History of East Wing

EW8 - Amelia Whitelaw - The Fall

‘Faced with seminar rooms of such bareness, that the eye and mind revolted…I decided, by hook or by crook, to find some contemporary art to destroy all the vestiges of such nudity, and by this act restore to its rightful position art in everyday surroundings”.

-  Joshua Compston, 1991

This was the vision of Joshua Compston , student at the Courtauld Institute 1989-1992 and founder of East Wing.  Titled the Courtauld Loan Collection, the first show opened on 27th November 1991 and exhibited the likes of Gilbert and George, Howard Hodgkin, and Damien Hirst, many of whom were recently graduated and stretching the boundaries of the British art scene.

Whether consciously or not, Compston provided a legacy for students of the Courtauld Institute, with the organisation of a biennial show occuring for the last twenty years.  Never losing sight of the source of East Wing, the shows have progressed and bloomed into the vast project that we see today.  Over the years themes such as the transitory nature of art, and the struggle of inner and outer self have been explored through a whole host of media crammed into the labyrinthine layout of the building.  Forever innovative, and never stale, East Wing continues to ensure that an Institute steeped in tradition whose main purpose is to look back remains relevant today, pushing forwards.


Details of the previous shows:

1 Courtauld Loan Collection. 1991 – 1993

Initiated by Joshua Compston

2 Contemporary Art at the Courtauld: East Wing Collection. 1993 – 1995

Chair – Sybille Gray

3 The East Wing Exhibition – Contemporary art at the Courtauld. 1996 – 1998

Secretary Morgan Falconer

4 The East Wing Exhibition. 1999 – 2001

Chair – Sophie Howarth

5 Looking With/Out. 2001 – 2003

Chair – Belinda Bowring

6 Urban Networks.  2003 – 2005

Chair – Lucy Bradnock

7 Culture Bound. 2005 – 2007

Chair – Timothy Newton

8 On Time. 2008 – 2010

9 Exhibitionism: The Art of Display. 2010 – 2011

Chair – Tiernan Morgan

Clare Baron

A book detailing the History of East Wing compiling of images, press cuttings, interviews and excerpts from the catalogues can be found in the East Wing X exhibition.  The book has been designed by Mina Bach and Nancy Fleischhauer, students of Book Arts and Design, London College of Communication.

“Whilst every effort has been made to locate copyright holders and obtain permission to reproduce these images, in some cases this has been difficult.  If any copyright holder would like us to make an amendment to the acknowledgements, please notify us and we will gladly update the website. Thank you.”