Telling the Truth Through False Teeth

by thewheatandthechaff

Whilst smashed out windows in derelict buildings are so common in Hackney they often go unnoticed, even in the relative creative boom of the last decade or so, the old Scopes & Sons building on the corner of Mare Street and Tudor Road may just grab your attention for this very reason.

Artist Alex Chinneck has taken the abandoned building  and, painstakingly, replaced all 312 window panels with an identical broken pane. The end result is a striking pattern of repetition and a calm sense of order in a place you might least expect to see it.

Whether Chinneck intends for there to be any greater meaning or message in the work is unknown, but as a Hackney resident myself, I can’t help feeling that the title and location of the piece are significant.

Despite an influx of wealth and gentrification in recent years thanks to the proliferation of artistic and creative communities that now call the borough home, in amongst the hip galleries and bars of Shoreditch and Dalston lies the sad truth that Hackney is still, for the most part, a part of London in dire need of regeneration.

Being fortunate enough to live in relative comfort here, I rarely take a second glance at the many boarded up and vandalised businesses that line the streets around me, and I often praise how far Hackney has come in recent years – citing the likes of Dalston and Broadway Market as examples of this success – but seeing the old Scopes & Sons building in its current form – in an odd kind of way – reminds me how far there is still to go.

Telling the Truth Through False Teeth, in association with Sumarria Lunn Gallery, is on show at the old Scopes & Sons building, London E9 7FE until November.