Temple of Doom – Hackney Citizen, Nov 2012

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Ridley Road is getting its arts in gear, discovers Sarah Birch

Doomed Gallery is one of the borough’s newest artistic hotspots.  Opening with a splash at the start of the Photomonth festival, the gallery specialises in photography.

The initiative was the brainchild of photographers Ken Flaherty, Pascal Ancel Bartholdi and Benjamin Study, whose manifesto includes a pledge “to dig through the illusion of objective truth mainly serving commercial interests to find a personal vision; [to] go beyond shoot, click and make over into the realm of imagination and a definitive personal mark from the artist’s or the curator’s perspective.”

Occupying the basement nook in Ridley Road Market, the gallery is literally embedded in the heart of Dalston, where Ken, Pascal and Benjamin have been based, “since before the cyclone of art fashionistas landed here”.

The space’s somewhat unusual name is the first thing to strike the visitor.  “What drove us to start the gallery was the realisation there was no platform for artists to express themselves with the medium of photography outside of representative photography”, explain the trio.

Ken Flaherty continues: “We would like to see more photography galleries in Dalston.  We are keen to create a community of like-minded people who can exhibit work in a pseudo-professional gallery setup.  What we mean by this is a non-intimidating open door policy”.

“We are looking for different ways of exploring the medium, including working with other areas of the arts and branching out into psychology, philosophy and theatre.  We encourage performance during our Private Views; this widens the scope of interest and gives an opportunity for media integration”.

They have even started a project that features offal bought from across the road, with the purpose of “bringing the market into the gallery by incorporating a social and cultural message pointing to the massive gap between the raw context of the market where poverty and diversity, imperfection and beauty are intermingled, and the super glossy world of graphic design and advertising”.

“The gallery responds to the versatility and rough edge of the society active on its doorstep,” Flaherty adds.

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