When: 20th January – 18th February 2017
Where: Lawrence Alkin Gallery, 42 New Compton Street London WC2H 8DA
£: Free admission
What is it?
This Is The Spot! is the debut solo show by female UK street artist, Shuby, at London’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery.
Inspired by movie posters, small ads and tart cards, This Is the Spot! explores the beginnings of the UK porn industry. Drawing on early 1960s nudist films such as Take Your Clothes Off And Live! and sex comedies like Can You Keep It Up For A Week?, the show focuses on a unique era in UK cinema.
Over the past decade, worldwide film memorabilia has featured widely throughout Shuby’s collages and street art. The artist felt it a natural step to turn her attention to Soho cinema clubs and the films they showed, in an all-new body of work.
The show features 18 large silkscreen one-off canvases in traditional pop art style. The artist has taken newspaper small ads and blown them up to over a metre wide, enjoying the simple graphics and rough nature of the printed matter. Incorporating motifs, such as her signature-masked bunny, bananas, and googly-eyed bowler hats, Shuby has added her own twist to the imagery.
The Soho area has been at the heart of London’s sex industry for over 200 years. Before the introduction of the Street Offences Act in 1959, prostitutes packed the streets and alleys of Soho and by the early sixties the area was home to nearly a hundred strip clubs. Almost every doorway in Soho was adorned with calling cards and neon signage, which made the area distinctive.
In this new body of work, Shuby has recreated a calling card she remembers taking from a phone box in the 80s, that was full of the small, brightly coloured ads. The card advertised ‘The Best Nipples In London’ and has been reimagined on a much larger scale. The artist also honours the less-documented male calling card with ‘Fit Fast and Fun’, a colourful silkscreen canvas featuring a strapping young man in three unique colours.
Shuby commented: “I’m not attempting to enter into the politics of the sex industry and the people who work in it. The show is more an appreciation of the history and humorous graphics that have sold us the promise of sex from a bygone era.”
In addition to the works on canvas, Shuby has created two editions of five large wall mirrors featuring silkscreen images. One set resembles comical X-Ray Spex, the other are the iconic frames of the inimitable anti porn campaigner Mary Whitehouse, disapprovingly framing scantily dressed ladies.
Today Soho continues to feature numerous licensed sex shops, however the area is undergoing considerable redevelopment and many establishments are now being converted into residential apartments, restaurants and coffee shops.
The Lawrence Alkin Gallery is situated in the heart of ever-changing Soho, and welcomed the opportunity to celebrate the area and its diverse history.
Shuby’s street art began in 2006 with work inspired by the singer and dancer Josephine Baker, illustrator Martin Sharp, and film maker Busby Berkeley’s, Lady In The Tutti Frutti Hat. The common motif of the three being the banana. Shuby has pasted her posters in many destinations around the world from busy cities like New York, London, Paris and Sydney, to abandoned worlds of Doel, Belgium and Teufelsberg spy station, Berlin.
More info: www.lawrencealkingallery.com