Louise Ashcroft: I'd Rather be Shopping
Arebyte, main gallery, 49 White Post Lane, London, E9 5EN. Exhibition 18 August – 20 September 2017. Open Thursday to Saturday 12.00 - 6.00pm
Opening Event Friday 25th August 6.30 - 9.00pm
Residency: January – August 2017
Performance tour of Stratford City, Tuesday 19 September 7.00pm – RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
arebyte is excited to announce artist Louise Ashcroft's residency and exhibition I'd Rather Be Shopping.
Since January 2017, artist Louise Ashcroft has been in residence off-site at Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, East London, as part of arebyte’s 2017 programme, Control.
Louise’s research trips to Westfield have revolved around the marketing strategies used in fashion, retail and shopping culture in general, from the language used for branding and advertisements, to the architecture of shopping environment and the emotional impact of the shoppers and visitors. Click here to watch Louise’s video trailer.
At the culmination of her research in August, Louise will present a series of artworks at arebyte in Hackney Wick, a five-minute walk from Westfield.
#SIGNS: In April Louise worked with specialist sign painter Hannah Matthews to lead a workshop in which participants painted traditional narrow boat signs using words and phrases from fashionable slogan T-shirts found in Westfield, such as 'Sorry not sorry', 'I won't answer your texts' or 'Like is the new love', in lieu of boat names. Mass-produced languages of fast fashion were slowed down through this handmade process, which is traditionally used to christen boats Destiny, Dawdler or Narrow Escape (these are a few that frequent the river at Hackney Wick). Louise is making dozens of these boat signs, which will be displayed in the exhibition and then gifted to boats along the Stratford waterways after the show.
Mallopoly: A bookable alternative shopping service and performance tour of Westfield based around a subversive version of the Monopoly board game. Individually or in small groups, members of the public will visit the Shopping Centre, where they are guided through a selection of playful (pseudo)psychoanalytical activities. To book a session during the show email email@example.com. Mallopoly will also be available as a lendable physical and digital game during and after the exhibition.
Grimy Goods: Louise has compiled words from the shopping catalogues in Westfield to create a cut-up text, which has been recorded as a track by the acclaimed grime artist Maxsta, who grew up in Newham. Westfield was built on top of an important grime venue and the area of E3 is the home of this influential music genre.
Artist Happy Meals: Louise Ashcroft is redesigning the ‘happy’ toys given away with fast food in the shopping centre. Visitors to the Food Hall at Westfield can email firstname.lastname@example.org with a photograph of their fast food toy and their address and they’ll be sent an artist-designed toy instead, demonstrating a more complex range of emotions. Designs and prototypes will be displayed as part of the exhibition.
I'd Rather Be Shopping is Louise Ashcroft's second project with arebyte this year. Her show All My Lives is at arebyteLASER in Clerkenwell from 17th July until 2nd August as part of Hotel Generation, a series of solo exhibitions curated by Rebecca Edwards.
About Louise Ashcroft
Louise Ashcroft's practice is generated from actions and observations made in ordinary places like the supermarket, a stranger's house, a LinkedIn profile, or the street. These contexts are used as material for social collages and subversions which reprogramme prevailing cultural logic and suggest alternatives. For example, planning a life together with strangers while helping them with their housework (Why Don't We Live Together?, 2016-17); repeatedly smuggling unfamiliar-looking African vegetables into supermarkets and trying to buy them (Vegetable, 2003-17); or working with communities in Exeter to redesign the entire Internet from scratch using whatever materials were to hand (Remaking the Internet, 2016).
Louise studied at The Royal College of Art and The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford. She is co-founder of the free art school AltMFA. She has exhibited widely including at Westminster Waste, The Koppel Project, The Government Art Collection, Exeter Phoenix, AVU Prague, Latitude Festival, Guest Projects, Turner Contemporary (Margate), ArtLicks Weekend, The Boring Conference and The Function Room. Louise was recently Family Artist in Residence at Camden Arts Centre and Tate Schools Artist in Residence. She is also a visiting lecturer at various universities including UCA Farnham and Goldsmiths.