Bold Tendencies

Follow Bold Tendencies:
P e c k h a m
L o n d o n
2 0
1 7


Ewa Axelrad’s long-standing interest in the dynamics  of public disturbance has resulted in a number of reactionary works addressing this powerful contemporary subject.  Her new sculpture, ‘Let’s go. Yes, let’s go. (They do not move)’, references Trafalgar Square, an iconic London meeting point associated with global gatherings and protests.

Situated on the roof of the multi-storey car park, Axelrad’s work directly interacts with Richard Wentworth’s Agora which was commissioned by Bold Tendencies in 2015. Both artists stress the importance of a discourse between art and its local environment and community. Axelrad was inspired by a conversation she had with Wentworth which discussed how urban spaces and decisions are made in order to control public movement and prevent public unrest. Interestingly, in London there is no central square which could accommodate such a protest.

The sculpture in Peckham can be read as a surreal, abandoned site encountered in an unexpected place but also as an enforcement of the Agora, wherein visitors can meet, sit and socialise. The lions at Bold Tendencies are transformed from a monument of triumph and power into domesticated big cats guarding a broken barricade. The work represents the artist’s sense of public disillusion with protests and widespread doubt in their ability to generate real change. The title, taken from Beckett, connects the installation to a theatre stage, the protest acted out therefore, a futile public spectacle.

Axelrad chose cinefoil – a thin black aluminum that is normally used to shape lighting in theatre and film industries – to make the installation fragile and impermanent, creating a clear contrast with the sculptures in Trafalgar Square. Cinefoil was also selected due to the sound it makes in the wind and rain, as well as its tendency to crumple and naturally weather in appearance giving the work a tired, time-worn character.

Ewa Axelrad’s practice comprises installations, photographic and moving image and sculptural objects. Her research is informed mainly by specific events from the past such as personal recollections and collective memories. She is also interested in the role of aesthetics and design in the interplay of certain social set-ups. She is currently developing a new body of work addressing the notion of esprit de corps; a spirit of comradeship, morale, sense of devotion to a shared goal or fight present in the army, police and across other groups organised around combat.



Ewa Axelrad was born in 1984 in Poland, where she studied at Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań before moving to London to continue at the Royal College of Art. Her work was featured in many exhibitions, among the recent ones are Labour Relations at Wrocław Contemporary Museum, As You Can See. Polish Art Today at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and State of Life. Polish Contemporary Art within a Global Circumstance at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing. Her solo shows in 2017 include Satis at The Ryder Projects, London, Shtamah at Wrocław Contemporary Museum and at Copperfield, London (upcoming in September). She is nominated for the 2017 edition of the bi-annual Deutsche Bank Foundation Award Views for Polish artists under 36. She lives and works in London and Gliwice.


Four giant natural hair wigs are installed on top of four of the nine lamp posts at Bold Tendencies car park in Peckham for the summer season letting London’s weather and climate alter the composition, hair styling and hair texture of each one.

An important reference for the commission is the origin and form of the materials used. The human hair comes from Mexico and the sculptures were built inspired by the hairstyle of Natasha Fuentes Lemus (1974 – 2005), the daughter of Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and journalist Silvia Lemus.

Since 1990 Natasha’s family split their time between London (living here in a house near Earl’s Court) and Mexico City.

This anecdote forms a historical axis from which Isaac Olvera started a writing performance in the wig shops of Mexico City, capturing the conversations and mixing them with his own reflections on the life of Natasha. The writing will be published in script format for the duration of the commission, setting up a parallel between the natural alterations to the wigs and the behaviour of the characters in these new fictions.

The technical process for the commission proposes an approach to sculpture as a phenomenon that changes in time, supported by the writing of stories.

This methodology is related to pieces that the artist developed as a student at Goldsmiths in London (2009- 2011). For example his series of erotic videos made at protests 3am – Orphan (2011), where the accompanying writing made the videos change over time, creating 24 works – one for each hour of the day.

Bold Tendencies will take care of the hair sculptures, monitoring changes through a series of photographs. On some occasions the sculptures may have to be washed and combed. The location of the work on the top floor of the car park uses as a formal guide the linear structure of the lamp posts, allowing the visitor to move as usual in the space yet identify with the new anthropomorphic form.


The artist will spend time in London, continuing his writing performance in wig shops here, comparing his findings regarding the use of hair in medical application, harvesting of natural hair and the association of hair with calligraphy, amongst other research subjects.

Isaac Olvera’s work takes as its starting point the realm of human interactions and their context. By transforming cultural and aesthetic objects into provocations, he examines how to disrupt, de-limit or extend them through writing, video, performance and installation.

