A new photography gallery has opened in East London with its inaugural show, Reduction, Reduction, by New York based photographer Robin Broadbent. Wren London is situated a stone’s throw from Old Street station, with an exhibition space set out on street level above a studio in the basement, which will be used in Broadbent’s exhibition.
Photography will be displayed on large white sheets of wood hung along the walls from metal scaffolds on the ceiling, working with the floor to ceiling windows to provide a restricted view into the gallery. “The windows have been intentionally designed so there is only one clear view into the space”, explains Jennifer Turner, director of the gallery and founder of Wren Artists. “We wanted to control the way people see the work from the outside.”
During breaks between shows, vinyl sheets designed to correspond with the next exhibition will line the windows, mainly to conceal the work while they install it, but also in the hope of building anticipation as people walk past the gallery. “Being able to open a gallery within the creative hub of East London is very exciting,” says Turner.
“One thing I want the gallery to have,” she adds, “is for the photographers we bring in to be working photographers. If someone walks through the door and feels inspired by the work and wants to create something bespoke, I want the photographers that we show to be able to do that. There is a level of collaboration that we want to push.”
Wren London has worked with Jonathan Ellery from Browns Design to create a visual brand for the gallery – along with each exhibition, for example, they will create a brochure that folds out into a limited edition A1 size poster. The gallery will also host talks between the exhibiting photographer and a guest speaker, to explore new ways of thinking about the themes on show.
In the first show, Reduction, Reduction, Broadbent exhibits an abstract documentation of today’s material culture, using both floors of the gallery to create “two different worlds”. In this it echoes the structure of Broadbent’s book, The photographic work of Robin Broadbent, where one half is light and the other dark.
The basement will be curtained in black fabric, creating a completely different environment to the floor above. “I wanted it to feel like a display in an ancient gallery,” Broadbent says, “like presenting jewels in precious cases”.
“We chose Robin because his work re-imagines the Bauhaus movement, which encompasses other visual industries like architecture, and he is documenting today’s material culture,” explains Turner. “In this area of London, where there are so many new developments going up, it seemed like the best show for us to open with”.
Reduction Reduction by Robin Broadbent is on show until 30 June, and is a Photo London satellite event https://wren.london/ https://photolondon.org/public-programme/satellite-events/