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OCA MA Fine Art student James Kowacz reports on a recent visit:
I recently visited a new exhibition space in London that I hadn’t visited before at London Docklands which was a pleasant surprise. The Museum of London, Docklands, is set in the heart of West India Quay surrounded by waterfront restaurants and quaint boats moored in the docks, it offered an excellent fresh exhibition space and a fantastic selection of work to boot.
The exhibition is called Estuary and expectedly, is based upon works that discuss the magnificence of the Thames. The exhibition houses a range of works from oil paintings by Michael Andrews, video from Anne Bean, Paul Burwell and Richard Wilson and photogravures from Christiane Baumgartner.
One of the stand-out pieces was ‘Seafort Project’ (2005) by Stephen Turner. A twin screen slide projection documenting a 36 day residence on one of the Maunsell Forts that are left rotting and rusting in the river estuary. This time period reflected the average tour of duty military personnel might spend on the fort during the Second World War. He used this time as “an artistic exploration of isolation, investigating how one’s experience of time and place is affected by solitude.” It resulted is a selection of images and actions that Turner created whilst being there.
What really came across in the exhibition was the sense of vastness, scale and power of the estuary. For someone that hasn’t visited places like Southend, the Isle of Sheppey and the derelict industrial units that line the estuary, it really drew me in and really made me want to visit these somewhat magical looking places.
Regardless of your history or connection with London I found the exhibition very thought provoking and the rest of the museum particularly interesting, looking at the river’s history with trade, slave trading and the various incarnations of the world famous London Bridge. Well worth a visit.
The Museum of London Docklands
17th May – 27th October 2013