A sequence of 151 vertical steel railings or fins rather like an urban Walter de Maria sculpture define the new White Cube Bermondsey along Bermondsey Street in SE London. The gallery is the third White Cube space in London joining Hoxton Square and Mason’s Yard in the Artopoly board. Yet it appears to be not so much a commercial gallery, but designed / refurbished by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects it is more like a small private modernist museum reminiscent of the minimal white spaces of David Chipperfield’s Museum Folkwang in Essen. The outside is a sturdy brown brick 1970s warehouse with the entrance, reception façade and delivery areas modified with the addition of a new entrance and steel-mesh canopy and granite setts in the front yard.
The interior opens on to a 70-metre vista – a top-lit gallery of 81 sq.metres named ‘9 × 9 × 9’ – with rooms off for exhibition spaces, private viewing, archives, 60 seat auditorium and a bookshop. The 780 sq.metre (8,400 sq ft) ‘South Galleries’ are the principal exhibiting space, while the ‘North Galleries’, are three 80 sq.metre smaller galleries. The auditorium will present an education programme, artists’ films and lectures. The offices are on the upper floor of the building with substantial warehousing on the ground floor. The architectural industrial / modernist aesthetic is of spacious and elegant white gallery walls and polished natural grey concrete floors.
The inaugural exhibition, ‘Structure & Absence’, is a group show that uses Chinese scholars’ rocks as an organising device to take a fresh look at contemporary abstraction. It includes work by Andreas Gursky, Wade Guyton, Damien Hirst, Sergej Jensen, Brice Marden, Gabriel Orozco, Sterling Ruby, Robert Ryman and Jeff Wall, amongst others. The gallery have introduced a new programme of exhibitions, ‘Inside the White Cube’, profiling work by artists who have not previously shown at the gallery. This provides a platform for exploring new developments in international contemporary art, across a range of practices and media. The programme begins with Marieta Chirulescu, Mary Corse and Kitty Kraus.
Opened on 12th October 2011 the gallery encompasses 5440 m 2 (58,000 sq ft) of interior space on a site of 1.7 acres (74,300 sq ft).
Images: White Cube Bermondsey; Exhibition: Structure and Absence; Kitty Kraus, Inside the White Cube. courtesy of White Cube.
White Cube Bermondsey, 144 —152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