disCONNECT Art Exhibition in Clapham Common

disCONNECT a ‘Locked-Down’ Artists Takeover is a temporary exhibition taking place at a townhouse in Clapham Common. The inaugural exhibition from Schoeni Projects it is a collaboration with street art agency HKwalls and features 10 artists in residence.

The location in Clapham Common is a Victorian Townhouse. The disCONNECT exhibition is an opportunity to re-imagine the space prior to a major refurbishment. Participating artists are Adam Neate, Aida Wilde, Alex Fakso, Mr. Cenz, David Bray, Herakut, Icy and Sot, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, Zoer. Some have created work in situ whilst others have sent their installations in from their home countries.

Figures from Isaac Cordal part of the disconnect exhibition
Social distancing model figures by Isaac Cordal

Installations during Covid-19

Opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, the disCONNECT exhibition has had to adapt it’s initial thoughts around how to exhibit the show. Artists have not been able to travel and so work has been created elsewhere and then installed in situ. It’s caused it’s own set of unique challenges for the curators who have had to stay faithful to the artists vision.

The exhibition takes place over a number of floors and also in the garden. Each artist has taken over a particular space. From Isaac Cordals miniature figures in the basement to a vibrant pop poster exhibition from Aide Wilde in the downstairs loo. The house itself is an opportunity to experiment. Only recently bought by the current owners, the space hasn’t had much in the way of renovation. It makes for a unique set of canvasses for the artists to play with.

The grand townhouse. Home to the disCONNECT exhibition

Victorian Townhouse Inspiration

The inspiration for most of the works at the disconnect exhibition centered on the pandemic during which it was created and the house itself. Many took inspiration from both. The house as a canvas was an intimate part of the show. Elements of the building as well as it’s shape and style were utilised across the rooms, completely transforming the spaces. Mr Cenz used as canvases some of the old window blinds for example. Vhils meanwhile went one step further, having original doors shipped to him prior to his working on them and sending them back.

Only showing for one month, none of the works currently on show are for sale. The plan is for them to be exhibited separately later on, perhaps at the Schoeni Projects gallery in Hong Kong. Prior to that though they’ll be placed in storage whilst the grand old townhouse gets a full makeover.

The exhibition is open from 24 July to 24 August 2020, by appointment only. Free tickets for the disCONNECT exhibition are now available via this link. The location is a townhouse in Clapham Common. The address can be found on the Eventbrite link. The show has been curated by Schoeni Projects and supported by HKwalls. It was visited by Inspiring City on 23 July 2020.

disCONNECT Exhibition Gallery

Adam Neate (UK/Brazil)

Adam Neate’s curtain canvases can be seen hanging up along the staircase. Created on original curtains from the house. They were shipped over to Brazil prior to Adam’s re-imagining of them and sending back. A series of ‘red portraits’ were created along with piece saying ‘The Show Must Go On’. A reference to the challenges and the choices that the curators and the artist had to make as to whether to cancel or carry on with the exhibition.

Aida Wilde (Iran)

London based artist Aida Wilde was able to take over the downstairs loo and adjacent store cupboard. Her work here has been influenced by her feelings and experiences throughout the initial stages of the pandemic and peoples reactions to it. Disturbed by the fact that people were suddenly fighting over loo roll and the fact that shelves were empty. “I was like where the hell have I been for the last three weeks”. You can here more from Aida in this video from 5th Wall TV.

Alex Fakso (Italy)

Alex Fakso was one of the few artists actually able to install his works in person. He works in multi media, taken different mediums and combining them to create a new narrative. For his room at the disconnect exhibition his inspiration centered around the concept of isolation and the pandemic. According to Fakso himself the current world crisis has allowed him to reflect on what many people just took for granted.

A keen traveller Fakso’s installations incorporate pictures from those travels. Set against the backdrop of a bare and barren old victorian bedroom. It is, he says, a visual statement to these times of restrictions. It is “a dive into a world which has dramatically changed, to which as individuals, we currently long to belong again”.

Wall art from Alex Fakso part of the disconnect exhibition

David Bray (UK)

Combining his better known illustrative work with his more recent landscapes. David Bray’s room is his response to the theme and the lockdown. Self isolating himself, his landscapes are more dreamscapes. Taken from memory as opposed to any specific place they are nonetheless inspired by times when travelling was more free. The landscapes are set against the backdrop of his illustrations on the walls. A tick chart counts down the days, presumably of isolation whilst a illustrated woman kneels and clasps her hands to the air. ‘Lost all reason and sense of belonging is the name of that latter piece’.

David Bray art as part of the disconnect exhibition

Herakut (Germany)

Herakut’s transformation was a homage to childhood games. Again not able to attend in person to make the work themselves. They instead created most of the pieces on cardboard before shipping it over. A group of children find themselves alone and isolated in a space in the house. Here, their imaginations start to run wild. This is what we see on the walls and around the room.

Herakut art part of the disconnect exhibition in London

Icy & Sot (Iran)

In the kitchen a folding table is the centrepiece of Icy & Sot’s work. Plates along with knives and forks have been attached. Though when the table folds, so too does the cutlery. Called ‘Capatalism’ this is a metaphorical piece according to the artists. It is one that “reflects on the effects of capitalism on the poor. These objects lose their functionality once its folded”. In particular the piece represents the lack of access to one of the most basic human needs, food. 

A table from Icy & Sot part of the disconnect exhibition in London

Isaac Cordal (Spain)

Isaac Cordal figures hide quietly in plain view. Minding their own business they are unobtrusively carrying out their own lives. Many are dotted around the disconnect exhibition with Cordal having created them in Spain prior to shipping over. You can see them in the garden and basement in particular with one also in the kitchen. Cordal describes the pandemic and it’s side effects as being the “protagonist of the production process”. The idea for the exhibition came before the lock down but inevitably it’s creation was hugely influenced by it. “Freedom of movement is restricted as well as access to materials” says Cordal. “With all this it was necessary to make a mixture of works that whispered to the present our concern about the future”.

Mr Cenz (UK)

London based Mr Cenz has taken over the lobby area of the townhouse at the disconnect exhibition. Well known for his stylised graffiti influenced portraits of women. He has taken the colour palette from the old interiors and incorporated this into his contemporary work. The result is a blend and a homage to the history of the home and it’s decor. “My work is all about pushing to the future” Mr Cenz told 5th Wall TV.

Mr Cenz art at the disconnect exhibition in London

Vhils (Portugal)

The doors used in Vhils installation were originally meant to be created in situ. The pandemic rendered that impossible and so they were taken off and sent to him in Lisbon. He carved them and then sent them back to be re-installed in the house. The other piece he created featured a face carved out of layers of old posters. It’s a homage to how he started and how he was able to use the layers of the city as a means of cutting through and creating his work.

Vhils art as part of the disconnect exhibition in London

Zoer (Italy)

A giant series of paste ups which in turn transformed the room. This installation was one of the most difficult. Zoer was in France and travel restrictions meant he couldn’t install the work himself. In the end local artists and supporters had to help. This included the likes of Dr.D who had to try and make his vision into a reality. “During this crisis I wanted to show how the personal possessions can act as a social shield” said Zoer when describing his work.

Installation from Zoer at the disconnect exhibition in London

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