Paint the Queen: Dance to the Beat
The vibe at the Queen of Hoxton is very chilled and effortless, but retains its trendiness. The rooftop terrace complete with tent covering and fairy lights makes for the perfect venue for after work drinks, or for a casual pre-party night beverage. This October has seen a group of ten artists hand-picked by curator Liat Chen to cover the walls of the Queen of Hoxton with original illustrations responding to the brief Dance to the Beat. It is easy to see why the artists were chosen as their work is exceptional, however, as always location is key and with only a few pieces being truly integrated into the surroundings, many lose their charm and presence in the unusual showcase. The Queen of Hoxton is comprised of three main areas: a main bar area, gig venue/ basement area and an intimate and relaxed rooftop terrace. The areas were immersed by art from ten artists, including live pieces being created by KOOS Kollective. The works really shone and captured the playful and interesting vibes of the venue, however, many of them seemed very removed from any sort of response to the brief.
One of our favourites was by Gary David Roberts. His works took over the majority of the visual of the main bar back wall, and provides a perfect backdrop in the trendy environment. Using loose yet bold lines, the work was interesting and had a good sense of humour. Monochromatic, the work really stood out with thick white lines providing the illustration on the black wall backdrop, a perfect and fitting piece of installation enhanced further by the juxtaposition of a vivid film merged within.
Another favourite was that of artist Franck Trebillac whose avant-garde music video was on the bottom floor. It may have been made spectacular only by the adjacent gig and videos seemingly unplanned synchronicity, but on closer inspection it was apparent this was not the case. Shocking, thrilling, exciting and aesthetically brilliant, the video is a phenomenal piece and one that possibly should not have been hidden downstairs, however, once found it was superb.
Although hidden, the work of Trebillac still fits the surroundings. The same cannot be said for the works of Beugism and Peter Donaldson whose works were relegated to the stairwell which connects the main bar and rooftop terrace. Unfitting with the rest of the venue, these works were on bright white and appeared very “slapped on” in the curatorial approach. They did not fit with the venue or seem part of it, probably because the stairwell is seen as an unfortunate necessity and therefore the works also encompassed this.
Unfortunate, as the artists whose work showed on them was actually rather impressive and was only let down by the framing and curation. One stairwell artist that managed to overcome this problem was Joseph Vass who understood the inappropriate placement of illustration on white wall in the setting. Instead, Vass filled the entirety of the wall space he was allocated to produce his work; this made you able to accept it and immerse yourself within something important, in such an unusual way of showing art.
Overall, the Queen of Hoxton is a fantastic venue made only more spectacular by the artist collaborations; it is a shame that it was let down by not fully committing to being an immersive and experiential venue for the show. With so much going for the venue including great food, a winter wigwam on the roof complete with cosy hot rum drinks, atmosphere and décor, it is definitely worth a visit whether you care for the art or just want a nice place to have a drink after work.
Photo: Queen of Hoxton