london

Darrell Viner

Cafegallery

Pebble-dash outside, bare roughcast and whitewash within, the 1886 mission church that houses Darrell Viner’s site-specific installation Eight Times Three, 2000, combines the spare elegance of an early Christian basilica with the utilitarian grottiness of a public lavatory. Viner’s catalogue statement wryly labels it a “bunker”: group headquarters for crack teams of Victorian evangelists hell-bent on saving the heathen souls of Bermondsey. A pioneering example of reinforced concrete construction, the mission sits on a giant raft of concrete, an abandoned ark implausibly floating on a sea of soft London mud.

Eight Times Three both intensifies and subverts the unforgiving character of this peculiar building, a temporary home for the Cafe Gallery while its usual premises undergo Lottery-funded improvements. Thirty-six eleven-and-a-half-foot steel bars lean against the nave’s walls. Their lower

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