From a record number of 2,133 applicants, 48 artists have been selected from open submission by a panel of high profile art world figures, including artist Angela de la Cruz, collector Nicoletta Fiorucci, writer and critic Ben Luke, gallerist Jake Millerand Whitechapel Gallery curators Daniel F. Herrmann, Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies, and Poppy Bowers, Assistant Curator.
The exhibition which acts as a barometer of contemporary art includes works by 25 female artists, 22 male artists and one collective, who are originally from across the UK, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA and all now live and work in London. Established artists such as Emma Hart, Mary Ramsden and Tim Stoner are shown alongside emerging artists including Tim Ellis, Eva Stenram and Dominic Watson. The exhibition is open to all artists aged 26 or over living and working in London.
Presenting a cross-section of the most dynamic work being made across the capital today to a national and international audience, the exhibition will feature painting, sculpture, moving image, photography, drawing, performances and installations. Abstract and figurative painting as well as participatory and conceptual art have emerged as strong threads running through the exhibition. Many works included in the exhibition are available for purchase.
The display includes a fully functioning fish counter in the galleries by multi-media artist and fishmonger Sam Curtis; a brick sculpture built on site by father-daughter team bricklayer Brian Watts and artist Demelza Watts; a tense video work by Nelmarie Du Preez of a robotic arm, programmed by the artist to repeatedly stab a knife between her spread fingers; and wall-paintings by Lothar Götz.
The artists in The London Open 2015 are: Rebecca Ackroyd, Holly Antrum, Ryuji Araki, Salvatore Arancio, Zehra Arslan, Alexander Baczynski-Jenkins, Sam Belinfante, Karl Bielik, Isha Bøhling, Jane Bustin, Jodie Carey, Ben Cove, Sam Curtis, Nelmarie Du Preez, Alexander Duncan, Tim Ellis, Adham Faramawy, Gaia Fugazza, Marco Godoy, Lothar Götz, Athene Greig, Buster Grimes, Mark Harris, Emma Hart, Dominic Hawgood, Mary Hurrel, Lucy Joyce, Dominic Kennedy, Sophie Mackfall, Damien Meade, Guy Patton, The Grantchester Pottery, Heather Power, Mary Ramsden, Sarah Roberts, Julie Roch-Cuerrier, Mitra Saboury, Lizi Sanchez, Laura Santamaria, Frances Scott, Eva Stenram, Tim Stoner, Roy Voss, Caroline Walker, Dominic Watson, Brian and Demelza Watts, Ben Woodeson and Madalina Zaharia.
The London Open 2015 goes on show 83 years after the Whitechapel Gallery’s first open submission exhibition in 1932. Called the East End Academy, it was ‘for all artists living or working east of the famous Aldgate Pump’. From the 1970s onwards the area around the Gallery in east London become home to many of the UK’s most important artists and the Whitechapel Open (as the East End Academy was later called) became a launch pad for artists in the early stages of their career, showing the work of artists such as Anish Kapoor, Julian Opie, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, Bob & Roberta Smith, Richard Wentworth, Rachel Whiteread and Antony Gormley, often for the first time. Since 2012 the Whitechapel Gallery has expanded the reach of the exhibition to artists from all of London, recognising the Gallery’s cultural role in the city.
Daniel F. Herrmann, Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies, said: ‘The London Open 2015 received the greatest number of applications in the history of the Whitechapel Gallery’s open submission exhibition. The entries were of exceptionally high quality – their level of execution, creativity and critical sense are testament to London’s status as the art capital of the world and we are delighted to present some of the most interesting artists working in the city today.’
Image: Tim Ellis, United in Different Guises CXCVII, 2014