Peckham is a part of London that is difficult to get to. Deep in the South East parts of the city, there is no Underground station, not even a new shiny Overground station. No, to get to Peckham Rye you need to board a National Rail train from London Bridge or get a bus.
In London people often don’t like to leave their local areas, for example East Londoners, who often refuse to go South of the River, and yet a forlorn car park in Peckham Rye becomes a place of pilgrimage to thousands every summer.
You see, a trip South of the River is all the more tempting with the promise of the Bold Tendencies series of open-air sculpture shows and Frank’s Campari Bar on the rooftop of the car park.
There is a breath-taking view of the London skyline and bold sculpture pieces by international fresh young artists to behold. Plus, a whole lot of people watching to indulge in, which most rooftop goers would probably loathe to admit, but this certainly seems to be a central attraction for the vast numbers of art students that flock to the unusual venue.
Founded in 2007, Bold Tendencies has welcomed over 45,000 visitors in 2010 (30,000 in 2009). And when GoSee attended the opening night on Saturday 30th July, the numbers were so vast they would be simply impossible to count. Also, do you count the hundreds of people that came only to be turned away because the huge venue was full to maximum capacity? Peckham Rye turned into a huge street party, all the local bars and pubs were full to bursting point, so the celebrations spilled out onto the street. Impromptu concerts took place in people’s front gardens and as a Bold Tendencies guest from the start in 2007; GoSee can safely say it really was the biggest opening yet.
Gone are the days of taking your own bottle up to the roof and seeing where the night ended, with local art school kids playing improvised gigs and collectives dropping by with some DJ equipment to provide a soundtrack to rooftop dancing. Bold Tendencies is now an official event in its own right backed by sponsorship and the increased interest has resulted in strict rules about capacity and closing times. Bottles have to stay outside. A bit like a music festival really. Long queues to get a drink and not enough shack-like toilets. But, it must be said that the prices of food and drinks at Frank’s Bar are incredibly decent for London standards and it is still as inspirational and exciting a place to visit as it was in previous years.
Local Peckham curator Hannah Barry set up Bold Tendencies in 2007, when it was not yet held on the roof of the multi-storey car park, but the roof of an old school building. The first of a series of annual summer shows, it featured work by local art collective ‘Lyndhurst Way’.
Similarly to the shows that represented this group of artists’ work, the collective reclaimed vacant and derelict spaces in Peckham, most famously their namesake 78 Lyndhurst Way, an empty Victorian house, which they lived in, worked in and opened to the public to show their work in.
Sadly, the first Bold Tendencies show marked the end of a series of exhibitions of the Lyndhurst Way set, but the core artists of the group went on to be represented by Hannah Barry, who opened her own gallery in Peckham a year later. The Bold Tendencies sculpture project continues each summer on the rooftop of the Peckham multistory car-park and Hannah Barry now runs a second gallery, by contrast on one of London’s most expensive streets, Bond Street.
Bold Tendencies VI
Levels 7 – 10
Peckham Multi-Storey Car Park
95A Rye lane
London SE15 4ST
June 30 – September 30 2012
Open from 12 noon until 10pm Thursday to Sunday
Hannah Barry Gallery
133 Copeland Road
London SE15 3SN
+44 (0)20 7635 0464
WEDNESDAYS - SUNDAYS 11 - 5
Hannah Barry Gallery
110 New Bond Street
(Entrance on Brook Street)
London W1S 1EB
TUESDAY - SATURDAYS 12 – 5