The ICA is famous for hosting exhibitions that address radical art and culture, so it’s no surprise that their new exhibition created by iconic photographer Alasdair McLellan and founder of Palace Skateboards, Lev Tanju, may just be the most raw exploration of London’s skate culture yet. Presenting a collection of archive and previously unseen images of Palace Skateboard’s now-world-famous team and the Palace Wayward Boys Choir (the London skate collective that changed the skating game), McLellan and Tanju have created a moving investigation of skateboard culture and the friendship and non-conformity that is so integral to its survival.
The exhibition offers an insight into the lives of people associated with the brutalist skateboard haven on London’s Southbank, their community and the do-it-yourself attitude they so fiercely adopt. Since 2009, McLellan has been documenting the rough-and-ready skating lifestyle, getting involved in the Palace scene and showcasing the solidarity that comes with it. The exhibition is also a celebration of the fact that those who produce and distribute the Palace skateboards are also the ones riding their decks.
The tender portraits taken by McLellan are accompanied by a new video installation created by Palace’s Lev Tanju. The anarchic videography is the perfect embodiment of rebellious skate culture, and together with McLellan’s portraiture, forms an amazing, dynamic and enthralling picture of London’s skating scene. A full survey of McLellan’s work with Palace will be published by IDEA this summer, so grab your board and get ready to ride.
Alasdair McLellan and Lev Tanji: The Palace is on 8-24 July at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Theatre.