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16 Jan 2009

Godfried Donkor at SPACE

Godfried Donkor 'Financial Times Mud Hut' (2007) at the Big Chill Festival

Story of a London Township


17 January - 14 March 2009
Private view Friday 16th January 7 - 9pm

0044208 525 4346

129 - 131 Mare Street
E8 3RH

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SPACE is pleased to present a major new commission by Godfried Donkor. In 'Story of a London Township', three hand built shelters in contrasting materials address our relationship with these rudimentary architectural forms in relation to the gallery context.

SPACE's courtyard was formerly used by Hackney Technology College to practice building techniques. It seems apt that this area is now home to 'Mud Hut', an icon of architecture yet striking in its sculptural simplicity. A cylindrical living space topped with a cone shaped grass roof addresses the social aspects of living without private rooms and secure doors. Against the concrete and brick of modern forms of housing, 'Mud Hut' is both symbolic of community and an integrated approach to the process of building with both natural and recycled materials.

Further differences and contrasts are highlighted in Donkor's 'Corrugated Steel Hut', whose stern structure fills the central gallery space. Unlike 'Mud Hut', it stands indoors, transformed by context into an exhibit as opposed to shelter. The apparent security of its rusty metal is more intentional and permanent than that of 'Corrugated Cardboard Hut', whose material is akin to a language of improvisational building. Cardboard has an association with instant and provisional application due to its mass availability; it is used as shelter for many of London's homeless people.

Wall paintings indoors combine symbols from Ghanaian culture with imagery derived from London's tourist postcards. As echoed in the exhibition's title, Donkor's work reflects London's range of cultures and clash of architecture. In examining these architectural spaces formally our social interactions are laid bare. When viewed within an exhibition context the materials and forms become ever more potent and worthy of our attention.

'Story of a London Township' will be accompanied by a series of events including discussions, dining, and building workshops for children and young adults.

Godfried Donkor's work has been exhibited internationally. Selected group exhibitions include 'Around the World in 80 Days' at the ICA, London (2006), 'Pin Up' at the Tate Modern, London (2004) and 'Authentic/Excentric' at the Venice Biennale, Italy (2001). His recent exhibition 'Once Upon a Time in the West There Was Lace' at Nottingham's New Art Exchange continued his examination of the histories of African and Imperial conflict and transformation.

Godfried Donkor is based in London.