China Power Station | The Old World Is Gone



Organised by the Serpentine Gallery, a group of video artists from China have been given space in and around Battersea Power Station to show their work. It’s one of the best shows I’ve been too for a long time, for a number of reasons.

Primarily, the location is iconic. The power station at Battersea stands overlooking the Thames, the vast wasteland around it criss-crossed by railways. One of those buildings that is so large it is difficult to get perspective on it. The chimneys stand higher than the Statue of Liberty. The turbine halls dwarfing those at London’s other converted power station, Tate Modern.

Also, it was just before we started Vaux that the four of us who were about to kick it off stumbled on an ‘open day’ at there about 8 years ago. No one seemed to know about it, so we were given a guided tour of the wrecked site. It is beautiful in its woundedness. The old world has gone: coal, smoke and ash and brick. Industrial massiveness. It lies abandoned, permanently hung with brick-tint melancholy.

This makes it the perfect place for the work on display. China, the raging economy building coal-fired power stations bigger than this every week… It’s artists already critiquing the utopia their leaders think they are building, their visions projected among our industrial wreckage.

The exhibition is only on until 5th November, and tickets are limited, so pre-booking is essential. It’s really not to be missed – this is the last time the public will be allowed onto the site before contractors move in and turn the whole place into an arts/commercial complex. There’s something about that that makes me sad. Which is why I had to go and take some photos. Thankfully there is a beautiful tea-house that’s been constructed (see pictures), serving wonderful tea and Chinese treats.

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4 responses to “China Power Station | The Old World Is Gone”

  1. looks great kester – I can see a little work outing in the next week or two ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. thanks for the tip off – looks great. some nice pics by the way. wasn’t sure the chocolate pudding quite works with the rest of the set!? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Go see. You’ll see how the choc pudding fits!