Jeffrey Dennis


Selected photographs 1978-81; some became sources for paintings made at that time

garbage strike poplar 1978
My neighbourhood, Poplar, during the 1978-9 bin-men's strike

Poplar 1978-9

Wapping 1978-9

Isle of Dogs, East London, 1978-9
Before the 1980s, the docklands on the Isle of Dogs were neglected and largely deserted by commerce, awaiting redevelopment

All photographs: Jeffrey Dennis

Extract fromThe Rise and Rise of the East End
Words by Lou Macleod

If you look at the East End of the 80s, it was a radically different place. Artist Jeffrey Dennis graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1980, and went to work part-time at the Whitechapel Gallery as a technician in arguably the most culturally significant time of contemporary art in Britain. He ate a lot of curry and got very drunk with Gilbert & George and went to the pub with Nick Serota. His reflections of that time illustrate just how different it was back then. He had a studio in Wapping, and described the East end as bohemian and very downbeat, if not a little scary. The National Front still had a hold on the area - distributing their newspapers where only two decades later trendy bars would stand. Hoxton didnít exist as an art centre yet, there were no shops and few galleries and yet many vacant buildings - evidence of its bomb riddled past and devastation during WWII.

SPACE and Acme Studios would play, amongst others, a significant role in pioneering the East End. Both artist-run, not for profit initiatives would utilize abandoned houses on the bomb peppered streets of East London as affordable live/work spaces, to counteract ever-increasing living costs. Acme started out with 2 properties in Bow with 21 month life expectancies before demolition.

from Disappear Here magazine
April 15th 2009

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