In the last decades of the 1890′s, Shoreditch, as now, was an area of change. The railways brought new connections and new opportunities for warehouses, which together displaced great swathes of housing in the area. In 1890, the Lipton family built a storage warehouse and distribution centre adjacent to Shoreditch Station, then part of the English Counties Railway, now Shoreditch High Street Station on the TfL Overground.
The flexibility of the original building design proved itself over the decades as the building was extended and changed uses, including at one time being a bacon-smoking factory and then a storage facility for Hays. Today, owned by Derwent, it is an ‘ideas factory’, a flexible environment for design and creative companies, following a ‘light touch’ refurbishment which kept the robust industrial character of the building by AHMM from 2001 and has seen subsequent alterations, the latest the creation of an internal street with windows and new entrances into spaces such as Hales Gallery, which before these changes was one of those hidden secrets, behind a closed door and down a long corridor into the gallery space which, prior to its temporary closure was showing bold colourful abstract work from the early 1980′s of British artist Basil Beattie in ‘Cause & Effect’, a subject which could many artists may well adapt when we come out of the current situation.
Beattie (born in West Hartlepool in 1935) was highly influenced by a trip he made to New York in 1979 where he was inspired by the ambition and creativity of the city and its artists to be more experimental and creative in exploring his ideas, not least about the process of painting. There is a coincidental symmetry in this linkage, in that the Hales Gallery has spaces both in London and in New York in the warehouse district of Chelsea.
Both galleries, as is now the norm, are temporarily closed but their exhibition in London on Basil Beattie in ‘Cause & Effect’ and the current group exhibition in New York, ‘The Moon Seemed Lost‘, which perhaps is an exhibition for the current situation, linking as it does to magic realism, human nature, different realities and innermost worlds, are available online so you can see them digitally.