Victor Hwang owns the Battersea power station and its surrondings. He plans to use his Parkview International to become even richer by building flats and, marginally, some private leisure venues in the landmark.
The power station at Battersea
Julia Peyton graciously got the permission to use the building for a temporary exhibition of contemporary Chinese videos. Five pounds per head grant you the access to three floors of the west wing of the derelict building.
People queue at the entrance in the street and again at the entrance of the building as well. I heard the bulky security guards being asked by the public about how to buy the admission tickets. I knew that Internet is now a mass phenomenon when they summarily answered that you could either queue there and then or ‘simply book it in Internet at www….’.
Taking photographs in the interior of the building was forbidden to visitors. The vast derelic interior of the station is almost completely emptied.
The visits are organised in groups and lead by a guide. Our guide’s voice was only heard to recite warnings, rules and other dos and donts that seemed extracted from a particularly zealous civil servant’s notes. The videos by Chinese artists are boring and depressing clips. Our visit took less than 30 minutes.
The wet, dark and ruinous floors with views over the empty central body of the station are worth the visit however. I just hope that whatever the fate of the ruins is, Art spares them from its presence.