Eddie Peake: Concrete Pitch at White Cube, Bermondsey
The White Cube in Bermondsey is currently showing a fabulous exhibition by Eddie Peake, ‘Concrete Pitch’. Concrete Pitch is Peake’s fourth exhibition at the gallery and it includes sculpture, paintings, sound work and a video performance staged inside an immersive, constructed environment.
The title ‘Concrete Pitch’ is inspired by a bare, concrete recreation round in Finsbury Park in London where Peake grew up. It was used as a playground, sports field, and meeting place for people of all ages, class, and ethnicity. It was a popular environment that judged no one and welcomed everyone. This relates to the exhibition being somewhat of a microcosm within a multicultural urban society.
The entire North Gallery shines in a reddish pink hue, creating a dreamy atmosphere for viewers, while DJs from Kool London’s broadcast play music throughout the exhibition. The music playing is ‘oldskool jungle’ and drum and bass from East London, transmitting from Kool FM, which is one of the longest running underground stations and provided the soundtrack to Peake’s adolescence.
Viewers won’t so much feel like they're at an art gallery viewing an art exhibition, but rather the music accompanied by all the dim, colourful lighting creates an atmosphere that makes viewers feel as though they are at a party or at a secret event in the underground club scene.
Running through the gallery is a new, large-scale structure, ‘Stroud Green Road’, which snakes and curves through the room, much like the street of the same name runs through Peake’s neighbourhood. The ‘snake’ is created by a multitude of tables and trays, their surfaces covered in various sculptures, items purchased from shops on Stroud Green Road, small speakers that emit a low hum of sound waves, and neon lights that resemble body parts. Viewers find themselves snaking around the gallery with no particular sense of direction, while they view every object on display, attempting to take in each and every fascinating piece.
Peake is also present at the exhibition, following a daily routined schedule. He presents himself as part of the exhibition by immersing himself in specially constructed private offices, and a triangular structure that is only accessible by a tall ladder.
In the middle of the gallery, there is a giant tent-like structure that gently flows in the breeze created by viewers wandering about the room. The airy white curtain creates a spiraling passageway for viewers to walk through, revealing in the middle, a small concealed room where a video is projected onto the sheet wall. The video shows four dancers, each locked in their own individual sequence, as they gracefully and artistically glide around each other. The dancers are completely nude, and their openness to this suggests a theme of complete and utter comfort and acceptance with oneself. The video, like many of the other displays in the exhibition, is looped, relating to the daily patterns of our everyday lives, representing the manmade structures we set up for ourselves. The loops can also represent behavioural and mental associations such as compulsion, depression and obsession.
The paintings situated around the gallery are bursting at the seams with vibrance and colour, showing techniques of layering and graffiti spray painting. The final products are vivid, abstract pieces of street art mixed with loving perfection.
Tucked away on the far side of the gallery, viewers will find a dark, stretching tunnel. It is so inconspicuous that some visitors may even miss it. Unsure of whether it is part of the show, viewers enter into the unknown. The tunnel trails down one side of the gallery’s wall, around a corner and opens back up near the gallery exit. Once inside, there is no light, and visitors must simply trust their feet and carry on walking through the darkness, until their path eventually brightens and they find the shining light at the end of the tunnel.
Eddie Peake’s Concrete Pitch is on at White Cube, Bermondsey until 8th April 2018. More information may be found here.