Out of the Margins: Performance in London’s Institutions 1990s – 2010s
30 August 2022 – 15 January 2023
Gallery 4, Free Entry


Out of the Margins: Performance in London’s Institutions 1990s-2010s explores London’s art scene during this pivotal period in which live performance moved from an underground artform to one acknowledged by the establishment. Prompted by a new wave of programming by visual arts institutions, performance and live art gained more mainstream appeal and their resulting popularity gave rise to several organisations dedicated solely to developing performance art.

Through rarely seen archive material, photo documentation, films of performances, and references to key artists, theoreticians, and cultural practitioners, Out of the Margins revisits this history, mapping seminal moments within the development of the live art scene in London.

The exhibition examines the creation of the Live Art Development Agency (LADA), launched in 1999 by Lois Keidan and Catherine Ugwu, whose successful advocacy within the Arts Council granted them the funds to set up the organisation. Also highlighted is the innovation of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), which staged the 1996 Franko B performance I’m Not Your Babe, for which the artist used his own blood to explore the natural destruction of the body.

Whitechapel Gallery has its own history of platforming some of the foremost performance artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, notably through the 2002-2006 series A Short History of Performance I, II, III & IV. This series included live performances of historic works by Martha Roesler, Andrea Fraser, Jannis Kounellis, The Atlas Group / Walid Raad, Stuart Brisley, Hermann Nitsch and Carolee Schneeman among others.

Other archive material explores the initiatives of organisations such as Gasworks, Matt’s Gallery, The Roberts Institute of Art, and The Tanks at Tate Modern, each vital in enabling a range of experimental and ephemeral practices in London. Also on display is material from Performance Matters, a collaborative and creative research project established by Goldsmiths, University of London; University of Roehampton and LADA to analyse the critical discourse around performance.

Notes to Editors

  • Out of the Margins: Performance in London’s Institutions 1990s – 2010s is curated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, Head of Curatorial Studies and Archives at Whitechapel Gallery, curator Trinidad Fombella, with support from Erin Li, Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow.

About Whitechapel Gallery

For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Frida Kahlo and Hannah Höch to contemporaries such as Theaster Gates, Zarina Bhimji, Sophie Calle, William Kentridge, Eduardo Paolozzi and Michael Rakowitz. Its historic campus houses exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, inspiring art courses, talks and film screenings, the Townsend dining room and the Koenig Bookshop. It is a touchstone for contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.

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