Auto Italia is an artist-run organisation and project space that commissions new work, bringing together international networks of artists committed to the development of emerging practices and discussions in contemporary art.
We support early and mid-career artists to develop discourse, active research and experimental projects. This focuses on collaborative models for producing and distributing artwork, and is made possible through the development of relationships and conversations with artists, grassroots networks, and a growing peer network of artist-led organisations in the UK and internationally.
Auto Italia has a radical history with a track record as one of London’s most groundbreaking artist-run organisations. Over the last decade we have produced the first public commissions of over 500 early-career artists and highlighted underrepresented practices and discussions through headline exhibitions and artists’ projects.
We remain committed to our history of grassroots organising, creative education and community support by continuing to invest in risk-taking artists and creative scenes through an annual programme of solo and group exhibitions, performances and live events, and a range of learning engagement opportunities for children and young people.
Auto Italia was founded in 2007 by a group of artists who were living, working and commissioning new exhibitions from a squatted car garage in Peckham, South London.
The organisation was established at a moment when the city was being transformed by increasingly aggressive property development, and access to artists studios was diminishing. From the beginning, there was an interest in how artists could come together in alternative spaces and explore what was possible as a group. Projects sought to challenge dominant market-driven structures, investigating the conditions in which artists live and make work, and how artistic practice was being transformed by the rise of working online.
The organisation went on to secure a series of large-scale donated buildings across Peckham (2007–12) and Kings Cross (2013–15) before taking up a long-term residence in Bethnal Green (2016–present). Through the collaborations developed across these sites, Auto Italia is recognised as one of London’s most important spaces for new talent and for developing experimental approaches to the production and distribution of artistic work.
During this time, the organisation was led by an evolving group of collaborating artist-directors. Alumni include: Kate Cooper (founding member 2007–2016), Marleen Boschen (2014–2016), Amanda Dennis (founding member 2007–2012), Marianne Forrest (2012–2019), Deborah Joyce Holman (2020-22), Richard John Jones (2009–2012), Rachel Pimm (founding member 2007–2008).
Projects commissioned by Auto Italia have premiered the work of early-career artists and refocused critical attention on the work and archives of historically under-represented practitioners. This has included Franco ‘Bifo’ Beradi, Tessa Boffin, CFGNY (Daniel Chew, Ten Izu, Kirsten Kilponen, Tin Nguyen), Elysia Crampton Chuquimia, CUSS Group (Ravi Govender, Jamal Nxedlana, Zamani Xolo), Benedict Drew, Mark Fisher, April Greiman, Gran Fury, Tarek Lakhrissi, Huw Lemmey, Sin Wai Kin, Metahaven, NTU (Nolan Oswald Dennis, Tabita Rezaire, Bogosi Sekhukhuni), Christelle Oyiri-K, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Eddie Peake, Ingrid Pollard, Jill Posener, Heather Phillipson, Research Centre for Proxy Politics, Jenna Sutela, Terre Thaemlitz, Suzanne Treister and Ben Vickers amongst others.
Work produced by Auto Italia has been shown nationally and internationally at Tate Modern and Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art and abc – art berlin contemporary in Berlin; Hessel Museum in New York; Cemeti Institute for Art and Society in Yogyakarta; Artissima LIDO in Turin; Futura Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague; Ithuba Arts in Johannesburg; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna; Künstlerhaus Bremen; ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe; Artspace NZ in Auckland; Firstdraft in Sydney amongst others.
Elaine Awolaja, Gallery Assistant
Milda Batakyte, Curator: Exhibitions
George Bularca, Gallery Assistant
Amida Deen, Gallery Assistant
Edward Gillman, Director
Georgina Rowlands, Curator: Public Programmes
Mariam Turay, Event Staff
Tommie Xie, Event Staff
Regular technicians: Black Shuck, Charlie Fegan, Lenart Kirbis, Joseph Richards, Bianca Trombi
BOARD OF TRUSTEES:
Khuroum Ali Bukhari, Associate Director, Sutton PR
Amida Deen, Youth member
Ali Eisa, Learning and Participation Manager, Autograph
Bo Escritt, Partner, Counterculture LLP
Sunil Gupta, Artist
Matthew Leitch, Group Financial Controller, VIA Outlets
Beatrice Pembroke, Executive Director of Culture, Kings College London
Ben Vickers, Technologist, writer and publisher
Previous trustees: Sarah Andrews, Cllr Kevin Brady, May Calil, Kate Cooper, Mary Cork, Amanda Dennis, Benedict Drew, Cécile B Evans, Marianne Forrest, Amira Gad, Francesca Gavin, Lorna Gemmell, Katie Guggenheim, Lynn Hanna and Kathy Noble.
We are committed to improving our project space so that it is as welcoming and comfortable as possible. The building comprises two gallery spaces. Access to the first exhibition space is step-free through a street facing entrance that is 90cm wide. There are two steps to enter the second exhibition space. This is supported with a temporary ramp that is 78cm wide. We have fully accessible toilets available on site.
We provide large-format versions of exhibition handouts in printed upon request. Please ask a member of staff on arrival. Exhibition texts are available in English.
We welcome further input as we seek to increase access to our work for all people. If you have encountered issues or would like to discuss accessibility before your visit, please contact info (at) autoitaliasoutheast.org.
We are actively working to improve the accessibility of our website and social media channels to meet guidelines set out in the Double-A of the World Wise Web Consortium W3C. Our digital platforms will be under ongoing review and we welcome user feedback on ways we can do better at this. If you are having any difficulties accessing digital content or have input on how we can ensure we meet your accessibility needs please get in touch at info (at) autoitaliasoutheast.org.