Mirror, mirror on the wall…
…or not, as the case may be. Clients at DKUK Salon in Peckham don’t face their own reflection as you might expect… instead they are invited to sit in front of a monitor and immerse themselves in video art, while hairdresser and artist Daniel Kelly snips away.
DKUK is based in an indoor market in Peckham where traders sell everything from records and jewellery to African fabrics. Originating as a pop-up in 2013, DKUK spent a month operating at the Ancient & Modern gallery in East London before setting up shop in Peckham. The salon was conceived as a way for Kelly to combine his practice as an artist with his previous vocation as a hairdresser. Speaking about the gallery-salon hybrid, he explains “it plays on the idea of the salon not only as a place to get a haircut, but responds to the archaic meaning of the word ‘salon’ as a place where artists and writers would gather regularly”.
“My intention is to find a way for art and business to co-exist”
These days there is a real demand for experiencing culture in unexpected settings, as is evident in the booming popularity of pop-ups which merge a whole host of cultural exploits such as theatre, food, film, music, and fashion. DKUK Salon is a perfect example of this new hybrid culture. “My intention is to find a way for art and business to co-exist” Kelly explains. By removing art from the confines of the traditional gallery space and into the more social, everyday setting of the hair salon, it becomes a more accessible experience.
Surely there must be an element of bravery involved with sitting down for a haircut but not being able to witness the physical transformation until the very end? Kelly argues that it is actually quite the opposite – “I’ve found that people who are a bit nervous about getting their hair cut actually find it quite relaxing, precisely because the art takes them out of the situation and into another one’”.
Text Emma de Clercq Photography and Video Panos Damaskinidis Special Thanks Daniel Kelly & David Houston
DKUK Salon Unit 20 K&S Arcade, 135a Rye Lane SE15 4ST Website