‘Till sunrise

An art all-nighter is taking over secret venues across East London
By Stefania Deiana | Art | 30 March 2017

Benedict Drew ‘Kaput’ (Installation View), (2015) Photo by Charlotte Jopling. Courtesy of the Artist and Matt’s Gallery

After the success achieved with its first edition in 2016, London’s Night Art returns this summer with a bumper line-up of acclaimed artists presenting in unusual venues.

Presented in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery and curated by curator and writer Fatos Ustek, the annual contemporary art festival will take place across a host of secret East London locations; each corresponding with the artist’s installations, which have been created in order to celebrate the historic and creative environment of the neighbourhood. Heritage houses, squares, buildings, night clubs and galleries will all open their doors for the public in the name of art.


Inspired by Paris’ ‘Nuit Blanche’ annual all-night festival – first introduced in 2002 – this summer Art Night will host an impressive range of international artists, such as Charles Avery, the Chapman brothers, Carsten Nicolai, Anne Hardy and Benedict Drew. All from different artistic and cultural backgrounds, these artists will showcase innovation and diversity explored by their video installations, music performances and sculptures and paintings.

Here, we’ve plucked out a few of the gems from this year’s bill.

Benedict Drew

Australian artist Benedict Drew is known for his use of mixing videos, audios and sculptural components in his installations. His work, Kaput, combines all of these elements to explore human behaviour and the relationship between contemporary society and technology.

Taking place at the Whitechapel Gallery, Drew’s installation sees wild kaleidoscopic shades and music blend to realise the artist’s response to the modern world. Centre stage stands a large fluorescent portrait of Richard Branson, with cables protruding from his eyes alongside two screens showing the entrepreneur’s Virgin Galactic spacecrafts in flight.  

Showing what Drew describes as ‘the horrors of the modern world’, the dark and dystopic location is a sensory exploration of strange creations and unnerving sounds via a big band live performance that’ll raise each and every hair on your body.

Benedict Drew ‘Kaput’ (Installation View), (2015) Photo by Charlotte Jopling. Courtesy of the Artist and Matt’s Gallery

Jake and Dinos Chapman

The Chapman Brothers‘ name comes with a certain expectation, namely: shock value. Known for their irreverent sculptures, installations and prints that criticise modern politics, religion and ethic with scandalous wit, the YBA duo explore different themes of human emotions, from beauty to pain, humour and disgust, perversion and childhood. All qualities that’ve seen them nominated for a Turner Prize in 2003 and collaborate with Kim Jones on his Louis Vuitton SS17 collection.

Here, the brothers invite you to a listed warehouse at London Dock for their new video installation, The Misshapeness of thing to Come. Here, a selection of the Chapmans’ defaced prints will be shown amongst the furnishings of Dennis Severs’ House – a recreation of what life would have been like for a family of 18th century Huguenot silk weavers. Accompanied by a live performance by Chapman’s band, this promises to be an interesting experience. 

Jake and Dinos Chapman
‘The New Arrival’ (2014-16)
Courtesy of the artists and White Cube

Charles Avery

Scottish artist Charles Avery, will be displaying new prints focused on objects and elements from his imaginary island of Onomatopoeia.

Since 2005, Avery has dedicated himself to the development of his fictional island, constantly adding features and details into this fictional universe. From the port to the town, Avery has previously populated his work with lanky youths; men catching eels (an island staple); immigrant workers waiting for jobs; and tourists taking in the sights.

For this special occasion, Art Night will transform the White Mulberries Cafe in St Katharine Docks into one of the pubs of this imaginary island, ’The Egg Eating Egret’ will be brought to life for one night only.

“The Island is located in the middle of an archipelago of innumerable constituents, and its heart is the port of Onomatopoeia,” said Avery of his fictitious location. “This town was once a stepping off point for pioneers and travellers, then a bustling boomtown, then a slum in a state of extended decline, and now in the fictional present, it is reborn as a regenerated city of culture and a tourist destination.”

Charles Avery ‘Untitled (Inner Circle, Onomatopoeia Zoo)’ (2017) Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London © Damian Griffiths

Anne Hardy

Anne Hardy’s art mixes of installations, music, theatre, photography and paintings, the combination of these elements creates a parallel world where viewers can fully immerse themselves. For this year’s Art Night, Hardy has taken inspiration from the location in which her installation will be held, the former headquarters of manufacturers Nicholls & Clarke. Expect an intense explosion of colours, sounds, sculptures and lights able to both disorient and attract the viewer.

Anne Hardy
‘An Abandonment was accountable for the
Accumulation of Acid After Dark %2F
Punctuated Remains’ (detail), 2015,
sculptural installation with audio.
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London
©Anne Hardy

Carsten Nicolai AKA. Alva Noto

Music and night clubs addicts, Art Night has you covered. Collaborating with German artist and musician Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto for trip to 4/4 utopia.

Experimenting with the separation of sensory perceptions via music, light frequencies and mathematics codes, his installations and performances embrace a minimalistic aesthetic, conceptual and stunning. Head down to Shoreditch’s The Village Underground for a special performance in collaboration with Boiler Room.

Lindsay Seers

Constructing wild narratives that blend fiction with autobiographical roots, Lindsay Seers’ video installation Nowhere Less Now traces the story of her great great uncle, George Edwards, a sea cadet who joined the merchant navy and sailed to Zanzibar, where he was involved in British efforts to dismantle the local slave trade.

Inside the ceremonial setting of the Grade-II listed Masonic Temple at Andaz London, Seers’ work comes to life across two screens, one flat, the other spherical. Poignant and compelling, it’ll leave you puzzled but in a good way, like that feeling after watching a David Lynch film.

Lindsay Seers ‘Nowhere Less Now’, 2012. Exhibition view, Artangel commission, Tin Tabernacle, Kilburn, London. Courtesy the artist

Art Night 2017 takes place on 1st July. For more information, click here.


Read Next