Reinventing Beauty at Space 36

Tom Hackett, Grasping Beauty

Tom Hackett, Grasping Beauty - Credit: Archant

Crouch End couple Ahmed Farooqui and Alan Swann open up their home to eight artists exploring ideas around beauty for the Crouch End Festival

The 2019 group of artists on the steps of Space 36 in Crouch End

The 2019 group of artists on the steps of Space 36 in Crouch End - Credit: Archant

For the past four years, Ahmed Farooqui and Alan Swann have thrown open the doors of their Crouch End home to champion work by experimental artists.

The latest exhibition at 'Space36' sees nine artists exploring ideas of beauty as part of the Crouch End Festival. Not only are the rooms and garden of their house in Ashley Road filled with installations, films, photography and performance, but the facade is swathed in a 20 foot painting of a zip with a face peeping through.

Elsewhere, visitors will be encouraged to create giant bubbles, watch images created without a camera, and take part in a dice and card game which challenges ideas of beauty.

Farooqui, who is displaying his own artwork, said the theme was inspired by divisions over Brexit.

"Every year we invite a group of artists to spend a couple of months meeting and developing works in the house in response to a theme. This year it seemed we were in a grim situation with Brexit which left us socially divided into two tribes, with neither wanting to understand the other.

"I thought it would be good to do something around beauty, not in the sense of prettiness, but around how it is beautiful to be human."

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The pair enjoy turning over their house to artistic endeavour. "It's important that they respond to the space," says Farooqui.

"We really enjoy interactingwith the artists to follow their thinking and help them realise their ideas. We are turning what is a domestic private space into a hybrid part private part public space, we give them two floors and encourage them to produce large works."

Liza Kreuziger's bubble piece is inspired by the ephemeral nature of beauty, while Christina Lovey's is based on a mythological story of travelling between the underworld and the human world.

And Farooqui's centres on the "aesthetics of the ordinary and how we take social order for granted."

He juxtaposes a film of bin collections, and park keepers cutting grass which he sees as representing "social order," with a clay boat filled with masses of tiny human figures.

"It's a reference to the refugees who have fled the chaos in their lives, coming to us, imagining we have something they don't have. And it revisits things that are beautiful in a certain way, but that we take for granted."

He insists they enjoy opening up their home to art lovers.

"It's an open welcoming space for people of all ages, and backgrounds. The domestic setting creates a laid-back, convivial atmosphere to look at the art and talk to the artists. We love having peoople come and enjoy the space and the art, we are very hospitable, they get homemade cakes, tea and friendly company, all for free."

Reinventing Beauty is at 36, Ashley Road, N19 over the weekends of June 8-9 and 15-16 from 2-6pm.

or for the full line up of music theatre, comedy food and community events around Crouch End, Hornsey and Stroud Green