LONDON.- After two years and a £870,000 renovation project, Dilston Grove, an historic Grade II listed former church in Southwark Park, reopened its doors as a spectacular venue for large-scale presentations of contemporary art. Except for a brief period in the 1970s, when it served as Richard Wentworths studio, Dilston Grove remained empty and derelict until it was rescued by CGP London in 1999. Since then, it has been in continual use as a temporary project space for artists and performers. Previous exhibitions at Dilston Grove include Richard Wilsons "Turbine Hall Swimming Pool", Shona Illingworths "The Watch Man", and Andrew Kottings "In The Wake of Deadad". Dilston Grove has also hosted work from artists such as Ackroyd & Harvey, Michael Cross and Mike Nelson.
Alongside CGP Londons second venue - a purpose built gallery located just a few minutes away in Southwark Park - Dilston Grove functions as a raw space for a planned series of site specific installations. Established by the Bermondsey Artists' Group in 1984, CGP London show a diverse range of emerging and established artists as part of an integrated exhibition, community and learning programme. Originally earmarked for development by Southwark Council, CGP Londons success in retaining Dilston Grove as a permanent public art space consolidates their status as one of Londons premier arts destinations.
Dilston Groves inaugural show, Mémoire by Sammy Baloji, launches a 25 year programme of art exhibitions. The first solo exhibition in the UK of work by the Congolese photographer and filmmaker, Mémoire is produced in partnership with Autograph ABP.
Mémoire addresses colonial violence, shattered dreams of independence and the post-colonial political fallout that exists within the Democratic Republic of Congo. A beautifully crafted abstract video, Mémoire is shot in collaboration with the Congolese performance artist Faustin Linyekula. Also on display is a new body of large-scale photographic work, specifically commissioned by Autograph ABP for the launch of Dilston Grove, which documents the exact site of Patrice Lumumbas assassination in January 1961.
Sammy Baloji shines a powerful spotlight on contemporary Congolese reality, examining the abuse of power and its legacy and revealing the devastating impact that exploitative cultures have on both society and the environment. His video and photographic work calls for greater awareness of the local consequences of development and highlights the rights of local people. Baloji aims to raise social consciousness in the region and beyond, as well as stimulate artistic development in the province of Katanga, long a focus for colonial and postcolonial regimes desperate to exploit the mineral wealth found there.