Funding cuts aplenty and rent price hikes it’s no wonder galleries are tiptoeing around trying to make the best decisions when it comes to their businesses. So there was surprise when art collector Jay Joplin announced the opening of his third London space – White Cube Bermondsey.
Already coveting two sort-after addresses in Mayfair and Hoxton this new venture seems to be taking on not only a larger space – in fact 58,000 sq ft of interior space- but a different vibe too. Set in 1970s warehouse it is the largest of the gallery’s three London sites and has been re designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects. The result is what on the opening last night looked like a cross between a spaceship and a multi-storey car park entrance.
There is a particular timing about this new space as it debuts at a perfect few weeks in the art calendar. For the next 2 weeks hundreds of collectors and buyers descend on London for the Frieze Art Fair and the whole host of exhibitions and pop up spaces that come along with it.
After queuing and being penned in for around 30 minutes we finally got inside. With it being dark outside already the bright lights and white walls were overwhelming, I felt like I needed blinkers to stop squinting. Once inside you are greeted with a long corridor off of it are the three principal exhibition spaces, private viewing rooms, an auditorium and a bookshop – which I have to say was my favourite space I could have spent a lot of money.
After trying to match the exhibition descriptions on the guide to the artworks (no labels featured) we explored the first space at the centre of the building, a gallery entitled ‘9 x 9 x 9’. Presenting here is Cerith Wyn Evans with a clinical neon light installation that wraps around this literally cubed room. It felt as if the words had come out of the walls due to the white neon and smooth quality.
Structure & Absence in the South Galleries include Gary Hume’s works which looked like they were dripping off the canvas in Room I with their metallic surfaces popping out from the white smooth walls. Room II features some bits and bobs from Damien Hirst. His Chinese scholars’ rocks and more familiar things like his ‘Neverland’ in room II – a mirrored shelved board filled with pills –think Smarties and disco.
Three smaller galleries, collectively known as the ‘North Galleries’ is where Kitty Kraus’ pieces can be found which are highlight for me. Her light box installations are tranquil and the prisms of light reflect on the blank canvas walls creating cityscape structures that reminded me of Tron.
Dinos and Jake Chapman have their two cents worth in the screening room. Can’t say too much about it as, well, you just have to see for yourself. If features Rhys Evans as an angst ridden artist and left us with puzzled faces afterwards.
It’s worth a look to see some of the lesser known contemporary artists on show and for the space itself, no doubt there will be some bigger things to come from this space in future.
“Structure and absence” runs until the 26/11/11
White Cube | Bermondsey Street | 144 —152 Bermondsey Street | London SE1 3TQ