Meet the Gallery: Aleph Contemporary
1. Please introduce yourself and Aleph Contemporary's vision and programme.
Many years ago in my youth, I read The Aleph by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. It’s a strange tale where the writer discovers a small sphere, which is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion.
“On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first, I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe…”
The artist is the mirror of now. Without the Arts, we would have no record of this changing world we have created. The artist recounts and portrays their perceptions, reactions and observations in literature and the visual arts, while the rest of us let them slip into oblivion. The Arts bear witness to the multiplicity of views and duplicity of human nature. It takes passion to be an artist, to have that constant need to create at any expense to oneself. Great artists have been unstoppable, they were as if possessed by the need to create something new. Their body of work is the proof.
I went to St Martin’s School of Arts but I couldn’t endure. I was too young, distracted and immature, and I didn’t have the stamina or the inspiration. Having been brought up with Old Masters, I had a scarce understanding of what was happening in contemporary art and the students were left too much to their own devices. Later, I lived in Paris for twenty years where I became increasingly interested in art history, albeit autodidactic. Nevertheless, it’s been a lifetime of looking. After years of dealing in the secondary market with expert colleagues specialising in Impressionist and Modern Art, I found I was passionate about dealing with living artists, especially after reading René Gimpel’s fascinating Journal d’un Collectionneur (Diary of an Art Dealer.)
Meeting artists I have found them to be erudite, philosophical and deeply interesting people. When people are like-minded they tend to be drawn to each other. I look for maturity, depth, commitment and humour. Technique though essential is never enough. The ethos of Aleph Contemporary is fundamentally philosophical - the love of truth, of the spirit that runs through everything and links us together, of perennial wisdom in every culture.
2. Where is Aleph Contemporary based?
We are lucky to have two locations at our disposal for a programme of exhibitions: The Bindery in Hatton Garden, EC1, where our third exhibition is on show till the 12th of January and The In & Out (Military and Naval Club), 4 St James’s Square, St James’s where our show The Aesthetics of Enchantment in Abstract Art is on till late March. The paintings in this show will change intermittently. All our exhibitions last for six weeks or more.
3. Choose three of your favourite artworks to date.
My three favourite artworks to date is a tall question. And I’m not comparing.
- Paul Klee’s oeuvre is genius.
- Franz Marc’s Blue Horse, Gauguin’s Le Gué in the Shchukin Collection.
- Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Seated Girl - her legs pulled up currently at the RA.
- Paul Cézanne’s Sous-Bois, held at Tate Modern.
I could go on but I’ve already listed too many.
4. Can you tell us about your upcoming shows?
In January, we will be at London Art Fair (stand P21) showing Barbara Nicholls, Rebecca Meanley and Andrew Hewish. We will hang one big painting and the rest will be framed abstract works on paper ranging between £450 and £1,700.
Our next show at The Bindery in Hatton Garden will open in early March. We shall be showing Rebecca Meanley’s gestural abstract paintings next to Spanish painter Jaime Valtierra’s figurative Picasso-esque work. The theme is the family and its emotions.
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