Site Gallery announces reopening following a £1.7million development
30 August 2018
Site Gallery, Sheffield’s leading international contemporary art space, has announced full details of its reopening programme following a £1.7million development by architects DRDH.
At the heart of the city’s historic Cultural Industries Quarter the new Site Gallery will be three times bigger in scale offering a blank canvas for artistic experiment and public engagement. The team are joined by Sharna Jackson, who has taken the role of Artistic Director at the regional art centre.
Specialising in moving image, new media and performance, Site Gallery supports artistic development, investing in artists at critical stages of their careers. The development by DRDH has extended the current building, offering a 262sqm versatile gallery space behind a new 38m long Danish brick façade that offers the gallery a major new public face to the city.
Alongside a new education and events space, a bookshop and community run café, this will allow the Site Gallery to become a significant hub of Sheffield’s creative economy, with new office spaces available for rent to creative industries on the upper floors.
The inaugural exhibition Liquid Crystal Display (29 Sept 2018 – 27 Jan 2019) curated and conceivedby former Artistic Director Laura Sillars with Curator Angelica Sule, proposes that we are living in a world of images supported and circulated by crystal mineral technologies. Bringing together the work of 15 leading contemporary artists, the exhibition will take shape around an ambitious new commissionby artist Anna Barham titled Crystals, Fabrics, Field. Based on the fundamental geometric form of naturally growing crystals, the sculpture operates as a cabinet of curiosities from which to present works by other artists. A selection of rarely seen quartz from John Ruskin’s crystal collection will be displayed within the sculpture, along with minerals from the local area.
Visitors will move through the sculpture encountering artworks that examine and observe liquid crystal phenomena through a microscope(1880’s photography pioneer Mungo Ponton and contemporary artist Waad AlBawardi); that reveal the mystical properties of crystal objects (Eva Rothschild and Karen David); that link technology and the natural world (Liliane Lijn and Jennifer West); that explore the extraordinary physical forms of crystals(Melvin Moti and Kiki Smith) and which investigate the link between crystals, capital and contemporary culture (The Otolith Group, Ann Lislegaard, Suzanne Treister, Jonathan Kemp, Ryan Jordan and MartinKemp).
Sharna Jackson who became Artistic Director of Site Gallery in July 2018 will work alongside Executive Director, Judith Harry in Co-Directorship of Site Gallery, continuing its internationally significant exhibitions and community engagement programme. Sharna’s work to date has focused on socially engaged digital initiatives within arts, culture and publishing. She curates the Playground exhibition as part of The Children’s Media Conference and has held roles at Tate, Hopster, Design Museum and The Broad amongst others.
On her appointment, Sharna Jackson said; ‘I am thrilled to have accepted the role as Artistic Directorat Site Gallery. I have had a close relationship with the gallery over many years and admire the workLaura and Judith have done. The new building offers an exciting opportunity to revive what Site Gallerydoes and I can’t wait to get started.’
Discussing the development Executive Director Judith Harry said: ‘We are hugely proud of thenew Site Gallery. DRDH have created a welcoming gallery and museum quality exhibition space that will enable us to offer so much more to our artists. The opening progamme and Liquid Crystal Display exhibition will really be the start of new era as we head towards the gallery’s 40th anniversary in 2019.'
Site Gallery will reopen its doors with an opening festival weekend, showcasing and celebrating art andartists, spotlighting the new gallery spaces, encouraging participation and community spirit. Activity will include an opening celebration, with an alternative ceremonial performance by multi disciplinary artist Nwando Ebizie, on Friday 28 September.
On Saturday 29 September, the square across from Site Gallery will be transformed into a new civic space for the city in collaboration with Wayward (http://www.wayward.co.uk/). Sheffield artists including Alex McLean, Eelyn Lee, Ashley Holmes and Rian Treanor will work alongside the Society of Explorers art collective of 14 – 19 year olds, to programme performative, playful and interactive work inside the gallery walls. On Sunday, a morning of magic, technology and performance will close the weekend’s festivities.
Site Gallery’s development has been funded by Arts Council England, Sheffield City Council, SheffieldCity Region, Infrastructure Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Wolfson Foundation, Sheffield Town Trust, JG Graves Foundation, Freshgate Foundation, Sheffield Church BurgessesTrust.
For more information visit www.sitegallery.org