This June, curators Kathleen Linn and Sarah Hibbs will present Potential Space; an art exhibition that redefines what makes a gallery space. The show brings together the work of seven contemporary Australian artists working across painting, sculpture and video art, and is presented within a storage unit at our heritage listed Kennards Self Storage facility in Ultimo.
In anatomy, a potential space describes a volume that can be created between two adjacent biological structures that are normally pressed tightly together – our lungs when we breathe in, for example. The curators have used this concept as both a title and a conceptual foundation for every aspect of the exhibition. “We decided that we really wanted to use a storage unit in lieu of something more traditional.” explains Linn, a Marrickville based arts writer and curator. “We wanted our gallery to be a metaphorical potential space – something new, unexpected, and experimental. We met with Sam Kennard and he was wonderfully receptive and generously supportive from the very start. After a few site visits, the Ultimo space jumped out at us.”
Sitting amongst the remnants of a 1920s warehousing precinct originally spanning much of Pyrmont and Ultimo, the Kennards Jones Street building was once a wool storage warehouse. The storage unit itself retains many of the original architectural elements, including original brickwork and exposed timber supports.
The pair acknowledge the challenges of using such an unconventional space as a gallery. Hibbs elaborates, “It’s a beautiful area to host artwork, but we’ve needed to be more creative with the installation, as drilling into the walls is certainly out of the question. We are also aware that we will need to work extra hard to draw people into the gallery itself from street level. We are working closely with a very talented young designer, Isabella Chow, who has come up with some creative solutions for signage. But it is these unique traits of the building that make it such an interesting site to work with, and for the general public to explore during the exhibition.”
The exhibition will open its doors to the public at Kennards Self Storage, 444 Jones Street Ultimo on June 1st and run till June 30th, Saturday to Monday.