How does one translate into univocal signs such a semantic irradiation, such contamination of signs and individuals in the experience of amatory involvement? Julia Kristeva

Isaac Olvera was born in 1982 in Mexico. He was resident at Gasworks in 2014 and graduated from Goldsmiths college in 2011. His exhibitions and performances include Will You Respond To My Beckoning, Poet Edgar? muca-Roma, Mexico City, 2016 – 2017; Home Improvements, Casa Bosques, Mexico City, 2016; Gruta, Chopo Museum, Mexico City, 2015; Guide, Gasworks, London, 2014; Confetti Makeup, Chopo Museum, Mexico City, 2013; Helminto, Bikini Wax, Mexico City, 2013; Los Irrespetuosos, Carrillo Gil Museum, Mexico City, 2012. He lives and works in Mexico City.


Adel Abdessemed’s specially commissioned work, conceived of and made for this site, is entitled Bristow, taken from the signature work of the British cartoonist Frank Dickens, whose strip of this same title ran for 41 years in the Evening Standard newspaper and was syndicated internationally.

“For me the artistic act is like the old mole that sticks its nose out where nobody is expecting.”

Adel Abdessemed’s radical practice, which regularly invokes raw acts, and swift, energetic drawings, produces pictures in sculpture, video and photographs. These works form a statement that hits you like a straight punch: pictures in action, not stories in pictures.

His unique approach and the force of the work he makes brings the power of the image round to a matter of feeling and elevates it to a way into the world.

“I’m obsessional about meaning…. That is all that should remain. Squeeze, squeeze, like crushing a lemon, squeeze out the meaning.”


Adel Abdessemed studied at the École des Beaux-arts de Batna and Algiers (1987-1994), before travelling to France where he attended the École nationale des beaux-arts de Lyon (1994-1998). He was an artist-in-residence at the Cité internationale des Arts de Paris (1999-2000), then at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. Besides Paris and New York, the artist has also lived and worked in Berlin.

In 2016, Abdessemed was the guest artist in Avignon Festival where was hold an exhibition/conversation Surfaces. This same year, the work Bristow was commissioned by Bold Tendencies for their Peckam site, London. In 2015, he participates to the 56th Venice Biennale, All The World’s Futures (also in 2007 and 2003), and to Picasso.mania, at the Grand Palais, Paris. His 2015 solo shows count From Here to Eternity at the gallery Venus Over Los Angeles, Jalousies, complicités avec Jean Nouvel, in Vence; and Palace, at CAC Malaga.

In 2012, his work was the subject of a major solo exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Adel Abdessemed Je suis innocent, accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the museum and Steidl, and the same year at David Zwirner, New York, Adel Abdessemed: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Other notable solo exhibitions include the special presentation of Décor at the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar, France (2012), the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London; Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto (both 2010); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2009); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco Art Institute (both 2008); P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York (2007); and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva (2004).

His works are part of important collections throughout the world including the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, the Museum of Israël in Jerusalem, the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain of Geneva, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Foundation François Pinault in Venice, and the Foundation Yuz in Shanghai.

In 2017 Abdessemed will be part of the Oku-Noto Triennale in Suzu, Japan, and in Lujiazui, Shanghai, and a major solo show will be held at the Musée des beaux-arts in Montréal.

Adel Abdessemed (b. 1971) lives and works in London.


Co-commissioned with Clinic

FLOURISHED brings together the combined practice of two young poets. Sophie Collins’s work is transfigurative and transformative, playing on translation methods and processual techniques to create poems that by turns reference history, structures and emotions. Sam Riviere’s poems work with the historical idea of the lyric; tormented, stunted, rooted and aware of difficult histories that surround how poems address us.

What work survives us? And what would survive us if we were able to decide? Taking Sappho’s fragments as a starting point, and playing on the arguably arbitrary nature of the archive – who is gifted posterity, how is an oeuvre shaped, and why – FLOURISHED brings together imagined memorials from a poets’ workings.

Cryptic and scattered, imagined and real, these indelible fragments of poems show the cycle of what it
means to be remembered by their permanent presence here on site.
Deciding their own destruction / memorialisation as an act of performed posterity, the fragments by Sophie Collins and Sam Riviere line these walls as a comment on how we chose to preserve our output and the spaces we inhabit.

Sophie Collins & Sam Riviere live and work in Edinburgh.

Kindly supported by Southside Waterjet


Richard Wentworth’s Agora is a painted abstract design that covers the entire floor area of the car park roof, incorporating some of the walls.

Painted in aluminium rich paint, it reflects the changing weather conditions the roof is exposed to, unifying and activating the spectacular roof space through the summer months.

