by Jerry ElengicalJun 11, 2021
The London Gallery Weekend's inaugural edition will unite numerous prominent contemporary art galleries across the city over a three-day series of exhibitions. Planted and subsequently incubated during the city's extended lockdown, the initial seeds of thought behind the event took root in the online sphere as new bonds were forged between gallerists and art dealers, brought together by their shared trials and tribulations during the pandemic. Over the course of this period, the London Gallery Weekend emerges as a grassroots initiative that seeks to channel the energy of London's thriving pre-lockdown gallery scene.
Overseen by committees of gallery representatives from all over the city, the event boasts a rich itinerary comprising exhibitions by prominent contemporary artists that include both established names and upcoming talents. Public programs such as discussions, studio visits, children's events as well as performances arranged by participating galleries will also take place across the city.
Spread across three geographical zones, the 137 participant galleries in Central, East, and South London will be open across all three days, with each day focusing on one particular area. Commencing in Central London on Friday, the event's focus will shift to South London on Saturday and finally conclude at the East End on Sunday. On their corresponding days in-focus, galleries in each zone will remain open till 8pm.
"Like music labels, publishers or film producers, galleries play a crucial role in caring about artists and art. Coming together in this way, London’s galleries reinforce their longstanding commitment and contribution to our local culture and suggest a collaborative approach that is more accessible and more sustainable," said Stefan Kalmár, Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Arts, in a statement.
Leilah Babirye's first solo UK exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery is among the highlights of the Central London showcase, which also includes Paul Feeley's first exhibition within the country for nearly 50 years at Waddington Custot. At Alison Jacques, Sheila Hicks will display a series of new works produced in her Paris studio during the lockdown, depicting her relationship with music.
Other noteworthy events include a historical group showcase curated by Francesco Bonami at Luxembourg + Co. to feature a new sculptural work by Maurizio Cattelan. American artist Alicia Henry will hold her first UK exhibition at Tiwani Contemporary while Kapwani Kawanga will display her sculptures and installations at Goodman Gallery. In addition, Amanda Wilkinson Gallery will host a display of some of Derek Jarman's significant paintings, and Vinca Petersen will have a solo exhibition of diaristic photographs at Edel Assanti, shedding light on her experiences with a free party traveller community. Aside from this, Clementine Keith-Roach, Tala Madani, Bridget Riley and Tom Sachs will host showcases during the weekend across the Central London zone.
In South London, Copperfield will host Jasleen Kaur's first solo London exhibition and Cabinet Gallery will exhibit a series of video works by Klein, a London-based musician. "There couldn’t be a better moment for galleries to join forces to celebrate London’s fantastic contemporary art scene and all it has to offer. South London is home to some of the best galleries in London including some that are as yet relatively little known," said Margot Heller, Director at the South London Gallery.
In this vein, Tarek Lakhrissi, Tom Lovelace, Jade Montserrat, and Nicholas Pope will all exhibit their work at the event's South London arm. At White Cube Bermondsey, the Takis Foundation will display significant works by the late Greek artist, while Sulger Buel will showcase recent work by Adjani Okpu-Egbe, Collin Sekajugo, and Fathi Hassan, among 10 current African artists.
About the East London program, Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, explained, "The East End, in so many ways, is synonymous with London's dynamic arts scene. I see London Gallery Weekend as an open invitation to encounter all that our area has to offer creatively."
Rana Begum's first exhibition with Kate McGarrie will be held in this zone alongside showcases by Shannon Cartier Lucy, Soshiro Matsubara, Sanya Kantarovsky, and Hana Miletić. At Victoria Miro Gallery, Yayoi Kusama will present new works including bronze pumpkins, paintings, and soft sculptures. Joseph Yaeger will hold his first solo display at Project Native Informant while Mary Webb and Peter Hujar will have dedicated solo exhibitions at Hales and Maureen Paley respectively.
The event website, powered by the British technology company, Artlogic, will permit visitors to chart out their itineraries throughout the weekend, serving as its primary navigational tool. A full list of participating galleries and showcases is also available on the site. With a diverse assortment of artist exhibits across a multitude of styles, disciplines, and backgrounds, the London Gallery Weekend promises to be an enthralling celebration of the city’s art scene, with a focus on the vital role of its most important facilitators.