'Beyond These Walls' is an international group show of site-specific and specially commissioned work prompting fresh perspectives on the SLG's architecture, our negotiation and interpretation of its spaces, and its geographic context. For some artists architectural or spatial interventions are an important strand in their practice, while for others an exploration of social contexts is the primary impetus behind their work.
Tue Greenfort sets the tone for the show by turning the gallery back to front. The entrance to the gallery is via a diversion through neighbouring Sceaux Gardens housing estate and in through the back of the building. Shortening the gallery access route for estate residents, the work also harks back to the SLG's pre-war layout.
Walking through the estate, sheets of brightly-coloured plastic flapping in the breeze draw attention to the SLG's huge glass roof lantern, the subject of one of Ayse Erkmen's three interventions. For many of the artists in the show space is employed as a medium. Pieter Vermeersch turns a pair of empty shop units on Sceaux Gardens estate into an art work, painting the windows in different colours throughout the course of the show, establishing a dialogue with a companion work in the gallery and introducing an interplay between interior and exterior viewpoints. Esther Stocker's installation is like a three-dimensional black and white op art painting which you can literally walk into, with protruding elements subtly influencing how we move through the room.
Other pieces relate to the gallery's late 19th century origins and the marquetry floor panel bearing the words ‘The source of art is in the life of a people'. Ayse Erkmen transposes the inscription to helmets worn by builders of the SLG's current expansion project while Leon Vranken's work makes oblique reference to the arts and crafts origins of the SLG building. Four concrete sculptures by Knut Henrik Henriksen are inspired by the relationship between the current floor and the original beneath.
The social as well as physical reach of the gallery's activities is the subject of London-based duo Public Works' live mapping process which sets out to give visual form to the various extensions of the SLG.