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View of the front door of Freehouse in Bethnal Green, London. Photo: Darren Flook. Click above for more images.

Darren Flook to Open New Project Space in London

Darren Flook, cofounder of the New York and Brussels–based fair Independent, is preparing to open a new project space that celebrates experimentation and diversity in East London in September. The venue will be called Freehouse and will host exhibitions, talks, screenings, performances, and other programming.

The idea for the project space was born from Flook’s experience running Hotel gallery in London from 2003 to 2013. The gallery represented artists such as Carol Bove, Duncan Campbell, Joyce Pensato, Steven Claydon, David Noonan, Peter Saville, and Rita Ackermann. After its ten-year run concluded, Flook told artforum.com that he took time to reevaluate. “I spent a long time thinking about small galleries after Hotel closed and what I saw at fairs including Independent. Young galleries trying to play the same game as big galleries and failing.”

Flook cited the increasing number of fairs, the rising rents, and the high operating costs as some of the difficulties small and midsize galleries constantly face. With these challenges in mind, he decided to open a space and treat it as an artist would treat their studio. Motivated to give back to the community where he lives, he found and rented a place in Bethnal Green. “Freehouse is ambitious, but I accept the market is difficult and that artists want what big galleries can offer, but what does that leave? Is there space to be creative and push the conversation forward rather than just complain or mourn the loss of a time gone? I believe so, because what is at the heart of this is the art.”

An exhibition of work by the Berlin and Zurich–based artist Tobias Spichtig, known for his multimedia installations and performances that often incorporate found objects and low-grade furniture and domestic items such as mattresses and refrigerators, will inaugurate the space. Nope, a reimagined neon shop sign by the political art collective Claire Fontaine, will also be displayed and lit in Freehouse’s front window. The venue will focus on presenting solo shows not seen before in the UK. Future exhibitions will feature the work of Robin Graubard and Sean Landers.

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