Not all art galleries are white cubes. There are plenty of art spaces, projects and initiatives, which operate in unusual and unexpected locations. From car parks or garages, via train platforms to former churches and former polygraphic plants, see our selection of alternative art spaces that challenge the perception of what showcasing contemporary art should be.
Bold Tendencies at a multi-storey car park, London
The rooftop space at Peckham Multi-Storey Car Park is home to an arts organisation called Bold Tendencies. For more than a decade, Bold Tendencies has been developing a disused car park, into a rooftop sculpture exhibition. By commissioning large-scale sculptures, orchestral music and site-specific installations, the car park turns into a vibrant rooftop with an open-air gallery and a bar with a spectacular view over London. It’s a perfect place to hang out with friends in the summertime and to enjoy some impressive art.
Dom Słowa Polskiego – presenting art in the former polygraphic plant, Warsaw
Dom Słowa Polskiego used to be the largest polygraphic plant in communist Poland, designed by the architect Kazimerz Marczewski in 1950s. Located at Miedziana street in Warsaw’s Ochote district, it’s where popular newspapers such as “Trybuna Ludu” or later on “Gazeta Wyborcza” were printed. Since, 2014 Dom Słowa Polskiego runs an exhibition programme focused on the promotion of emerging artists. The three post-industrial spaces – white and spacious – are ideal for new media art projects such as the recent group exhibition “Beyond the Seven” organised by Wro Art Centre. It presented video art, site-specific installations and futuristic objects and visions. Two of the other rooms are occupied by the Stereo Gallery and Arton Foundation.
Banner Repeater on the train platform, London
Banner Repeater is an artist-led contemporary art space: a reading room, and experimental project space located on the train platform of the Hackney Downs station in East London. Banner Repeater opens its doors six days a week and is available to all, including daily commuters. At the same time, a profound and ambitious programme of exhibitions, events, talks and performances attract intellectuals, curators and artists across all disciplines and mainly those focused on art publishing. Founded by Ami Clarke in 2010, it managed to take deep roots on the London contemporary art map.
Stroboskop Art Space in a garage, Warsaw
Stroboskop is an artist-led exhibition space inside a garage at the residential estate at the Siewierska Street of the Ochota district in Warsaw. As we can learn from their website, STROBOSKOP is a place for experimental and risk-taking projects, which has been created as an alternative to the local Polish art scene. At Stroboskop, emerging artists show challenging projects. The space is run by artists and friends Franciszek Buchner, Agnieszka and Norbert Delman and Katie Zazenski. The founder Norbert Delman describes this initiative as “a space where artists can take a risk in their method of work and have the full freedom for experimenting and testing – to treat the garage as an art lab.”
The Crypt Gallery in the former coffin burials, London
The Crypt of St Pancras Parish Church in London was designed and used for coffin burials from 1822 to 1854. Today, since 2002 it is an atmospheric exhibition and event space open to art that provokes questions and contemplation. The Crypt Gallery’s bright red entrance leads to into dark intriguing bricked and arched tunnels with many hidden spaces, which are ideal for projections, site-specific installations, new media art and performances.
KÖNIG GALERIE inside a former monumental church, Berlin
KÖNIG GALERIE is another example of an art gallery located inside a former church. Since May 2015, the gallery took up the monumental St Agnes church built in brutalist Style from the 1960s, where large-scale exhibitions are displayed in the the chapel and the nave. The church was built by Werner Düttmann and renovated by renowned architect Arno Brandlhuber.
The programme of Konig Gallery focuses on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based approaches in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography and performance. The gallery represents around 40 international emerging and established artists such Monika Bonvicini, Alicja Kwade, Erwin Wurm and Jeppe Hein.