Fanciful Street Fans Exhibit in Greenwich, London

What do street art and fan making have in common? Usually, not much. But the Fan Museum in Greenwich London has merged the two distinct art forms with their current Street Fans exhibit. The project invited street artists to create artwork on paper, which was then constructed into fans by revered fan maker, Sylvain Le Guen. He masterfully gave form to the artists’ work, bringing his collaborators’ concepts to life. As the full title of the street fans exhibit expounds, the temporary collection demonstrates “a unique liaison between street art and fan making.”

Street Fans Exhibit - Captain Kris

Street Artist: Captain Kris… Header Image Street Artist: Captain Kris

The art of fan making is critically endangered in the UK, according to the Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts compiled by the Heritage Crafts Association in 2017. Therefore, a modern aesthetic can hopefully inject vitality into the art of fan making. And the Fan Museum drummed up interest with community outreach events. For instance, fan-making workshops at the University of Greenwich and Greenwich Market took place alongside the live creation of art by street artists in September. During October, Sylvain Le Guen will lead a fan making master class and hold a Q&A with Fan Museum curator, Jacob Moss.

Street Fans Exhibit - Giacomo Bufarini Run

Street Artist: Giacomo Bufarini, aka: Run

Paris-based Codex Urbanus originally proposed the project to London’s fan museum. Once approved, through recommendation and word of mouth, more French street artists jumped aboard. The Street Fan exhibit is also particularly interesting for Londoners because they can see artwork from a handful of local street artists, shrunk down in size and displayed on a completely different medium. It is quite fascinating to see how their art was adapted and how the two very distinct art forms intersect, whether you notice the contrast of a bold pattern against the graceful curve of the fan or how the careful pleating complements brings depth to a nuanced scene.

Click to view full Street Fan Exhibit album.

Street Fans Exhibit - Dale Grimshaw

Street Artist: Dale Grimshaw

Each participant contributed artwork for one to four fans, totaling 50-some unique pieces. And not only did the successful crowd funding of the non-profit fan museum compensate the artists for their creations, artists will be allowed to keep their original fans once the exhibit finishes – although museum curators have hinted that they would like to purchase some pieces for their permanent modern fan collection… The staff members also readily answer questions you may have or point out details that you may have overlooked. But if you find that you’d like to know the entire backstory of the collaborative fan making process, you can take the information home with the Street Fans exhibition catalogue.

The Street Fans exhibit runs through 31 December, 2017.

Street Fans Exhibit - Levalet

Street Artist: Levalet

The Fan Museum Details:

Address: 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich / London SE10 8ER

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 5pm / Sunday: 12pm – 5pm

Top tip: Combine your visit with reservations for afternoon tea in the picturesque orangery with garden views on Tuesdays and Sundays. Otherwise, you can walk-in for afternoon tea on Fridays and Saturdays.

Admission: Adults: £4.00 / Concessions:   £3.00 / Children (age 7-16): £3.00 /
Free Entry: Children under 7, Art Fund Members and London Pass Members
National Trust Members: 50% discount across all admission categories

Street Fans Exhibit - Annatomix

Street Artist: Annatomix

Disclosure: Up&AtEm Travel was provided admission to the Street Fans exhibit during an event for bloggers and Instagram users. The above review, as with all Up&AtEm Travel reviews, is fair and honest.  

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  1. Gosh, that’s one of those ideas that I would have loved to been at the pitch for. The bird fan is particularly fabulous – the artist seems to have really got into the possibilities of the fan medium (that sentence sounded less pretentious in my head), even if it is also a bit creepy.

    1. Author

      The Fan Museum staff were so excited by the exhibit, hoping to bring more street art aficionados into the museum. I think the artist had a somewhat similar experience in France before he pitched the London museum. I think the collaboration was really fruitful!

  2. I have heard about tons of museums but it is the first time I heard about a fan museum. Sounds fascinating. A topic that you may consider meh, might end up being super interesting. The idea of mixing street art and fans is genius. I am from Puerto Rico and ladies still use fans like these often.

    1. Author

      Ruth, that’s too true! I had an idea of what to expect at the Fan Museum, but when I went to the street fans exhibit, I was really delighted. It’s cool to hear that hand fans are still being used in Puerto Rico. 🙂

  3. What a cool exhibition. Thanks for writing about this. I wont be visiting London, but would let my friends living there know about this.

    1. Author

      Thanks Shweta 🙂 They have until the end of 2017 to check it out!

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