Score of artists paint walls to commemorate newly-expanded South London Gallery

By Mark Sheerin | 30 June 2010
A spacious gallery with a black lettered slogan on the wall

(Above) Lawrence Weiner, Cat. #939 (2007). Matt black vinyl with reflective silver interior box. Courtesy the artist and Yvon Lambert, Paris

Exhibition: Nothing is Forever, South London Gallery, June 25 – September 5 2010

The current show at South London Gallery is a one time only chance to see work by 20 British and international artists. In 10 weeks' time it will all be painted over.

These widely orchestrated artistic efforts do have some purpose, however. The murals serve as a historical marker of the Gallery's recent £2m expansion programme. After September, you may not be able to see it, but the building itself will carry a memory.

The Gallery has been extended into a derelict council house next door. The project, by 6a Architects, provides the Camberwell arts hub with more gallery space, an education studio, a café and a flat for artist residencies.

Fiona Banner has celebrated this fact by graffitiing the wall with a half remembered script from the movie Black Hawk Down. And with slightly more refinement, Paul Morrison has used 24-carat gold to fill the new wing's atrium with giant plants.

Most spectacular is the commission by Yinka Shonibare, so big that a site has been found outside the Gallery. He has decorated the gable end of a tower block with a batik design from Indonesia via West Africa.

Among the other names who contribute to this creative potlatch are Lily van der Stokker, David Shrigley, Mark Titchner, Robert Barry and Lawrence Weiner, and the list goes on and on.

But you have to ask, was 2009 Turner-prize winning artist Richard Wright busy? Or is he regretting the fact they painted over his mural at Tate Britain?

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