Go See A Whale In A Gallery In London
I put together a blog about this new gallery running in Whitechapel this summer but, because one of the pieces is meant to house a whale skeleton, I got a bit too excited and kept going on about whales and their relationship to the Queen. Did you know that if you find a breached whale that’s over 45 feet it automatically becomes her Majesty’s property, but if it's less than that you’re kind of morally obliged to deal with it? Anyway, I caught up with the curator Dan Biddulph so he could set me straight on a few things.
Vice: So, Dan, what can you tell us about this space? It used to be the Dicksmith gallery right?
Dan Biddulph: Yeah, Dicksmith were a great gallery whose time came to an end. I had met an artist, Lauren Godfrey, who had built an amazing structure made from reclaimed wood out of a warehouse building in Southwold, Suffolk. I’d only seen the pictures of the piece as it went up and down in less than a week. My immediate reaction was to find a space to put the piece on for a longer period of time to allow more people to see it. Then I found out that the Dicksmith space would be available for the summer. And at first I thought great, here is an opportunity. Swiftly followed by “Fuck! The bloody piece isn't going to fit”.
This is the stand for the 43-foot whale right?
Great, so who else is going to be exhibiting?
Two other artists: Kat Whittal Williams, who studied drawing at Camberwell. I saw something she did which was so discreet you could easily miss it tucked away in a dark corner of a massive space in Peckham. And then I caught up with a piece she had made called 'Flocks' that went in a show at the Trafalgar hotel. Again my first reaction was that this was a great piece and needed a better space to be shown. So that’s artist number two.
Artist number three?
Alex de Rivaz. Alex spends a lot of his time with plants and in gardens, he likes to make railway bridges and goat towers. Alex's show is definitely going to be the most challenging to put together
Well, when he’s not in a garden he’s painting. Landscapes mostly, which I thought had a place in a contemporary art gallery. The problem is that he sort of comes with this artistic debris. He claims he is far happier in the workshop musing on unfinished bits of cast soil and Victorian chimney pipes. I haven't even gotten on to the ovens yet.
Ovens? So he's a baker as well as a gardener?
As a more practical side to his debris, Alex started making versions of tandoor ovens. So yeah he makes ovens, and I think instead of doing a talk or something he wants to do a bread-making workshop with his massive oven in the car park of the gallery. Not sure what the groundskeeper Barry will think of this, especially since Alex kept calling him Terry.
Smooth operator. So, you've got this huge oven and I heard you used to be a chef, will you be cooking up some high-end delicacies in the tandoor?
Well I am making lunch at the gallery today, but quite basic.
Quail's eggs, caviar, rhino intestines?
All of that. It's a bit of a shock coming back from Montpellier where you can buy local tomatoes for €1/K which are probably the best you will ever get, and then picking up some veg from Borough market and it costs £6 for three tomatoes, one fennel and some peas. You sort of want to throw up. In the summer you don't need much more than some nice buffala, good oil, salt, some bread maybe and optional fennel and pea salad if you want to start wankering it up a bit. Actually, that reminds me, I need to put a bottle in the fridge.
I think you sounded cooler before we got onto food.
Dan Biddulph Presents
Unit 27B, 1-13 Adler St, E1 1EG