London Riots Halt Ron Arad Mat Collishaw Opening


Chalk Farm Riots Close Roundhouse

The Mat Collishaw and other top artist’s collaboration with Ron Arad set to open at London’s Roundhouse yesterday was cancelled. The email from Blain/Southern Gallery read, “Due to police intelligence, The Roundhouse is closed to the public this evening. As a result, the screening of Mat Collishaw’s Sordid Earth has been postponed. We will be in touch with a revised date for the event”. This has yet to materialise. Christian Marclay’s Pianorama is also on view. It is an audiovisual composition featuring pianist Steve Beresford filmed and remixed by Marclay. Beresford’s multiplied hands are projected onto the curtain, and on 24th August Beresford will play live along his projected self. Greenaway & Greenaway, brothers based in London and Berlin, have devised a film which fractures images of the Roundhouse itself and re-projects them onto the curtain causing an eery sense of displacement in the space. There is also Hussein Chalayan, who is showing his film Kaikoku and David Shrigley, all who have created bespoke works.

A gallery spokesperson said that the police warned them there would be more riots in the area tonight. There was only an automated message on the phone at Roundhouse: “For recorded information about today’s performance press three.”Pockets of disorder hit Camden from 8pm onwards, focusing mainly on Chalk Farm where the Roundhouse is located and Camden Town. Camden officers were fully engaged across the borough and did not gain complete control until 5am.Superintendent Roger Smalley said: “This is not a community relations issue between police and the community this is wanton criminality and vandalism that should not be tolerated by this or any other community.” No officers were injured in Camden and 12 arrests were made, although the disorder was on a smaller scale than what was going on Hackney, Peckham and Croydon. Sainsbury’s, Evans Cycles and Lal, a clothes shop, were among the hardest hit.

Arad whose studio is located across from the Roundhouse venue, created a structure titled “Curtain Call” for the collaboration. made of 5,600 silicon rods. It works as a canvas to screen the work of a number of guest artists, including Mat Collishaw’s new video work, “Sordid Earth,” a piece which draws on an earlier work, “Infectious Flowers,” where the artist digitally grafted images of skin diseases onto photographs of flowers.

Collishaw attended Goldsmiths, University of London (1986-9), alongside Damien Hirst and other YBA artists. He has shown work internationally in many exhibitions including the infamous Freeze exhibition at Surrey Docks in London, in which Collishaw displayed large scale tiled photographs of a bullet wound in a head; this work is a good indicator of Collishaw’s artistic interests and practices. His work uses photography and video. His best known work is Bullet Hole which is a closeup photo of what appears to be a bullet hole wound in the scalp of a person’s head, mounted on 15 light boxes.

It is an epic installation to physically achieve, and the spirit in which it has been created is a generous. Sponsored by Bloomberg, the public is invited to pay whatever they can for admission.