FIVE HIDES: 03.10.2020

Josephine Chime, Charlotte Dawson, Jack Evans, Katharina Fitz, Enam Gbewonyo, Ellie Hayward, Rain (Kate) Howard, Alice Irwin, Thomas Langley, Shepherd Manyika, Anousha Payne, Anna Perach, Sean Rennison Phillips, Anna Reading, Ally Rosenberg, Corbin Shaw, Christopher Stead, Tess Williams and Hannah Wilson.

Installation View, Five Hides. Curated by Thorp Stavri

Five Hides takes place at Manor Place in Walworth, a Victorian building taking its name from the Manor of Walworth, described by The Domesday Book (1086) as being “five hides” in area: enough land to support five families or to produce £5 in taxes.

Manor Place has a rich history of serving the people of Walworth. Built in the 1890s as a public baths and laundry facility for local residents, it strengthened a sense of community in the area, while giving patrons an independence lacking in their domestic situations: providing somewhere they could improve health and hygiene, and come together with neighbours at the same time.

Manor Place later became a hub for London’s boxing community, the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark’s Charity Boxing Committee hosting the biggest names in the sport – including the Kray twins – giving locals the chance to see professional boxing right on their own doorstep, and hosting annual fundraisers for local children. It became so synonymous with the sport that when the BBC began broadcasting boxing, it chose Manor Place as its first venue.

The building then went on to become a Buddhist centre, offering classes and workshops to the community, continuing its long legacy as a space offering well-being and togetherness to the people of Walworth. Now surrounded by expensive, encroaching redevelopment, Manor Place may not be able to retain this role much longer. Five Hides will celebrate the space and open it up to the community once more before it’s potentially gone forever.

The exhibition has been planned specifically to take into account the monumental scale of the space. One of the underlying principles of the show is to reflect the diversity of artists working in the UK at the moment, however the exhibition presents some unifying themes that cut across divides. The show combines a radical perspective, with artists drawing ideas and inspiration from the brutalism of urban life both from the standpoint, on the one hand, of the architectonic and the emotions that the built environment and the sensual density of the city can arouse, with the orthodoxy of sculpture (particularly object making) and painting (albeit iconoclastic) on the other. Both bring together a post pop sensibility and emotions that are frequently triggered by the pressure of the everyday.

If contemporary art is almost exclusively an urban undertaking, then this show attempts to demonstrate the complexity of that condition while maintaining the powerful presence of painting and sculpture as it is being made right now. It incorporates issues of identity and the body; the prosaic, concrete and spiritual potential of the object and the enduring power of painting as a radical act.

Throughout, this exhibition is actively conscious of the role contemporary art has to play in the wider world. The selection of this cross section of artists has been made with this in mind in an attempt to combine a many layered complexity of thought with an accessibility that resonates with a wide public.

Running alongside the exhibition is a series of talks, curator and artist lead tours and a selection of Frottage, Embroidery and Meditation workshops.

Five Hides is presented by curatorial platform Thorp Stavri, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and through the continued support of Projekt and FAD Magazine.