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B2

Back to fast and loose (my dead gallery)

 

B2 section in the exhibition, curated by David Dawson and the neo-naturists

 

 

Neo-naturists at Thames Beach, Wappping 1980

 

 

B2

" I had not seen David Dawson since we had studied together in Leeds in the 70’s. He had been an avid collector of original art and literary publications, particularly those produced by the Dadaist and Surrealists and had an interest in early photography and making electronic music. He had this gift of being able to rummage around a junk market and pull out a Pre-Raphaelite artifact and name the artist. So when I made my way into the Gallery on Hanway Street , to see him perched and surrounded by the photographs of human and animal motion by Edweard Muybridge, it was a real joy and a turning point.

I had spent the latter part of the 1970’s presenting performance/multi media events in the form of regular events and Contemporary Arts Festivals in Brighton presenting work as diverse as TG, to Evan Parker, to Lindsay Kemp, to The People Show and Ivor Cutler and I was exhausted, broke, battered and determined not to organize an ‘art’ event ever again in my life (excepting the opportunity to bring William Burroughs to the UK). I was also with Ian Hincliff’s Matchbox Purveyors –who I would continue to perform with until he wished to exit me from a moving car in 1982! God bless him.

What I did have was the first issue of PS Primary Sources, a journal of the performing arts and the determination to publish a few more. I also wanted to work with other creative people to create and present work that would represent some kind of truth or honesty in an environment that was not forbidding but fun. This was in the autumn of 1980 and David spoke about this amazing warehouse space in Wapping Wall and suggested I put my energies to work there.–sometime in 1981

I went to visit.

The art/living space, B2, in Wapping, London E1, once an old tea warehouse, was some 16,000 sq feet in area divided into two spaces by a corridor. It was reached by clambering up two levels of a winding, narrow stone staircase. (We actually carried a brave gentleman up in his wheelchair for one exhibition.) Both spaces overlooked the Thames directly – as many as 20 swans and cygnets would annually gather below in the late summer – the place was beautiful. David had concealed his living area in the gallery but the Chaise Longues, armchairs, the long table, with the book and photographic collections juxtaposed against the bright white of the gallery and performance space spoke of a warm gathering place. It was a place where new ideas could be hatched, a place where artists could show and perform their work and where the public could feel at home. I similarly set up my living space in a curtained off archway in the adjoining space and this also became home to events, lectures and performance.

B2 was not some isolated art space but part of a community of artists, publishers (Anarchist Press) and other galleries living and working in Wapping... The area was a popular film location for Victorian period films but also a boarded up tenement environment - Wapping High Street was like a ghost town and the whole area had little or no direct transport. The old tube station shut early and you had to walk a fair distance to reach the Docklands Railway or a bus. Consequently many an audience slept at B2, once over hundred. We also partied and entertained artists and public alike, it seemed natural for people to drop in from all over the globe.

This almost live-in-home-club-like quality combined with the diversity of the presentations made B2 special. The exhibitions being as diverse as that of modern and early photography, to British 1940s design , to a lecture by the NYC dominatrix Terrence Sellers, to Chris Stein’s photographs of Blondie (combined with a book launch for Making Tracks by Victor Bockris), to being a centre of operations and an exhibition for ‘The Final Academy’, to the regular Sunday evening super 8 and 16mm film evenings presented by Derek Jarman and of course a real ‘home’ and performance space to the Neo–Naturists for 5 days. B2 also held exhibitions of paintings - one of my memories is of watching Duggy Fields having a virtual nervous breakdown as his paintings were hoisted up the outside of the gallery in a high wind (The only access route B2 for anything wider than the staircase) It was a real a mix but somehow it worked and David somehow managed to keep the whole circle of B2 friends and contacts working together.

My contribution (well, aside from cooking up some feasts) would have been helping to bring the word to B2 with events like Performing The Word, or The Correct Sadist, The Ranter’s Revenge: an evening with Attilla the Stockbroker and many friends including a young Benjamin Zephaniah. Also there was the collaboration with Index On Censorship called Voices at Curfew featuring the words and music of those artists that had been imprisoned and tortured across the continents. Every evening the audience changed, it would be the PLO one night, Eastern Europeans another and Africans the next, all of them making it their domain for the night.

The Final Academy took some 18 months to organize from start to finish, including a publication ‘Statements Of A Kind’ which I edited and Neville Brody designed. Genesis and then David Dawson worked with myself in realizing this event, with B2 becoming the centre and exhibition space for the whole event. Events took place in the Hacienda in Manchester , Liverpool as well as the main event at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton and also an evening at the night club Heaven with three TV ventures directly linked to the occasion. The imagination, voracity and creativity displayed by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin (Gysin stayed at B2 during the visit and his early morning stories and hash sessions were memorable - equal amounts of gossip and wisdom!) Their work and presence regenerated the spirit and introduced their work and influences to a new generation of public – which is what I believe B2 attempted to do with its presentations: working with artists to enable them to realize new ideas and fix them into the veins of the public consciousness.

