The Factory Project during London Frieze Week

Featured Project: Nicholas Stavri and Eric Thorp – Answering collectively as THORP STAVRI

The Factory Project – Warehouse Internal – Thorp Stavri

Whilst The Factory Project runs through the most commercially driven week of the London art calendar, Frieze week, it is championed as a non-profit museum scale multi-disciplinary exhibition that has been produced by the duo Thorp Stavri with the aim of amplifying underrepresented voices of emerging to mid-career artists and curators, offering them the opportunity to exhibit new work without the constraints of commercial bias. It is set to open from October 9th to the 22nd, showcasing 10 exhibitions by 10 curators and over 110 artists within the former Tate & Lyle 67,640 sq ft warehouse and yard complex at Thameside Industrial Estate by City Airport. ” We’ve been thinking of the project as a sort of music festival, where you can travel from stage to stage (exhibition to exhibition), catching your favorite acts while discovering loads of new ones,” The Factory Project producers say.

Tell me briefly about the genesis of this project and a bit about the space and participants.

When the prospect arose to exhibit artists in such a monumental space we felt it was too large an opportunity to keep to ourselves. We wanted to share it with curators, and in turn artists, that didn’t have permanent space or galleries behind them. We wanted to give a solid representation of what was happening at a grassroots level in London. In addition to our own exhibition, the show will also be what those nine other curatorial groups have come up with. There are some amazing ideas so hard to say what to expect as a whole.

This event will be our third show working with Projekt. They’ve been instrumental in us exhibiting in such remarkable spaces and this will be the first project to happen at the Factory Road complex, so it sort of unofficially launches a program of events there.

With regards to the invited Curators, we approached people around us that we felt were doing important things and perhaps not getting the shine they deserve. It’s a bit of a tricky sell – on the one hand we’re saying, “we have this huge space and we would love you to do something in it” and on the other, we’re saying, “we have no budget and might not get any and we would like you to be super ambitious.” I guess the people that accepted were the ones that were used to making stuff happen on nothing. But it’s important to have that attitude with projects like this – you have to beg, borrow and steal to make it happen. Although we have now secured some funding it’s very last minute and covers the bare minimum, as well as giving each group a small budget. It was important to us that we could help out in any way we could

As for Thorp Stavri, we have 11 artists presenting work in our section of The Factory Project. As always we’ve tried to pull together an eclectic group of artists, with work coming in from London, Manchester and Margate. We’ve got a huge sculpture from Liam Fallon on its way down to London, and new works from Gabriela Pelczarska, Luke Silva and Mike Ballard. Most of the artists will be making their work on-site so we’ve only seen sketches and maquettes. It really will be great seeing it all come together for the opening.

The Factory Project is also helping to raise funds for the community Food Enterprise (CFE) an award-winning social enterprise food business and a registered charity that is rooted in East London. Their aim is to alleviate food poverty as well as develop a viable and sustainable food business that provides training, capacity building, and employment opportunities for residents of East London. We are doing this by inviting our guests to make a donation to the charity at the point where an otherwise free ticket is being booked.

Thorp Stavri – Nicholas Stavri (L) and Eric Thorp (R)

Thorp Stavri – The Factory Project – Warehouse External

Let’s take a closer look at some of the participants.

The 11 person group show that we will be presenting as part of The Factory Project, will be some artists returning from previous shows to exhibit with us again, and a cross-section of artists new to Thorp Stavri programming… Some artists are just completing their BA’s and others already exhibiting internationally, at art fairs and with public and private institutions. We are really excited to get into the space and start installing. We’ve been talking over really interesting ideas from some of the artists that are really pushing their work to new limits, both in terms of scale and in the way they are responding to the exhibition site such as the works from Mike Ballard and Gabriela Pelczarska .

Mike Ballard – Rough Neck Business – credit to the artist

Rosie Gibbens – Soft Girls – credit to the artist

Gabriela Pelczarska – Installation view ‘Awkward’ at The Stone Space gallery in Leytonstone

All photo courtesy of THORP STAVRI

The Factory Project will take place at the monumental Thameside Industrial Estate, in North Woolwich, Newham – a short walk from London’s City Airport and nestled between the Tate & Lyle’s Sugar Refinery and the Thames Barrier – on Factory Road. It is produced by Eric Thorp and Nicholas Stavri and is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and through the continued support of This is Projekt and FAD Magazine

Tickets can be booked via this link:

The Factory Project, Thameside Industrial Estate, Factory Road, London, E16 2HB, Monday – Sunday 12-6pm. Exhibition runs: 09/10/21 – 22/10/21