Our Pink Depot: The Gay Underground FLO-N202-236000000-TRK-MST-00002-SAY-HELLO-WAVE-GOODBYE-KEN-NIE-BPS

Nina Wakeford

28 November 2019

Part of the following series:

2019 – On Edge

Thursday 28th November 2019

Book launch and Performance

18:30 – 20:00 | Performance 19:00

Matt’s Gallery, London, 42-44 Pontoon Road, Nine Elms, SW8 5BA

Developing Art on the Underground’s activity around the new Northern Line Extension (NLE) in South London, and in the context of the new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station, Nina Wakeford presented a series of artworks which reflect time spent alongside the tunnel engineers, rail laying teams and miners currently building the line, the history of the area around Vauxhall and Nine Elms, and also the discovery of informal ‘pink depots’ on the Underground in the 1970s and 1980s, most notably at Parsons Green station. In the 50th anniversary year of the riots at the Stonewall Inn, Wakeford presented interventions which reach from Kennington to Battersea stations.

Launched on 28 November 2019 ‘Our Pink Depot: The Gay Underground FLO-N202-236000000-TRK-MST-00002-SAY-HELLO-WAVE-GOODBYE-KEN-NIE-BPS’, published in collaboration with Book Works, proposes the whole of the new tunnels, which join the current line at Kennington station, as a ‘pink depot’ for London Underground. The book is a collection of annotated accounts derived from conversations with those working on the NLE, around which are gathered stories from LGBT staff who will operate the new line, and those who frequented the Market Tavern, a pub formerly located at 1 Nine Elms Lane. The Market Tavern was intended to serve for Flower Market traders and porters but by the late 1970s also became a venue for LGBT clubbing. Memories of both populations are gathered in the book, which also includes photographs found in drivers’ and DJs’ personal collections and the Covent Garden Market Authority archive.

With thanks to Arts Council England, Book Works and Matt’s Gallery, London.

‘Our Pink Depot: The Gay Underground FLO-N202-236000000-TRK-MST-00002-SAY-HELLO-WAVE-GOODBYE-KEN-NIE-BPS’ continues the artist’s interest in producing artwork that begins with the unfinished business of past social movements, and the challenges of revisiting the demands and energies that these movements created. The book builds a depot from the collected voices of current and former workers whose jobs mean they have occupied or will occupy the same places, above or below ground.

Alongside the book a poster was displayed along the Underground’s Northern line stations. This poster features a print, made in the tunnels, using the final hours of sunlight before the new structures were sealed. Bringing together archival materials with scraps of new Tube track, the posters also feature words from an event in which Wakeford and the Tunnelling Manager led LGBTQ Northern line driver operators and station train managers down the tunnels for the first time. This ‘Historic Trackwalk’ permitted LGBTQ staff to be the first drivers down the tunnels, in recognition of the local history above ground.

These artworks follow the format developed in Wakeford’s previous work which brings together speech and song to accompany archival and historical material, including artworks shown at the Barbican, Glasgow International, Focal Point Gallery, British Film Institute, Wellcome Collection Lates.

To coincide with the book launch a new public performance was staged at Matt’s Gallery’s new location in Nine Elms.

Our Pink Depot: The Gay Underground FLO-N202-236000000-TRK-MST-00002-SAY-HELLO-WAVE-GOODBYE-KEN-NIE-BPS by Nina Wakeford is published by Book Works in association with Art on the Underground in an edition of 1,000,156pp, full colour throughout, with a soft cover witih foil blocking. Designed by Fraser Muggeridge Studio. ISBN: 978 1 912570 06 5

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