Famed exhibition space, The Photographers’ Gallery, is set to open its new home in central London on 19 May 2012, the gallery has revealed.
Work on the new Soho gallery began in Autumn 2010 as organisers sought a new space that would “create a 21st Century home for photography.”
Highlights of the new building include a sculpted terrazzo entrance with an open-plan design will connect the ground-level café and lower-ground bookshop to the street, while extending over a further five floors, the original Victorian red-brick warehouse will be linked to a modern steel-framed extension through an “external sleeve of black render, terrazzo and sustainably sourced Angelim Pedra wood,” according to the gallery.
Situated at the heart of the building between the two main exhibition spaces is the Studio Floor. Placing an emphasis on the gallery’s education programme, this floor will feature a full schedule of talks, workshops and events. Introducing permanent elements to the programme, the Studio Floor will include a camera obscura and a Study Room where the public will be able to access an archive of material related to exhibitions and events which have taken place since The Photographers’ Gallery was established.
Also featured on this floor will be Touchstone, a quarterly display of a single, groundbreaking photograph. Opening with Jeff Wall’s famous photo, The Giant (1992), Touchstone will encourage audiences to closely examine the work and showcase their responses alongside comments from the artist and contributors from other disciplines.
Another highlight of the Gallery’s opening will be a new digital programme featuring projects which raise questions concerning the changing status and circulation of photography in today’s digital culture. A centrepiece of the programme will be a digital display on the ground floor which will present guest-curated projects, artist commissions and collaborative photographic work involving the public. Social media channels, mobile devices and The Photographers’ Gallery’s website will all be explored as alternative platforms for exhibitions.
The work cost £8.9 million and was supported by Arts Council England’s Lottery Fund, alongside a number of Trusts, Foundations, corporations and individual donors.
Originally launched in 1971 in London’s Great Newport Street, The Photographers’ Gallery was the UK’s first independent gallery dedicated to photography and was the first in the UK to exhibit work by famous photographers such as Sebastião Salgado and Robert Capa.
Coinciding with the re-opening will be an exhibition of photos by the renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. The exhibition of Edward Burtynsky photos will showcase over 30 large-scale images from his acclaimed series OIL. Shot over the span of 10 years, OIL highlights the rarely seen mechanics of the manufacture, distribution and use of one of the world’s most highly contested resources while exploring its impact on our lives, culture and the environment.
Visit The Photographers’ Gallery website for more details.