Tucked away in Union Street in Southwark, only 10 minutes’ walk from Tate Modern, is the Jerwood Space. Opened in 1998 as the first major new building initiative of the Jerwood Foundation, the Jerwood Space occupies a former Victorian school converted by Paxton Locher Architects in 1998 to create theatre/dance rehearsal facilities in addition to a new gallery and cafe and a glazed courtyard provided by Satellite Architects in 2003, with new studios and meeting rooms by Munkenbeck & Partners on the restored top floor in 2007.
The Gallery’s current exhibition “Jerwood Encounters: The Grantchester Pottery paints the stage” takes over the ground floor gallery and reception areas, flowing across the spaces. The latest exhibition in the Jerwood Visual Arts’ Encounters series, The Grantchester Pottery paints the stage is curated by The Grantchester Pottery, a collaboration between sculptor Giles Round and painter Phil Root.
The Grantchester Pottery aims to create ceramics, printed & woven textiles, wallpaper, painted furniture and hand painted murals, drawing inspiration from “the rich heritage of Art & Literature that surrounds Grantchester as a historic meeting place for writers, poets, artists & philosophers.” In this exhibition works by The Grantchester Pottery’s associated artists are displayed and positioned as if part of an imaginary stage set, with the walls also painted as stage scenery. The artworks are discovered as the visitor moves through the imaginary three-act play, aided by an excellent printed guide provided at reception (or should it be a box office?)
The style echoes back to post-war 1950’s and 60’s but with a contemporary twist, and the blending of art and design in this imaginary three-act play gives the visitor an fascinating experience moving though the spaces, with new vistas and new artworks appearing unexpectedly along the way.