Area10 text

Area10 welcomes SCRAP CLUB to Peckham
by Dimitri Launder. December 2007

AREA 10’s last event of 2007, SCRAP CLUB challenged its audience to
question some of the fundamentals of art production – whilst swinging
a sledgehammer.

The process was seductively simple. Household and light industrial
goods were dragged into an arena and the audience’s names called out
of a hard-hat to participate in bouts of intense destructive frenzy.

“Auto-destructive art is primarily a form of public art for industrial
societies.” Gustav Metzger 1959 Auto-Destructive Art.

AREA 10 treads the thin line drawn by artist led initiatives between
emergence and auto-destruction. In 2004 we hosted Gustav Metzger and
the Artivist Conference. We debated the need for artistic intervention
in public space and of the liminal venue’s importance to emergent
practitioners.

Artist led initiatives are inherently Auto Destructive by the nature
of their relationship and dialogue with the mainstream. The
constraints of liability, creative intent, legal and personal
processes force the artist away from their practice into industrial
territories. Most artist led exhibitions-events-projects-spaces are
one-off ‘Pop-Ups’. The continuity of endeavor behind maintaining an
alternative strategy – “brown box rather than the white cube” is
something that evolves over time, mistakes, perseverance and passion.

“Auto-destructive paintings, sculptures and constructions have a life
time varying from a few moments to twenty years. When the
disintegrative process is complete the work is to be removed from the
site and scrapped.” Gustav Metzger 1959 Auto-Destructive Art.

AREA 10 in its inauguration in 2002 had a
manifesto…’Collaborate-Communicate-Create’…All work had to be made
on site using materials from the locale and, post-event/exhibition, to
be deconstructed to their basic materials for use again in the future.

The warehouse’s 100 history of industry became the medium for its
gradually transformation from Whitten Timber Mart to Art. From the
commercial to the cultural – not that these are exclusive, but AREA
10’s unfunded position lent it an efficiency of method borrowed from
that necessity.

“Self-destructive painting, sculpture and construction is a total
unity of idea, site, form, colour, method, and timing of the
disintegrative process.” Gustav Metzger 1959 Auto-Destructive Art.

Returning to SCRAP CLUB – the audience were wrapped in a space
saturated with history, a cathedral sized warehouse maintained by
artists. The reflection of industry and of 5 years of constructive,
reductive and destructive process-led art works made in the space
resonant with its memories.

To illustrate a few of its Destructivist moments – Cyber Wrestling
from Mexico, circus performers with pick axes, curators smashing
computers, dropped toilets, swinging metal filing cabinets like
conkers, wooden towers toppled, and pigeons evicted.

SCRAP CLUB describes its audience as ‘clubbers’ – perhaps a fitting a
description of the tools they chose to participated in the Auto
Destructive acts of work – that may be called Art – if you dare.