The Department of Repair at Camberwell SpaceCultureArt
For the last few weeks Camberwell Space, at Camberwell Art College, has been home to a small exhibit: The Department of Repair. This exhibition aims to look at the many different ways of remaking, exploring what it means to repair, and its potential and growing importance in a world of ever-dwindling resources.
The first three weeks of the exhibition were centred around workshops, where professionals introduced various techniques to budding artists and curious members of the public. Some of the products of these workshops, which ranged from reupholstering and leather work to electronics and bicycle repair, are displayed as part of the final exhibition.
On paper, the exhibition sounds far more interesting than it really is. The curators and artists aimed to create an exhibition made up solely of reclaimed materials that would produce no waste (all materials used in the exhibit will be redistributed when no longer on display). Even the publication material is waste free: the signage is hand-painted and all display furniture was constructed from reclaimed wood. As well meaning as all this is, the final exhibition is still rather dull.
It’s made up mostly of the workshop products: the Hendzel and Hunt Gowlett Stool prototypes, two repaired bicycle wheels, and a few smaller pieces displayed on wooden pallets. Some have interesting stories, others not so much. Further pieces are Hans Stofer’s Mike2Can, a cracked mug that has been given new life (the most interesting of the sculptures); a ratty, moth-eaten sweatshirt being slowly repaired; and a series of plates by Bridget Harvey, repaired using various mediums.
Tool Wall, a collection of objects used for repair throughout the ages, and the collection of “stories of repair”, are perhaps the most insightful pieces. The two videos, Tim Mitchell’s A Fish Out of Water, chronicling the destruction of a ship, and Fixpert’s Fixfilms, which focuses on fixing items for someone else, are also worth a watch.
But then perhaps the final products aren’t what matters in this exhibition. What matters is the repairing, the reusing – and in that the exhibition has succeeded.
Photos: Eddie-Lee Lawrence
The Department of Repair is at Camberwell Space until 20th February 2015, for further information visit here.