Ceri Hand Summer Fete – Reviewed

Sarah Creed reports back from a day of pinatas, cake and fish fights (!) at the first Ceri Hand Summer Fete…

Saturday 17th August – a regular Saturday morning, in which families mill around Borough Market buying their fruit and veg, and young hipsters jump on the number 48 bus to Brick Lane in search of the next big thing. Little do they know that just a 5 minute walk away there lies a world of drama, colour, and ritual humiliation.

Ceri Hand Gallery opened its doors for its first ‘Summer Fete’, promoting and enjoying the work of emerging artists as well as some now better known. Founded in Liverpool in 2008 (before Hand moved to London in 2012), the gallery has supported new talent through the crucial early stages of their careers, providing a safe environment in which artists have been able to freely experiment and express their craft. Artists who have reaped the benefit of this nurturing environment include Bedwyr Williams (who this year represented Wales at the Venice Biennale 2013) and Emily Speed, both of whom were represented at the fete.

A variety of family-friendly stalls were on offer, mirroring the diverse and colourful roster of artists both present and for sale, as the gallery took on the form of a traditional summer fayre. Whether you wanted to have your face painted in the styles of Mondrian or Picasso, or wanted to take part in Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau’s Iceland Humiliation tombola for that coveted packet of ready-salted crisps, or have your fortune told, all the traditional elements of a fete were there to enjoy, as well as a few added ‘arty’ extras.

There were performances scheduled throughout the day, including Helena Hunter’s music-inspired Eye Tunes pop-up’s which were tailored to be no longer than a pop song; the amazing Gemma Marmalade’s Fish Wives (more to follow) and Robert Foster’s stint in the Ceri Hand Gallery stocks at the hands of Doug Jones.

The more participatory elements of the fete, such as the face painting, pelting poor Robert Foster with eggs and tomatoes, and jeering and cheering on Mel and Gemma during their fish fight, all brought a real sense of community and family to the event, as well as a different platform on which new contemporary art can be absorbed by the public.

Aside from the fun and frivolity of the stalls and performances on offer, what the day essentially boiled down to was an art fair. A huge range of artists’ work was on offer from  AGGTELEK, Henny Acloque, Sam Ayres, Mel Brimfield, Fiona Chambers, Grant Foster, hobbypopMUSEUM,  Doug Jones, Hannah Knox, Rebecca Lennon, Gemma Marmalade, Pierre-Robert and Emily Speed, just to name a few.

The work that really stood out for me came from Bedwyr Williams (a personal favourite) who had, amongst other work, very reasonably priced books for sale, Emily Speed’s prints, and Doug Jones’s lovely cross-stitch pieces and his stunning bronze sculptures. Some I liked so much I had to purchase – my treat for the day came from Birmingham’s Juneau Projects, who had created a beautiful set of guitar pedals for sale.

The day successfully communicated the fact that art really is for all, and left me feeling excited and optimistic about the new, emerging talent coming from London and beyond.

Sarah Creed

Ceri Hand Gallery, 6 Copperfield Street, London SE1 0EP

Next event: Thursday September 19 6.30-8.30pm for the opening of Hannah Knox’s exhibition BUFF

Posted on 02/09/2013 by thedoublenegative