New London exhibition Stitch #1 showcases emerging artists using bodies in their work in different ways.

New London exhibition Stitch #1 showcases emerging artists using bodies in their work in different ways.

Lily Bonesso is a curator and arts writer based in London. After studying fine art in Kingston, Lily channelled her passion for all things creative into freelance writing for Dazed and Confused and putting on events like the ambitious Brainchild Festival – a non-profit, multi-arts festival in Canterbury, England, celebrating creativity, community and innovation.

Now Lily, along with her homies Amy Webster and Josie Tucker, are putting on their first-ever group exhibition as Stitch – a showcase for emerging-but-still-unknown artists – featuring photography, illustration and installation art by underground talents Fiona Osborne, Heidi Andreasen, Silva + Cemin, Ting Cheng and Catherine Scrivener. This first exhibition Stitch #1, which will run January 16 – February 7 at the Cock n Bull gallery – a basement art space below premium Shoreditch restaurant Tramshed – explores the way in which these artists represent their bodies. We caught up with Lily to find out more.

How did the Stitch #1 show come about?
I’m always visiting exhibitions put on by friends and I always thought it was a shame that these weren’t publicised or reviewed properly. I wanted to take the freshness of these shows and make it something that was available to everyone, not just friends of the artists. Basically create a bridge between student shows and commercial shows. Plus I was writing for Dazed and Confused and constantly trying to find new artists to write about so I built up a pretty wicked archive of people that I was dying to curate an exhibition with.

What is the story of the exhibition? Was there a narrative tying all the artists together?
The linking imagery is the body. All of these photographers and artists use people in their work. I love the idea of the body used as an abstract object, instead of just portraits of people. But really what brings it all together is these artists’ bizarre outlook on the world. It’s really mesmerising work.

Can you describe some of your favourite pieces from the show?
I love them all. It’s been really hard to narrow down to the final selection because all of their work is brilliant. But Fiona Osborne’s photograph (the first one attached above) of the naked girl draped of a bed with the light beams of the window glancing across her body is a pretty genius shot. It’s so peaceful and beautiful but still weird and a bit random.

As curator, what were the challenges in presenting these diverse artists’ work together?
I’m still working on it! I have had a lot of support form the gallery manager, Rebecca Lidert, as well. She’s fantastic and has given me a lot of advice because I’m just starting out. But really I think that each artist’s work communicates so well with the rest of the work that they should look harmonious.

What drew you to the Cock n Bull gallery space?
We were very lucky to be put in touch with Rebecca when we were, because she had just taken over management of the gallery. We love the space’s amazing basement, ceiling and the supporting columns holding it up. It feels a bit like a vault, so it’s not just a textbook white cube space. I think the fact that there’s a Damian Hirst formaldehyde cow upstairs in the Tramshed is pretty cool too!

What do you hope viewers take away from the exhibition?
We will be selling limited edition prints at affordable prices, so I hope people will be taking work away with them! But more importantly I think this is the kind of work that makes me want to make work, and hopefully other people will feel the same. Exhibitions should make people go away and want to create something so I definitely would hope we have that effect on some people.

Do you have another exhibition in the pipeline?
The reason that we have called ourselves Stitch, rather then giving the exhibition a one-off title, is because ideally Stitch would have many exhibitions. I am hoping it will be a fellowship of sorts. We have a lot of artists we would like to exhibit work from over time- maybe an illustration show next.

You can find out more about Stitch #1 – running at the Cock n Bull gallery January 16 – February 7 – and the artists involved on their website.