- Text by Shelley Jones
Take a stroll down Ridley Road – one of East London’s best Afro-Caribbean fruit, veg and bric-a-brac markets – this weekend and you’ll come across an open door, edged in LED lights, that takes you down a set of stairs into a large white basement space full of printed treats from all over the world. This is Doomed Gallery. And this weekend will be their first ‘Zine Fair, timed to coincide with the prestigious LA Art Book Fair across the pond.
Curated by The Photocopy Club and B RAD founder Matt Martin, who has recently moved from Brighton to London to become Doomed’s curator-in-residence, the Doomed ‘Zine Fair will feature self-published ‘zines by prolific photographers and illustrators from all corners of the globe, as well as an open table where drop-ins can swap or donate their papery products. Then, at 6.30pm, the space will be transformed to host Brooklyn-based illustrator Rachel Levit and her first UK solo show. We caught up with Matt to find out more.
How did the Doomed Gallery ‘zine fair come about?
Well I have just moved to London from Brighton after living there for about four years. I’m now helping run Doomed Gallery in Dalston with Ken, the director, as a live-in curator. Over the past six months I have been loving the Newsstand that Lele set up in the subway in Brooklyn and also it’s the time of year for the LA Art Book Fair and I wanted to make something for all the UK guys and grrls that couldn’t make both those events. I had been running my B RAD gallery project from my house in Brighton over Christmas and I wanted to kick off my work at Doomed with a weekend of DIY life.
Is there a narrative tying all the ‘zines involved together?
All the ‘zines we will have for sale are mostly photography based. They are from self-publishers all over the world and we have some ‘zines that I published as B RAD Publishing. I’m also making a swap/free table for people to bring their own ‘zines down. We want ‘zines of all kinds, not just photography. So if you want to be involved bring them down on Saturday (February 1) at 12 noon.
Can you describe some of your favourite ‘zines from the show?
We have a great skate photo and illustration ‘zine from YO SICK WAY BAD, which is great. We have more rad skate ‘zines from Ben Gore and Marc Vallée. It’s a real mixture. I hope that we get the most interesting stuff from the people dropping in ‘zines for the free table.
What drew you to Doomed Gallery?
Over 2013 I did three exhibitions at Doomed. Two with The Photocopy Club [a rolling exhibition where photographers submit xeroxed versions of their prints to be exhibited and sold for cheap] and one with [photographer and Rookie Mag contributor] Eleanor Hardwick. I’ve been a huge fan of the space and what Ken stands for since finding out about it. It’s not just perfect for DIY culture but Doomed is here to cover all aspects of photography and digital media. We want the space to be a hub in East London and we’ll do this by putting on great exhibitions and events all year. 2014 is Doomed.
What do you hope viewers take away from the fair? Inspiration?
I want the weekend to be the perfect time for people from all over to meet up, look at great ‘zines and come up with new projects. I hope that people find new photographers and they support and buy their work. We also have the opening of NYC illustrator Rachel Levit’s first UK solo exhibition called Mystery Girls. The ‘zine fair is 12-6pm and then Rachel’s exhibition is on from 6.30-9pm.
Do you plan to make the fair a regular event?
I hope so. We are working on making a ‘zine shop at Doomed Gallery which will be open more regularly – a space that is not just open evenings but weekdays as well. We want to make Doomed a space for people to see great work and hang out and have fun.
Do you have another exhibition in the pipeline?
Lots of great projects and exhibitions coming up. I’m doing a talk on the February 5 for London Alternative Photography Collective, then we have the first Photocopy Club Presents… exhibition of the year with London [cosmological] collective Space is Ace at Doomed gallery on February 13. We are in talks about some new killer shows for February and March so keep your eye out at the website. I will also be announcing the new call for The Photocopy Club submissions on Feb 1. It’s going to be a good one.