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On July 19th 2014, be at the crossroads of Charlotte Road and Rivington Street, EC2 to face 'A Fete Worse Than Death'. For one day only to mark the 20th Anniversary of a landmark event, kick-starting an exhibition hosted by Red Gallery, Rivington Street, London EC2.
Before the hipsters, before the boutiques, before the bars, in a then derelict part of the East End, Joshua Compston's decision to open an art gallery on Charlotte Street and stage collaborative street events re-drew the artistic and cultural map of London and the contemporary art scene. For Joshua Compston (1970 – 1996), life was a special kind of nonsense; Factual Nonsense. Seen by some as the romantic martyr of his generation and by others, as a prankster, sending up the art establishment, Compston's gallery 'Factual Nonsense' (FN) was quite unlike any other.
'HYBRID "POP CULTURE" EXTRAVAGANZA'
Compston's 'A Fete Worse than Death', was an anarchic swipe at the notion of a traditional village fête staged in Hoxton in the summer of 1993 which brought 4000 visitors to an area most people never knew existed. Several artists, including Gavin Turk, Gillian Wearing, Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume manned stalls selling art and provided entertainment, Damien Hirst and Angus Fairhurst dressed as clowns and produced the first spin paintings at the fete (on sale for £1). In 1994, at his second 'A Fete Worse Than Death', Compston encouraged 'organised starry-eyed liberation' of the artworld ranks whilst allowing anyone the opportunity to experience 'art of all denominations without the annoying handle of art around it'. The event featured performances by Gavin Turk's 'Killers and Cannibals', Cerith Wyn Evans' 'People should beg God to stop' and Leigh Bowery's neo-punk band Minty.
NOW YOU HAVE BEEN REMINDED OF HOW IT WAS
The 20th anniversary exhibition of 'A Fete Worse Than Death' hosted by Red Gallery, will allow artists the chance to reclaim the area for a day whilst giving the public a rare opportunity to see and buy early artworks made by the YBA's before they were famous. There will be a painting by Gary Hume painted on a local warehouse wall for Joshua in 1994 as well as original memorabilia from the Fete & Factual Nonsense gallery – sold in aid of the Joshua Compston memorial fund and assisting in raising money for a memorial to be erected in Hoxton Square.
The Fete will run from 12 noon until Midnight at Red Gallery and Rivington Street on 19 July 2014 with 12 hours of live performances at both the street Fete and the gallery venue. The exhibition will continue at the gallery until 31 July 2014. There will be a special evening reception with guest speakers at the Red Gallery on 30 July to mark the actual day of the 20th anniversary of the Fete.
Both the Fete and the gallery will feature works by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhirst, Gary Hume, David Taborn, Sam Crabtree, Darren Coffield, Gilian Wearing, Georgie Hopton, Jessica Voorsanger, Bob and Roberta Smith, Brendan Quick, Paul Sakoilsky, Mat Collishaw, Sarah Staton, Simon Bill, Gavin Turk, Sir Peter Blake, Gordon Faulds, Sam Taylor-Wood, Max Wigram, Andrew Herman, Mick Kerr, Cedric Christie, Zebedee Helm and many many more.
The exhibition will be curated by Darren Coffield (artist), Alice Herrick (artist and director of Herrick Gallery) and Sam Walker (artist and co-director at CHART gallery).
Coffield spent four years compiling a biography 'Factual Nonsense, The Art And Death Of Joshua Compston' on his art school friend. As Coffield explains:
The book & exhibition came about because it seemed incredulous that this unique and brilliant individual who was one of the main driving forces in the regeneration of Hoxton and Shoreditch should be totally forgotten whilst others claim credit for his ideas.
Uliana Apatina • Florence Boyd • Lorenzo Belenguer • Matthew Bennington • Simon Bill • Sir Peter Blake • Cedric Christie • Darren Coffield • Michal Cole • Mat Collishaw • Sam Crabtree • Richard Dyer • Tracey Emin • Angus Fairhurst • Gordon Faulds • Maria Teresa Gavazzi • Jenny Gordon • Hanz Hancock • Paul Hazelton • Zebedee Helm • Alice Herrick • Andrew Herman • Taisha Hirokawa • Damien Hirst • Dannielle Hodson • Georgie Hopton • Gary Hume • Marie-Louise Jones • Ricca Kawai Kalderon • Mick Kerr • Ida Ivanka Kubler • Christina Mitrense • Alexis Milne • Jessica Morris • Patrick Morrissey • Ben Oakley • Danny Pockets • Brendan Quick • Steven Quinn • Hedley Roberts • David Robinson • Paul Sakoilsky • Martin Sexton • Hidekazu Sogabe • Bob and Roberta Smith • Sarah Staton • David Taborn • Sam Taylor-Wood • Gavin Turk • Jessica Voorsanger • Sam Walker • Gillian Wearing • Max Wigram • Julia Warr • Tom Wilmott • Silvia Ziranek
For further information and images contact Sam Walker: firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 (0) 797 710 1260
20 years ago Damien Hirst and Angus Fairhurst dressed as clowns and produced the first spin paintings at the fete for £1!.
Photo: © Guy Moberley