Published on November 4, 2013 | by Matthew Hook

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Lazarides and The Vinyl Factory present: Brutal

 

★★★★-

The Vinyl Factory and Lazarides have come together for a real treat of an exhibition this week called Brutal, hosted at 180 The Strand.

Lazarides, the gallery behind renowned street artists like Banksy, JR and Invader; and The Vinyl Factory, an arts and music platform encompassing all kinds of creative practice, have brought some of their most exciting artists for a show in one of the most unusual exhibition spaces in London.

The show is a combination of street artists such as Vhils and DALeast as well as installation works, video pieces and performances.

Covering more than two floors; the ground floor is a fairly traditional space, more relaxed than the rest of the show, with two staff playing Drake in the corner ready to answer any questions.

As you walk around there are murals by DALeast and some other great canvas works on the walls.

It isn’t until you head downstairs to the basement however that things start to get exciting; it’s a barely-lit, industrial skeleton of a space with debris and exposed electrics everywhere, perfect for a show with the name Brutal.

Visitor numbers are kept down with a booking system, so you are one of only a handful wandering around in the dark, with works lit up and sparsely spread throughout.

There is a fantastic, sinister installation of floating glass panels by Ben Woodeson; a shadowy room of tree trunks rising out of a black lagoon by Know Hope; and an entire wall filled with a recurring black and white video of a dark, underwater world from Doug Foster.

The list of impressive and foreboding works goes on, but what sets this show apart are the performers wandering around the space with chains, metal bars and a BMX bike, banging and scraping their makeshift weapons along the walls and on the floor.

With the noise echoing in the distance as you look at other work, it feels genuinely threatening in the dark.

Every once in a while they’ll stop and start their performance, choreographed by Rob Hylton, in a handful of spaces throughout the show.

Their performance is the star of the show. It’s dark and gruesome and you might have to look away occasionally, but to say more would ruin the experience.

 

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