(Roger Ely October 2006)

 

 

(B2 information below is tentative. To help us complete it, please email David Dawson)

 

Chronology:

EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS

June Scott - works on paper

SWISS ACCOUNT: Collaborative photographic work by Olivier Richon, Andrew Cameron and Karen Knorr 1980

Diane Arbus May - June 1981

Robert Mapplethorpe June 1981

Jean-Marc Prouveur July 1981

Jean-Louis Gregoire

KNITTED PICTURES: photoworks by Charles Harrison Sept 25 - Oct 18

CONTEMPORARY AND HISTORIC PORTRAITS AND LANDSCAPES: photographs

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHERS: Xmas show

NEW TOPOGRAPHICS: Contemporary American Landscape: photographs including work by Adams and Baltz

ART AND ARTIFICE: mixed media including photographs by Karen Knoor, Andrew Cameron and Olivier Richon: 'Photographs of the New Romantics' and works by Vivienne Westwood, Derek Jarman (film show with improvised live soundtrack including interviews and record changes), John Maybury, Michael Kostiff, Andrew Logan, Sheila Rock 10 Dec 1981

5 PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM THE 1930s: John Havinden, Angus Mcbean, Count Zichy, Madame Yevonde, Piet Zwarr.

LIGHT READINGS: 5 Women Photographers - Karen Knorr, Yve Lomax, Susan Trangmar, Mitra Tabrizian, Marie Yates.

Adrian Henri: Poetry reading 14 Feb 1982

AN INDEPENDENT DECLARATION: with Anne Bean and Paul Burwell Sunday 4 July 1982

ELEPHANT RHYTHMS BY FAST FORWARD AND JES WELCH: 'An evening Never to Forget' Friday 9 July 1982

WALKING HEAT: First London screening of the film with reading and performance by Howard Walmsley and Ken Hollings Saturday 10 July 1982

PUBLIC MARRIAGE: Carlyle Reedy and Peter Healy-Smith Sunday 11 July 1982

TRACES: Installations and Photoworks by Pradip Malde and Chris Welsby

NEO-NATURISTS SUMMER SEASON: The Neo Naturists lived in the B2 Gallery for 5 days, sleeping in the middle of the gallery space on a large roped off bed, a 24 hour live-in installation featuring Christine Binnie, Jen Binnie, Wilma Johnson, Grayson Perry, Mimi Tin Maung with Dencil Williams, William Coley Moore, Jimmy Trindy, Paula Haughney, Helen Terry, Eilis O'Neil, Nico Holah, Mike D'eath, Bruce Lacey . Paintings by Jen Binnie and Wilma Johnson decorated the space
Day 1 Private View Day Wednesday 14 July 1982
Duggie Fields, Andrew Logan Video by John Maybury
Day 2 Fashion Day Thursday 15 July 1982
Day 3 Macbeth Day Scottish body paint, whisky, neeps and tatties, haggis and porridge, Kenneth McKeller, The Alexander Brothers, 15 minute Macbeth with three witches, moving forest, scotch pancakes and a witches brew cooked on a calor gas cooker Friday 16 July 1982
Day 4 Black Rapport Day Black body paint, a pile of black clothes by the door for visitors to wear, burnt food, the pub, Guinness and the River Thames Saturday 17 July 1982
Day 5 Punk Day - official closing featuring performance by The Trindies Sunday 18 July 1982

RED HERRING: 'Panda in Palace Death-Rush' performance + installation by Bruce Bayley, Tom Castle, Trevor Goron wy, Paul Wright with the Headline Information Service operating from B2, collecting and processing data on news stories continuously. The public were invited to join the team in discovering the facts behind the headlines Thursday 22 July 1982

EVENT GROUP: 'Element of Competition' + installation Friday 23 July 1982

Roland Miller Sunday 25 July 1982

Ian Hinchliffe with Neil Fraser: installation + Ian Hinchcliffe performance with special effects by Neil Fraser 28 July - 1 August 1982

Duggie Fields: paintings and film 'Poised on the Edge of Taste' 1982

MAKING TRACKS: Blondie book launch with Debbie Harry and writer Victor Bockris and Chris Stein: Exhibition of Photographs June 1982

THE LEGACY: a supernatural tale - written and read by Roger Ely and slide projections by Ruth Adams July 1982

A NEW DESIGN FOR LIVING: British Design 1940-50 including Wells Coates, Marcel Breuer, Robin Day, Gerald summers, Sir Gordon Russell, Neil Morris 1982

NEW SUPER 8 FILM IN LONDON: installation + four events:
John Maybury with live performance by Hermine and Charlie Pig Thursday 2 August 1982
Michael Kostiff Tuesday 3 August 1982
Derek Jarman Wednesday 4 August 1982
Cerith Wyn Evans Thursday 5 August 1982

BENEFIT FOR ZG MAGAZINE: Cunningham and The Flying Lizards Saturday/Sunday 7-8 August 1982

THE FINAL ACADEMY: William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, john Giorno. Event centre, multi-media exhibition including The Dream Machine + Indian banquet. Sept - Oct 1982

