Coming off Tottenham Court Road, screens, devices, gizmos, you plunge with relief into a street of unexpected, probably miscalculated art galleries, restaurants that change their pitch every time you pass, a pair of narrow, secret alleys, twittens everybody knows, the relief of that, the pub, the slope down into Newman Passage, the opening sequence of Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, a puddle of bloody neon, awkward stone setts, smokers in doorways; and then out, immediately, into another world, Newman Street. Black leather, chrome, complimentary coffee. Film, television, advertising. Bikers with packages. Phones bleeping. A post-production house, cineContact. There is the usual cheese-grater voice-box; you whisper a name and someone inside hits the buzzer, releases the door. It's like the clammy interrogation of Soho, reconsidered urgency, loss of nerve. The printed card in my pocket depicts a stack of scarlet container units, a pylon, a purple sky. An invitation to an invisible art manifestation: Lost Memories by Emma Matthews. 'Very elegant, very Paul Klee,' the punters say. Rusting English metal, from somewhere down the A13, near Rainham Marshes, rendered as a grid of delicately balanced reds and pinks, with just enough green to cancel the headache.
LRB 8 January 2004 | PDF Download