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South London Gallery

  • Art
  • Camberwell
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
South London Gallery

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Nestled next to Camberwell School of Art and with Goldsmiths to the east, you’d expect the South London Gallery to know its art onions – and you’d be right. With its new fire-station building, and a history of shows by artists including Katharina Grosse and Lawrence Weiner, it’s fast becoming one of the city’s most important art spaces


65 Peckham Rd
Tube: Oval; then 36 bus
Opening hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun 11am-6pm; Wed 11am-9pm. Last Fri of the month 11am-9pm
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What’s on

Simeon Barclay: In The Name of the Father

  • 4 out of 5 stars

A huge rock blocks your way into English artist Simeon Barclay’s exhibition. Rottweilers guard the door, a wall of locked doors splits the room in half. Barclay has created an exhibition that keeps you out, excludes you, makes damn sure you’re aware that you are an outsider. Growing up as a black kid in the north, Barclay knows what it’s like to feel like he doesn’t belong, to have doors that he can't open, clubs he can’t get into, spaces that aren’t for him; this exhibition takes that feeling and makes it physical, concrete, real. The show is full of symbols. There are lost footballs stuck up in the eaves of the gallery, totally out of reach. The locked doors have incomprehensible signs on them, like they’re the offices of faceless government departments. One of the doors is open, you push through and find a huge neon sign for Johnny’s, a nightclub in Huddersfield that was hard to get into. This is direct, physical, imposing art that forces you to feel the alienation and rejection of being an outgroup.  But other works are a little harder to grasp. There’s a puppet of a character from the 1979 movie 'Scum' and another of Barclay himself dressed as Donald Duck, there’s a bathtub with oars hanging from the ceiling, a couple of Joseph Beuys felt suits. By the time you get to the cutout of Darth Vader stuck to an actual Stannah Stairlift, it all starts to feel a little impenetrable. Barclay’s incredibly dense, highly referential visual language feels kind of at odds with the ide

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