THE CORRECT SADIST: Lecture/talk/performance by Terrence Sellers (NYC dominatrix and writer) 1982

Evan Parker - solo performance (improvisations/alto saxophone) 1982

RANTERS' REVENGE: Poetry including work by Attila The Stockbroker, Benjamin Zephaniah 1982

CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE: with Undercut magazine Spring 1983

SUNDAY FILM NIGHTS: Derek Jarman: Super 8 mm and 16 mm films 1983

VOICES AT CURFEW: (with Index on Censorship) 4 evenings of poetry/music/performance by imprisoned and tortured artists from Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, Middle East including Pitika Ntuli (Nigeria) 1983

PERFORMING THE WORD: an ongoing weekly series featuring Bob Cobbing and Clive Fencott 2 Apr 1982, Chris Cheek 1982, Ian Hinchcliffe 1982, Dave Stephens 1982

SALON OF 1983: Film-Video-Tape/Slide, B2 at the ICA, Mick Aslin, Biff, Brian Cleaver, Jo Comino, Peter Davis, Jim Divers, Judith Goddard, Derek Jarman, Steve Littman and Zoe Redman, John Maybury, Julia Percy, Cordelia Swann, Cerith Wyn Evans.

Dougie Shields exhibition + Dave Stephens performance - painted by Ruth Adams as a Dougie Shields model with Ivor Cutler in the audience

 

Neo-naturists at Thames Beach, Wappping 1980

 

Neo-Naturist week schedule

 

B2 alphabetical list of all artists at B2:
Alvar Aalto, Vito Acconci, Robert Adams, Lewis Ambler, Diane Arbus, Sami Al-Quasim
Mick Aslin, Ruth Adams, Attila the Stockbroker
Lewis Baltz, Anne Bean, Christine Binnie, Jenifer Binnie, Biting Tongues, Stan Brackhage, Marcel Breuer, William Burroughs, Graham Bush, Paul Burwell, Bruce Bayley, Biff, Victor Bockris
Andrew Cameron, Julia Margaret Cameron, Chris Cheek, Wells Coates, Bob Cobbing, David Cunningham, Michael Clark, Tom Castle, Brian Cleaver, Jo Comino, William Coley Moore
Peter Davis, Jim Divers, Mike D'eath, Robin Day
Roger Ely, Eyeless in Gaza
Steve Farrer, Roger Fenton, Alan Fisher, The Flying Lizzards, Fast Forward, Duggie Fields, Liz Finch, Francis Frith, Neil Fraser, Clive Fencott
Jean-Louis Gregoire, Brion Gysin, Richard Grayson, Trevor Gronwy, Judith Goddard
Akiko Hada, Charles Harrison, John Havinden, Hermine, Richard Heslop, Gary Hill?, Ian Hinchcliffe, Ken Hollings, Jaroslav Hutka, Adrian Henri, Peter Healy-Smith, Paula Haughney, Nico Holah, Debbie Harry
Taka Imura
Derek Jarman, Wilma Johnson
Karen Knorr, Michael Kostiff, Jacek Kaczmarski
Simon Lane, Andrew Logan, Yves Lomax, Bertold Lubetkin, Steve Littman, Bruce Lacey
Robert Mapplethorpe, John Maybury, Angus McBean, Edward Muybridge, Pradip Malde, Roland Miller, Neil Morris
The Neo Naturists, Pitika Ntuli
Eilis O'Neil
Richard Pare, Jane Parish, Grayson Perry, Genesis P-Orridge, Julia Percy, Maureen Paley, Jean-Marc Prouveur, Charlie Pig, Evan Parker
Red Herring, Olivier Richon, Paul Ruiz, Zoe Redman, Sheila Rock, Carlyle Reedy, Sir Gordon Russell
Sankai Juku, John Scarlett-Davis, June Scott, Terence Sellers, Station House Opera, Chris Stein, Salman Shukur, Cordelia Swann, Gerald Summers, Dougie Shields, Dave Stephens
Julian Temple, Helen Terry, Anna Thew, Susan Trangmar, Mitra Tabrizian, Zdena Tomin, Mimi Tin Maung, Jimmy Trindy
Bill Viola, Tito Valenzuela
Andy Warhol, William Wegman, Jeremy Welsh, Chris Welsby, Vivienne Westwood, Cerith Wyn Evans, Paul Wright, Gill Westwood, Howard Walmsley, Richard Welsby, Dencil Williams
Marie Yates, Madam Yevonde, Peter York
Count Zichy, Sylvia Ziranek, Piet Zwart, Benjamin Zephaniah

 

 

List of curators : Victor Bockris, David Dawson, Jane Dawson, Bruno De Florence, Roger Ely, Nicholas Fisher, Akiko Hada, Nicky Hamlyn, Martin Harrison, Karen Knorr, James Mackay, Garrard Martin, David Mellor, Barry Miles, Mark Nash, Michael O'Pray, Timothy Prus, Al Rees, Jeremy Welsh