Galerie 8 is a dynamite new venture on the periphery of the media spotlight Dalston. Having hosted just one show previously, and in fact still under construction (you could easily walk past the builders busily drilling and hammering outside the five storey building on Richmond Road at the end of Martello Street), there are some significant plans in store for this sumptuous space. Founded by a group of ex-Sotheby’s employees, their first official exhibition, Hackney Hoard has pulled in impressive household names as Gavin Turk, and presents them alongside emerging names, such as local favourites Le Gun, and Matthew Killick.
A very neatly constructed show, Hackney Hoard perhaps makes up for its slightly underwhelming presentation with the fascinating stories each work unveils, beginning with the true story of Terence Castle, who unearthed eighty gold coins while digging in a garden in Hackney in 2007. Castle himself appears in a video interview that would not be out of place in a Guy Ritchie film. His story — the booty was later declared to be "Not Treasure" by officials — poses intriguing questions about the true value of objects, and about the narratives that are inspired by them.
This exhibition has a real sense of the zeitgeist following a peppering of cutting-edge galleries that have recently touched upon a similar theme, such as The Agency Gallery’s recent solo show by Norwegian artist Are Blytt, The Abstraction of Barry Lyndon. Le Gun’s semi-fictional character George Melly is the collective’s answer or equivalent to Barry Lyndon. Melly is the owner of the artist collective’s treasured suitcase that was found in the basement of their shop and headquarters, the Unknown Room. Le Gun worked with the contents of this suitcase as the basis for most of the work produced within the Unknown Room and in some respects resulted in the creation of a mysterious alter-ego who takes on an autonomous creative force of his own.
This a beautiful space with big ideas that will no doubt have a major part in shaping the rapidly expanding commercial art scene in the area. It’s an exhibition that whets the appetite for more; in fact, the current gallery space will soon shift into the glorious, soaring atrium, coincidentally making way for a restaurant.
-- Charlotte Jansen
All images courtesy Galerie8
Images: Gavin Turk, Revolting Brick; Installation view, Hackney Hoard, Galerie8.