This Is Water

3 July - 12 September 2021

Exhibition Opening: Saturday 3 July, 12-8pm

Exhibition opening hours: Sat – Sun, 11am – 5pm

Summer closing: 14 August - 3 September, reopens 4th September



Reliance Wharf

2-10 Hertford Road
London N1 5ET


We are made of water

And what is water made of?


Water is everything

             is nothing


Some recent theories assume that about 3,5 billion years ago our world was a waterworld and that the Earth was fully covered by one huge ocean. Then life appeared: new lands and new stories can only exist where water is, where things constantly change and disappear at the end of each cycle.

This is life, this is water[1].


We are born into water, floating is what we do first.

We change in time and we adapt ourselves to the spaces we live in, like water changes and takes the shape of whatever keeps it from flowing away.


Pure water is transparent and yet visible. Absorbing, reflecting and refracting light, water catches colours from the world and turns into painting.

It can freeze, it can be solid and turn into sculpture.


Water is mystery after all: we know its properties, we know the structure of its molecules, and yet we can’t really say how deep an ocean can be, how fast a river can run, how long a pelting rain can last.


Water is nothing

            is everything




Water is both a starting and meeting point in Workplace’s exhibition space in Haggerston. Here the works on display subtly interface with the landscape outside, bordering Regent’s Canal. On this waterway, it turns out that art and water have something in common: flowing fast along different streams, they both transform the spaces they inhabit and are able to produce shapes, energy and colours, and create new worlds. Alluding, referencing or using water in their creation process, the works in the exhibition remind us of the pervading presence of this element in our life and our collective imagination.


The exhibition is accompanied by a new poem written by Art Historian and Poet Ilaria Monti which was inspired by the gallery’s location and the works in the show. 



[1] David Foster Wallace, 2005, Commencement speech to the graduating class at Kenyon College (Ohio, USA).



Algaé Bassens (b.1986 in Mons, Belgium) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BA at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University and her MFA at The Slade School of Art, UCL in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include Sincerely at Hesse Flatow, NY; Surface Tension, Nars Foundation, Brooklyn, NY; and YOU CAN SEE BETTER FROM HERE, at CRUSH CURATORIAL, New York, NY. Recent group exhibitions include Fête Galante at Heaven Gallery, Chicago; and STILL HERE, Newington Gallery, London. She was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012 and the East London Painting Prize 2013 amongst other events.


Melissa Brown (b.1974) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale. Recent solo exhibitions include: NYNY2020, Derek Eller Gallery, New York; Between States, Derek Eller Gallery, New York; and Melissa Brown, Tennis Elbow, the Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Recent group exhibitions include All of Them Witches, Los Angeles; E-Motion Support Group, Art of this World, IGTV; and Fountain, Melissa Brown and Jamie Bull, Lamar Dodd Galleries, University of Georgia. Her work is in the collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York City Department of Education.


Joel Kyack (b. 1972 in Pennsylvania, USA) works and lives in Los Angeles. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995, studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 2004, and received his MFA from the University of Southern California in 2008. Recent solo projects include Time Time Time, Francois Ghebaly; I am the present, General Projects; Hold On Tightly / Let Go Lightly at Workplace Gateshead; Point at the Thing That’s Furthest Away at Praz-Delavallade, Paris; The Knife Shop at Kunsthalle - LA in Los Angeles.


Becky Kolsrud (b. 1984) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She received her BS from NYU in 2006 and her MFA from UCLA in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include: Elegies, JTT, New York, NY; As Above, So Below, Make Room, Los Angeles, CA; and New Paintings, Tif Sigfrids, Athens, GA. Recent group exhibitions include: Mirror-Gazing, The Pit, Los Angeles, CA; and Nasty Women, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Kolsrud has been the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann YoYoYo Grant and the Resnick Scholarship. Her work is in the collection of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.


