The remodelled Photographers' Gallery on Ramillies Street, Soho will reopen on Saturday 19 May, with exhibitions of work by renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and New Delhi based Raqs Media Collective.
The gallery closed in September 2010, anticipating 14 months of nomadic existence, but its work has continued with off-site exhibitions (like the Deutsche Borse Prize at P3 and the site specific Soho Project), a satellite shop and print sales outlet on Warren Street and an ever excellent talk and events programme.
Six months later than expected, the revamped gallery will open its more welcoming doors in May with the hope that the ground-floor cafe — which will be run in partnership with Soho star deli, Lina Stores — will make the Photographers' Gallery a busy, buzzy place to hang out.
Edward Burtynsky’s large-scale photographs from his widely acclaimed series OIL and video and sculpture work from Raqs Media Collective will adorn the exhibition space, which has been extended by two storeys. Sandwiched between the main exhibition spaces a 'studio floor' has been introduced, specifically designed for the education programme and creating a dedicated space for talks, workshops and archive study.
Controversy has attached itself to the new building during the renovation work. The gallery was accused of copyright infringement by photographer John Goldsmith after the architect unwittingly used one of his images in promotional material for the new building; not the gallery's fault, but embarrassing nonetheless. Furthermore, in the past 18 months the V&A has also opened a new photography gallery, while work is underway on a London branch of the National Media Museum. Some have suggested that the Photographers' Gallery is out of touch with the contemporary photography world, and questioned whether, given the increase in competition, a dedicated gallery is really necessary. We'll find out in a few months time.
Artist's Impression of the Redeveloped Photographers' Gallery © The Photographers' Gallery, London /CGI created by Maganglo Ltd.