heads, some more ‘traditional’ paintings... Lots lots lots, alive once more and all here in this perfect environment. Right there under the Westway and all their waiting for you to explore, enjoy, react to... Street art, scrap sculpture, screen prints, photography, all living, breathing, evolving – exciting, inspiring... And all there to be explored in this perfect atmosphere. You really should make the effort to see it while you can, this is something special.
The MuTATE WINTER EXHIBITION runs, under The Westway, Acklam Road, London W10 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from December 4th until December 20th – www.mutatebritain.co.uk
NOV '09: MuTATE IS COMING BACK, seems public demand deems the return
of a genuine slice of exciting West London counter culture. MuTATE is “a
festival of underground art providing a welcoming, inclusive and visually
astounding experience for all ages in an atmospheric 12,000 square foot
setting just off Portobello Road. Walk amongst giant sculptures, installations
and unique artwork...” If you missed out in October, then the whole
thing is back again with new pieces, new sculpture, new art... You’ll find
plenty of Organ coverage - reviews, photos and more over here..
Full dates and opening times: MuTate runs from December 4th to December 20th on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Friday 12-10pm / Sat 12-10pm (no entry after 9pm), Sun 12-9pm (no entry after 8pm). £1 before 6pm / £3 there after www.mutatebritain.wordpress.com
– Now this looked promising on the website: Mutoid Waste Company, under the Westway, with loads of graffiti, some serious names in UK street art and yes, this all looked very promising on line.... So we set off with a feeling excitement and anticipation, only a walk down the road, this is our manor Tonight is the opening night private party preview of an event that opens tomorrow and runs throughout October. The MuTate team back for more following on from their infamous Behind The Shutters Show, back in Ladbroke Grove and what some of them say is their spiritual home, back with a team that includes some of the most respected names in current UK street art, alongside, photographers, stencil artists, paste up pieces, sculptors...
The Mutoid Waste Company go way back with us Organs, we’ve been encountering them and their creations pretty much since Organ first started back there in the underground days of the 80’s. Strange vehicles parked outside places like Club Dog, Acid Daze, racing through the dust Mad Max style at the legendary Treeorgey free festival, Skreech Rock, that strange squat hospital that got surrounded by shield-banging riot police in the black of night that time (we all had to crawl through tunnels to get out...). These days the Waste Company pop up at what you might call more mainstream respectable events - official parts of things like Glastonbury Trash City, California’s Burning Man, major corporate festivals in Hyde Park, still as creative as ever though, and good on ‘em, stick them in the real Tate or the middle of Trafalgar Square, they deserve it all, they’re the good people doing well...
What were we going to get tonight though? What do the Mutoid Waste Company stand for in 2009? Where’s street art going? Graffiti art these days is pretty mainstream isn’t it? Bansky and all that, all been done hasn’t it? Are we going to be drowning in celebs and champagne, the Hoxton art poseurs heading west? Madonna and her cheque book? Brian Sewell stroking his chin and waving his arms? No, none of that, nothing to worry about, from the moment we get in through the big wooden building site type gates that let us through the high wooden fence wall - graffiti-covered naturally - past the friendly security (and the hopeful paparazzi), from the moment we walk in this is jaw-dropping good... This is still the Mutoids on full effect, all is well in West London...
The old vibe is here, the place is buzziing with energy, alive with the feel of all that 70’s Westway graffiti/punk rock history, the feel of those old Club Dog/free festival/strange squat gig events that happened so much in the 80’s and early 90’s before rave and dance culture changed the shape of free festivals for ever. The heavy thumping dub coming out of the sound system, even the crowds of people look like they’ve fallen out of some kind of mutant page of a 2000AD comic, this is our kind of place, us Organs feel at home. No art-pose here, this isn’t Hoxton, this isn’t the Frieze Fair, there’s a genuine buzz of excitement in the night air alongside the big arc lights and the strange sculptures looming out of the dark above our heads.
There’s friendly conversations struck up with strangers, old friends, giant rastas, mohawked punks, graff writers, travellers, Notting Hill locals, geeks talking technique, well dressed families, excited kids, they’re all here soaking it all up in... Nearly said ‘in’ here, but we’re not quite inside are we; we’re walled in by the wooden fence but we’re under the stars, the moon and the giant Westway, corporate billboards are invade from the side of buildings outside the fence, but this is a whole other world in here. Those imposing thirty foot high Westway support pillars make this such an atmospheric venue - the Westway pillars where some say British street art started back somewhere around ’76, the giant flyover roadway that dominates West London (check your Clash records, and your Hawkwind album covers, there’s a lot of counter culture history under this roadway, The (Hall Of The) Mountain Grill is just over there...).
