In praise of the commercial gallery

One of the things I love about London is how great its commercial art spaces are. The big blockbuster galleries are amazing of course – you only need to enter the first room of the chronologically hung Tate Britain to know that. But I’ve been checking out some of the smaller galleries lately and it’s a whole new art world.

Last week, I wrote about my funny little trip to Red Gallery in Shoreditch. Nearby, Flowers Gallery currently has an exhibition on portraiture that I checked out the other weekend. Different artists have completely different ways of exploring the self, from the photorealist to the totally abstract. But the works that really stuck with me were the photos of artists holding artworks, which hung next to the artworks in question. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that what you see in a photo or on a painting is real, but seeing both photo and subject alongside one another really drove on home the reality of reproduction. Very cool.

Carroll/Fletcher is a (relatively) new gallery on the terribly trendy Eastcastle Street, just off Oxford Street. It’s currently closed for the summer, but their previous exhibition was incredible. The gallery specialises in emerging art forms, and boy do I love the medium of technology in art. There were quite a few installation pieces – my favourite was London Wall W1W (see below), which pulled in tweets sent within a one mile radius of the gallery and randomly picked them out. Throughout the exhibition’s lifespan, tweets would be printed off and pasted on the wall, creating an evolving portrait of local tidbits.

One gallery I’m looking forward to checking out is Erarta. It specialises in Russian art, which is an area I’m particularly fond of. I’m going to make it my business to visit as many of these small galleries as I can. They’re under the radar, and they’re fun.

P.s. I’m happy to announce that I have teamed up with online portal for all things Asia, Mokio, to bring you a monthly column on the wonderful world of Eastern arts. The first article will be posted in September – I’ll be sure to link you!


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