The Showroom Mural Commission — Adam Shield: Amp Envelope

The Showroom Mural Commission is a unique project for artists to activate the building’s emblematic facade.

For the third cycle of the mural commission in 2022-23, artist Adam Shield presents a total installation, where his exhibition Amp Envelope extended from The Showroom facade to the interior walls and surfaces of the exhibition space; incorporating entry points for public, collaborative processes of production to unfold. The exhibition continued until Saturday 17 September 2022, and the mural continues until 9 July 2023.

Contributors to the mural together with Adam, with posters created during workshops held during Amp Envelope, July-September 2022 are: Daniel Owusu, Serafina Min, Suja Alsalman, Stefon Grant, Michela Ricciotti, Rahul Chodhari, Arya Chodhari, Salena Barry, Kingdom, Gary Reid, Danielle Kidd, Duncan Poulton, Sally Beets, E T, Isabel Garfield, Catriona Wastell, Michelle Duxbury, Rosa Fernández, Maggie Richardson, Adam Moore, Madina Zholdybekova, Leonie Cumiskey, Alya Kanibelli and Félice Knol.

The grid, a recurring motif for Shield, wraps around The Showroom facade and weaved in and out of the various spaces and timeframes of the show, creating a pattern of energies and tempos; a rhythmic network within which the distinct yet inter-connected elements of the project are situated.

Inside the exhibition space a series of hanging textile banners demarcated thresholds; a publication production zone for workshops houses a Risograph printer, ink-drums, photocopier and scanner as an in-situ print studio for public use. Shield’s new series of large-scale drawings punctuated the space; with images drawn in black synthetic bitumen ink overlaid on swathes of screen-printed colour and set against walls of wide, warping grids. They explore the blurring of inner and outer worlds, drawing resonances between individual perspectives and wider structural conditions.

For the mural commission Adam Shield has taken as a starting point a period of research into local, radical grassroots print presses in North West London, including The Poster Workshop on Camden Road which ran from 1968-71; the Paddington Printshop and later londonprintstudio on Harrow Road, amongst others. Each used vibrant imagery through poster campaigns and a wide array of printed matter to amplify local voices, often focusing on housing rights and neighbourhood initiatives, as well as gigs and festivals. Often providing platforms for articulating resistance to the status quo, self-publishing continues to enable trans-local countercultures and subcultures to distribute alternative narratives via low-fi, hand-made means.

Informed by Shield’s long-term interest in self-publishing and DIY production processes, Amp Envelope focuses on carrying forward the possibilities of publishing and print-making to generate new spaces of experimentation, reflection, collaboration and exchange. Enveloping the exterior walls of The Showroom, Shield’s hand-printed grid creates a layout device which is being used to locate and position posters of varying scales that were produced during public workshops over the course of the exhibition. The mural evolved as new posters were pasted up and layered over time; a work-in-progress accumulating throughout and beyond the timeframe of the show through to Summer 2023.

Print workshops
A series of free creative drawing and print-making workshops ran throughout July-September 2022

First cycle: Saturday 23 & 30 July; 6 & 13 August
Second cycle: interconnected 2-day print and poster-making workshops: Saturday 3 & 10 September
11am-4pm

Amp Envelope explores processes of self-publishing as a site and generator of public discussion and exchange. A series of public poster-making workshops focused on drawing, collage and print ran within the exhibition space of Amp Envelope as an inherent part of the show.

Having worked in the Church Street area for several years as a technician at The Showroom, these workshops build on Adam Shield’s research processes and The Showroom’s established connections to people and groups within neighbouring organisations, including the Church Street Library, the Sunflower Coop and the Penfold Hub. The workshops also build upon Shield’s existing partnership as one half of Long Distance Press, a postal art project with artist Thomas Whittle that quickly turned into collaborative works, publications and exhibitions between Glasgow, Newcastle, London and Edinburgh.

Zine and comic book culture offer tools for processing and communicating current social and political movements, where the personal crosses over with the political. Each workshop at The Showroom will open up discussion amongst a small group, and will lead to the creation of a collage of overlapping voices and imagery on the facade of the building.

The Church Street neighbourhood, within which The Showroom has been situated for over a decade, is in the midst of a period of major longterm redevelopment. Throughout Amp Envelope The Showroom will act as a hub enabling a relay between critical reflection, production and the amplification of voices, concerns and imaginative interpretation from the local area and beyond.

With special thanks to workshop and mural contributors Daniel Owusu, Serafina Min, Stefon Grant, Ishquha Abdul Rahim, María Vila Francés, Suja Alsalman, Irena Halder, Michela Ricciotti, Rahul Chodhari, Arya Chodhari, Salena Barry, Kingdom, Gary Reid, Danielle Kidd, Duncan Poulton, Sally Beets (with Duncan), E T, Isabel Garfield, Catriona Wastell, Michelle Duxbury, Rosa Fernández, Maggie Richardson, Adam Moore, Madina Zholdybekova, Leonie Cumiskey, Alya Kanibelli and Félice Knol.

Furthermore, thanks to Sam Austen, Chenelle Hastick Bartholomew and the Church Street Library team, Vanya Cantone, Mahsa Dehghani, Elliott Denny, Oana Damir, Omar El Fassi and team, Alessia Franchi, Lily Hall, Anna Hughes, Ishqha Khidzr, Seema Manchanda, Campbell McConnell, Corie Denby McGowan, Paulina Michnowska, John Phillips, Gabriela Salgado, Alex Simpson, We design for the community (Axel Feldmann and Marco Ugolini), and to Thomas Whittle.

The Showroom Mural Commission – Adam Shield: Amp Envelope, 2022-23 is generously supported by the Abbey Harris Mural Fund

The Showroom is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

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