Wellcome Collection announces gallery plans

Simon Stephens, 21.02.2019
Venue is working with arts and architecture collective Assemble
The Wellcome Collection has appointed Turner Prize-winning arts and architecture collective Assemble to design a new gallery at its London venue.

The gallery will open in September and will replace Medicine Now, which closes after 12 years and more than 2m visits. The new display will explore trust, identity and health in a changing world. 

“There is no single way to be human and we have many complex thoughts and feelings about our bodies, our identities and our impact on the world and on each other,” said Clare Barlow, the project curator at the Wellcome Collection. “The objects we’re bringing together in this new display will explore a wide range of perspectives - artists, activists, researchers, disabled people and people with diverse experiences of health.”

The aim of the gallery is to explore challenging questions around difference, stigma, and how people can feel emotionally engaged in global challenges of our time, such as climate change and infectious disease. It will feature new commissions and significant artworks from well-known and emerging contemporary artists.  

“We’re going to use natural materials, colour and inclusive design to create a humane and uplifting space where challenging conversations can happen, and where a wide variety of different visitors feel welcomed,” Joe Halligan of Assemble said. “The permanent exhibition will tackle some of the most critical subjects of our times, questioning what it means to be human today.”

The Wellcome Collection opened in 2007 on London’s Euston Road. A 2015 project saw the redevelopment of the venue’s reading room, additional temporary exhibition space and improved visitor facilities. 

Assemble won the the Turner Prize in 2015 for a network of neighbourhood projects created in collaboration with the residents of Granby, Liverpool. More recently it converted former industrial spaces into the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, which opened in September 2018.