It’s disco time – the colourful, vibrant, electric London reggae and club scene of the 1980′s has come to Mayfair. It’s good to see at least one of the empty spaces at the new 22-24 Cork Street development used, in addition to Stephen Friedman’s other two adjacent galleries. The entire space was used during Condo 2019 but still seems to lack tenants, having been planned and initiated at times of happier economic circumstances before Brexit uncertainty, increasing rents and excessive business rates came along.
The space at 22-24 Cork Street has one work, ‘Wolf Singer’ which forms the introduction to the exhibition of the large paintings of Granada-born British artist Denzil Forrester. These are astonishingly vibrant paintings, and probably could only have been created by someone who had a natural affinity with the music and dance of that culture. He was a student in London in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s and took his sketchbook with him when he went to the night clubs, each drawing being carried out in time to the records being played. Can you imagine someone safely doing that today? The energy and the beat of the music and the dancers leap off the paintings and contrasts with calmer works such as ‘Reading with Ma Pets’.
All is, however, not well. These were difficult times and there are subtle links to the racial and social injustices of the time, in particular in his recent work ‘Night Shift’ with the 2 policemen on stage standing in front of the speakers. His work thus speaks to us of the injustices of all types which continue today while the world gets on and dances.