BSMT Space: an art gallery in Dalston, N16
In the Autumn of 2015, I went to visit a new gallery in a basement on Stoke Newington Road which is actually in Dalston. That afternoon, I met one of the two founders and curators of the gallery, Greg Key and we chatted about our love of street art for about an hour. Since then I’ve been a regular visitor because they’ve had some of the best shows of work about street art and graffiti in London this year.
BSMT Space: giving us street art inside and out.
I fell in love with street art because I saw it on the streets around me. These images are as powerful as advertising but there is no corporate uniformity in them. Each one, hand-made, is unique, provocative and beautiful. They give off an energy that is unfettered by a room or a frame. So one of the problems for gallerists who promote street art is how to keep that vibe when exhibiting the artists’ work inside and often within a frame.
Grey and Lara Fiorentino, his partner, must have realised this because for the majority of their shows there has been some new art on the street to check out also. One wall they curate is opposite the gallery. This was Fanakapan’s outdoor piece which he put up as his solo show Inflation came to an end.
This post is to celebrate the awesome work that Greg and Lara have achieved this year with a glimpse of 8 of the 12 shows they’ve put on in 2016.
Inflation, solo show by Fanakapan (April 2016)
Through out the dark, winter months from January onwards, the word on the street was that Fanakapan’s first solo show was the one to watch. The timing of this show in this artist’s rise in growing talent and popularity was perfect. We could all enjoy this new direction and confidence in Fanakapan’s work. And he continues to be an artist in demand on the international scene.
I blogged about this show in detail which you can read about in Fanakapan: the path to his first solo show Inflation at BSMT Space.
In the Raw by The Clandestinos (May 2016)
BSMT Space also bring us names and voices unknown to London through their contacts and knowledge. Their next show was colourful and full of passion. The Clandestinos, from South America, are Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky.
They flew to London and stayed long enough to leave us with some new street art nearby, on the Haggerston Riviera by the Regents’ Canal.
Doom by Nick Flatt and Punk One (June 2016)
This was a show I’d been looking forward to, having seen Nick at work last Autumn for the Shoreditch Art Wall competition. He’s a provocative photorealist who collaborates with graffiti writer Punk One on the backgrounds.
This exterior wall was painted ahead of the show opening at BSMT. The work, called New Fascism, is one of the best and most controversial works I’ve seen this year. I was tipped off as soon as it was finished because it wouldn’t be long before it got tagged over. So I went early the next morning to get some shots.
There was a brief lull in shows over the summer during July but the pace picked up from August with what seemed to be a new show on every week. A slight exaggeration but this shows how much energy and creativity Greg and Lara are putting into making this gallery a success.
Oculus by Pyramid Oracle (August 2016)
These two paste-ups were a number of new works which appear around Brick Lane, from Sirus Fountain, a US based artist known on the streets as Pyramid Oracle. They are eerie, unsettling and unusual in a world obsessed with beauty and youth.
The show was a fascinating insight into the thinking behind them based on mysticism and a respect for the unknown and age. Weathered, older faces from so many different races and species gazed back at us in this phenomenally interesting show. Each work had an in depth caption card to go with it.
I had planned a whole blog post about his work but I never found the time to do it justice. But I’d like to still do it next year.
Pork Loin Roast, solo show by Sr X (Sept 2016)
Sadly, I missed this show but I did manage to snap the exterior wall painted by Sr.X in Dalston. His work pastiches and satirises poster art from the 1950s to critique 21st Century life.
PDX >LDN Group Show (Sept 2016)
PDX are the airport initials for Portland in Oregon, USA. This group show mixed UK based artists with three visiting artists from Portland, Voxx Romana, RX Skulls and Mad One.
I missed the actual show but the three visitors had plenty of fun covering walls in Camden and Shoreditch with their signature images as stencil, paste-up art and stickers, aka slaps.
This stencil of the warrior woman is my favourite image by Voxx Romana. And I spotted two versions. This first one in in blue is in Camden and a darker one, now gone, was in Shoreditch.
One Year Underground at BSMT Space (Oct 2016)
This was their anniversary group show to celebrate their first year as street art gallerists and curators. London Calling blog covered that show beautifully if you want to know more. The show featured work from artists who have showed at the gallery in the past 12 months. And what a list of names that comprises. Along with work from all artists who had already exhibited this year, there was work from Otto Schade, Himbad, The Krah, Float, Perspicere, D7606, C3, Six1Six, Si Mitchell, SakiandBitches and many more.
Also in October were two other brief pop-up shows. Cultivate Gallery, curated by Sean Worrell and Emma Harvey hired the space for their group show, Debased. And for Halloween, Greg and Lara threw a Burlesque party.
The Right Side of The Tracks, a group show featuring Kao, Marr and Rocco and his brothers (Nov 2016)
This was their first graffiti show featuring work by Kaos and Marr (from Sweden) and Rocco and his brothers from Berlin. These guys paint on trains like the early graffiti writers in the US. The show comprised photographs of their work, plus art works. There was also a fascinating documentary about domestic tableaux which were popping up in Berlin’s subway network. The Guardian wrote a feature: Going Underground: who’s behind Berlin’s secret subway bedrooms? back in March this year.
Gold, festive group end of year show (Dec 2016)
To end the year, here was a clever idea to select works from artists which might also make fabulous Christmas presents. The prices ranged from £26 to a few thousand. So, something for all budgets. It was a lovely way to end the year.
BSMT Space: A space for the street art lover and connoisseur
These wonderful shows are an enormous credit to this creative and talented couple. Each show was imaginatively hung and made great use of their tiny basement space. The range of artists and work demonstrates the depth of their knowledge of the scene. And they give back to the community by encouraging new work out on the streets.
For those of you into collecting art works, BSMT Space is now a place to go to where you can be sure of high quality art work from leading artists on the scene.
I look forward to seeing what 2017 brings us.
BSMT Space is at 5 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8BH. BSMT Space