The White Cube will be expanding its empire on 12 October with the opening of its new gallery in Bermondsey, just in time for the Frieze Art Fair. The vast site, at 5,400 sq metres will become the largest commercial art gallery in Britain.
Founder Jay Jopling said the new venture provides an opportunity to “expand the range and ambition of all aspects of our programme.” He also stated that it affirms the “ongoing strength of London as a creative hub.” Originally a distribution centre for the Radio Times magazine, the converted 1970s warehouse will contain an array of new spaces for the White Cube’s artists, who include YBA heavyweights such as Damien Hirst, Gilbert and George, Anselm Kiefer and Doris Salcedo.
White Cube Bermondsey aims to be an impressive arts centre south of the river. There will be a 60-seat auditorium for showing artists’ films and hosting talks; an archive room which will be available to researchers; and a bookshop. The ‘South Galleries’ will provide the principal exhibition area and three smaller galleries, collectively known as the ‘North Galleries’, will feature an innovative programme of one-off exhibitions by emerging artists not normally represented by the White Cube. The building will also accommodate a photographer’s studio and a case-making workshop, art storage, and viewing rooms
This new space and exhibition programme hopes to encourage non-buying visitors as well as big collectors and buyers. Director of Exhibitions at the White Cube, Tim Marlow has big ambitions for the project. He said “I hope it blurs the distinction between public and private galleries, though we always work in sympathy with and in dialogue with the public sector.”
The White Cube’s new location south of the Thames offers several advantages. Tate Modern, Southwark Playhouse and the Design Museum are all in the area. Other not-for-profit spaces such as The Drawing Room, Auto Italia South East, and Cafe Gallery are also in the nearby and just over Tower Bridge is the commercial hub of the City.
White Cube was established by Jay Jopling in 1993 as a project room for contemporary art. One of the smallest exhibition spaces in Europe, it was arguably one of most influential commercial galleries of the past decade. Situated on the second floor of 44 Duke Street, St James’s, designed by the architect Claudio Silvestrin, the space was – literally – a simple white cube. White Cube’s existing premises are in Hoxton East London and St James’s in Central London, close to its original exhibition space.
The White Cube Bermondsey’s inaugural exhibition will be ‘Structure & Absence’, a group show which will include work by Andreas Gursky, Wade Guyton, Damien Hirst, Sergej Jensen, Brice Marden, Gabriel Orozco, Sterling Ruby, Robert Ryman and Jeff Wall.