Exhibition display case containing punk ephemera in Vive Le Punk exhibition
Case featuring Westwood McLaren garments made for the shop Seditionaries

Cyana Madsen, PhD candidate and MA Fashion Curation almuna on the challenges facing The Horse Hospital and how it’s using an exhibition to fight back.

The Horse Hospital is a gallery with a small internal team and wide circle of external collaborators operating under an ethical DIY mandate. It is an agile arts venue, with the ability to turn around installations on a relatively short timeline.

Established in Bloomsbury, London in 1993, the Grade II listed building provides essential opportunities for early-career creators and those who are making art that doesn’t fit in the mainstream, to exhibit in an internationally connected public space. By virtue of the survival of the 200-year-old site and its subversive programme, it has become emblematic of the anti-establishment ethos of punk.

My experience with The Horse Hospital has given me the freedom to curate my own project (Requiem: Material/Memory (2019)) and support director Roger K. Burton on the installation of The Horse Hospital 25th Anniversary (2018) retrospective, and now the upcoming Vive Le Punk: Redressed.

Exhibiition space displaying a teeshirt with swastica mounted on a cross at Vive Le Punk Redressed exhibition
1 Vive Le Punk Redressed exhibition space at The Horse Hospital-1.

Running from November 30th – December 21st, this exhibition is a direct response to the threat of a rent increase which would render The Horse Hospital unable to remain open in central London, effectively closing one of the last places that levels what can be the very uneven playing field of culture.

3 Mannequins with original 1970s punk clothing, including the iconic “Chicken Bone” and “Cowboys” designs 2
3 Mannequins with original 1970s punk clothing, including the iconic “Chicken Bone” and “Cowboys” designs 2

Vive Le Punk: Redressed will reflect on the landmark Vive Le Punk (1993) exhibition Burton staged using original Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren punk garments: mounted on latex mannequins and ropes, free from glass cabinets and close enough for visitors to touch. It was an exhibition that challenged who tells subcultural history, and how it is told.

Display case and garments on the wall at Vive Le Punk Redressed exhibition space at The Horse Hospital
Vive Le Punk Redressed exhibition space at The Horse Hospital

In supporting Burton with a reimagining of the original exhibition, I have the opportunity to develop my curatorial practice, to contribute to the ongoing dialogue around punk as a concept and as a historical moment and to the legacy of The Horse Hospital.

For More Information:

November 29th 2019 

Vive Le Punk (1993) – Documentary Screening 

https://www.thehorsehospital.com/events/vive-le-punk-film-screening

November 30th – December 21st 2019

Vive Le Punk: Redressed – Exhibition

https://www.thehorsehospital.com/events/vive-le-punk-exhibition