Lights of Soho is the new hangout where the neighbourhood’s creative community meet under the glow of seedy neon signs in a former brothel to conspire, collaborate and create. Not only is it London’s first gallery dedicated to light art but with the addition of a members’ bar in its basement, it aims to become a hub for the meeting of minds.
The venue may be new but the ambience isn’t; reviving the days when Soho’s notorious sex industry lit up the narrow lanes in hot pink and the cheap prices of the area brought in artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, designers and the like. In keeping with the current interest to uphold the district’s creative legacy despite the rapid gentrification, Lights of Soho has landed just in time to send the message that they too want to keep Soho’s ne-on!
The first exhibition is called City Lights and brings together world-renowned artists and up and coming names in one space, earning the gallery the title of the ‘global home of creative neon art’. For the first time ever Tracey Emin, who has helped popularise the use of neon in art, is exhibiting alongside Chris Bracey, known as ‘The Neon Man’ for his iconic strip club signs which appeared all over Soho in the 1970s. Other artists in the group exhibition include Gavin Turk, Chris Levine, Christian Furr, Rob & Nick Carter and Rob Montgomery. At the private view, sponsored by Hoxton Gin, we discovered artworks ranging from poignant statements about love emblazoned in neon, to a Mona Lisa-esque lenticular of Kate Moss, to classic commercial signs promising ‘models upstairs’. The space is a spectacular visual overload.
City Lights at Lights of Soho opens today at 35 Brewer Street, London, W1F 0RX until 5th July. Open Mon-Sun 11am until 8pm. For membership enquiries visit www.lightsofsoho.com.