Celebrating artist-led activity, the annual Art Licks festival returns this weekend for its fifth year, with 65 spaces hosting exhibitions and events across London.

This year’s theme, ‘Finding Solutions’, takes a look at the innovative and ingenuous ways that artists continue to make work and build communities despite their ever-increasing dispersal to the capital’s outer edges – a comment on the high cost of living and ongoing loss of studio space that has pushed many out of the London art scene’s traditional haunts.

Spaces in Hackney, Bow, Peckham, New Cross and Stoke Newington are joined by projects in Bounds Green, Croydon, on boats along the river, and also online.

Recognising those projects that take risk with new formats or ways of presenting work, this year’s Artquest Workweek Prize has shortlisted five of the participating projects: Your Friendly Local by Nora Silva at Chalton Gallery, Rising by Pale Blue Dot Collective at St John’s On Bethnal Green Church, Two Places at Once by POST Artists at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and online, and The Show Home at The Old Police Station and Peaks & Troughs at Turf Projects.

Ten recommended Art Licks events

on plon air
This portable sculpture garden changes location over the course of the weekend – a strategy and solution for creating a sculpture park on a DIY budget and a comment on how this exhibition format is often the preserve of blockbuster institutions. Without the luxury, the five artists explore the ‘sculptural loopholes of making what would normally be a static monument’.
Thursday 6-9pm, 12ø @ 12 Orpen Walk, Stoke Newington, N16 8HG;
Friday 12-6pm, 12ø @ Peckham Rye, (South of E Dulwich Road), SE15 3UL; Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm, 12ø @ Fordham Park (West of Clifton Rise), Lewisham, SE14 6JW.

Acme Fire Station
Residents of these sought after five-year live/work studios along with invited artists present exhibitions, open studios and performances. There are sculptural works presented within a live/work studio home, while the group exhibition ‘Commission and Commune’ also inhabits many of the shared areas of this building. Another exhibition titled ‘I like to fondle’ aims ‘to create a home show for the homebody’. Over the Saturday and Sunday the on-going dinner party event D!N DINS features 20 sonorous performances.
Thursday 6-9pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm, Acme Fire Station, 30 Gillender Street, E14 6RH.

Capital I
Using high-tempo videos, collage and live performance, artist Philip Ewe presents new work concerned with social behaviour and public space in an ex-council flat on Bede House Estate. Don’t shoot the messenger is a new site-specific performance that will take place on Thursday at 7.30pm.
Thursday 6-9 pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm, Bede House, 12 Bede House, Clare Road, SE14 6PW.

Nexus Space
The interactive arts festival Brainchild present an exhibition of installations and audiovisual experiences, along with a workshop in which you can make your own ‘goggle-like’ seeing devices.
Thursday 6-9pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm
Brainchild @ Platfor Southwark, 1 Joan Street, SE1 8DD

A chance to try out a range of prototypes for art games developed by a group of artists, coders and technologists. Studio Gibson/Martelli are interested in the influence that video games are having on traditional art practice. This evening event showcases the results created during a workshop they have led that aims to use the interdisciplinary combination of art and games to find new ways for audience participation.
Friday, 6-9pm, Studio Gibson/Martelli, Bell 3, Unit 301, 449 Bethnal Green Road, E2 9QH.

Learning the Washing Machine: Technical Workshop
For audiences who would like to be involved in the making process themselves, Samantha Penn leads a drop-in workshop over the four days of the Weekender that uses the constituent parts of washing machines to learn and create something new. Taking place at the Remakery co-operative, which reuses waste material originally intended for landfill, members of the public can participate in a number of ways, from making their own project with washing machine parts to helping with an existing project, playing with examples or simply popping in for a chat about the project with the artist.
Thursday 6-9pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm, Remakery, 51 Lilford road, Brixton, SE5 9HY.

Your Friendly Local
Artist Nora Silva has located her exhibition between a gallery space, an off-licence and a pub, playfully exploring how the art work is received depending on the context it inhabits. Ongoing performances and one-off events take place over the course of the weekend, highlighting incidental habits such as the activity of ‘a constant nut eater’ and participatory activities including a Talent Show and a Life in the UK pub quiz. A mobile food stall will serve foods that reference the artist’s dual European and Latin American heritage.
Thursday 6-9pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm,
Chalton Gallery, 96 Chalton Street, NW1.

The Sci-Fi Powerverse
Blurring the boundaries between an art space, town hall and nightclub, this mobile institution will be transformed into a science-fiction landscape. Through art, performance and discussion the audience will encounter ‘alien forms’ and other ways of being that question gendered identities.
Friday, 6-11pm, CAMPerVAN, 61 Rollins Street, square opposite Jupiter Woods, SE15 1EP

Moon, When the Calves Grow Hair
With the autumn equinox just past, four artists take the traditional celebration of the harvest moon – that of decorating the home – as their reference point for a group exhibition in the artist-led Bunkhouse, an art space operating within a home.
Thursday 6-9pm, Bunkhouse, 33 Ayrsome Road, N16 0RH.

Word in Transit 2
Quite literally an underground performance event, Word in Transit curates an intensive half-hour programme featuring 12 artists and will taking place on the last carriage of a Victoria Line train. Each performance will last the duration of a journey between two tube stops.
Saturday 9.30-10pm, meet at entrance of Finsbury Park tube station, N4 2DH.

Art Licks Weekend 2017 takes place from 28 September – 1 October 2017. Unless otherwise stated, venues are open Thursday 6-9pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm

1. Philip Ewe, Boomerang (2015), Installation, Kairos Time, TENT, Rotterdam (2015). Image: Ghislain Amar
2. Eva Duerden, ‘on plon air’ (12ø)
3. Still from ‘Firestation’ by William Raban, 16mm/DV (2000), commissioned by Acme Studios
4. Ed Haslam, ‘Nexus Space’
5. Gibson / Martelli, Silent Spring, 2007
6. Samantha Penn, Image by Compiler. From workshop at Against the Slow Cancellation of the Future conference, Goldsmiths University, June 2017
7. Nora Silva, 2017
8. Samuel Douek, ‘CAMPerVAN)
9. Emily Motto, title unknown
10. Campbell Mcconnell, ‘Word in Transit 2’

All images courtesy of Art Licks

More on a-n.co.uk:

Nicola Naismith. Photo: Cath Cartman; Courtesy: the artist

A Q&A with… Nicola Naismith, 2017-18 Clore Visual Artist Fellow


Turner Prize 2017 exhibition: exciting artists shine in a cleverly curated show


Keith Harrison’s Joyride: “I don’t know what will happen when the car goes down the ramp”