Proffering itself as ‘the’ artist’s gallery, Whitechapel has, over the course of its century-long history, become a true bastion of artistic democracy and homeland creativity.
This month will see the grand opening of the Whitechapel’s multi-million pound redevelopment programme – a decisive refurbishment that has afforded the gallery an almost double-capacity exhibition space - along with innumerable extra improvements.
With design from renowned Belgian architects Robbrecht en Daem, the new space offers - on top of the Gallery’s original permanent exhibition area - a research room, several new gallery spaces and an intriguingly entitled ‘education and research tower’.
Collaborating with Robbrecht en Daem, artist of the people – Rachel Whiteread - has, fitting to form, also had a shoe in on the design of the new and improved gallery.
An exhibition from German sculptor Isa Genzken will be the first show to grace the reformed permanent space. Genzken’s energetic work with its multifarious meanings and influences is an interesting choice of opener for this distinctly British institution.
Running alongside Genzken’s seminal retrospective, the first Whitechapel-based offering from the Bloomberg commission – an annual commission offering artists an alternative platform for their site-specific work – will also be on show.
Goshka Macuga’s Guernica inspired tapestry will provide a pertinent nod to the Whitechapel’s illustrious artistic history (Picasso’s original was originally presented here in 1939.)
With constantly updated collection displays, cavernous historic archives and a dining room to counter any other – the pioneering expansion has provided Whitechapel with an invaluable opportunity to reaffirm its prominent position in the cultural landscape of Britain and beyond.