‘I Like What You Do’

Camden’s mystery gallery at 43 Inverness Street, London

Past Review

November 12, 2013
by Jossie Wyatt
Instillation view of 43 Inverness Street

Instillation view of 43 Inverness Street

I walk down Inverness street nearly every day but not once had I heard of or seen the gallery. 43 Inverness Street is a little gem; a reward for withstanding the hectic bustle of Camden Town. Walk through the Inverness Street Market, pass by the throngs of cheap dresses and pitifully persuasive salesmen. Finally emerging from the clobber, you’ll find yourself confronted with a strangely quaint street, at the end of which you will see a little red door.

A tentative finger extended towards the doorbell, and my mind swam with speculative imaginings. I hadn’t been able to find much literature on 43 Inverness Street, save for its immaculate website and, well, the address. ‘Open 12-5 on Friday and Saturday or by appointment’. It sounded exclusive. A boutique gallery that required private bookings – how fantastic!

I waited, starting to think that I’d got the wrong place. I looked above the door to check this was number 43. There it was – the gallery logo. No sooner had I lowered my head than the door swung open, a bright-faced, tiny woman standing before me.

“Are you here for the gallery?”

What a relief. I nodded sheepishly and she ushered me inside. There was a row of shoes at the door; this was either a very busy gallery run by Japanese people or a family home. I ventured a guess that it was the latter.

Stepping into the main room and met with the absence of people my suspicion was confirmed; we were indeed in somebody’s house. This was corroborated when I read the words “private home” at the bottom of the exhibition blurb.

The idea of the gallery was so magical, so niche, so mysterious. In reality, it was simply under the radar. The work exhibited in ‘I Like What You Do’ simply didn’t live up to my expectations. After attending an exhibition, I either want to leave loving it or hating it. I left ‘I Like What You Do’ wondering what was for dinner.

The paintings were obscure and failed to rouse excitement, disgust, curiosity or awe. The artist statement was equally bland. I can’t comment on the quality of the art, the skill, or even the concept because, quite plainly, there wasn’t much to comment on. Just some paint on canvas. The most interesting part of the exhibition was the gallery itself – the two (and a half) rooms this family had sacrificed for their love of art. Now that is worth comment.

As I headed for the exit (the front door), the bright-faced woman mentioned that there would be a new exhibition in a week. Aside from mentioning that the artist was Korean, she didn’t say much more. She did, however, say this excitedly.

The end to my visit was quite fitting. I walked towards and away from the gallery full of intrigue. ‘I Like What You Do’ was just a blip; a short moment in the covert life of 43 Inverness Street. I will most certainly be attending the next exhibition and look forward to the next chapter of the story.