October 10, 2019 - Studio Voltaire - Studio Voltaire elsewhere
October 10, 2019

Studio Voltaire

Site view for Phyllida Barlow installation commission, part of Studio Voltaire elsewhere, 2019. Image courtesy Studio Voltaire.

Studio Voltaire elsewhere
A programme of London-wide offsite commissions for 2020

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Studio Voltaire announces Studio Voltaire elsewhere, an ambitious programme of London-wide offsite commissions for 2020 

Studio Voltaire, the leading not-for-profit arts organisation, has today announced details of Studio Voltaire elsewhere, a series of ambitious off-site exhibitions and commissions for 2020. The site-specific programming will take place in unexpected venues and locations across London and comes at a time when Studio Voltaire’s permanent home in Clapham is closed to the public, whilst undergoing a transformative GBP 2.4 million redevelopment. 

Studio Voltaire has commissioned Nnena Kalu, Dawn Mellor, Phyllida Barlow and Monster Chetwynd to create new work for this series. Each of these artists has a special relationship with Studio Voltaire, and the programme celebrates some of the most pivotal commissions within the institution’s 25-year history, reflecting its track record of supporting artists at key stages in their careers. 

Studio Voltaire elsewhere launches in February 2020 and will run through until the reopening of Studio Voltaire that autumn. 


Nnena Kalu
Cork Street, Mayfair, W1
February–April 2020 

Studio Voltaire elsewhere launches with a new solo commission by Nnena Kalu, who will produce a new series of large-scale sculptural installations in-situ at the gallery. Created by binding, layering and wrapping materials, Kalu’s installations center an important relationship between the artist’s body and her sculptural forms. 

Kalu’s commission will be presented in partnership with ActionSpace, a leading organisation supporting the development of artists with learning disabilities, which has been based at Studio Voltaire since 1999. 

Dawn Mellor 
Brent, NW10

May 2020 

In May 2020, Studio Voltaire will launch the first permanent public artwork by leading British artist Dawn Mellor, in partnership with Create London for Brent 2020. For the past 20 years, Mellor has painted portraits of celebrities, drawing on imagery collected from photographic portraits, gossip magazines, film stills and the internet. Her works are both commemorative and personal, while celebrating a long tradition of camp as a tool of resistance within queer culture. 

The artist’s explores identity, class, politics and pop culture and Mellor’s protagonists have previously included Helen Mirren, Karl Lagerfeld, Margaret Thatcher and Judy Garland. 

Co-commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Brent Borough of Culture 2020 and Create London. 

Phyllida Barlow
The Anglican Chapel at Nunhead Cemetery, Nunhead, SE15
June–October 2020 

In a remarkable pairing of practice and site, Studio Voltaire presents a highly ambitious new public installation by internationally celebrated sculptor Phyllida Barlow, sited within the partially ruined and open-aired rotunda of The Anglican Chapel in Nunhead Cemetery, South East London. This major new commission promises extraordinary and unexpected encounters with Barlow’s sculptures in a distinctive setting. 

Barlow, who is known for her monumental structures of stacked, bound and balanced forms, often makes use of industrial and everyday materials. Her tactile constructions have an imposing physical presence and yet, often appear at the edge of collapse. Tensions in her work between transformation, entropy and precarity resonate strongly within the chosen site—the cemetery’s formal avenues and Victorian landscaping give way to serpentine paths which lead visitors through stones thick with ivy, Gothic revival monuments and overgrown plots. 

Presented in partnership with the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery. 

Monster Chetwynd
Across sites in Clapham, SW4
July 2020 

Studio Voltaire elsewhere returns to Clapham in this celebratory finale by Monster Chetwynd. Working in close collaboration with local residents, the artist will lead a special performance project that will take place across multiple sites in Clapham, exploring the area’s rich history and well-established connections to dissent and non-conformism. 

Chetwynd has become internationally renowned for her carnivalesque live performances, which share elements of the bawdy anarchy of sixteenth-century wandering troupes, foregrounding key moments from art history and cultural production. 


The Studio Voltaire Capital Project is the most ambitious in the organisation’s 25-year history. It will significantly increase the amount and quality of support that Studio Voltaire can offer to artists, as well as transforming how visitors experience the organisation’s buildings and programmes, which will become more welcoming, porous and engaging.

The scheme will create 42% more affordable artists’ studios, providing affordable, high quality spaces to 75 artists and directly addressing the current city-wide shortage of affordable artist’s workspaces. Overall public space will be increased by 233%, including the creation of a dedicated learning and events space, public courtyard garden and café, artists’ kitchen and event space, sculpture workshop, and two onsite live/work spaces to house international residency programmes for the first time.

The project is led by London–based architects Matheson Whiteley. This is their first public project in the UK.

Funding received to date for the GBP 2.4 million project totals over GBP 2 million, including GBP 1 million in public funding from The Mayor of London, Arts Council England and Lambeth Council. 


Press contact:
Sam Talbot, sam [​at​] sam–talbot.com

For more information about the artists and full press release, click here.

About Studio Voltaire 
Studio Voltaire is one of the UK’s leading not-for-profit arts organisations. Their pioneering public programmes of exhibitions, participation projects, live events and offsite commissions have gained an international reputation. 

Studio Voltaire has an outstanding track record of supporting artists at a pivotal stage in their careers, championing emerging and under-represented artists, placing a great emphasis on risk-taking and experimentation, offering an alternative and agenda–setting view of contemporary art. Many of their commissions are an artist’s first solo exhibition in London or the UK. 

Exhibiting artists have included Phyllida Barlow, Monster Chetwynd, Anne Collier, Nicole Eisenman, Sharon Hayes, Jamian Juliano–Villani, Sanya Kantarovsky, Ella Kruglyanskaya, The Neo Naturists, Henrik Olesen, Paulina Olowska, Elizabeth Price, Charlotte Prodger, Jo Spence and Cathy Wilkes. 

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