1. I met Beatriz Lopez and Sebastian Ramirez two Colombian artists who have been living in London for a while when they were working at the Red Lion Pub in Hoxton Street.
2. One night at a party, Sebastian approached me with the idea of finding a wall where we could exhibit art. I told him I had been thinking of installing a neon in the wall outside the house where I live. Why didn’t we use the wall outside of my house and transformed it into a gallery?
3. Beatriz, Sebastian and me started meeting to think about our gallery. We decided we would exhibit the work of young artists from Latin America living in London or in their countries, while at the same time avoiding the typical clichés of national or regional representation. We were also interested in using techniques of display that were inspired by the street, the cheap, the informal, and the popular. The gallery was called 24/7, the idea that whoever passed through the street could have access to art 24 hours 7 days a week.
4. Stefan Brüggemann was visiting London and staying in my house (I also run a motel in my house, but that’s another story). Stefan thinks and works in Mexico City, his text pieces are all written in english. His work, ironic and melancholic questions the legacy of conceptual artists from the 60’s and 70’s while making critical statements about the art world and the contemporary condition. His art is situated within what he calls “twisted conceptual pop”, a movement he created himself. We decided that he would be our first artist.
5. Stefan decided to do a white plastic banner with black vinyl letters that said “Against International Standards”. The banner was hung in the wall and the press release glued to a post box in the street. The Saturday of the opening, the banner had disappeared and the wall was empty. Somebody had stolen it. I found the banner in a trash dump nearby. The banner was hung again at a higher level.
6. For the opening night there was a table outside with chairs and a pink plastic tablecloth. We bought 50 avocados and Enrique helped me do the guacamole. In the garage there was a table and a bucket with Japanese beer. Lili and Richard who also used to work at the Red Lion were in charge of the bar.
7. There was another table with a turntable, speakers, and a microphone. Beatriz changed her name to B-Lo, and was dj-ing during the event. In the best karaoke sytle she also sang songs from Yuri (a Mexican singer from the 80’s who was a Madonna look alike). B-Lo sometimes translated the songs loosely into English, her hit of the night was “Siempre vendran tiempos mejores” (Good times will always come).
8. The street was full of people. We had good fun. We will do it again.
Special thanks to:
Emilia Terragni and Edward Park – house mates
Liliana Sanguino and Richard Battye – beer bar
Enrique Giner – guacamole production
Enrique Giner and Alberto Arango – exhibition installation
Manu Grosso – guacamole table and printer
Cecilia Leon de la Barra – plastic table cloth
Jeronimo Hagerman – plastic salt shakers
Stuart Shave and Modern Art – beer bucket and electrical extension
Wink – computer support
Fernando Arias and Jonathan Collins – ladder and after party
Tom Rowland – drill and electrical extension
Fifi Villareal and Jose Garcia – eflyer
Abra and Willy– music equipment
Pablo León de la Barra
published on Revista Neo2 No.31, October-November 2003. Spain