Thanks yet again to Facebook, I had the glorious opportunity to attend the private view at Machine No. 3 on Well Street, invited personally by artist Elly Beckford.

Pre outing selfie

I arrive after an obscenely convenient ten minute walk to the gallery space, enjoying a balmy British summer evening in Hackney.

I am met with smiles and hugs as Elly spots me enter, thanking me for coming, explaining all three exhibited artists were asked to model their work on the word ‘stripped’. She introduced me to the curator, Jessy Rasao, responsible for organising the space. She is also exhibiting her interesting photographic work which explores gender, using double exposure on male and female subjects to create an interesting blend of identities, the powerful movement towards gender neutrality right now coming to mind as an influence.

During my early days in London back in autumn 2014, an obvious crowd to get involved with was the fashion club kid crowd, my mind being blown by having bottle service at London’s most chichi clubs with what I thought were the city’s most outrageous dressers. 

A failed first year at university and a love of sleep later, I dropped out of this crowd of night time revellers, but it was not at all in vain; I know a large minority of the room and now university is ending for many of them, it seems people have taken on a more determined and grown up approach to life, which must be exciting for them as it is for me to see. 

Collections of scrap paper that people wrote for Ellie when she worked in a dive pub in Liverpool Street; an assortment of numbers from lucky hopefuls and poignant notes, in particular the note reading “You don’t work behind this bar. Contact the Soho House group,” a powerful comment on ‘cool’ and on how it can distance a person from everyday life and the average Joe one will find there.

Beckford is “influenced by a keen interest in psychology and Freud’s id, ego and super-ego theory,” her work “depicting the expidition in search for a utopian world, so idyllic it may only be found by those who truly deserve to be there.”

It is interesting to make note of this exclusive idyll, the ephemeral idea that this era’s oasis of elusive ‘cool’, Soho House, is perhaps emulating this earthly idyll, and to society, a person like Elly, living within society but also on its fringes, represents at least to some extent one of “those who truly deserve to be there.”

Indeed, Beckford acknowledges the life of difference she is carving out, her opinion on blogs being that “although we [club kids] take for granted that our lives are different from most people, maybe blogging is a way of letting other people be a part of it if they’re really interested in your life.”

Catch Stripped Art Exhibition at 
Machine No. 3 271 Well St, London E9 6RG


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