Johann Arens: Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery

13 December 2013 - 1 February 2014


PRIVATE VIEW: Thursday 12 December 2013, 7-9pm 

The Basement at Paradise Row presents Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery, a solo show by artist Johann Arens. 

Up until its closure in June 2013, Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery in London had been a busy 'corner-shop' and internet cafe which sold food and also offered basic computing services to members of the public. It was frequented by a diverse group of customers mostly from the local neighbourhood seeking assistance with copying, scanning, gaming, international calls, translation, computing skills, electronic repairs or money transfers. For 50p per hour, the cafe offered a place to sit down, a personal computer and a headset for privacy. At Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery, every desk partition became a temporary office for those without one to go to.

An installation with the same name at Paradise Row will combine remains of the café's interior with an array of standard exhibition furniture. The café's instructional printouts will be displayed in archival show cases, dysfunctional computer terminals in the space and deteriorating furniture and bags of green coffee beans will be placed beneath Perspex covers.

As visitors browse the desktops and trash bins of the antiquated personal computers, they will build up an insight into the lives of Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery's customers through curriculum vitae print outs, long distance coach-tickets, pictures of property for rent, lovenotes, snapshots, a business ad for a pedicure salon.

Johann Arens (b. 1981, Germany), holds an MFA from Goldsmiths College, London, 2011 and is currently in residence at the British School in Rome. Recent solo presentations were 'Apple and Pear' at ASC Gallery, London and 'Effect Rating' in De Service Garage, Amsterdam, both 2012. Group exhibitions include 'Institute for Mathematical Sciences', Flat Time House, London, 2013; 'Members Show', Outpost, Norwich; 'Young London 2012', V22; 'A useful-looking useless object', Sierra Metro, Edinburgh; 'I'll explain you everythiinnngggg', Chert Berlin, 'New Contemporaries', ICA London, 2010 and 'No Soul For Sale' Festival at Tate Modern, 2010. Arens will be attending the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, in 2014.


The Basement at Paradise Row is a new exhibition programme that showcases the works of emerging artists. Curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini, The Basement at Paradise Row runs concurrently alongside the main programme.