Going underground – Crypt launches Brixton Pound gallery

crypt_750_2016-11-10-19-27-24A month-long programme of exhibitions and performances at the new art space beneath the Brixton Pound café on Coldharbour Lane began this week with Crypt, an exhibition of two pieces by Amba Sayal-Bennett who is completing a PhD in art practice and learning at Goldsmiths in New Cross.

The residency is organised by SPLEEN Projects, an artist-run initiative that puts on exhibitions combining visual art and performance in alternative and “non-gallery” settings.

Formed in 2014, SPLEEN says it aims to provide a platform for emerging or underrepresented artists to showcase their work.

The SPLEEN collective: Georgie. Anna and Felicity
The SPLEEN collective: Georgie. Anna and Felicity

During its residency at 77 Atlantic Road, SPLEEN will host exhibitions and performances intended to “make connections to both the nature of the space and to the community surrounding it”.

The basement space appealed to them for many reasons, including “the fact that there’s no natural light, and the feelings or sensations that might be associated with being underground”.

The Pound has also given SPLEEN an opportunity to be in one spot for a significant period of time.

“For us this is unusual because we always show in non-gallery spaces. We normally only have a place for a number of days. So this time we’ve had the time to develop a whole series of events that tell a larger story.”

Amba Sayal-Bennett
Amba Sayal-Bennett

Amba Sayal-Bennett’s pieces are Manta and Kino-glaze.

She is interested in the process of translation. Specifically, the effects and affects generated by the transposition of elements across different media. For Crypt she developed new work that investigates the creative potential of this process.

The two artworks were created by projecting acetate prints of her drawings into the space using an over-head projector.

Sayal-Bennett works on the projections on site – layering the prints with other prints of her drawings, obscuring sections of the projection bed using paper, objects and tape in order to alter the light fall of the projected image.

She is interested in exploring how the drawings change through this transposition, and how structural dissonances created by this movement across sites (paper and room) affects how she then works back into them.

“I think of this process as a kind of cybernetic system which evolves through an ongoing process of human-machine-material engagement and feedback whereby my actions are contingent and directly affected by the emergent whole,” she says.


The SPLEEN programme

What’s planned …

Exhibitions open daily 11am – 5pm


Amba Sayal-Bennett


Until 17 November

Kino-glaze, 2016, mixed media, 122 x 158 x 186 cm
Kino-glaze, 2016, mixed media, 122 x 158 x 186 cm


Manta, 2016, mixed media, 211 x 266 x 270 cm
Manta, 2016, mixed media, 211 x 266 x 270 cm


Honey Hahs and Madonnatron

Musical performances

12 November. 7 – 11pm


India Harvey

Umano Universale

24 – 27 November

Artist and researcher India Harvey presents an immersive installation exploring ideas on neuroplasticity and unusual sensory processing.


Anna McDowell

No Words

1 – 8 December

A series of sculptural works that explore ideas about loss.