MuTATE Britain Review

Friday was public opening night for the sickest show in London. MuTATE Britain, the opening show for the new Behind The Shutters gallery, was an idea five weeks ago, and now it’s a four or five story tall hodgepodge of (usually good) art. The list of artists would be too long to list here, but here are a few: Mutoid Waste Company, Part2ism, Pure Evil, Snub23, Dr. D, The Krah, Dotmasters, and many many many more.

I twittered photos and a few comments live from the show for a few hours, but I’m sure I didn’t see half the work. Romanywg actually ran out of space on his memory card.

All photos by WallKandy, who has a great set of images on his flickr.

Entering Cordy House, the first room is full of sculptures that are a mesh between man/animal and machine. Sure, it’s been done before, but that doesn’t mean these aren’t still sick. The walls of this room are covered in work by some of the most talented artists that I can’t name, plus some amazing stuff by the Best Ever crew, who also did this piece on Leake Street. Watch your head in this room. There’s literally an anvil hanging from the ceiling.

The next room has work from a large variety of artists. Artists like Pure Evil and Inkie have decorated sections of steel (old bits of airplanes I believe) and Joe Rush has made some really cool sculptures (like the bust of a cyborg woman pictured below). It isn’t as jarring as the first room, but it has some good work. Not all the steel panels are great, but they are nice on the whole. Of course, this room also holds Mutoid Waste Company’s giant truck. This thing is HUGE! If you have time, also be sure to check out the documentary playing about the Mutoid Waste Company. The other giant piece of work in this room is Part2ism’s airplane wing that hangs down from the floor above. Hats off the Part2ism, this piece is fantastic. I just hope there’s somebody with a giant stairwell or something to put it in so that it doesn’t end up in storage.

Stairs leading up to all the other floors are full of work from artists like Bortusk Leer, Snub, Shepard Fairey, and The Krah. The first floor is the only one that feels at all like a tradition gallery. Here, the art is clearly numbered labeled with titles and whatnot. The range of artists is fantastic. Old favorites like Pure Evil and here, but so are lesser knowns like Snub. There’s a mix of street art and just generally cool work. There’s going to be something for everybody. Unfortunately, one blatant Faile “homage” made its way into the show (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it), but the rest of the work is fine. It’s great to see the variety of artists that they’ve brought in, including some more that I’d never heard of before.

The other half of the first floor is more of a lounge area with a couch and a stand to buy coffee. It’s also where the live screenprinting takes place. Would be a cool place to chill on a Saturday. Watch some screenprinting, see friends, have a coffee… Sounds good to me.

The second floor is where things get techie. There are some nice Dotmasters pieces on the walls, but they are overshadowed by all the gadgets in the room. First, there’s Giles Walker’s robotic dj and dancers. The show is worth visiting for these crazy pieces alone. Check out the photos below. Then there’s a giant electronic screen where visitors can use fake spray cans to “paint” on the screen. Very GRL. Perhaps craziest though is The Face. Just watch the video below. I love it.

The top floor was very different. The room is much smaller, and it has photography. It’s not bad work, but it isn’t my sort of thing. Apparently, this floor, even as the exhibit rotates (which it will do constantly), will stay mostly devoted to photography. I think that’s a great idea, because it will expose people to some new work that they wouldn’t otherwise see.

I’m not going to say MuTATE Britain is the best show I’ve been to, because it isn’t showing “top-tier” sort of work, but it’s one of the biggest and also one of the coolest. Some of the work is a bit weird, but that’s the point of going. You’re sure to be exposed to something completely new. The work is going to be changing around every week for the next month, and I plan on coming back most of those weeks to see what’s new on the walls. I’d encourage everybody else who can to do the same.