Multi-storey art park
I have always thought the River Thames divided London, but a truly stunning view from the ninth floor of the multi-storey car park in Peckham Rye shows that it actually unites the city. The view has to be one of the few in the capital which allows you to see major landmarks from both sides of the river, from Canary Wharf and the Dome in the east, to the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.
This sense of unity dawned on me as I looked at art by emerging young artists (all under the age of 30) in an exhibition called Bold Tendencies III, curated by Hannah Barry. It is the third such exhibition in the car park, but the first since the success of the Peckham Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which heralded this suburb's attempt to carve out a place for itself on the contemporary art scene.
The exhibition has some terrific pieces in it, from Hannah Barton and Xavier Poultney's huge black blocks - one with a central hole, and the other containing a fibre optic prism - which face each other and channel the setting sun to create a striking effect.
Another remarkable piece is called Broken Obelisk. James Balmforth's work does exactly what it says on the label, but you have to see it to believe it. And there will be many children who will want to destroy the pristine beauty of Bayly Shelton's piece, Rocks of Ages, Sands of Time.
The setting of a currently-unused car park is genius in itself, particularly as, in this third Bold Tendency, there are a bar and café attached. The unrivalled views alone should prompt people to flock there, but I think it is the art that should get people to the car park in Peckham.
Hannah Barry is a name to watch and I am certain that some of the artists she is championing will be on the verge of fame. If you think there is incongruity in the idea of interesting contemporary art in the place made famous by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, then consider the contrast of this: After I left this brilliant view, I wandered the streets of Peckham, and thought about the social conflict of recent years, knife crime and marginalised communities. I marvelled at shop after shop selling fresh meat and fish; vegetables from all over the world, and quick ways of sending money to Africa.
I wanted so much to believe that some of the people I encountered would make the journey up to the top of the car park to share that view and see a united city made real.