A Century of the Artist’s Studio 1920 – 2020

Italiano (Italian)

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Painter), 2008, Acrylic on PVC panel in artist’s frame, 73 x 62.9 cm. Collection of Charlotte and Herbert S. Wagner III. Courtesy of the artist, David Zwirner London and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Steve Briggs


Galleries 1, 3, 8 & 9 e Zilkha Auditorium
17 February – 29 May 2022

The Whitechapel Gallery presents a 100-year survey of the studio through the work of artists and image-makers from around the world.

Whether it be an abandoned factory, an attic or a kitchen table, it is the artist’s studio where the great art of our time is conceived and created. In this multi-media exhibition, the wide-ranging possibilities and significance of these crucibles of creativity take centre stage and new art histories around the modern studio emerge through striking juxtapositions of under-recognised artists with celebrated figures in Western art history.

Anónimo, ¡Justicia! piden las mujeres, s.f., textil bordado. Cortesía de Mario Avendaño. Foto cortesía de MOLAA

The exhibition brings together more than 100 works by over 80 artists and collectives from Africa, Australasia, South Asia, China, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, North and South America. They range from modern icons such as Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele and Andy Warhol to contemporary figures such as Walead Beshty, Lisa Brice and Kerry James Marshall.

The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, installations and films depicting the studio as work of art and presents documentation of artists’ studios by world-renowned photographers and film-makers. A series of ‘studio corners’ also recreate the actual environments where great art has been produced.

A Century of the Artist’s Studio follows three years of research led by Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick in collaboration with a curatorial panel comprising Dawn Ades, Richard Dyer and Hammad Nasar.

The exhibition unfolds according to two central themes: The Public Studio – Artists Together, examines how artists have embraced the studio as a factory, exhibition space, arena, a collective workspace or classroom; and The Private Studio – Artists Alone, explores how the studio can be a home, refuge, laboratory or site of political resistance.

In The Public Studio – Artists Together, visitors come face to face works which challenges viewers to reflect on the evolution of the modern studio and artists as subjects in artworks.

“Dóndeestán”, Chile, early 1980s, Fotografo Martin Melaugh, copyright Roberta Bacic

Here, of particular interest for Artemorbida’s readers, are the exquisite hand-woven tapestries from the Arpilleras Workshops revealing how the studio can be a protective haven for artists to engage with political issues of the day, as well as offering a collective workspace to share resources and work alongside one another. Emerging out of a grassroots movement of women who joined together in response to the punishing Pinochet regime in 1970s Chile, this collective used embroidery to document anonymously the stories of the victims of the dictatorship.

“Nuestra Vida en Chile”(Our Life in Chile), Created by Elena Cerón Sandoval in Santiago de Chile 2007,courtesy Roberta Bacic

The studio as a visible public stage for many artists is explored.

Bridging the two main sections is an exploration of the secret life of the studio and what occurs when the artist is not physically there.

In the first-floor galleries, visitors will explore The Private Studio – Artists Apart, where they encounter a series of informal photographs of artists in their studios across India and Pakistan by Manisha Gera Baswani (b. 1967, India). Visitors go on to encounter the earliest work in the exhibition, Egon Schiele’s (1890-1918) Office in Prisoner of War Camp of Mühling from 1916, which depicts an empty storeroom across from his war camp desk – his studio at the time – highlighting how an artist’s private studio space can be anywhere. The studio as a retreat from the outside world is also be examined. On view in the Gallery’s Zilkha Auditorium is a series of films made by artists in and of their studios.  Broader aspects of global studio practices are explored through five thematic showreels, demonstrating how artists transform or create studio spaces to teach and give back to their communities.  Other showreel topics include ‘The Workshop as Studio’ and the supportive role of Studio Associations.

A Century of the Artist’s Studio follows the Whitechapel Gallery’s history of presenting large-scale thematic exhibitions such as Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today (2005) and Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society (2015), which were instrumental in developing important new research and ideas around these art historical themes.

To coincide with A Century of the Artist’s Studio, associated displays, commissions and special events are scheduled to take place, including:

The Living Studio
January – May 2022
Galleries 5 and 6, Free

Running parallel to A Century of the Artist’s Studio is a free live studio experience for all visitors in galleries 5 and 6. Filled with artistic materials, activity prompts and inspirational objects donated by artists participating in London Open 2022 from their own studio spaces, The Living Studio draws upon the creative energy of contemporary artist studios and provides an opportunity for visitors to produce their own artistic responses. The space will be further activated through programming with local schools, community groups and families.

Arpillera, Alba Sanfeliu Paz Justicia Libertad Peace Justice Freedom


  • A Century of the Artist’s Studio 1920-2020 runs from 17 February – 29 May 2022
  • The idea for the exhibition originated from a proposal by art historians Giles Waterfield (1949-2016) and Dawn Ades. Led by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, the research and themes of the exhibition have been developed over the past three years by a curatorial committee made up of Dawn Ades, Inês Costa, Richard Dyer, Hammad Nasar and Candy Stobbs.
  • A fully illustrated catalogue with newly commissioned essays by writers including the Curatorial Committee will accompany the exhibition.
  • The exhibition is supported by Cockayne Grants for the Arts, London Community Foundation, Max Mara, Collezione Maramotti and Tavolozza Foundation.
  • Full alphabetical list of featured artists: Felicia Abban, Mequitta Ahuja, Darren Almond, Holly Antrum, Arpilleras Workshops, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Mirosław Bałka, Phyllida Barlow, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Vanessa Bell, Walead Beshty, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brâncusi, Geta Brătescu, Lisa Brice, Nikhil Chopra, Ha Bik Chuen, David Dawson, Marcel Duchamp, Inji Efflatoun, Tracey Emin, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Helen Frankenthaler, Lucian Freud, Manisha Gera Baswani, Shadi Ghadirian, Alberto Giacometti, Antony Gormley, Rodney Graham, Duncan Grant, Andrew Grassie, Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, & Hesam Rahmanian, Florence Henri, Barbara Hepworth, Roni Horn, Tehching Hsieh, William Kentridge, Edward Krasiński, Laboratoire Agit’Art, Maria Lassnig, Maud Lewis, Kim Lim, Maria Loizidou, Mateo López, Kerry James Marshall, John Mawurndjul, Paul McCarthy, Lisa Milroy, Henry Moore, Reinhard Mucha, Hans Namuth, Bruce Nauman, Pablo Picasso, Annie Ratti, Robert Rauschenberg, Armando Reverón, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Egon Schiele, Carolee Schneeman, Gregor Schneider, Kurt Schwitters, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Hassan Sharif, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Vivan Sundaram, Cindy Sherman, Frances Stark, Josef Sudek, Alina Szapocznikow, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jean Tinguely, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Suha Traboulsi, Raoul Ubac, Ian Wallace, Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei, Paul Winstanley, Francesca Woodman, Li Yuan-chia.

Visitor Information

Gallery Admission: Free Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm; First Thursdays, 11am – 9pm
Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX
T + 44 (0) 20 7522 7888 | E |