Last Friday was the preview of the very first showing of By Our Own Hand, a collaborative artwork devised by the artist Richard Grayson. It was also the first exhibition in Matt’s Gallery’s new space in Nine Elms – a double celebration!
The finished artwork is made up of 42 panels designed and stitched primarily by members of the local community, which spell out the phrase BOREDOM IS ALWAYS COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY. We have Guy Debord to thank for that provocative statement. Merci, Guy, je suis d’accord avec vous.
After so many months last year working on my own panel, and becoming very attached to my letter A and the stitching process itself, it was wonderful to see the finished piece and, briefly, be reunited with my panel. I’m inordinately proud of my contribution, and found my involvement in the project very rewarding. Once again, I was struck by the skill and variety of approaches the other participants brought to their panels. Overall, it’s a visually stunning piece, I think, and joyous, and humbling. There’s also a beautiful catalogue, with a full colour page devoted to each panel, all the participants credited, and comments from most of us at the back.
The work was only on display for the weekend, as the new gallery space is still under construction. I went back on both the Saturday and Sunday, to marvel again at all the work that went into creating this piece, and also to have a nose around the new and yet-to-be-completed development of the wider site. I’m ambivalent about much of it, but the arrival of Matt’s Gallery in my neighbourhood is very welcome. If nothing else, they throw a good preview!