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Chopstick ’13, 2013Frances Malthouse

Art Licks picks

London's newest alt art fair makes a compelling debut with some truly innovative work

Making its debut in the hectic run-up to Frieze, the Art Licks Weekend promises to offer up an alternative form of art fair, in which truly forward-thinking work from emerging artists is exhibited in original ways across London, with an emphasis on the east and south-east areas of the capital. In a quest to push beyond the limits of the obvious, the fair represents smaller, artist-led and independent initiatives with the aim of bringing these quieter - but often far more interesting - activities to the attention of the masses. 

To make this perfect antidote to Frieze-ennui even more appealing, all the events are free and open to the public throughout the weekend of 4-6 October, kicked off by an opening night on Thursday 3 October from 6-9pm. Out of the 77 events and exhibitions taking place, here's a preliminary glimpse at some of the things you'd be wise not to miss.

Almost a Year of Rectangles by Desktop Residency

Desktop Residency is an online exhibition space curated by Barnie Page and John Henry Newton, presenting digital 'desktop' solo shows by up-and-coming artists. Over the past year, the programme has provided a platform for artists such as Frances Malthouse, Ryan Gander and Sean Roy Parker. For each exhibition, one image takes over the entire webpage and further images by the same artist are also available to download throughout the duration. For the Art Licks Weekend, Page and Newton are setting up at Peckham Pelican for a visually-orientated exhibition of informal interviews with participating artists, alongside objects that informed the artists' Desktop Residency contributions.

Lucy Beech at PLAZAPLAZA (curated by Jesse Wine)

Art gallery and studio PLAZAPLAZA, located in Elephant & Castle, will be presenting a solo exhibition of new video work by London-based artist Lucy Beech. Beech's work involves performances that probe the ritualistic frameworks beneath ordinary domestic or workplace routines, highlighting the inherent strangeness of human behaviour through dramatic choreographies. This exhibition, curated by Jesse Wine, references the idea of female empowerment as a potent branding tool.

Bonus Levels by Public Assembly

Bonus Levels is an immersive multiplayer video game environment in which a tower is built from the venues that are hosting events over the Art Licks Weekend. As part of his ongoing Public Assembly initiative - in which audiences are invited to shape the outcome of the work - artist Lawrence Lek has created the piece in collaboration with interaction designer Valentina Berardi, photographer Andi Schmied and artist Clifford Sage. Players can move walls, excavate floors and distort objects with hammers, chisels, chainsaws and explosives, creating a new architectural space which will in turn be added onto the tower.

By Post by Cupboard Collective

Cupboard Collective is formed of two London-based artists, Jo Kernon and Richard Rosch, who engage in monthly projects of 'exploration, transformation and dissent'. Their latest experiment takes shape as a post-box sized gallery, which will occupy an unused doorway in the City of London for several weeks. During this time, artists will be posting letter-sized work to the miniature exhibition space, which can then be obtained by visitors 24 hours a day using instructions provided. The piece aims to create a relational, open-ended realm for artistic activity within the closed, privatised context of the Square Mile.

Conversation #1 by Millington | Marriott

In a flat in Blenheim Grove, Peckham, an exchange will take place amongst some artists, a black cat and a trail of objects. 'Weekends' is the name of the first-floor residence-turned-project space which will host the first in a series of 'Conversations', in this instance between Erchen Chang and Kitty Clark. The artists and curators will be discussing, creating, cooking, eating, sleeping and slowly developing a new body of work, both within and in direct response to the domestic space in which the event will unfold.

Grass Routes

For residents and non-residents alike, this should be an interesting insight into the history, plant-life and architecture of Peckham. A series of walking tours led by artists, poets, botanists and foragers will lead the group through a hands-on and critical exploration of the area, covering aspects of community, place and our changing relationship with the environment. Starting at Queens Road Peckham station, the tour will progress throughout a two-hour stroll into poetry readings, collection, performance and a little bit of soul-reviving manual labour. 

SALIENT by Twelve Around One

Twelve Around One, formerly located on Shacklewell Street and now holding exhibitions at various locations in London, is showcasing SALIENT specifically for the Art Licks Weekend. Hosted by The Dye House in Peckham, the show brings together work by Juliette Bonneviot, Christian Hidaka, Samuel Fouracre, Thomas Lock, Sara Ludy, Ben Sansbury and Daniel Swan in an exploration of architecture in 4D. Considering the line-up and the historical torrent of sensational shows curated by Twelve Around One directors Gabor Gyory and Nick Jensen, it is bound to be well worth making the most of this small window of opportunity to see it.

Stop, Look, Listen!

Over the whole three-day period, there will be a performance held every hour in a public space across south-east and east London by artists such as Holly Slingsby, Tom Lovelace and Viktor Timofeev & Simon Werner. Three performances will also be held at Bermondsey Underground as part of the Art on the Underground scheme, with some station interior intervention and live acts from Patrick Coyle, Leah Capaldi and Ilona Sagar between 3 and 4pm on the Saturday. 

Superlative TV: Apathy Transmission at Blacksmith and Toffee Maker

Curated by Anne Tenner, this will be Superlative TV's third broadcast. Focusing on the idea of apathy, the broadcast will tap into connections between the apathetic state of mind and its effects on society and the environment. It will examine the consequences in terms of its negative effects on climate and attitudes to work, but also its power as a stance in opposition to the individual self-interest of neoliberalist agendas. 

Wine & Spirits at Cell Project Space

Cell Project Space has hosted some of the most interesting exhibitions in London in recent years, and this will be no exception. Wine & Spirits is the title of its current show by artist Rachel Reupke, who uses the space to present her investigations into the potential and limitations of the digital image - a mode of enquiry she has been following since the 1990s. Reupke creates worlds from the manufactured desires of commercial image production, taking elements from webcam films and popular stock footage to reflect the stylised innocuousness of the consumer fantasy. Wine & Spirits is her latest film, which screened at the Oberhausen Film Festival in May this year.