Art Below Launch Gallery in Hoxton

Art Below have created an art scene underground but this month, they open a pop-up gallery in Hoxton with an exhibition by Mike Ballard and Ben Moore. Bring on The StormTroopers.

Art Below was set up in 2006, and brings art to the public by displaying work by artists on London underground billboards. Exhibiting in such public spaces, creates an opportunity to engage with travelers in their everyday life and avoids the stigmas built up around gallery environments. Art Below primarily works with emerging artists by providing them with an exciting and open platform; but has also collaborated with more established artists such as Banksy. Initially London based, Art Below have taken projects to Berlin and Tokyo, and are planning exhibiting in Hong Kong, Paris, Stockholm and Dubai.

This week, Art Below try something a bit different – surfacing from the underground to host a pop-up gallery in the Macbeth pub. The Macbeth is renowned for being a prestigious live music venue, played in by bands including Franz Ferdinand and Florence and the Machine. Based in Hoxton, it is at the heart of much of the London art scene and on Wednesday evening, Art Below will open their first season with an exhibition showing the work of Mike Ballard and Ben Moore.

The acclaimed artist, Mike Ballard will exhibit his latest work, 'Shadows of Tomorrow'. Ballard received great credit for his recent exhibition at The Arts Gallery, ‘The All of Everything’ in December 2009, which marked the closing of the gallery before it was to be bulldozed. He now marks the opening of another. Inspired by music and graffiti, Ballard’s work employs a mix of visual media to challenge the viewer’s perceptions and question reality, upsetting the value of things. Ballard prompts the viewer to challenge whether what they perceive as the world around them, is in fact real and to be trusted.

Alongside Ballard, the founder of Art Below, Ben Moore will exhibit some new additions to the Art Wars collection. Art Wars was first initiated as a response to the conflict over The StormTrooper between Andrew Ainsworth, the original creator of the StormTrooper, and LucasFilm for ownership and copyright of the design. Ainsworth won.

The StormTrooper is an indisputable icon of contemporary culture. Whether you’ve seen the StarWars films, or not – there is no escaping it. Moore’s ArtWars series is a mix of conceptual and performance work – based around the idea of a StormTrooper who gets fed up with life on the death star and decides to come to earth, lands in the UK and comes to London. Taking ArtWars to G20 last year, Moore wore a bright pink tailored suit designed for him by Marc Wallace complete with pink brogues, tie and Pink storm trooper helmet—on the day when the city banking sector were instructed not to wear suits into work. ArtWars has also been Below, on the 4th Plinth, to Berlin and been encrusted in 4,000 Swarovski Xilion Rose Crystals.

This exhibition promises to challenge our perceptions and get us thinking. There will be humour, there will be excitement and there will be a unique collaborative piece between Ballard and Moore unveiled on the opening night – await in deep suspense.

- Holly Willats

Art Below

YouTube, ART WARS:

ART WARS, Trojan Whore, Storm Trooper Strip Tease at ArtWars Launch

Mike Ballard's work in progress for Art Below gallery at The MacbethMike Ballard's work in progress for Art Below gallery at The MacbethTrain Trooper, Ben Moore - ART WARSStormTrooper at G20, Ben Moore