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Site of upcoming Phyllida Barlow installation. Courtesy of Studio Voltaire.
Site of upcoming Phyllida Barlow installation. Courtesy of Studio Voltaire.

Studio Voltaire Closes for Expansion, Launches Off-Site Programming

The South London nonprofit arts organization Studio Voltaire is organizing “Elsewhere,” a series of off-site exhibitions and commissions that will be staged while its permanent home in Clapham is closed to the public as it undergoes a $3.8 million renovation. Phyllida Barlow, Monster Chetwynd, Nnena Kalu, and Dawn Mellor will create works for the program, which will be installed in various venues across London.

Studio Voltaire is planning to build a dedicated learning and events space, a public courtyard and café, a sculpture workshop, and live/work units for its international residency program. According to the nonprofit, available studio space in London has decreased by 17 percent over the past three years. In order to combat the loss of affordable workspace, the project will offer studios on its new mezzanine level to local artists. The organization’s existing studio building will also be refurbished and will be able to accommodate seventy-five artists.  

The revamp also includes the establishment of the first–ever permanent space for its store House of Voltaire and upgrades such as the addition of lighting and heating to its gallery, which is housed in a Victorian chapel. The expansion is being led by the London-based architects Matheson Whiteley, whose past projects include Stuart Shave’s Modern Art gallery in London and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Germany. Funding for the project has come from the mayor of London’s Strategic Investment Fund, Arts Council England, and numerous other grantmakers and donors.

The venue’s final show before it shuttered for construction on October 6 was Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley’s “Rand/Goop,” a mash-up of artworks paying homage to the late Russian American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand and the American actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness website. “Elsewhere” will launch in February 2020 and will run until the reopening of Studio Voltaire in the fall.

Nnena Kalu, Boulder Sculptures, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Action Space.