We couldn't be more excited for the return of the London Gallery Weekend this Friday! It was amazing to see so many people back out and enjoying art in person last year, and we are looking forward to seeing even more this year.
Throughout our near 30 year history, we've always strived to help emerging art businesses succeed. This year we collaborated with London Gallery Weekend to launch the 'Artlogic Young and Emerging Gallery Initiative' to support three emerging galleries. The aim of the initiative is to help galleries who had been in operation for less than five years, fund their participation in this year's London Gallery Weekend, and support them with a year's free subscription to our platform with specialised 1:1 training and mentoring.
The response was overwhelming, and it is wonderful to see so many incredible emerging galleries with outstanding programmes opening their doors across London. After a careful selection process, we are delighted to share our chosen galleries: Moarain House, Gossamer Fog, and indigo+madder. We couldn't be more excited about working with these galleries over the next few years, helping them build their online operations and develop their digital presence with our suite of marketing and sales tools.
We caught up with each gallery to see how they started, what they are showing during London Gallery Weekend this coming weekend, and what they are most excited about going forward.
(Responses from Rose Easton)
Moarain House began in October 2021 in a fresh post-pandemic landscape and opportunity. Their programme is focused on emerging contemporary practice with an emphasis on materiality with a subtle femme bias.
"We have a cute baby gallery WhatsApp group that includes brilliant emerging spaces. We offer support to one another, and champion each other's programmes, it's heaven!"
Why did you feel London was the right place to open your gallery?
Our home town! And when it's good (and I think right now, post-covid, it's definitely having a juicy moment), it's the best. We feel incredibly privileged to have opened a space right in the midst of our favourite galleries. We have also found the London gallery scene to be an incredibly supportive network. We have a cute baby gallery WhatsApp group that includes brilliant emerging spaces like Ginny on Frederick, Harlesden High Street and Dinner Party Gallery, to name just a few. We offer support to one another, and champion each other's programmes, it's heaven!
Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view
"The ethos of the gallery sees us transforming the space for each exhibition, to create a world around the work."
What exciting things should we be looking out for in your programme in the next few months? What will you be showing during the London Gallery Weekend?
We have some excellent exhibitions coming up, although, of course, I'm somewhat biased. The ethos of the gallery sees us transforming the space for each exhibition to create a world around the work, so we hope that each time you visit, you're transported somewhere new. Something we're particularly proud of is the live programme of events that accompany each exhibition. The events are open to all, and the people who have attended thus far have brought the most incredible thoughts and ideas into the space, opening up a dialogue around each exhibition. It has helped us build a wonderful and supportive gallery family.
For London Gallery Weekend, we are very excited to be showing Precious Pipeline, a solo exhibition by Assyrian-Swiss artist Shamiran Istifan, her first solo in the UK.
(Responses from Samuel Capps)
Gossamer Fog is a gallery based in Deptford, South East London, specialising in using new creative technologies and new media methodologies within the arts such as virtual reality and games engines.
"I don't think there are any other cities that have as much going on as London."
Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work in the art world?
When I was a teenager, I was really into making video games and was interested in pursuing a career in games production. At some point, I decided I didn't want to work on a computer all my life, so I studied a BA in Photography and Digital Imaging, but from there got more into physical art-making such as painting and sculpture, and then I began curating a few shows as well. It was only a few more years down the line that I looked into opening up a gallery as I was really enjoying curation, and then after that, I kind of came full circle, starting to work with games engines again, using them for various interactive projects and with virtual reality.
I definitely didn't want or expect to work in the art world when I was younger, and maybe only started to fully commit myself to it once I was in my late 20s. Even now, sometimes I'm not sure if I really want to remain in it as it can be littered with a bit too much ego and gatekeeping for my liking. But I also think that the art world is so large that you can carve out your own little corner, create your own community and just do your own thing.
Rustan Söderling's A Sickness in the Water
Why did you feel London was the best place to open the gallery?
I've been based in London pretty much my whole adult life, so it was a no-brainer for me! I can't say I've ever been interested in ever living anywhere else in the UK, apart from maybe Glasgow, but I don't think I even made a conscious decision to open it in London. It was just the only place I would have done it, it kind of just happened, and things fell into place at the right time, although I did have to spend six months doing up the property from an old filthy gambling den/nightclub! As a city, I just don't think it's possible to get bored here; the amount of great culture going on in all of the creative industries is just amazing. I don't think there are any other cities that have as much going on as London.
"NFTs and crypto will be the backbone to the Metaverse and there will be elements of digital property ownership that art will benefit from"
What will you be showing during the London Gallery Weekend?
The show we are exhibiting for London Gallery Weekend is called A Sickness in the Water, which is a solo show by Swedish artist Rustan Söderling who is based in Amsterdam. This will also mark the relaunch and reopening of Gossamer Fog after a period of closure during the pandemic.
What exciting things should we be looking out for in your programme in the next few months?
We have a multiple site group show coming up called Autopoiesis which I have been working on for some time. It will have simultaneous shows at Gossamer Fog in London and at Lily Robert in Paris, both connected via an online element, with different sensors and inputs in each location affecting the exhibition in the other.
