Art critic Verity Babbs wrote an afterword for the show:
Opening less than a week ahead of London’s Frieze, ‘Boundless: Transitions’ represented a sense of community, inclusion, and accessibility that the behemoth fair is often criticised for lacking. The art world (especially in the capital) can feel like it’s moving ever-further away from its audiences, with sterile white cube spaces designed to be navigated in intellectual silence. ‘Boundless: Transitions’ was born out of a mission to bring meaningful interactions with art to the people of Deptford, and it did so by breaking down our assumptions of what happens in the gallery space.
The A-Maze Collective filled every corner of A.P.T. Gallery with art of all mediums, transforming the space into a veritable visual sweetshop for visitors of all ages. Many of the displays were interactive, and clever use of QR-code and Augmented Reality technology added new depth to work, elevating the art beyond its physical form. The creation of an interactive art trail through Deptford brought ‘Boundless: Transitions’ outside of the gallery and into people’s daily lives, highlighting A-Maze’s message that this was an exhibition for everyone. Deptford was at the heart of the project, and ‘Boundless: Transitions’ was curated with real purpose.
The A-Maze Collective understood that art does not happen in a vacuum; that art should not wait in silence to be found but rather should call out and invite us in. The extensive outreach programme scheduled for this exhibition demonstrated the artists’ dedication to bringing meaningful artistic experiences to the Deptford community. Over the course of its 4 week run, ‘Boundless: Transitions’ hosted 7 public evening events, daily tours led by artists, weekend public and workshops school students and activist groups, and 4 live streamed of their evening events online.
Perhaps the most impactful aspect of ‘Boundless: Transitions’ was the A-Maze Collective’s unwavering dedication to audience experience. Artists from the collective took their places in the gallery space each day, guiding visitors through the exhibition, answering questions, and making sure that every visit was valuable to each individual viewer. It is rare to see this level of forethought and commitment to outreach, especially for an exhibition which lasted just 25 days.
What was also clear was the coherence of the collective. The work on display by the 12 artists hung together with the thematic throughline “how do we address the crises in the world as communities and individuals?”, whilst also representing a huge variety of styles and showcasing each artist’s individual focuses and approaches. This is what great collectives do: they function as a united community but each member is highlighted as a solo-maker in the process, creating shows which are remembered long after the work is deinstalled.
In the end, it was not actually the “boundlessness” that struck audiences, but the sense of the ways in which - knowingly or unknowingly - we are all inextricably bound to one another and the world around us. As the A-Maze Collective reminds us, this is a bond that we must cling to in the face of crisis and catastrophe. ‘Boundless: Transitions’ was a perfect example of the projects for which it is crucial continue to receive public and charity funding, as they show up for their audiences in a way that even the largest institutions so often fail to do.
To keep up to date with the A-Maze Collective and their next endeavours, follow them on Instagram and visit the website, or get in touch via email.
A-Maze Artists: Fion Gunn, Chen Mei-Tsen, Alan Hudson, Ardern Hulme-Beaman, Shoran Jiang, Maureen Kendal, Audrey Mullins, Nazia Parvez, Freddie Sanders
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and sponsored by the Greenwings Project.