Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Kodwo Eshun from the Otholith Group

Anjalika Sagar from the Otholith Group

The Showroom

One of the first East End galleries in London, The Showroom marked its twenty years as a publicly funded venue with a move to a new area of London, occupying a new space on Penfold Street, London NW8, close to Chuch Street Market, Edgware Road and Lisson Gallery. In addition to this, in 2008 the board re-structured the gallery’s director position to a 3-4 year post, the first of these being Emily Pethick, formerly director of Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht (2005-2008), who was appointed in May 2008.

The Showroom was one of the first galleries to be established in what is now a thriving East End art scene, occupying its Bonner Road site in Bethnal Green for over twenty years.

During this time the gallery was run by three directors, David Thorp, Kim Sweet and Kirsty Ogg, and developed a strong focus on commissioning artists to make their first solo shows in a London publicly funded space. Kirsty Ogg’s artist commissions included Jim Lambie, Eva Rothschild, Subodh Gupta and Claire Barclay’s first solo shows in London. Kim Sweet commissioned first solo shows from now established figures such as Sam Taylor-Wood, Simon Starling and Elizabeth Wright. David Thorp presented seminal new works by Mona Hatoum, Rasheed Araeen and Marc Chaimowicz.

As well as supporting young artists by presenting their first solo exhibitions in London, The Showroom has played a central role in developing discourse around contemporary art practices. Since 2004 Showroom conferences have considered art and politics (To Change an Opinion), alter-modernism (New Moderns?), and Props, events, encounters: the performance of new sculpture.

The Showroom’s new 3,000 square foot building on Penfold Street has been reconfigured by Berlin-based architects ifau + Jesko Fezer in collaboration with London’s Working Architecture Group to provide a dynamic flexible space for its long-term growth.

Opening in September 2009, the gallery will accommodate a programme of commissioned projects, as well as an expanded education facility that will host workshops, conferences and events for artists, writers and curators. While continuing to support the production of new work by artists underrepresented in London, director Emily Pethick will emphasise emerging practices and ideas, collaborative approaches, and projects situated in the public realm that build relationships with the gallery’s new neighbourhood, Church Street, which is one of the most deprived wards in the UK.

First Exhibition:
The Otolith Group
A Long Time Between Suns (Part 2)
Opening 8 September 2009
A Long Time Between Suns (Part 2) is the second installment of a two-part solo show by the Otolith Group, which has been organised in collaboration with Gasworks. Having shown the films Otolith I and II at Gasworks in March 2009, the second instalment is the premiere Otolith III, and is also the first exhibition The Showroom’s new space in the Church Street Neighbourhood, London NW8.

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