The ICA supports radical art and culture. Through a vibrant programme of exhibitions, films, events, talks and debates, the ICA challenges perceived notions and stimulates debate, experimentation, creativity and exchange with visitors.
Founded in 1946 by a group of artists including Roland Penrose, Peter Watson and Herbert Read, the ICA continues to support living artists in showing and exploring their work, often as it emerges and before others. The ICA has been at the forefront of cultural experimentation since its formation and has presented important debut solo shows by artists including Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen, Richard Prince and Luc Tuymans. More recently Pablo Bronstein, Lis Rhodes, Bjarne Melgaard and Juergen Teller have all staged key solo exhibitions, whilst a new generation of artists, including Luke Fowler, Lucky PDF, Hannah Sawtell and Factory Floor have taken part in exhibitions and residencies.
The ICA was one of the first venues to present The Clash and The Smiths, as well as bands such as Throbbing Gristle. The inaugural ICA / LUX Biennial of Moving Images was launched in 2012, and the ICA Cinema continues to screen rare artists' film, support independent releases and partner with leading film festivals.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 11pm.
Exhibitions are open 11am – 6pm, except Thursday, 11am – 9pm.
Entry to the ICA is with Day Membership, set at £1. Day Membership includes access to art exhibitions and displays, as well as use of facilities such as the café bar and free wifi.
Prem Sahib: Side On
- 24 September — 15 November 2015 *on now
For his first institutional solo exhibition in London, Prem Sahib will present new and recent work in the Lower and Upper Galleries at the ICA. A palpable sense of the body and human touch permeates throughout Sahib’s works, which comprise sculpture, paintings, works on paper and performance. Often minimal and sparse in colour, Sahib’s works invariably stand in for the body rather than offer a figurative representation. Through objects, performances and installations, Sahib explores both formal and autobiographical themes, relating often to intimacy, sexuality, relationships, desire and community. Sahib is interested in exploring the relationship between public and personal spaces, often evoking a sense of intimate encounters that remain hidden from plain sight in public places.
Sahib’s work is informed by an interest in the architecture and atmosphere of spaces that act as meeting places, particularly for gay communities within cities such as London or Berlin, for example clubs and other cruising locations, or the internet. Sahib also considers these communities within the wider context of club culture. In parallel with his practice is Sahib’s collaborative live practice, hosting DJ and performance nights at various venues. Significantly, Sahib collaborates with his peers, Eddie Peake and George Henry Longly, on a peripatetic club night Anal House Meltdown which has regularly taken place in east London and other cities in Europe.
Born in London in 1982, Prem Sahib lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Tongues, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India, 2014; Night Flies at Southard Reid, and Frieze Frame presentation; Back Chat, Lorcan O’Neill Gallery, Rome, 2013; He Looked Me Up, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam, and FEEL UP in collaboration with Eddie Peake, Southard Reid, London, 2012. Group exhibitions include Britain Can Make It, Hayward Gallery; I am here but you've gone, Fiorucci Art Trust, London, 2015; Burning Down the House, Gwangju Biennale; Listening, Hayward Touring exhibition curated by Sam Belinfante, Baltic, Newcastle, 2014. Performances include Woman to Woman, Gallery Vela, London, 2012; Bijou, IBID Projects, London, and Darkroom with Eddie Peake, Vogue Fabrics, Take Courage London 2011.
Lead Programme Supporter: Maryam and Edward Eisler.
Supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation.
With additional support from Galleria Lorcan O'Neill, Southard Reid and the Prem Sahib Exhibition Supporters Group.
Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson
- 12 October — 29 November 2015
The content of the exhibition focuses on a body of work that Smiler mainly shot between West London and Kings Cross. The exhibition consists of black and white images taken on an analogue camera.
“I used the camera like a storm anchor helping me to navigate and freeze a spinning world of change and flux.” Smiler
Against the backdrop of social and political upheaval, young people across the city were drawn to squats by the prospect of a place to live, but also by an identity and a sense of community. Smiler’s photographs document the people who lived in squats across the city, at a time when salvage culture was the norm. Moving from one community to another, between postcodes, Smiler captures a city in transition and documented people he met while himself “trying to manage a deep sense of alienation”. Entire streets of condemned housing sat empty across the city throughout the period - a situation that facilitated large communities to form in places such as Cromer St, the School House in Hammersmith and Queen's Gate.
Photography provided the perfect medium to capture the culture and community of these squat locations. Taking pictures, collecting photo-booth pictures and hanging on to found ephemera enabled Smiler to do this. His photographs reveal intimate moments of the squatters’ everyday life, from portraits that show snapshots of the creative identities and unabashed sexuality of his friends, to images that illuminate how they, as outcasts, experienced city life, capturing the rebellious and chaotic spirit of the time.
Drugs and squatting went hand in hand but music and art also attracted people. This was the time when Rock Against Racism was prevalent and The Clash played a high profile RAR gig in Victoria Park. DIY culture was a way of life before corporate culture and branding subsumed. Political movements shared spaces with artists, bikers, musicians, drug dealers and prostitutes.
With the housing crisis dominating the headlines today, this exhibition serves as timely reminder of how the city has transformed and poses questions about the direction it is taking. Smiler’s compelling photographs are a lens on London as a hotbed of rebellious anti-establishment sentiment and brings into focus how dramatically different the city feels today.
Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson is curated by Gareth McConnell & Matt Williams.
The ICA Fox Reading Room was made possible by the generous support of the Edwin Fox Foundation.
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