Space In Between

This curatorial collective will impress you. With a quick turnover of exhibitions in temporary spaces, and a permanent space opening in the summer, they are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

Space In Between (SIB) are a curatorial collective, composed of Hannah Hooks, Laura McFarlane and Ida Champion. Having known each other since their school days, this trio set up SIB in January 2009 as a platform for emerging artists to exhibit their work. Hannah was living in what was a Victorian factory in Lower Clapton and within a month they had self-built a pristine and white exhibition space. The gallery was co-joined to a domestic setting, with the concept being to bring art and dining together and to this end they held successful dinner parties within the space for the artists in the shows. They had three shows in this space before they had to vacate the building. It is from this point that the group started to scout around for interesting disused buildings that they could use for temporary, pop-up exhibitions.

The first space they used was 90 De Beauvoir Road for the exhibition ‘My Kingdom’ in early December 2009. Their curation had to adapt to this new model of exhibiting; their choice of artists became more specific at this point as the work had to be able to respond and form a strong relationship with a given space. Luke Montgomery’s work in ‘My Kingdom’, for example, utilized the unusual situation he encountered of holes in the space floor. He created an underwater system that made fountains up through these holes in the floorboards—up into the exhibiting space and back down below in an ongoing cycle. SIB found this new element of the curatorial process exciting and challenging and the concept became a gallery space for both themselves and for the artists to develop and test new ideas.

Space In Between are a success of the Camden Council’s Pop-Up Shop and regeneration scheme. Their first application was approved just before Christmas 2009, and they were offered the opportunity to exhibit in a disused shop space on Clerkenwell Road in January. The exhibition was ‘Buckminsterfullerene Dream’ and showed the work of Becky Bolton, Louise Chappell, Ben Jeans Houghton and Matt Giraudeau. SIB always have potential shows in mind, and are always on the look out for new spaces to accommodate them. Very recently they hosted ‘Rubber Line’, an exhibition of new work by Nick Roberts and Neil Porter. This again was a space offered to the group by Camden Council.

SIB are a brilliant example of putting ideas into reality. This entire process all started very much as a scattering of abstract ideas that they bravely put in to practice. They started, as most do, exhibiting the work of their peers, with the expectation they would continue to work with a small group of artists, but this has become an ever-growing group. With each exhibition they have learnt what works, and how they envisage the initiative’s continuation. At the moment they are focusing on working with emerging artists, as that is where the focus of their ethos lies. They deliberately collaborate with artists whose work is open to the responsive nature of the unusual exhibition spaces that SIB have to offer.

Hannah, Laura and Ida are very aware that SIB only happens as a team. They know each other’s strengths and have found a working relationship between the three of them that is productive and successful. There is a huge sense of passion and commitment from the team to their work. For the first few exhibitions, Laura was living in Newcastle and commuting up and down the country to work on the exhibitions with Hannah and Ida in London.

There is already plenty in the pipeline for SIB in 2010. Their next exhibition opens later this month, and is being held in an underground, disused air raid shelter in Dalston. Damp, dark and dingy, they are focusing on artists who use light in their work. It is going to be a hugely exciting exhibition space, with all the artists making new work specifically for this show.

For July, the focus shifts slightly to a very exciting new stage in the SIB process – they are opening up their second permanent space in Regent Studios, alongside MOT and Transition Gallery. This branch of the SIB enterprise will give their artists a place to make site specific work in-house, as well as providing another avenue for exhibiting. By having a permanent project space running simultaneously to their off-site projects, SIB can now offer artists the best of both worlds. The artist Maurizio Anzei was the winner of the Vauxhall Collective this year, and Idea Generation have already approached SIB to exhibit his commission in the new space as the first show.

The future for Space In Between, whist ever evolving, is to have a permanent gallery that holds on to the fresh and adaptive approach that they have built so far. It is interesting, that despite not currently having a permanent space, SIB have a very strong identity. Perhaps this is created through the voices of the three curators, and the natural progression the name has gone through. By not having a space, the public does not associate SIB with a location, but with a strong idea that is ever changing and is not defined by an environment. SIB is about taking an abstract idea, and going ahead with it. This is at the heart of Space In Between – whose name describes that space that is never fixed.

Holly Willats

Space In Between


Next SIB exhibition: Where Beats This Human Heart

Private View: 18 June, 6-9pm

Exhibition runs: 19 – 23 June2010

Rubber Line - Nick Roberts (Tam Lin')Buckminsterfullerene Dream - Becky Bolton and Louise ChappellRubber Line - Neil Porter (Untitled)Pure Love - Sandy SmithMy Kingdom - Luke Montgomery (water installation)Pure Love - Sandy SmithBuckminsterfullerene Dream - Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell