Somerset House Studios announces the relaunch of project space G31

G31, previously named Gallery 31, relaunches as a project space dedicated to the work of artists who are part of Somerset House Studios, as well as work developed through its residency programmes. Its new evolution will refocus its efforts on connecting ongoing work – at all stages of development – in the building to audiences, allowing them an opportunity to ‘look behind the curtain’ and to interact with the risk-taking work that’s flourishing within the building.  

Open year-round, it hosts a programme of installations and durational activities, most of which are free to attend, as part of the wider Somerset House Studios programme. The work to be shown in the space will vary in its development from work in progress to final commissions and premieres with long-standing Studios’ resident Libby Heaney’s new VR installation, Heartbreak and Magic on 9 February. Exhibition Studio 01 will follow in March, presenting the work of early career artists enorê, Leila Dear and Ufuoma Essi, supported through a residency at the Studios.  Curator Jareh Das will share a new collaboration with Studios’ residents in June. G31’s transformation into a space for experimentation reflects the ongoing mission of the Studios to support process and collaboration across artistic disciplines. 

Today’s announcement also includes details of new collaborations, commissions with Berlin’s CTM Festival x Goethe Institut London and Roberts Institute of Art, as well as the welcoming of new Studios’ residents and the announcement of the recipient of the inaugural Creative Technologies Fellowship. Further information is elaborated on below.

G31 opening hours from 9 February are Mon-Wed & Sat-Sun: 10.00-18.00, Thu-Fri: 12.00-21.00 and is located in the New Wing of Somerset House. 

Heartbreak and Magic by Libby Heaney | 9-18 February booking in advance is required) | G31 | £6

Heartbreak and Magic is a new virtual reality artwork and physical installation by the award-winning Somerset House Studios artist and quantum physicist Dr Libby Heaney. Heaney, who has been a resident since 2017, has exhibited work which was developed in-house at the Studios at the likes of Ars Electronica, Tate Modern, V&A and the Southbank Centre.

Drawing on the artist’s own experience with personal grief and sudden loss, the artwork explores the non-binary and non-local qualities of quantum physics to offer alternative perspectives on how we think and feel about the self and existence. The immersive installation invites audiences to connect deeply with their emotions by exploring the meaning of existence in both the physical and virtual realms.

Heartbreak and Magic will include virtual reality artwork set within a specially designed physical installation featuring mixed-media paintings which connect to the virtual experience. Audiences will experience a shifting, multilayered landscape that evokes themes of cyclicity, liminality, and the multiverse.

The installation continues Heaney’s explorations into the “magical” possibilities of quantum physics–in particular the inherent plurality and interconnectedness within concepts such as superposition and entanglement. Heaney developed the work through an iterative, experimental process involving both physical and digital forms of creativity, from movement practice, writing, drawing, and painting to bespoke quantum computing code and game engine prototyping, it brings her experimentation with quantum computing into virtual reality for the first time.

Heartbreak and Magic is commissioned by VIVE Arts and presented in partnership with Somerset House.

Booking opens Tuesday 12 December.

Studio 01: enorê, Leila Dear, Ufuoma Essi | 8 March- 7 July (PV 7 March) | Free 

Studio 01 is a new Somerset House Studios exhibition series presenting the work of three early career visual artists who completed an 18-month residency, supported by Jerwood Arts, and have been selected by a panel of artists and industry experts including Studios resident and filmmaker Jenn Nkiru. Studio 01 takes its title from the first-ever exhibition at Somerset House Studios in 2016, which featured works by the original residents, including Erica Scourti, Gareth Pugh, La Turbo Avedon and Larry Achiampong.

Today’s Studio 01 artists are enorê, Leila Dear and Ufuoma Essi. The exhibition features the artists’ specific thematic approaches, part research and part inquiry, from sculpture to moving images to paintings and drawings. enorê’s hybrid 3D ceramics and wall-based screen works expand on their research into embodiment, virtuality and care for an intangible other, referring to Tamagotchis as a starting point. Dear’s sculpture and wall piece examines archival materials, the relationship between body and environments, patterns and structures. Lastly, Essi will present a new moving image work around her research and experiments with Super8 film that explores the relationship between materiality, land, isolation and displacement.

Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom and Harun Morrison, curated by Jareh Das | 19 July – 20 Oct | G31 | FREE 

Somerset House Studios has invited curator and writer Dr Jareh Das to collaborate with artists from the Studios community on a new work to be presented in Somerset House Studios’ project space G31 in the summer. Further details to follow in spring.

New Commissioning Partnerships

Somerset House Studios is delighted to announce two new commissioning partnerships for 2024: with Berlin’s CTM Festival x Goethe Institut London and Roberts Institute of Art.

  • The partnership between Berlin’s CTM Festival and the Goethe Institut London will support a Germany-based female or non-binary artist whose practice is within music and sound to create a new work. The artist will be supported by a residency at the Studios, commencing in spring 2024. The resulting work will receive its premiere at the Studios before travelling to CTM in 2025. 
  • The collaboration with the Roberts Institute of Art will support the creation of a new performance commission to premiere at Somerset House next year. Both organisations will work closely with the artist to provide support and resources throughout the development process of the work and the platform to present the performance. The partnership brings together two organisations that have long championed cross-disciplinary live performance in London. 

Both commissions will be presented as part of Assembly 2024, Somerset House Studios’ contemporary experimental music series. More details to come in January. 

New Somerset House Studios Residents

Somerset House Studios welcomes artists Harun Morrison, Cooking Sections, and Aoibheann Greenan as new residents and CCI fellow, Louis Morlæ.

  • Harun Morrison is an artist and writer based on the inland waterways, whose work often employs collaborative processes. His practice spans spatial design, text, video and sound. He is currently an associate artist with Greenpeace UK and is the Designer and Researcher in Residence at V&A Dundee. 
  • Cooking Sections examine the systems that organise the world through food. Using site-responsive installation, performance and video, they explore the overlapping boundaries between art, architecture, ecology and geopolitics. Established in London in 2013 by Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe, their practice uses food as a lens and a tool to observe landscapes in transformation. 
  • Aoibheann Greenan is an Irish artist whose practice is rooted in a critical exploration of experience design, navigating its dual nature of capture and escape. Working across moving images, performances, installations, sculptures, costumes and drawings, her theatrical stagings pull at the seams of our commodified experiences, allowing aberrant or repressed material to surface. 

Louis Morlæ is the recipient of the inaugural 12-month Creative Technologies Fellowship in collaboration with UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI).  His sculptures reference domestic and industrial design language, through which he proposes an act of ‘re-worlding’ – creating objects that question technological constructs and explore our potential to dream of new worlds.

Discover more from Decoded Magazine

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.