Exhibition: Estate of things to come

The Pepys Estate was famous, then it was infamous, writes Claudia Lee.

A showpiece before it became tainted by stories of crime and regeneration, Pepys towers and lower-rise blocks tell the story of council housing over the past 53 years since its construction was completed.

Scissors: Picture: Gareth Gardner

Four photographers are bringing their work together with an exhibition that investigates how the estate’s fortunes have fluctuated through history.

Boundary conditions: Reframing the Pepys Estate, opened at Gareth Gardner Gallery, in Resolution Way, Deptford will run until October 15, combining newly-commissioned photography with film, graphics and archive material.

Boundary Conditions: Picture: Rob Kenyon

When completed, the three structures of Pepys Estate were the tallest residential buildings in London.

Its towers and lower-rise blocks were inter-connected with raised walkways, allowing residents to walk from one end to the other without touching the ground.

Internally, the split-level flats were designed with an innovative ‘scissor plan’.

Photographer Gareth Gardner, who opened the gallery in 2019, will be showing his project Scissors, at the exhibition to revisit each of the buildings within the estate and record their fate.

No Ball Games: Picture: Danilo Murru

Freddie Miller’s, The District, looks inside the estate at the young estate residents trying to make it as artists.

Pepys Estate is known as The District by a group of drill artists who live there.

Following drill artist Skitszo and his friends as they spend long and still summer days hanging out ‘on the block’, The District finds the aspiration thriving in Pepys.

No Ball Games, by Danilo Murru, includes two parallel sequences of work about the Pepys Estate.

Twilight: Picture: Jérôme Favre

Colour images represent the estate’s borders, where it adjoins surrounding regeneration projects and planned areas of gentrification.

Monochrome images and semi- abstract photographs of hidden corners reveal the complexity of the estate as it has evolved over the last six decades.

Far from the liveliness of the day, the estate becomes a much more contemplative place between day and night as windows light up and slow the pace down.

Jérôme Favre’s Twilight captures this transition of life on Pepys Estate between day and night.

Inspired by The Architectural Review’s Manplan editorial programme of 1969–1970 which used photographic work by leading photojournalists and street photographers in a way the magazine had never done before.

The newly-commissioned projects will be accompanied by a display of The Architectural Review’s Manplan editorial programme from 1969–1970.

Manplan used photographic work by leading photojournalists and street photographers in a way the magazine had never done before.

Over eight issues the overall message of Manplan was highly critical of contemporary living conditions.

Original copies of the magazine will be on display as well as highlights from photography and videography artworks about the estate from across the last 50 years.


Pictured: Boundary Conditions Picture: Rob Kenyon / The District Picture: Freddie Miller

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