Neatly tucked into a suburb of Southwark a short walk away from Goldsmiths University is Jupiter Woods, an upcoming gallery established by six diverse individuals with backgrounds in curating. ROOMS met with Lucy Lopez and Carolina Ongaro, two of the ladies behind the gallery to discuss the complexities of setting up an exhibition space, and what the project is all about.
How did you all meet, and what inspired you to start Jupiter Woods?
Lucy: We met through studying Curating at Goldsmiths University. I think we were all interested in starting a space that could work in a different way to already existing models. In this way it is something of a testing ground. We host artists for residences and try work with them for a long period, though our resources are limited – we are interested in supporting their research, and often work with younger or emerging artists, both local and international.
Carolina: We were interested in establishing a platform where we could all do things at the same level, the six curators with the artist. It’s a learning process for us – we learn from each other and it’s all a part of our development as curators. It’s about being really close to someone’s practise and developing something together, creating horizontality.
What are some of the challenges you have faced establishing your own exhibition space?
Lucy: I think the thing we’ve had to figure out the most is working with six people (six curators) there are so many challenges within that, but so far, it seems like it works. We have regular meetings and we talk a lot, but it’s a full time thing – we are constantly talking to keep it going.
Carolina: We all also work elsewhere and study, so it's a lot to balance.
Lucy: We wanted to see where this could go and what shape it would take, exploring how we can work together in different ways. It’s an ongoing process – a learning curve.
Your most recent exhibition was entitled Proxyah (V2) by Viktor Timofeev; what was the exhibition about, and how did you become involved with the artist?
Lucy: Viktor was our first resident artist when we opened, and he was there from the start helping us to build the space – the show was quite close to all of our hearts because of that. This was its second iteration – Viktor had a show in Riga which was called ‘Proxyah’ hence why this is version 2.
Carolina: Viktor works a lot with ideas of Utopia and Dystopia, thinking about different possible worlds and realities we can live in. He decided to try out making a video game where the visitor could interact with the work, experiencing where all his ideas came from. The video game involves a room where you sometimes have control on the movements of your proxy, and at other times, do not have any agency. Your proxy within the game is a snake, hence where the title comes from – the objective is to try and reach the light at the end of the room, which could be seen as hope, but of course, obstacles get in your way. Through your movements and the energy spent within these spaces, you accumulate a score overall. The algorithms from that build a city, a structure out of your own energy. It is surely a reference to the system we live in, how we all use our own energy to make everything develop and move.
Lucy: When playing the game, it can sometimes seem counterintuitive. It feels like the opposite of what you would expect from a video game, which usually involves moving forward and achieving things with a definite end. It is so complex; I think it is a way of illustrating the different dimensions in which we exist, and their conflicting outcomes.
What does your residency involve, and how do you choose the artists to take part?
Lucy: It is really tied in with what we want Jupiter Woods to be; the building itself is a house, and actually serves as a home to one of us. We wanted to keep up the idea of hosting people – we extend invitations to artists and offer them a space to live and work. We have Harry Sanderson coming in a couple of days – he is going to be the next artist in residency.
Carolina: The residency is a way for us to keep in daily conversations with the artists, creating dialogues and breaking down barriers that can sometimes exist between gallerist and artist – it feels a lot more natural.
What have you enjoyed most about establishing Jupiter Woods?
Carolina: Well, I’m not from here - I moved to London a year and a half ago. It has been a beautiful experience being in another city and actually being able to create something with the help of friends, people I really like. We are all at the same level, living in London and having to face the challenges of the city and the art world. Jupiter Woods has been a way for us to network and create something together. At the same time, it's so exciting to see how you can put yourself in dialogue with other spaces - other small realities - and help each other a lot.
Lucy: So many opportunities have come out of the project, including invitations to guest curate shows elsewhere.
What other exhibitions have you got lined up?
Carolina: ‘Proxyah (V2)’ closed on the 7th, so from the 14th February until 1st March we have the exhibition IT IS MY DIAMOND NOW with artists Alexander Kellogg and Nick Fusaro. In March, April and May, we will have three group shows, each curated by one of us; Cory Scozzari, one of the other founding members, is curating a show in March. I invite you to have a look at our website for upcoming shows and updates on our program.
14th February - 1st March
IT IS MY DIAMOND NOW
Alexander Kellogg and Nick Fusaro
Preview 14th February 6-8pm