Press Release 29 July 2013 – Compulsion St Clements Gallery Bow

For immediate release
Exhibition COMPULSION brings St Clement’s Hospital to life
Press Launch: Friday 2nd August 6-7pm St Clements Hospital, 2a Bow Road, Mile End E3 4LL
Local artists, inspired by the poignancy and beauty of a derelict psychiatric hospital and former
workhouse , transform St Clement’s Hospital, Bow – soon to be the first urban community land trust in
the UK - into a vibrant celebration of compulsive behavior exploring childhood, mutability and society’s
perception of normality.
The building resonates with its history. A group of 8 artists including Susan Aldworth, Tessa Garland and
Amikam Toren, have been given access to this crumbling building prior to redevelopment in an exhibition,
COMPULSION, curated by artist Miranda Housden. In COMPULSION they present a series of site-specific
installations which respond to the palpable tensions in the abandoned rooms.
The transformation of this historic building forms part of this summer’s Shuffle Festival, which includes
theatre, poetry readings, and films curated by director and local resident, Danny Boyle.
The exhibition runs from 8-18 August, 4pm – sunset, St Clements Hospital, 2a Bow Road, Mile End E3 4LL.
For further information see and
Miranda Housden, exhibition curator and board member of the East London Community Land Trust said:
“We hope this exhibition will inspire our community to take ownership of this amazing building and help
us to ensure its future use as both a world-class cultural centre and heart of Bow. This local facility will
form part of a community led transformation of housing where homes rather than commodities become
the norm.”
Notes to Editors
Press Launch: Friday 2nd August 6-7pm St Clements Hospital, 2a Bow Road, Mile End E3 4LL
PRIVATE VIEW: Friday 2nd August 7-9pm St Clements Hospital, 2a Bow Road, Mile End E3 4LL
Underground: Mile End (Central Line, District Line, Hammersmith and City line) or Bow Church (DLR)
Buses: 25, 205, D6, D7, 277, 425
Artists will be available to interview
Photos of the artists’ work and St Clement’s Hospital, Bow are available.
For further information or to arrange an interview - contact Miranda Housden M: 07917508039 or Kate
MacTiernan M: 07545352047
Compulsion is an exhibition of 8 artists:
Susan Aldworth is represented by GV Art, London and currently has The Portrait Anatomised on display
at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Her films and prints investigate human identity by exploring the
relationship between the physical brain and our sense of self. How is consciousness conjured from the 3
pounds of jellied flesh of the brain? What turns matter into imagination?
Artist Silke Dettmers, whose studio is situated in the Bow Arts Trust, examines the use of manufactured
objects or their re-making in a foreign material or scale enjoying the creation of paradoxes and disruption
of known meanings.
Tessa Garland, also from Bow Arts, explores scale, illusion and theatre in Above the Skyline, a video
work made around an elaborate miniature construction, an outcrop or deserted set, strewn with detritus.
The obsessively collected and subsequently discarded objects form the narrative heightens the paranoia
and sense of isolation.
Miranda Housden, based at Chisenhale Arts Studios, Bow, reflects on how childhood temptations and
fantasies are first encouraged and then censored by society in Smartipants, a 4m high shopping bag made
of children’s briefs, Angel Trumpet: Devil Trumpet and Deadly Sins: Luxuria, Acedia, Ira, magical wands,
inspired by poisonous plants.
Kerry Lawrence’s delicate drawing Take me Home transforms the cell like Turret of Saint Clement's into a
crystaline lace haven made from Windolene. The toxic pink liquid is re-worked into threads of lace, paying
homage to the painstaking craft which women and children were engaged in during their time in the
Victorian workhouses. Take me Home refers to a longing to return - words taken from Lawrence's relative
who was once a patient at St Clement's - it expresses the desire for healing and coming home.
Susie MacMurray, represented by Gina Agnew Contemporary Art, is a former professional classical
musician who retrained as an artist. She sees her role as alchemist: combining material, form and context
in deceptively simple ways to stimulate associations within the viewers’ minds and to elicit nuanced
Jo Stockham, based at Chisenhale Studios, is Professor of Printmaking and Head of Department, Royal
College of Art London. Often in non-gallery environments, she explores the relationship between digital
technologies and older forms of print technology, and is interested in time, history and the way in which
technology creates the means and metaphors with which we communicate.
Amikam Toren, represented by Anthony Reynolds Gallery, is also based at Chisenhale Studios. His
sculpture Stacks is derived from a variety of images printed on cardboard boxes as warning signs and or
instructions to the handler. It is a primitive and effective international language, translated into objects /
sculpture magnifying its meaning.
About The East London Community Land Trust (ELCLT)
ELCLT exists to deliver permanently affordable housing in east London, ensuring that people are no longer
priced out of the neighbourhoods they grew up in. Born out of the community organising efforts of
Citizens UK, ELCLT not only actively engages as many local people as possible, but is set up by, owned by
and run by the people of East London. For further information see
About St Clement’s Hospital, Bow
St Clements was built as a workhouse in 1848/9, where those that were unable to support themselves
were offered accommodation and unpaid employment. The building opened in 1849 as the City of
London Union Workhouse. In 1874, while remaining the property of the same Union, it was converted
into an infirmary used for examination and assessment of patients' mental health before being sent to
other institutions or being discharged. When the Homerton Workhouse reopened in 1909, the infirmary
became superfluous and was closed. However, it was reopened in 1912 as the City of London Institution
to treat the chronically ill. By 1959 the Hospital had become exclusively psychiatric. It became part of
the London Hospital Group in 1968 and was then called the London Hospital (St Clement’s). From 1968 to
2003 it remained a mental health facility until the East London and The City Mental Health NHS Trust
decided to sell the site for redevelopment. It has been closed since 2007.
For further information see