Elephant West Engaging With 'Life Through Art'
Elephant West is a rather cool art-fuelled hub, in the heart of West London.
A renovated disused petrol pump station, transformed into a dynamic and versatile art hub, designed by architects Liddicoat and Goldhill.
Elephant Art Magazine and Griffin Gallery curatorial team, merged to create a space that encourages the local community to engage with art. Since its opening last November, Elephant West has hosted a series of commissioned “environmental takeovers” showcasing talented artists who fully transform the space, without the traditional barriers of the typical white-cube gallery.
Since the opening in November 2018, Head Curator Becca Pelly-Fry has played a key role in the recent exhibitions and works closely with artists to create a fully immersive experience.
Interview with Head Curator Becca Pelly Fry at Elephant West
Becca Pelly-Fry shares some insight on working at Elephant West and what this new art-fueled hub has to offer.
AF: You started working with Elephant West when if first opened, what’s is been like so far?
Pelly-Fry: It’s an entirely different kind of challenge to Griffin Gallery, namely because the venue is so much more public and interacts with a wide range of people very directly. We are also amongst the first cultural organisations to move into the area, which means we are engaging with people in a new and exciting way – the response so far has been fantastic, and it seems such a space has long been much needed in west London.
AF: You curated the last two exhibitions ‘DIPPING SAUCE’ and ‘MUSCLE MEMORY’ Could you tell us about the artists you’ve worked with so far?
Pelly-Fry: We thought it would make a great deal of sense to open with an artist who had a strong connection to the local area, and Maisie grew up in Westbourne Park. She has a strong online following and a successful commercial photographic practice, but her reputation as a fine art photographer is in its early stages and we felt we could offer a useful platform to develop her career in that direction. Plus, the work is gorgeous; gunky, sticky, hyper-saturated and a sets up a delicious tension between beautiful and disgusting which is very engaging.
Anna Liber Lewis won the Griffin Art Prize in 2017 (which I was Director of before moving to Elephant) ,and I’ve been working with her closely since then. She’s an incredibly talented painter and I wanted to give her the opportunity to show how far she’s come in the past year, and to collaborate in a new and interesting way with an artist from a different discipline; it was Anna that brought Four Tet into the mix and it’s been an honour to witness the collaboration between them.
AF: I’ve seen the space transform completely between each exhibition. How do you go about curating these projects?
Pelly Fry: We work very closely with the artists throughout the entire process; my role as Curator is to guide and support their creative process, and to help make their ideas happen.
When putting a project together, it’s important to consider the space as a whole. We ask a number of questions such as; what will it feel like to walk around? How will the audience experience the work? How do we draw attention to the various elements of the work? What will hold the viewer’s gaze and how do we maximise the impact of the space itself (i.e. the ceiling height, the central ‘nave’, the smaller side ‘corridors’)?
Lastly, we have to think about how the space operates outside of the project – it is also a café and bar, open to the public every day, and is also used for a wide range of events so we need to allow space for those things to take place too.”
Feast your eyes ‘DIPPING SAUCE’ Maisie Cousins Solo Exhibition
‘DIPPING SAUCE’ transformed the space with a series of highly saturated macro images of food, plants and curious objects relating to consumption. An ode to West London’s vibrant and cosmopolitan foods, delis and cafes in places like Golborn Road or Edgware road in West London.
‘MUSCLE MEMORY’ Visuals to dance, multi-sensory joint exhibition by two life long friends
‘MUSCLE MEMORY’ is a collaborative project and immersive exhibition by Anna Liber Lewis, winner of the Griffin Art Prize 2017 and musician, Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet. On display until the 17 March 2019.
‘MUSCLE MEMORY’ is a rich and inviting, exhibition that the emotional highs and lows of life.Includes a series of painting and drawings by Liber Lewis and with life long buddy, Four Tet, who produced 3 tracks over a period of six for Muscle Memory.
More about ‘MUSCLE MEMORY’ Here
Robert Shore, Elephant Creative Director, transmits the Elephant’s motto ‘Life through Art’ to Elephant West.
A newly renovated hub offering artists the freedom to completely transform the space, and welcome art lovers to engage with art and creativity. As well as art exhibitions, Elephant West hosts panel talks, screenings and events with partner organisations. For more information, visit elephant.art/west