Steffi Klenz: Tensed Muscles
Camden Art Centre is delighted to host an exhibition by photographic artist Steffi Klenz as part of Camden Alive, a programme of arts and cultural events that celebrates the people of Camden.
In spring 2019 Steffi Klenz and rap artists Brownsilla and Boss B were artists in residence at the Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, where they explored the histories of the Maiden Lane estate. Designed by architects Benson and Forsyth, Maiden Lane was a visionary, modernist scheme, which included plans for 400 new homes, shops, sports facilities, a community centre, a primary school and open spaces. Due to financial pressures in the late 1970s the plans were not fully realised, resulting in a split site and years of practical and social challenges.
Throughout 2019 Steffi Klenz spent time at Maiden Lane estate talking with residents and immersing herself in the architecture of the space. The resulting body of work Tensed Muscles explores the relationship between the architectural promise of modernist living, and the reality of living in Maiden Lane in the 40 years since its inception. Klenz’s complex abstract collages of images, photograms, Scriptio Continua, graph work and line drawing disrupt the discipline of architecture as a measured, rational and ordered space; interrupting this with human agency, interaction and the realities of life on a London estate.
Klenz’ works will be presented alongside lyrics and a new album by rap artists Brownsilla and Boss B. Weaving stories of the estate with their own experiences of living and being in London, the artists reflect on what has been, and of its relevance to lives today. The resulting album presents a complex view of Maiden Lane, one of tension and frustration but also of confidence and optimism.
Camden Alive has engaged 32 artists to work with residents of 10 social housing estates and members of 6 community groups across Camden to develop ideas and new work. The resulting artworks will be showcased through performance, events and online through the Camden People’s Museum. Camden Alive continues to work with residents and artists to share stories, creativity, culture, skills and opportunities.
In 2019 and 2020 Camden Alive was a Cultural Impact Award winner as part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture. London Borough of Culture is a Mayor of London initiative with support from the City of London Corporation’s Charity, City Bridge Trust and Airbnb.