AiR

The Valley Room considers artist-making in the Lea Valley through a gathering of artefacts, films, objects, maps, books. Monthly openings highlight one artwork, through an artist(s) intervention or exhibition.

Saturday 18 May 12 – 4pm Remains (2028), Ben Nathan and Thursdays until 13 June

Ben Nathan shows a series of new analogue photographs made within the current levelling of Meridian Water. The Edmonton incinerator chimney hovers above what has been left behind. Alongside Ben turns the Valley Room into a camera obscura, offering a magical space in which to place our own bodies and consider the complexities of what we leave in a place. Ben Nathan’s explorations bring a closer attention to our relationship with more-than-human, infrastructure, and public access in our cities. A practice of walking and clambering with his folding plate and pinhole cameras in the edgelands – to the top of the fly-tips, through the gaps in the palisades, under the concrete flyovers – framing images that collide past, present and future. A fearless making that demands hope and change within the horror. Ben studied at Slade School of Fine Art and Royal Drawing School, and has exhibited internationally including in Berlin and Seoul. He is founder of Pinhole London, a community photography project.

Saturday 22 June 12-4pm Because I wasn’t thinking, Otis Chetwynd-Woods, Eddie Trigg, Wai Ka Yau

From Cornwall, London, Hong Kong, these artists came to the Wild Marsh East in Spring 2024 via Central Saint Martins. They bring films and performances to The Valley Room revealing a testing of landscape as studio, and body as material.

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Previously at The Valley Room

Kathrin Böhm, Rural Undercurrents, April 2024
In 2013 Kathrin Böhm set up Haystacks as informal get-togethers to explore rural histories, knowledge and mindsets we know – or brought with us – into the urban. Led by practice, the haystacks harvest and pile up knowledge together, and once a year the gatherings are an actual scything and hay making day with Ida Fabrizio on the Walthamstow Marsh. In the Valley Room, Kathrin Böhm revisited Haystacks in anticipation of resuming Walthamstow Marsh hay-making on 23 June.  A situated collage and artist talk reflected on rural knowledge that migrates to, and survives in, the city.

Henrietta Williams, The Secret Security Guard, December, 2023 
Henrietta Williams interviewed with G4S in January 2012, and after training, worked as a security guard and x-ray screener based at the Olympic Park for the duration of the games. Alongside fulfilling her duties for G4S she also worked as an undercover reporter for the Guardian writing a column called ‘The Secret Security Guard’. Henrietta recovered source material and ephemera from her attic and revisited the project in The Valley Room through a new text ‘Retracing the footsteps of The Secret Security Guard’ and an installation. www.henriettawilliams.com. Watch and listen to Henrietta reading ‘Retracing the footsteps of The Secret Security Guard’ via Instagram LIVE here.

Hilary Powell, Popuppopup, November 2023 
Ten years ago Powell made fifty-one pop-up books on a public production line in an old print-works in Stratford. In the Valley Room she reflected on Legend: An A-Z of the Lea Valley, presenting the finished book alongside the book-in-parts, source material, films and an artist talk. As one of many extraordinary works Powell has made in the valley before/during/after the Olympics, this was a moment to reflect on how the collaborative performative making process has informed later community making including on Bank Job and Power, and the co-learning that happens in her projects. For AiR and our local visitors, Hilary’s installation offered a reflective space to consider how we wander and act in the immediacy of Meridian Water demolition and redevelopment. 

Maeve Laurence, While you work, October 2023 
While you work considers who is making and mending the things we use/eat/need everyday and the places where this labour happens through observing/collecting/collaborating in a paradigmatic contemporary industrial estate: making – bread, kebabs, woodwork, signage, ducts, sculpture, clothes, ice-cream; mending – radios, cars, windscreens, dough mixers. Maeve collaborated with thirteen neighbours working on the Hastingwood Trading Estate to create incidental drawings with their everyday materials and processes – blood, rust, red oxide, grease, sawdust, dough, oil, clay, atomised paint, steel dust, hot air.

The Valley Room is located in AiR’s studio beside the Banbury Reservoir at Unit A29, Hastingwood Trading Estate, London N18 3HU. Aswell as monthly Saturday opening, it is open on Thursdays 12-4pm by appointment – please email info@airstudio.org to arrange a time. The Lea Valley Artwork Map is also available online. We would like to welcome everyone into our space however we are on the first floor with no lift. Please call Anna on 07977 094 330 to arrange to see the material if our stair access is a restriction for you.

The first commissions in Autumn 2023 were supported by ACE & Enfield Council as part of Enfield Festival of Industry. Spring/Summer 2024 commissions are being supported by City Plumbing.

  • Lea Valley Shelves (with BOC gasworks cladding), 2023
  • While you work, Maeve Laurence, 2023
  • Popuppopup, Hilary Powell, 2023
  • Rural Undercurrents, Kathrin Böhm, 2024
  • The Secret Security Guard, Henrietta Williams, 2024