Laura Lancaster (b. 1979, Hartlepool, UK) lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.  She has shown her work in exhibitions worldwide including Night Gallery, Los Angeles; New Art Gallery Walsall; Sargent's Daughters, New York; Wooson Gallery, Korea; Workplace, UK. Group Exhibitions include: Tokyo Station Gallery, Japan; Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan; Itami City Museum of Art, Japan; Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; Museum of Modern Art St Etienne; Glasgow International; October - Salon, Belgrade, Palazzo Della Arte, Napoli; Accademia d'Ungheria a Roma; BALTIC 39, Newcastle, UK. Lancaster's work is in The British Council Collection; New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK; Nerman Museum, Kansas, USA; The Government Art Collection, amongst others.


Mevlana Lipp (b.1989, Cologne, Germany) lives in Leverkusen and works in Düsseldorf. He graduated from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2015. Solo exhibitions include: Fluidum, Andersen’s Contemporary: The Other Space, Copenhagen; Calypso, Public Gallery, London; and Eden, KuK Gallery, Cologne. Select group exhibitions include Poisonous Kiss. Lovely Venom, Tick Tack Gallery, Antwerp; Lost in translation, Plus-One Gallery, Antwerp; Twisted Dream, John Wolf, Los Angeles.


Ryan Orme (b.1986 in Bournemouth, UK) lives and works in London. He received his BA in Fine Art from the University of West England, Bristol and his MFA Sculpture from The Slade, London. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Rise and Fall, Platform Arts, Belfast; Teaser, Royal College Project Space, London; let me know before you arrive, Warbling Collective, London; and Bad Behaviour, Brixton East, London. In 2019 he held the AVA Residency at HKBU, Hong Kong.


James Prapaithong (b.1996, Bangkok, Thailand) currently lives and works in London. He received his BA in painting from Wimbledon College of Arts and is currently studying for his MA in painting at the Royal College of Art. Recent exhibitions include Still @live, MAPA Fine Art London; To My Twenties, Old Central St. Martins Building, London; and The Weird and the Eerie, Hockney Gallery, London.


Will Peck (b.1991, Norwich, UK) lives and works in London, UK. He received his BFA from The Cass, London Metropolitan University, and his MFA from the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions include Air Sensor, Lavender Open Chair in Tokyo; Prin print prog, Centre for Recent Drawing in London; and log lights, Mumei, Tokyo. Group exhibitions include the OUTPOST Members show, selected by White Pube, in Norwich; the Ipswich Annual Biennale 2018; and A Caroming, Centre for Recent Drawing, London. He is currently undertaking a residency at Villa Lena Foundation, Italy.


Michael Stamm (b.1983, Evanston, IL) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.  He received his BA from Wesleyan University, his MA in English Literature from Columbia University, and his MFA from New York University. Recent solo exhibitions include “so super sorry sir”, Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles; Mediation Inc., DC Moore Gallery, New York; and Just Like This Please, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York. Recent group exhibitions include: Equal Affections, Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam; Contemporary Domesticity, Taymour Granhe, London; and Psycho, Easthampton Shed, Brooklyn, New York. He received the NYFA Fellowship in Painting in 2018. In 2019 he was the Visiting Critic, New York Academy of Art, NY.




Ilaria Monti (b.1993, Rome) is a contemporary Art Historian and Poet. In her first poetry book “Dalla Terra” (From the Earth, Bertoni Editions, 2019) she focuses on the symbolic language of flowers and plants. In the latest book “Pelle Ombra” (Shadow Skin, Terra d’Ulivi Editions, 2021), she puts poetry in dialogue with visual art to highlight how both languages share signs, gestures and images as means to tell memories. She is currently editor at “Menabò - International Magazine of Literary and Poetic Culture (Terra d’Ulivi Editions), where she writes about contemporary art and artist books. She has written essays on the work of Eder Olguin, Hakim Al-Akel, Tiziana Cera Rosco, Maria Adele Del Vecchio and Jenny Åkerlund, among others artists.