‘We’ve been wanting to move to a new space for almost five years now, the main reason being that we were above a thrash metal club—not exactly conducive to a productive day’s work! But a long lease had tied us to the old building and city centre prices were too high for our budget. One of the reasons we’re able to move now is the recession’s effect on property prices; the new premises are perfect for S1 and under normal circumstances we would never have been able to afford it.
The move is the most significant development since establishing the gallery in 2003. The new space will change the dynamics of what we do and the way the organisation is perceived. When it was originally set up in 1995, S1 only offered studios; over time a project space emerged and in 2002 the studio holders put a small Arts Council bid together and were able to take on S1’s first curator, Michelle Cotton, who developed the programme and project space from 2003–2006. Over the past 15 years about 100 artists have been based in studios at S1, and the project space has shown work by over 300 artists.
The renovation process has been quite revealing—it has shown just how many artists in the city care about the organisation and how it evolves. About 50% of the renovation work is being carried out by volunteers, studio holders and staff; this way we’ve been able to afford something quite ambitious. The new venue gives us more studio space which we didn’t even have to advertise to fill—artists, designers and writers kept getting in touch. Now S1 is fully occupied and running at full capacity.
Fifteen, a large group exhibition opens the exhibition space, alongside an archive, publication and talks programme looking back at S1’s 15-year history. Next year, we’ll be presenting a solo exhibition of newly commissioned work by Berlin-based artist Eva Berendes.’
Fifteen, 11 December–5 February