Event review: What is Tru Luv? The first show in Croydon’s new TURF Space

By - Friday 12th June, 2015

The sensual intensity of this exhibition is a reflection of love, says Tom Winter

Tru Luv.
Photo by Paul Dennis, used with permission.

As Morrissey once sang, the rain fell hard on a humdrum town as I made my way to the newly christened Turf Space, or as some may think of it, the space where Turf Projects now manifests its physicality. Despite my recent lack of involvement with Turf Projects due to the demands of work and study, I had kept a keen eye on activities and was eager to see the new presence the team had created.

The Turf Space gallery opened on Wednesday 27th May – a successful launch night flowing with drink and discussion amongst a field of intriguing art. When I arrived that lunchtime, a cleanly lit room greeted me. I soon heard sound, too, and realised that the approximately twenty second sound bite that my ears could not ignore was an audio piece by Jack Strange. Entitled ‘A Little Blue Moon,’ it was a short burst of female vocals and successfully left listeners completing the composition in their head afterwards. ‘A Little Blue Moon’ is one of the exhibits in Tru Luv.

Photo by Paul Dennis, used with permission.

Although the space is limited, it is not restrictive and what has been achieved for the Tru Luv exhibition makes fantastic viewing. The main exhibition space contains two larger physical pieces entitled ‘Futomaki – a thick roll containing various things’ and ‘The Back of your Face’, and surrounding smaller pieces. The exhibition has a presence which tends towards the informal and I found myself experiencing it as a whole rather than being conscious of individual pieces, as if the exhibition’s brief of interpreting love has generated one unified entity.

This exhibition is indeed about love, and the sensual intensity of the exhibition is a reflection of the intensity often found in love. As a viewer, you cannot ignore the overwhelming desire to affectionately touch, listen and gaze at the individual pieces as you would a lover.

Two particular pieces, ‘Top Sky Ground Bottom II’ and ‘Singing for Leona,’ caught my attention. The former, by Isabelle Southwood, depicts a pleasant sky and a rugged landscape, each on their own canvas and wonderfully painted, set at high and low level with a mysterious gap between the canvases. The gap between the canvases was the real intrigue for me, and I found myself trying to navigate the ocean of whitewashed wall between, my imagination creating its own landscape from images committed to memory. The unknown was where the influence of the canvases ceased and my imagination began.

The exhibition leaves us questioning how we express our own love

The second piece, entitled ‘Singing for Leona’, is an affectionate collection of John Messenbird’s many attempts to immortalise a woman on paper. In each drawing a different feature or curve of the models form is deliberately emphasised, arguably a result of the artist’s discovery, and possibly even love, towards a new form or expression of character during each drawing’s creation.

Each of the previous examples show their way of representing love through a physical medium – a visual collage that allows the viewer an opportunity to see the love someone else has for another human being. The entire Tru Luv exhibition is full of interesting representations of love that leave the viewer not only pondering what they may love about art, but also questioning how they express their own love and how others may view what they portray.

For the first ever exhibition held at Turf Space, Tru Luv makes excellent use of the space available and allows the viewer to contemplate what their interpretation of the art is rather than scattering the space with textual explanation. It was also refreshing to see the exhibition’s message taken beyond the gallery space. Accompanying the artwork was a commissioned text entitled ‘Who Cares?’ by Alex Brenchley, and an exhibition reading group has also been established covering Alain de Botton’s novel On Love.

Top Sky Ground Bottom II, by Isabelle Southworth.
Photo author’s own.

The Tru Luv exhibition radiates Turf Projects’ clear intent to give art back to the community and showcase young talent at the same time. Croydon can now finally anticipate a frequent and approachable collection of art and the love that it brings.

Turf Space is located to the rear of the Centrale Shopping Centre on Keeley Road as is open between 11:00 and 17:00 during exhibitions.

The current exhibition entitled ‘Tru Luv’ at Turf Space will be open until 27th June, to be succeeded by a new exhibition entitled ‘Business as Usual’ opening on 9th July, involving artists creating a collection of small art on business cards.

The ‘Tru Luv’ exhibition reading group is currently reading Alain de Botton’s ‘On Love’. If you would like more information, please get in touch

Tom Winter

Tom Winter

Practicing Architectural Assistant and fabricator of Dirty Croydon Love architecture and urban-design blog, having worked for Fantastic Norway Architekten in Oslo over the summer of 2011 and now recently graduated with a postgraduate in Architecture at London South Bank University. Stimulated in and intoxicated with South London with a keen interest in the potential of Resourceful Design and Urban Social Spaces that can be created through provocative yet sensitive contemporary urban architecture, with a strong belief that architecture can further enhance Croydon’s complex urban community. Also a passionate cricket player, dedicated book reader and enthusiastic CD music collector.

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