A Case for Art in the Moment

Illustration by Himarni Brownsword

The major gallery shows in London broadly shape culture and taste, meanwhile smaller events are not given the same value but are equally as important. Art on a community-scale and experimental events have always had a greater impact on me than any exhibition at the Tate or Royal Academy, and I have found greater inspiration at live events or club nights than with a beautiful sculpture or painting. Those institutions are beginning to appeal more to youth cultures and Millenials with an increasing number of gallery ‘lates’ which are more instantly gratifying with the multi-sensory experiences on offer. One example of a move in the right direction is Turner-Prize winning artist Mark Leckey’s major exhibition at Tate Britain ‘O’ Magic Power of Bleakness’ which ran for the second half of 2019, which gave me a new conception for interdisciplinary art. A demand for instant gratification among generations must not be sneered at, live events or art performances are intellectually stimulating, and a greater expression of how we live consumer culture in the modern today.

From my initial fascination with Leckey's Tate show, I was excited to see the artist engaging with alternative formats for communicating his art, such as a recent appearance as the supporting act for electronic musician Klein at the Camden Underworld last month. Klein’s label, Hyperdub records hosts nights at Corsica Studios in Elephant & Castle, the Ø (pronounced ‘Zero’) series pairs art performance and media with pioneering DJs. In January Kode9 played all night accompanied by visual artist Lawrence Lek’s new feature-length film Aidol, with mesmerising results. These two events proved to me that art in the urban nightlife works because it is an important space for experiment and practice.