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RIFLEMAKER BECOMES INDICA
Write Dope on Pnuk part 34
The second part of a small retrospective exhibition on the Indica Gallery of the 1960s, this focused on its importance to the counter-culture of the time. This was a place where Marc Bolan ran errands, Paul McCartney knocked in nails, Burroughs and Ginsberg hung out when they were in town, as did Roman Polanski. In the basement, International Times – Europe’s’ first underground newspaper – was published. And, infamously, John met Yoko Ono at the gallery.
On the ground floor of Riflemaker, we had a couple of pieces by Yoko, ‘Apple’ and ‘I Love U’. American artist Liliane Lijn provided kinetic sculptures with text on to create “poem machines”. Bringing the selection up to date, but in keeping with the spirit, Aishleen Lester had produced polyester/vinyl plant/umbrella forms.
In the stairwell a video was being shown of Peter Whitehead’s documentary of poetry reading at the Albert Hall. While I watched, the readers included Ginsberg, Michael Horovitz and Gregory Corso.
Down in the basement, Venezuelan Carlos Cruz-Diez’s coloured strip installation and French sculptor Francois Morellet’s metal wire sphere represented more international work.
The first floor space was decorated with the swirling underground rock posters of the era while, in the middle of the room, an equally swirling, clanking, flashing kinetic sculpture threatened to burrow into the floor. This room also included posters of ‘Poem For Takis’ by Alan Ansen, a Michael Horovitz collage, and two “butler-saw” style flip films by Juan Fontanive – ‘Blue Blood Cell’.
The Indica Bookshop of the late-‘sixties (attached to the gallery) stocked the esoterica of the time. You would have found small-press publications, radical literature, underground poetry and everything else you now have to hunt hard to find. Though the Freedom Bookshop in Angel Alley, Whitechapel does a good job of supplying to the politically needy.
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