With Agora Richard Wentworth has pursued his interest in how spatial conditions interact with social reality. The title, designating an open assembly space in Ancient Greek, also shares an etymological root with ‘gregarious’, highlighting the work’s ambition to bring the space to life for the many visitors who experience it during the summer.

Richard Wentworth lives and works in London.

Kindly supported by Johnstone’s Trade


Richard Wentworth has played a leading role in New British Sculpture since the end of the 1970s. His work, encircling the notion of objects and their use as part of our day-to-day experiences, has altered the traditional definition of sculpture as well as photography. By transforming and manipulating industrial and/or found objects into works of art, Wentworth subverts their original function and extends our understanding of them by breaking the conventional system of classification. The sculptural arrangements play with the notion of ready-made and juxtaposition of objects that bear no relation to each other. Whereas in photography, as in the ongoing series Making Do and Getting By, Wentworth documents the everyday, paying attention to objects, occasional and involuntary geometries as well as uncanny situations that often go unnoticed.

Richard Wentworth (b. 1947) lives and works in London. Major solo presentations include Black Maria with Gruppe, Kings Cross (2013), Whitechapel Gallery (2010); 52nd Venice Biennale (2009); Tate Liverpool (2005); Artangel (2002); Bonner Kunstverein (1998); Stedelijk Museum (1994); Serpentine Gallery (1993).

About the Derek Jarman Garden

The artist and film-maker Derek Jarman (1942-1994) left behind an extraordinary legacy. Perched on the wild, dynamic landscape of the beach at Dungeness in Kent this artist’s beloved home Prospect Cottage is surrounded by a marvellous garden. Often portrayed in books and film, the garden has since come to be recognised as a spectacular art work.


The Derek Jarman Garden was commissioned by Bold Tendencies and designed by Dan Bristow. Joe Balfour first approached Bristow, artist and garden designer, on behalf of Bold Tendencies in 2012, with the idea of creating a new, green space within the urban landscape of the Bold Tendencies’ site. This inaugural organic space for the multi-storey complex came to fruition as a major achievement of Bold Tendencies 7 in 2013, and has continued to develop since. With the creative guidance of Keith Collins, Jarman’s partner before his death, the garden at Peckham is both an homage to Jarman’s original creation, and an extension of his ideas within an urban location.

Balfour, an admirer of the garden designed by Jarman for Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, asked Bristow if he would be able to design a garden inspired by the filmmaker’s creation for Bold Tendencies. Bristow, who cites Jarman’s garden as an ongoing source of inspiration in his garden design practice, worked alongside Balfour and Greta Hewison to form an ambitious idea for a large garden space using Jarman’s work as a creative catalyst. After the early design stages in 2012, the major build for the garden began in May 2013. Approximately 800 plants were brought in to build the garden over a period of three weeks.

The conditions of Jarman’s Dungeness garden, near the coast of Kent, and those of the garden at Peckham within a multi-storey car park, are similar in many ways, both providing sympathetic locations for desert-style plants that are able to endure the elements, with their strong yet lyrical aesthetic. The garden at Bold Tendencies introduces a new facet to the original creation by Jarman, with the garden acting as an organic foil to an urban environment in the way that the seascape influenced the design of the garden at Dungeness. The 50 tonnes of soil and 25 tonnes of crushed granite (the sub-base for road building) which were transported to the roof of the car-park and used to create the distinctive terrain of the plant beds, act as an urban parallel to Jarman’s use of shingle.


Plants were chosen to be similar, though not identical, to those used by Jarman, mirroring the original garden and thus both paying tribute to and utilising it as a creative spring-board for something new. In response to Jarman’s use of Gorse, for instance, Bristow selected Poncirus trifoliata, a citrus which bears bright, acrid oranges and perfumed flowers. The circle and square motifs of Bristow’s design are suggestive of those that shape the garden at Dungeness. Railway sleepers have been used to echo the rail-tracks running parallel to the car-park; like Jarman’s garden, the Peckham garden is responsive to the local area in which it is located. Where Jarman used ‘found’ marine detritus for his garden, Bristow has included sculptural fragments of industrial waste from Peckham and the surrounding area of South London to complement and protect the plants. The plant beds were designed by Bristow to appear as though they had arrived naturally in the space, as though with the currents of an ocean, once more alluding to Jarman’s coastal conception at Dungeness.


The garden will continue to change year-on-year, with new plants being introduced and existing plants self-seeding in new areas of the garden as they thrive. The Derek Jarman Garden at Bold Tendencies will always be in a shifting state, and through it we hope that Jarman’s ideas continue to be explored innovatively and brought to new audiences.