Art walk: Peckham
- 10 September 2013
While it's often overlooked as a creative destination, Peckham is a vibrant hub at the cutting-edge of contemporary art.
Flanked by Camberwell and Goldsmiths, two of London’s most prestigious art schools, the area is host to an intriguing selection of galleries and artist studios in among local markets and residential back streets.
Beginning at Peckham Rye station – now also served by the London Overground Network – The Sunday Painter is just around the corner at 12–16 Blenheim Grove. Founded in 2010 and featuring both a gallery and studios spaces, there is a strong focus on supporting emerging talent with a packed bi-monthly exhibitions programme. It also houses the Peckham Print Space, an open access screen-printing workshop.
Further along Blenheim Grove, through the railway arch next to the MOT garage on the right, the Arches Studios have frequent open evenings and weekends. Run by established artists, ceramicists and makers, it is host to a rotating display of works by over 15 artists.
At the end of the street Arcadia Missa gallery presents an ambitious programme of exhibitions from an industrial park unit accessed via Lyndhurst Way. The gallery is currently exhibiting Ocean Living, an exhibition and novella by Holly White and Megan Rooney.
Walk five minutes along Bellenden Road and Flat-Time House, at no. 210, is instantly recognisable on the right because of its arresting window installation. Featuring two enormous books that extend beyond both sides of the glass pane, it is easy to see why the building was named a ‘living sculpture’ by John Latham, the influential post-war artist who called this space home. Since 2008 it has worked as an archive, gallery and residency programme, encouraging visitors and participants to engage with Latham’s ideas of ‘Flat Time’.
5. CLF Art Café
Retrace your steps back to no. 133 Rye Lane, where the CLF Art Café is an exciting evening venue for music, art, theatre and film events. For daytime drinks head to Frank’s café on the roof of the multi-storey car park, also on Rye Lane (above the multiplex cinema).
Bold Tendencies, an annual sculpture exhibition now in its sixth year, occupies the top four floors of the car park (to 30 September). This summertime commissioning project was founded by Peckham champion Hannah Barry, whose own warehouse-sized gallery next to Peckham Rye station is eagerly anticipated.
Head north five minutes along Rye Lane and, as Rye Lane joins Peckham High Street, the Peckham Space’s bright green, angular building in front of Peckham Library is not easily missed. It forms part of the University of the Arts’ off-site exhibition spaces, offering a programme that actively engages with art education and the local area’s history and culture.
A similar university-led space resides in Camberwell College of Art on Peckham Road, a ten-minute walk west of Peckham Space. The Camberwell Space hosts three international exhibitions a year, supported by a programme of smaller scale projects.
Camberwell College of Art is situated next door to the most established destination for contemporary art in the area, the South London Gallery. Founded in 1981, the publicly funded gallery encompasses exhibitions featuring a range of internationally acclaimed artists, as well as live art, large-scale off-site projects, talks and film screenings. The bookshop and café are an excellent way to round up a visit, with late night openings every Wednesday.
Every last Friday of the month galleries stay open late as part of the South London Art Map programme. Guided tours are also available throughout the area.