press release

We live in a world of harsh commercial reality. Nowhere is this more apparent than the contemporary art scene. In London, with three new galleries opening every week and two closing, competition is tough. Museums and public spaces compete for patrons and sponsorship, sometimes it seems all our leading lights do is try to stay ahead of the rest and fundraise.

But it wasn't always like that.

Acknowledged as the first 'experimental' art space in London, John Dunbar's Indica gallery, November '65 - November '67, was born into a much more uncynical time. Open for barely two full years, Indica, (from 'Indications' - somewhere to go), set the controls for the heart of experimental art in Britain. During it's short life, Indica encouraged collaboration and 'freeflow' rather than competiton. With groundbreaking shows by Takis, Mark Boyle, Julio Le Parc, Liliane Lijn, Jesus Rafael Soto and Yoko Ono, Indica was very much 'of the moment'. Paul McCartney helped knock in nails, a teenage Marc Bolan painted the walls. Polanski and Antonioni, Burroughs and Ginsberg hung out. International Times got started in the basement. John Lennon met Yoko Ono there.

With Dunbar programming the art and co-founder Barry Miles, 'Miles', taking care of the bookshop Indica was an experiment. An experiment in terms of art itself and importantly, in how it could be presented and interpreted. All of the gallery's artists were new, untried and untested. And as for the punters, some got it, some no doubt missed it, but all remember it.

But what if you took that moment and transplanted it into the complex pick'n'mix world of London now? What would it be like to revisit an exhibition space from another era? One gallery becomes another? A shining light of sixties free expression is transported to another, harsher, more organized, more business-orientated art environment? How does it look? How does it feel? Does Indica still turn you on?

Your chance to try. From November 2006 Riflemaker becomes Indica; lock, stock and barrel. The gunshop will temporarily disappear while Indica descends Tardis-like, on 79, Beak Street with Dunbar taking care of the art and his collaborator, best-selling author Miles looking after all things counter-cultural, forty years after it disappeared into thin air. You'll be able to walk through the exhibitions, see, feel and hear how it was then. An antidote to a more cynical world. It's not the whole story, for the whole story, like many truly 'good' stories is, in part probably too unravelled and tragic in a way to be told, at least not quite yet anyway. So this is a version. The story of a divine name, divine ambition, the blessed partners who made it happen, and of course the magical time in which it lived.

With Jay Jopling opening his bright new super cube in Mason's Yard, Mayfair - the site of the original Indica - Indica will re-appear in Soho exhibiting one piece of work by each of its artists shown in the original exhibitions alongside a selection of responses by London's most adventurous and imaginative up and coming young art stars.

So Riflemaker becomes Indica. Temporarily. A chance to relive, revise and read up almost forty years to the day. The story begins November 20, 2006. Don't miss it this time.

Riflemaker becomes Indica is a Riflemaker exhibition

A series of 17 events and talks featuring Yoko Ono, Peter Whitehead, Janfamily, Conrad Shawcross, Liliane Lijn, Jaime Gili, Carlos Cruz-Diez and many others accompany the exhibition. For a full list go to

Indica was founded in November 1965 by Barry Miles, Peter Asher & John Dunbar. Indica exhibitions were programmed by Dunbar with assistance from Genevieve Morgan. Indica bookshop was run by Barry Miles.

Riflemaker becomes Indica is supported by Sotheby's Institute for the Arts We are grateful for the help of our other individual and group sponsors.


only in german

Riflemaker becomes INDICA
Part One "The Movement"

INDICA gallery
mit Susanne Andrade, Mark Boyle / Boyle Family, Guy Brett, James Byrne, Lourdes Castro, Pele Cox, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Mark Dagley, John Dunbar, Juan Fontanive, Jaime Gili, Michael Horowitz, Janfamily  (Nina Beier & Marie Lund), Malgorzata Kitowski, Liliane Lijn, David Medalla, Barry Miles, François Morellet, Yoko Ono, Conrad Shawcross, Jesús Rafael Soto, Morton Subotnick, Paul Taylor, Takis , Peter Whitehead, Maxa Zoller ...