Saturday, 31 October 2009

Oubliette Arthouse £20 Million Squat - London

The Oubliette Art Collective

An art collective known for squatting in mansions and embassies has taken over a £20million building in Leicester Square. The 50-room property - next door to the Odeon cinema - has been taken over by the group known as The Oubliette, which dedicates itself to finding large work spaces for struggling artists. The eight squatters today told the Standard they enjoyed front row seats from their first-floor window to see stars such as George Clooney walking the red carpet for the Fantastic Mr Fox premiere. They have also been holding life drawing classes since taking over the six-storey property a fortnight ago.

The squatters claim they gained access to the building legally through an open window in the top-floor loft, but said they expected to be evicted within the next two weeks. Last night they unfurled banners to draw attention to their artistic project. Last month the squatters took over the former Mexican embassy in Mayfair and the former Tanzanian high commission next door, together valued at £50million. Recently, another group targeted two properties in Chester Square, Belgravia, where Margaret Thatcher and billionaire owner Roman Abramovich's family live. Oubliette spokesman Dan Simon, 31, a graphic designer, said the group were looking for the owner of an empty building in central London who would allow them to stay long-term in exchange for "protecting the property".

"We will continue to squat in the hope we can eventually come to an agreement with a proprietor. Empty buildings attract crime. All we want to do is utilise a space for our art project." He said of the Leicester Square squat: "We have another property that we will move into when we are evicted. This place is incredible. There are four flats as well as a two-storey business centre. Parts of it have been empty for around 20 years." Fashion designer Talita Rossi, 24, from Sao Paulo, said: "It's crazy living on Leicester Square. We are probably the only people who actually live here."

No comments:

Post a Comment