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Bethnal Green is a hot spot of creativity, filled with artist studios and exhibition spaces of all shapes and sizes. Discover the best in collaborative and artist-led galleries with our selected highlights from the area.
The gallery’s acronym stands for Image Music Text, and encourages artist to experiment in all these forms with an ‘a small team of easily excitable folks’. As such the gallery’s shows are often extremely experimental and feature curated group shows as well as solo presentations. The gallery also represents David Burrows, Lotte Rose Kjær Skau, Plastique Fantastique and Gordon Shrigley.
Gallerist and some-time DJ Fred Mann opened his own space in 2015, supporting local and international artists alike. New Art Projects also often partners with other spaces in order to present larger scale exhibitions, such as the recent show Abstract Remix which was launched in collaboration with Thomas Taubert (of Taubert Contemporary) in order to mount a group exhibition questioning the contemporary nature of abstraction.
This modest space on Herald Street spends most of its time hidden behind an industrial shutter. The one-room Ryder Projects was founded in order to facilitate artist projects and installations that are left-field or experimental. It opened in 2014 with a show by William Mackrell, which featured documentation from his performance piece Deux Chevaux, featuring the famous 2CV car being towed by two horses. The vehicle itself worked as the sculptural centrepiece of the exhibition.
The original Peckham site for this collaborative, artist-run gallery inspired the name ‘Auto Italia South East’, because it was once an Alfa Romeo dealership. The gallery’s present home resides on Bonner Road, just moments from Victoria Park. The organisation has an emphasis on new commissions, collaborative working and experimental projects such as Dream Babes, which investigates the intersection between queer culture, feminism and drag, and Haliweed, which examines codependency in contemporary society.
In what seems like miles away from the busy streets of the East End, The Art Pavilion offers a beautiful glass-fronted gallery situated within the greenery of Mile End Park, overlooking a small lake. The vast space is available to hire for exhibitions and events, and has hosted an incredible selection of live performances and shows, including a recent group presentation exploring artists’ relationships to nature.
This former shop front works as a studio space for founders Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, as well as an exhibition space. The couple straddle contemporary art and music with their band Das Hund, while also keeping to their strict mantra of only showing artists with no other commercial gallery representation in the UK.
If it wasn’t for the large sign emblazoned across the top of the building, Cell Project Space could be easy to miss among the traffic and industry of Cambridge Heath Road. You might also be forgiven for feeling lost when you reach the entranceway, which is somewhat concealed by a collection of sub-tropical plants. The gallery itself started as an artist-run space back in 1999 but is now a registered charity, complete with 10 artist studios on site and hundreds of others throughout London. It has shown work by some of the UK’s best emerging talent including Eddie Peake, Jessica Warboys and Celine Condorelli.
This centre for film and photography has been a valuable resource for over 40 years, offering training, equipment and facilities for new and established practitioners. In the dedicated gallery, Four Corners presents new and archive exhibitions, artist talks and film screenings.
Making its mark with a white-washed façade nestled between a collection of redbrick industrial buildings, Supplement presents carefully considered exhibitions from a small roster of artists, including Ben Cain and Philomene Pirecki. Although it began life as an artist-run space it has recently transformed into a fully-fledged gallery. It also offers artist editions and specialist books on request.