The London Open 2015
at The Whitechapel Gallery
Until 6th September
The London Open is the Whitechapel Gallery’s triennial open submission contemporary art show, open to all artists aged 26 and over living and working in London.
The Whitechapel Gallery held their first open submission exhibition 83 years ago, back then it was ‘for all artists living and working east of the famous Aldgate Pump’, and for many years after The London Open was limited to artists working and living in the East End. Since 2012, the last incarnation of this three-yearly event, the parameters have been widened to include all artists living and working in ALL the London Boroughs.
2015 was a bumper year for numbers of submissions, a record 2,133 artists applied with 48 being selected by a panel of high profile art world figures including artist Angela de la Cruz and critic Ben Luke.
The London Open has a buzzy feeling to it and a tremendous diversity of works on show, including painting, sculpture, video art and assorted installations. Highlights for me included the two panes of glass improbably and scarily suspended by a single rope from Ben Woodeson and the beach of polystyrene ‘stones’ that comprises Alexander Duncan’s Cove.
And special mention must go to the brick sculpture that was being created right in front of us at the preview by the father and daughter team of bricklayer Brian Watts and artist Demelza Watts. Entitled All in a Day this zig zag brick wall represents, as Demelza Watts makes clear, ‘8 hours of my father’s labour’. Here trade becomes art and art becomes trade. Love that.
The London Open 2015 is patchy, as is always the case with open submission shows, but it is well worth seeing for the gems it holds within. This is London’s alternative Summer Exhibition and much more exciting.
Photographs from this year’s London Open:
All photographs © The London Art File
Exhibition is on until 6th September 2015
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm
Thursday late until 9pm
The Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX
020 7522 7888
Nearest London Underground Station: Aldgate East
Nearest Docklands Light Railway Station: Tower Gateway