The undercroft on London’s Southbank has been a skate mecca since 1973 and it might surprise you to know it’s the oldest continually skated spot in the world, frequented by local skaters and international visiting skaters alike. Today sees the launch of 426㎡: The Southbank Show, a major group art show featuring work by skateboarders and creatives from around the globe, aiming to raise funds to restore the iconic skate spaces and permanently reopen them for the first time in 14 years, in collaboration with Southbank Centre.
Fusing art and work by creatives from those who are directly linked to the counter culture of skating, it will breathe fresh air into the public’s association with the skateboarding scenes. It spans multiple mediums and formats and features a host of pieces specially made for the exhibition, curated by Matt Nelmes and Paul Richards of LLSB (that’s Long Live South Bank centre for the uninitiated).
Think UV printer mirrors by Blondey McCoy to Haroshi’s sculptures using recycled skateboard decks and playful illustrations from James Jarvis and Gaurab Thakali; the exhibition is as diverse, unique and pan-generational as the world of skateboarding itself.
Matt Nelmes explains, “Southbank is an incredibly special place when you consider how rare it is in our modern world, especially central London. People from every background meet there, exchange ideas, paint and of course skate. In a sense it’s a bit like The Factory, just a lot colder and instead of Edie Sedgwick we’ve got Jeremy Jones.”
The exhibition runs for two weeks at StolenSpace Gallery from tonight until 29 April, with many of the art works available for purchase to support the undercrofts restoration of this iconic skateboarding destination.