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Julie Bennet - Notting Heaven
(Large Group Exhibition )
Dec 12 - Jan 19, 2007/08

Curated by Jasper Joffe.

23 artists transplanted from East to West have made new work for an extraordinary show about class, place, and social mobility. Notting Heaven is about aspiration, about the relationship between artists and the place they show in, about Notting Hill representing paradise for our consumer society. Rachel Johnson, Boris's sister, has written a book called Notting Hell. The Guardian said “Hell is not other people: hell is books like Notting Hell.” The problem with showing contemporary art in Notting Hill is not that there aren't lots of rich people here to buy it, or that the gallery is too far from the tube. The problem is that in Notting Hill you might walk into a gallery and buy a landscape, a portrait, or a vase, but you are unlikely to find the next new big thing. Cutting edge galleries are expected to be immaculate white spaces in grimy areas where artists used to live. Somehow the dislocation of expensive art to slightly less expensive areas confirms its authenticity, like finding a truffle in the muck, or a diamond in a coal mine, or a needle in a haystack.

Nevertheless here we are in Notting Hill with a show to put on! The idea is that there is no better place to skewer the bourgeoisie than here. Where all the sunglassed botoxed celebs, glittering bugaboo pushing scrummy mummies, ruddy cheeked teenagers, old men in tweed, and standard issue upper classes can have a chance to be outraged or nonplussed by art without being sure why it has invaded their neighbourhood.

Notting Hill represents all that we can ever desire. If you really succeed in life, or your ancestors did, you can live here, it's not Notting Hell, it's Notting Heaven!

Bennet works in a figurative painterly style in either oil or acrylic, with a limited palette. Her work concentrates on the representation of women, wanting the women in her paintings to be more than a passive decorative object.


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