Whitechapel Gallery has announced future plans and its programme for 2023/24. Under the new directorship of Gilane Tawadros they have reaffirmed their commitment to present “the finest art of the world for the people of the East End, London” set down in 1901 on the gallery’s founding.
Successive waves of migrants have shaped the distinctive character of Whitechapel Gallery and its surrounding area. Generations of artists and makers have made it their home and place of work, contributing to its creative vibrancy. We are proud to be a contemporary visual arts organisation that is locally embedded and globally connected and we are committed to making contemporary art accessible to all our audiences, putting artists and ideas at the centre of everything we do. Our forthcoming programme for 2023 – 24 will build on the Whitechapel Gallery’s historic cultural, social and political capital whilst ensuring its sustainability – artistically, environmentally and financially – long into the future.
Whitechapel Gallery has always been a ground-breaking art institution in its founding mission, its relationship to artists, its unique location and its pioneering history. I am excited about the opportunity of translating and animating this distinctive and radical history for our time, recognising the critical role that art can play in firing up our imaginations, reflecting our lived experiences and opening up new possibilities for thinking, feeling and dreaming. The forthcoming programme in 2023-24 signals an increased ambition to be permeable – to be as open, collaborative and accessible as possible – and to be unafraid to work with artists and ideas that address the key issues and concerns of our times.Gilane Tawadros, Director, Whitechapel Gallery
In the Summer, we launch Life is More Important Than Art, a three-month, multi-disciplinary programme of exhibitions and events that explores the interface between art and everyday life and the role of the art institution at a time of uncertainty and change.
In the Autumn, we present the first UK survey of Nicole Eisenman, a leading protagonist of the New York art scene since the 1990s whose highly imaginative and often humorous work offers a commentary on the changing nature of public life. Drawings, murals, paintings and sculptures address political power structures, changing ideas of gender and the influence of digital technologies on personal relationships.
In Spring next year, we present Zineb Sedira’s critically acclaimed presentation Dreams Have No Titles, originally conceived for the French Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. An immersive installation comprising film, sculpture, photography and performance for which Sedira transforms the exhibition space into a movie set, blurring the boundary between fiction and documentary, the personal and the collective.
Life Is More Important Than Art 14th June – 17th September 2023 All Galleries,
Zilkha Auditorium & Studio, Online Free Entry; Ticketed Events: £5
Taking inspiration from the words of African American writer and novelist James Baldwin (b. 1924, USA, d. 1987, France), who proposed that Life is more important than art… and yet that is why art is important, Whitechapel Gallery presents a three-month programme of collaborations with artists, performers and thinkers of different generations which explores the interface between art and everyday life and the role of the art institution at a time of uncertainty and change.
Visitors are invited to journey through an exhibition of playful and reflective artworks in the exhibition Life is More Important Than Art, co-curated by artist Janette Parris and Gilane Tawadros. Extending across the ground and upper floor galleries, the exhibition presents the work of 12 artists encompassing sculpture, photography, film and installation that speaks to different experiences of migration, displacement and border crossing, the entanglement of past and present histories and the interweaving of personal stories with global events.
Artists include Rana Begum (b. 1977, Bangladesh), William Cobbing (b. 1974, UK), Sarah Dobai (b. 1965, UK), Susan Hiller (b. 1940, USA, – d. 2019, USA), Matthew Krishanu (b. 1980, UK), Jerome (b. 1991, UK), Janette Parris (b. 1962, UK), John Smith (b. 1952, UK), Alia Syed (b. 1964, UK), Mitra Tabrizian (b. 1954, Iran), Mark Wallinger (b. 1959, UK), and Osman Yousefzada (b. 1977, UK). Beginning with Hiller’s Untitled ‘singing wheelbarrow’ and culminating with Threshold to the Kingdom by Wallinger in the upper galleries new works are also shown for the first time by Begum and Parris, while works by Smith, Jerome and Tabrizian are presented for the first time in a gallery-setting. A key part of the exhibition, Susan Hiller’s haunting J.Street Project (Film), 2002-5 will be screened throughout the summer in the former Whitechapel Library which was locally known as ‘the university of the ghetto’ in the post-war years.
The Archive Gallery is transformed into The Somali Museum by NUMBI Arts, a Somali-originated African-centred arts and heritage organisation based in East London. NUMBI will propose the shape of a future museum in London dedicated to Somali arts and culture, with displays and discussions that will evolve throughout the season. The journey continues into two project spaces, where artists and play specialists Sarah Marsh (b.1980) and Stephanie Jefferies (b.1982) invite families, school children and audiences of all ages to engage with tactile, sensory objects in Sculpting Conversations, and the Gallery’s Youth collective, Duchamp & Sons, in collaboration with artist Gaby Sahar (b. 1992), encourage visitors to take a seat, relax, reflect, meet friends, and Escape the Slick. Hiller’s moving J Street documentary film brings the journey full circle, screened in the former Whitechapel Library during the daytime.
On evenings and weekends, Whitechapel Gallery becomes a dynamic space for live events – with performances, takeovers and public talks bringing together contributors from across creative disciplines. Highlight event partners and contributors include Bow Arts, Chisenhale Gallery, Healing Justice London, 2023 Writer-in-Residence Martin O’Brien (b. 1987, UK), and writer Lauren Elkin (b. 1978, USA).
