New movements for Global South galleries
SOUTH SOUTH takes a look at galleries founded in the Global South that have recently opened new spaces at home and elsewhere.
With the residual memory of digital experience as the primary mode of exploring artwork for the past two years, galleries within the Global South have been working behind the scenes to reconstruct post-pandemic manifestations of their reach. Nigeria’s Rele Gallery opened a US branch in Los Angeles back in February 2021 as well as opening a larger space in Lagos’s contemporary art centre Ikoyi earlier this year. India’s Chemould Prescott Road opened a second space in Mumbai emphasising work by emerging talent and Brazil’s Mendes Wood DM took up residence in New York’s Tribeca neighbourhood. We take a closer look at an additional three influential galleries that have opened distinctive spaces at home and across continents to contextualise the artists that they represent in different ways, expanding their audiences.
Rachel Rillo (left) and Isa Lorenzo (right), Silverlens.
Photograph by Joseph Pascual
Martha Atienza, Tigpanalipod (the Protectors) 11°02’06.4″N 123°36’24.1”E, (2022) (film still). Courtesy of the artist and Silverlens.
Silverlens Gallery, based in Manila, was founded in 2004 by Isa Lorenzo. She was joined as co-director by Rachel Rillo in 2007. Since its inception it has developed into a heavy hitter in the Southeast Asian art scene representing artists that speak to the localities of the Philippines as well as across Asia and its Diaspora. It has also enabled significant exhibition programming and institutional partnerships that have pushed boundaries and presented Asian voices within the larger contemporary art landscape.
In July Silverlens announced its first transcontinental expansion, opening a gallery in Chelsea, New York. This move articulates Lorenzo and Rillo’s vision to accelerate a broader representation of Southeast Asian artists in the United States. The expansion is necessitated by the growth of the gallery’s programme and the drive to bring a broader representation of Southeast Asian, Asian Pacific, and Diasporic artists into the wider framework of the contemporary art dialogue. The New York gallery plans to activate the space with both gallery-curated and curator-led exhibitions, along with artist talks, panel discussions, film screenings, and events. The new gallery – a 2,500 square-foot space with 20-foot ceilings located on the ground floor at 505 W 24th Street – will open September 8, 2022 with inaugural exhibitions by artists Martha Atienza and Yee I-Lann. Atienza and I-Lann, both mixed-raced women artists working collaboratively with their island communities, embody the culture and energy that allow art to be made under the most difficult circumstances. Their solo shows are titled The Protectors and At the Roof of the Mouth respectively.
Yee I-Lann, Measuring Project, Chapter 1, 2021
Courtesy of the artist and Silverlens
This move articulates Lorenzo and Rillo’s vision to accelerate a broader representation of Southeast Asian artists in the United States.
Another powerhouse, Experimenter, also recently announced that it will also be launching its third gallery space in Mumbai this September. Co-founded by Prateek and Priyanka Raja in 2009, the gallery’s multidisciplinary approach has provided the foundation for its programme to empower artists, curators and other cultural practitioners in establishing their careers and exploring experimental forms of expression. For more than a decade Experimenter has been rooted in Kolkata, a city which it calls home with its two spaces – Ballygunge Place and Hindustan Road.
This expansion from Kolkata to Mumbai will allow the innovative contemporary art gallery to build a multifaceted, adaptive, discursive programme and to reach a larger local audience. The gallery hopes to bring to the city its unique ethos through Experimenter’s multidisciplinary programming and the practices of its artists in an attempt to enmesh itself within the deep cultural landscape of the city. The new space at Colaba occupies one floor of a carefully restored 1890’s building in South Mumbai, re-designed to offer an interplay between natural and directional lighting systems and state of the art technology for showcasing ambitious contemporary art. The gallery’s opens with a solo show by Ayesha Sultana, where Sultana explores simultaneously her pursuit of stillness, a deliberated rhythm of work and the aesthetics of silence through a series of new paintings, drawings and sculptures.The solo brings together Sultana’s practice across a range of mediums where painting,drawing and sculpture become a movement of sight, cultivating a form of attention or a way of looking. The gallery’s opening weekend will be 23-24 September 2022.
Experimenter – Colaba, Mumbai – External View
Image courtesy of Experimenter
The gallery hopes to bring to the city its unique ethos through Experimenter’s multidisciplinary programming and the practices of its artists in an attempt to enmesh itself within the deep cultural landscape of the city.
Mexico’s OMR is another gallery that has recognised the impact that can be created through expanding within familiar territory. The owner and director of OMR Cristobal Riestra teamed up with Joaquín Vargas Mier y Terán (CEO Grupo CMR) to found a new living and cultural hub in the heart of the Chapultepec forest in Mexico City called LAGO/ALGO. Reanimating an iconic building of modernist architecture, this new project aims to bring together encounters between music, contemporary art, architecture, nature and gastronomy. It houses a bar, restaurant, shared workstation and exhibition space, physically demonstrating the intentions for the project – collaboration, cross-disciplinary engagement and enabling new social and cultural practices.
LAGO/ALGO recently announced the appointment of French curator and experienced institutional director Jérôme Sans as its Creative Director. Sans is the co-founder of Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where he was director for the first six years before directing the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing from 2008 to 2012. To start off this new relationship, Sans has curated the next group exhibition in the space titled Shake Your Body, which will open in early September 2022. In addition to producing exhibitions, Sans will be heavily invested in developing the DNA of LAGO/ALGO which will be articulated through a wide variety of interventions related to the creative avenues mentioned above.
We look forward to new and familiar artists from each gallery’s programme being contextualised within their new spaces.
Reanimating an iconic building of modernist architecture, this new project aims to bring together encounters between music, contemporary art, architecture, nature and gastronomy.
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