Caspar Sawyer - Caveat Emptor (2019)
We all agree that there is nothing quite like seeing an artwork in person, which is why we love the London Gallery Weekend. With the growth of digital platforms, hybrid events, and even the rise of NFTs, presenting art online has become more critical. What has been your experience using digital channels as a young gallery?
Gossamer Fog's curation and programming have always been an extension of my own interests and artistic practice, so it has always been quite focused on new media and artworks that involve themselves with technology, both through concepts and/or medium. We created an online part of the gallery called the Antechamber back in the summer of 2020. This created a virtual map of the gallery and extended it with new rooms to host different online projects, to which we can continually add new rooms. I'm definitely very interested in exploring how hybrid and mixed reality projects can develop, as I believe there is so much scope for experimentation that we have not seen anywhere yet, either in or outside of the art world.
"I definitely think we are seeing the emergence of new economies and ways of working within the art world"
As for NFTs, I'm still undecided on the benefits for the arts specifically. I'm very much into crypto and can see the benefits of how it can open financial operations to the masses (DeFi etc), and sidestep gatekept financial institutions. NFTs and crypto will be the backbone of the Metaverse, and there will be elements of digital property ownership that art will benefit from in that regard, but I think we need to see less speculation and more conceptual works that actually use the technology in interesting ways.
What's next with developing your online presence?
We are developing a new virtual production studio for Gossamer Fog this summer which will be at the centre of a new strategy and modes of production for the gallery and the artists we work with. This came out from some live-streamed performance projects we did previously, where we tested a proof of concept for this kind of studio. This basically used a green screen studio to overlay real-world performances within a virtual world, but by using VR tracking technology mounted to a camera, you are able to synchronise the physical world camera feed movements with the virtual world, thus making the illusion that real-world performers are in virtual space.
We will also use this new space to host a new education program for artists and young people interested in learning these new cutting edge techniques. Along with that we have some plans in our new program for several online exhibitions, along with a new collaborative game artwork.
(Responses from Krittika Sharma)
indigo+madder is a London-based art gallery co-founded by Ipshita Sen and Krittika
Sharma, with a special focus on contemporary art from South Asia and its diaspora.
"We wanted to have a lot of conversations around South Asia and its diaspora, work with and champion other women of colour."
Why did London feel like the right place to open your gallery?
I have lived in different places, but London very quickly started to feel like home. It has a really exciting art scene and various diasporas (including a large South Asian one) and is of course a very multicultural city. We realised though that there weren't many galleries of our generation here who were specialists in the diasporic context while focusing on the emerging art market.
We started with a pop-up show in 2018 – which was a huge learning experience! We had 15 artists in the exhibition and shipped works over from three countries. It was exciting and gruelling! We realised though that we could really create a gallery with an international, interdisciplinary programme that is also at the same time built on principles of diversity and firmly rooted in the exciting contemporary art scene of London. When we began looking for a permanent space, we wanted something that was embedded in London's emerging art scene and found our current South London space, which has a great community of art galleries, studios and is close to institutions such as Goldsmiths.
"Seeing the work come together has been giving me goosebumps!"
What are you showing during the London Gallery Weekend?
I am really excited about our London gallery weekend show Lotus-Eaters, which brings together new paintings by Shailee Mehta and Caroline Wong. Both artists paint women - either playful portraits in intimate interior spaces, saturated with colour, or bodies entangled within hybrid terrains, where nature is steadily (re)encroaching upon the urban. The paintings negotiate otherness, explore sexuality and subvert the male gaze to discover the ripe potential and possibilities of embodied pleasure, intimacy and desire.
Caroline Wong, Sugar Slump, 2022
Seeing the work come together has been giving me goosebumps! There will be some powerful paintings of women of colour in the show. I think both artists are doing some very important work and are breathing new life into the genre of figurative painting, while pushing forward the conversation. Caroline is interested in a subversive response to traditional, restricted representations of East Asian women. Her confident, energetic marks depict scenes of rebellious, hedonistic desire. Shailee's figures are imagined in radical settings, where nature, wildlife and bodies seem to merge. They highlight her interest in current environmental issues, and comment on taking up space, visibility, and representation of women.
"There is so much freedom to create a more interesting experience for everyone."
What's next for indigo+madder's online presence?
We have always been interested in having a strong online presence. While a move towards more digital was inevitable, the pandemic really pushed us to present art online quickly. As a young gallery, being online has also increased our reach significantly and connected us with more collectors all over the world. It is much less exclusionary too. I had worked on a couple of projects for the Google Arts & Culture initiative in its early years, and the online exhibition format has always intrigued me. It can allow you to bring together various types of information in a compelling manner, and an online exhibition can very much have a life of its own – there are options to integrate embedded video and audio, curatorial content, artist created digital content, quotes and of course images...there is so much freedom to create a more interesting experience for everyone.
The London Gallery Weekend is on from the 13th to 15th of May 2022.
Visit the London Gallery Weekend website to discover curated routes and use the interactive map to plan your visit.
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