Walled in but out in the open air, Westway motorway as roof above us, tube trains flashing by on one side (must look brilliant to the passengers whizzing by), giant support piers acting as gallery walls... There’s some seriously impressive pieces, big pieces, some expertly crafted graffiti art up on those support pillars (there some seriously wasted looking artists, Snug23 tells us he’s been up for four days solid).
Straight away you’re hit by the giant Mutoid Waste Company sculptures/vehicles – cannibalised Royal Navy helicopters, military scrap, bits of old fighter plane cockpits that are now bodies of strange looking metal dinosaurs. There’s giant (and we do mean giant) robots, strange mutant motorbikes - the Mutoid Waste Company creations are looking bigger and better than ever, more technical now, still the spirit of those strange psychedelic gun turret trucks parked outside the George Robey back there... The futuristic kinetic robotic creatures made out of bits of scrap that really do grab the most attention, giant fire breathing mechanical bull lurching at the crowds and.... wow! There’s stunning creativity wherever you cast an eye, this is wonderful. Giles Walker’s pole dancing robots are captivating, how did he get them to move like that?! Carrie Reichardt (AKA The Baroness), she of the Treatment Rooms, is by the gate as we go in - she believes the revolution will be ceramicised, there’s that tiled orange pick-up truck by her tile stall that you may have seen in the Funkcutter film.
All around there’s impressive graffiti art battling for attention behind the sculpture – Sickboy, Paul Insect, Inkie, Dotmasters, Zeus, Mode 2, Bleach and many more... There’s a slightly more formal gallery area (formal for on outdoor event underneath a motorway flyover), actually a take on the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, where smaller pieces of impressive sculpture stand on plinths in front of some classic pieces of stencil art, paste up pieces of subversion and such. Neneh Cherry is providing the food over there...
There’s colour and energy coming out of the darkness wherever you look, the graffiti is far from tired, plenty of fresh creativity here, a little more than giant names and I’ve got all the books to copy from if you know what I mean, serious evolution – the old Banksy on the wall outside looks a little tired (and no disrespect meant there, we’ve still got lots of time for Banksy, easy to shoot at the popular, take art to the masses we say). Tonight’s opening was a triumph, need to go back today and take it all in again in the cold light of day. Serious street art, proper counter culture, genuine creative, amazing skill... Brilliant... Thank you MuTate crew, we had a great time
MuTATE BRITAIN: ONE FOOT IN THE GROVE runs on Friday, Saturday and Sundays throughout October. 2pm – 10pm, under the Westway Flyover, junction of Portobello Road and Acklam Road, London W10. Nearest Tube, Ladbroke Grove, come out of the station, cross the road and walk along underneath the Westway – www.mutatebritain.com
‘When I think of the punk years, I always think of one particular spot, just at the point where the elevated Westway diverges from Harrow Road and pursues the line of the Hammersmith and City tube tracks to Westbourne Park Station. From the end of 1976, one of the stanchions holding up the Westway was emblazoned with large graffiti which said simply, ‘The Clash’. When first sprayed the graffiti laid a psychic boundary marker for the group – This was their manor, this was how they saw London.’ Jon Savage ‘Punk London’ Evening Standard 1991
‘All across the town, all across the night, everybody’s driving with full head lights, black or white turn it on face the new religion, everybody’s sitting round watching television, London’s burning with boredom now, London’s burning dial 999, Up and down the Westway, in and out the lights, what a great traffic system, it’s so bright, I can’t think of a better way to spend the night than speeding around underneath the yellow lights.’ The Clash ‘London’s Burning’ 1976
is an art event that opens on 9th October (and runs until the 25th) under the Westway in Ladbroke Grove, West London. (3-6 Acklam Rd, London, W10). A 15000 square foot open air exhibition of Street Art, giant Sculpture and Installations, fully licensed for 1250 people, underneath the West Way Road Bridge next to Portobello Road. Here’s what they say on their website:
Following the success of their debut show ‘Behind the Shutters’ at the infamous Cordy House, the Mutate Britain team are pleased to announce One Foot in the Grove, an exhibition of painting and sculpture located in the heart of West London
“For us this is a home coming, Ladbroke Grove means a lot to Joe and I, now we’re back home to put on a show that we hope will be remembered for its inspiring art, inclusive atmosphere and all round good times.” Garfield Hackett
Since artists such as Futura 2000 (then touring with The Clash) and Mode 2 first painted the huge walls supporting the iconic West Way in the early 80s, they have been cited as a birthplace of British graffiti/street art culture. Almost 30 years later Street Art is a global artistic movement, rich with talent, diverse aesthetic styles and momentum sustained by passion. Now over 50 of its old school pioneers, infamous names and future masters are back to build a show that celebrates the depth and heritage of the movement. Expect surprise announcements to add to the mix of works by Mode 2, Matt Small, Dr. D, Part2ism, Best Ever and too many more to mention.... Go read the rest of this here