Thursday, 30 August 2007
The Latest Prints in Town
Last night at the Bankside Gallery next to Tate Modern I was at the private view of a new exhibition, "Eyeplay", of prints featuring established and up and coming artists. The exhibition described itself as "A Playground of the Latest Prints in Town". One doesn't want to go on about this awful summer but it was a joy to see the evening sunshine spilling at last on the crowds along the South Bank of the Thames where the gallery is situated. I used to live around here in the late 1970s and 1980s when it was not yet transformed from a rather atmospheric cityscape of crumbling warehouses and empty wharves into its current lively scene of restaurants, bars, galleries, upmarket shops and...people, lots and lots of them. It is hard to recall that it was once a rather deserted and empty place. It was also the site of some vigorous battles by the local community to hang on to their neighbourhood before City money and speculative office-building drove them out of the area. They even campaigned against the reproduction Globe Theatre, now doing a roaring trade, because its site had been earmarked by the local authority for public housing. The nearby Coin Street Community Builders' development of affordable public housing remains a tribute to those campaigners. Cities need this mix of people if they are remain living communities rather than becoming one vast wine bar. The Bankside Gallery, home to the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, was full last night of artists and visitors and the prints were of excellent quality and wide-ranging. The Eyeplay exhibition, curated by Bula Chakravarty Agbo, Frank Kiely and Temsuyanger Longkumer, runs until 9 September.