Broadcast live from Zilka Auditorium & Studio each week Thursday – Saturday, Whitechapel Gallery Radio Station launches for the summer with artist pre-event interviews, playlists and more, available to watch live or tune in via the website.
From Sunday-Wednesday, the Zilkha Auditorium hosts a brand-new Artist’s Film International (AFI) programme. AFI is a collaborative project featuring moving image works contributed by 20 partners from all over the world. The theme of the 2023 programme is Diaspora and includes multidisciplinary conceptual R.I.P. Germain’s (b.UK) newly commissioned film, Everything’s For Sale & Everyone’s Welcome To Buy (2023).
Max Mara Art Prize for Women 2022 – 24 Dominique White: ‘Deadweight’ Italian Residency: May – October 2023
Agnone and Palermo (May – June) Genoa (June – July) Milan (July – August)m Todi (August – October).
Dominique White (b. 1993, UK), winner of the ninth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women (2022-2024), has begun her bespoke six-month residency in Italy, organised by Collezione Maramotti. The prize, a longstanding initiative and collaboration between Max Mara, Whitechapel Gallery and Collezione Maramotti, is set up to support and nurture women-identifying artists at a crucial stage in their career who have not previously had a major solo exhibition. White lives and works between Marseille, France and Essex, UK. A sculptor and installation artist, she is interested in creating new worlds for ‘Blackness’ and fascinated by the metaphoric potency and regenerative power of the sea. Her winning proposal is for a new body of work entitled Deadweight, takes as its starting point the measure of ‘deadweight tonnage’, an official term used in the maritime industry that calculates how many units of weight a ship can take before it sinks. The project continues her artistic and political concerns, while engaging with additional narratives and cultural layers, to be researched and further developed during her six-month residency in Italy.
Nicole Eisenman: What Happened 10th October 2023 – 14th January 2024 All Galleries One ticketed exhibition
Whitechapel Gallery presents What Happened, the first UK survey exhibition of American artist Nicole Eisenman (b. 1965, France). A leading protagonist of the New York art scene since the 1990s, her critical, highly imaginative and often humorous work offers a commentary on the ever-changing nature of public life. While addressing political power structures and challenging normative conceptions of gender, Eisenman draws on a variety of sources, from Renaissance masterpieces to socialist murals of the 1930s and contemporary underground comics.
Approximately 100 paintings, drawings and sculptures dating from 1992 to the present day will be presented across Whitechapel Gallery’s spaces. The exhibition is divided into eight chronological and thematic chapters including sections on lesbian communities in the 1990s, the life of the artist, technology, and American politics during the Trump years.
A catalogue accompanying the exhibition includes contributions by artists and scholars who have collaborated with Eisenman – Jadine Collingwood, Britta Peters, Ann Philbin, Helena Reckitt, Joe Scotland, A.L. Steiner, Nicola Tyson – as well as essays by the curators. The exhibition is co-organised by Whitechapel Gallery and Museum Brandhorst and curated by Monika Bayer-Wermuth and Mark Godfrey. In spring 2024 it will tour to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Alongside Nicole Eisenman’s What Happened exhibition there will be a dedicated events programme, archive display and collaborative exhibition organised by Whitechapel Gallery’s MA Programme Students.
Zineb Sedira: Dreams Have No Titles 15th February – 12th May 2024 All Galleries, Zilkha Auditorium & Studio One Ticketed Exhibition
Zineb Sedira’s (b. 1963, France) critically acclaimed presentation Dreams Have No Titles will have its first UK showing at Whitechapel Gallery in Spring 2024 as part of a wider programme led by Director Gilane Tawadros. Originally conceived for the French Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, Dreams Have No Titles is an immersive installation comprising film, sculpture, photography and performance, interweaving the artist’s biography with a history of activist films, produced in France, Algeria and Italy.
Sedira transforms the exhibition space into a series of film sets. In one gallery, visitors will find themselves in a ballroom scene from Ettore Scola’s iconic film Le Bal (1983) while another gallery will feature a re-creation of Sedira’s living room in her Brixton home. A full-scale cinema will be constructed in the upper galleries to screen the title film ‘Dreams Have No Titles’ in which the décor of several films provides the backdrop of a live shoot, blurring the boundary between fiction and documentary, the personal and the collective.
In Dreams Have No Titles the artist not only deals with an important turning point in the history of avant-garde film production. She also presents us with a cautionary tale about the failure of an emancipatory dream that for many people remains an unfulfilled promise.
In the Zilkha Auditorium & Studio, a programme of post-colonial and activist films, curated by Sedira, will accompany the exhibition.
To complement the season, British-born artist Andrew Pierre-Hart will create a new commission. A graduate of the BA Fine Art course at the Chelsea College of Art, 2017 and MA Painting at the Royal College of Art, 2017-2019, Hart’s practice is multi-disciplinary, based in painting. Hart’s new installation will explore the everyday sonic exchanges in the local environment of Whitechapel and wide themes of City-living. Hart will explore these ideas through a multi-media installation including painting, sound and moving image.