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Whitechapel Gallery presents "A Century of the Artist’s Studio 1920 – 2020"

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Between 24 February and 5 June 2022, the Whitechapel Gallery hosts a 100-year survey of the Studio through the work of image-makers and artists from around the world.

Whether it’s an attic, an abandoned factory, or a kitchen table, the artist’s studio is where the great art of our time is conceived.

By juxtaposing under-recognized artists with distinguished figures in Western art history, this multimedia exhibition highlights the wide-ranging possibilities of creativity within the modern studio, placing it at the core of new art histories.

The exhibition brings together over 100 works by more than 80 artists from all over the world, including modern icons such as Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon, Henri Moore, Egon Schiele, Barbara Hepworth, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol, and contemporary figures such as Walead Beshty, Kerry James Marshall, and Lisa Brice.

The display includes sculptures, paintings, installations, and movies portraying the studio as a work of art. It also presents documentation of artists’ studios by world-renowned filmmakers and photographers. The “studio corners” series recreates the environments where great art has been produced.

Louise Bourgeois, Cell IX (1999), marble, steel, and mirrors, 84 x 100 x 52 inches.

At the frontispiece of the exhibition stands Louise Bourgeois’ Cell IX (1999), a monumental sculpture that imagines the studio as portal and prison. Bourgeois once explained: “By building the Cells I wanted to create my own architecture, and not depend on the museum space, not have to adapt my scale to it. I wanted to constitute a real space which you could enter and walk around in.”

Afterwards the show unfolds following two main themes:

  • The Private Studio presents Artists Alone and examines how the studio is often home, site of political resistance, refuge, and laboratory.

  • The Public Studio presents Artists Together, exploring how artists have embraced the studio as an exhibition space, a factory, arena, a collective workspace or classroom.

Works depicting modern masters including Pablo Picasso’s 1955 studio homage to Henri Matisse, and photographs of Andy Warhol in his infamous Silver Factory in New York are also included.

“I feel at home here in this chaos because the chaos suggests images to me.” (Francis Bacon)

The most alluring segments of the exhibitions are the recreated "studio corners" such as Andy Warhol’s infamous Silver Factory in New York or Francis Bacon’s messy floor at 7 Reece Mews.

After the artist’s death, an enormous effort was invested into preserving Bacon’s Kensington studio. Therefore, the space was meticulously disassembled and reconstructed in Dublin, at the Hugh Lane gallery.

More than 7,000 items including tainted towels, consumed bottles of champagne, empty cans of paint, and even a head of William Blake were relocated during a process that took 10 conservators and archaeologists three years to complete. Whitechapel presents a few emblematic pieces from this rich collection, bringing us closer to the backstage of Bacon’s creative cosmos.

📍 "A Century of the Artist’s Studio 1920 – 2020" is at The Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX 📆 Until Jun 5, 2022.

⏰ Opening hours:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11 am - 6 pm.

  • Monday - CLOSED.

  • Thursday 11 am - 9 pm.

🎫 Book tickets online at this link. 🚇 The nearest London Underground Station to Whitechapel Gallery is Aldgate East (on the

Hammersmith & City line and the District line).

*All photos were taken by Ina/WithinLondon unless stated otherwise. _____________________________

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