Hotel and art, a marriage made in heaven!! By hosting its first exhibition in 76 rooms on the entire first floor of luxurious Melià White House Hotel in central London, The ARTRooms brought a revolutionary concept to London. The Melià White House Hotel has been described as where contemporary meets modernism which makes this an ideal location for such an innovative event. In a previous blogpost on alternative fairs in London , I rated the ARTRooms highly, for its uniqueness and I was not disappointed.
With the immense growth of art fairs and the art world experiencing ‘Fairtigue’. It is refreshing to see organisers like the ARTRooms, seeking out alternative ways to exhibit art and narrow the gap between artists and collectors.
During the ARTRooms press conference, Christina Cellini Antonini, the founder and director talked about the aim of organising the art exhibition in an unconventional space, was to create an atmosphere, where visitors can visualize their art works in their own environments. It also provides an opportunity for visitors to get to know the artist and their works a little more.
The ARTRooms, is a firm believer of art and a good cause. As part of the event, an auction was organised with artworks donated by exhibitors and partners. The funds raised will be donated to Bow Art Trust, a charity supported by the ARTRooms. Bow Art Trust was established in 1995. It provides affordable studio space to artists and generates art education projects for 70 schools across London.
At the ARTRooms, over 700 works were presented by 90 emerging and established artist from different countries with a good mixture of sculptures, paintings, photography, drawings, collage and installations, which were aimed at the mid-market. There were also affordable pieces for less than £500 available at the fair, which provided people with not so deep pockets with the opportunity to own an original piece of art. The artworks at the exhibition were selected by a Committee and an Arts Advisory Board.
Here is an account of my experience at the ARTRooms and some of my favourites.
As I wandered down the hallway on the first floor, I was drawn by an alluring aroma, which took me to the infused scented Room 111 occupied by Fine Art Photographer Lichena Bertinato.
Lichena specialises in black and white, night and retro photography. She curated the room in a 50’s style theme, invoking the thoughts of burlesque. I was serenaded by jazz music from the same era. The room was adorned with artefacts from the 50’s. In my opinion, this was by far one of the best curated rooms, I visited at the event. It was simple and effective; the use of a monochrome scheme was in harmony with her black and white photography.
I discovered another photography exhibitor in Room 185, on first glance, this appeared to be unoccupied. I went in and found the room a bit underwhelming, as I felt little effort was given to curating the space. Great photographs, but this room could have easily been one of the hotel rooms that was not taking part in the exhibition.
Abstract Art & Poems
My love for Abstract art led me to Room 108, I stepped into my odyssey, a kingdom of abstraction and poems created by Deepa Khanna Sobti. I asked Deepa what she thought about abstract art. We proceeded to have a lengthy discussion on the idea that life is an abstraction in itself, the duality of separation and oneness, where she sees herself as Nothing and Everything. Deepa’s philosophical thread can be seen running through her works in abstract painting and poems, some of which I’ve included below.
Were You Ever Really Born?, It is fascinating to see that although no one has ever experienced their birth…They believe without question…That they were born…Even though it is widely accepted that experience is the basis for belief…Who ever experiences their birth?…Similarly no one ever experiences their death…Yet, our entire life is a story between these two inexperienced, blindly believed points…What if there was no birth and death?…Isn’t there only ever only Life that is experienced?…Beginningless and Endless Life.
Photo and Poem Credit:Emptinessisfull – Deepa Khanna Sobti
I felt completely at home, being surrounding by Deepa’s works and I like the idea of combining abstract art with poetry, as abstract art cannot be fully described by words alone, it has to be experienced in your conscious and sub conscious being. For me it is a sense, a feeling that envelopes me and connects me to the painting.
Deepa Khanna Sobti lives in Hong Kong and spent over a decade in the banking sector, which she gave up 14 years ago and has focused on her art and poetry full time since 2008. Her work has been short listed for the Art Gemini Award 2014. She donates 75% of the profits from the sales of her works to selected charities.
Installations & Poems
I was a little hesitate to go into Room 103, then her dolls caught my attention from the doorway. I was greeted by German born Ricki Nerreter and she proceeded to talk me through her unique 3 dimensional installations and poetry. At first glance, her work appeared to be playful, which is symbolic of the artefacts used, but there was a philosophical undertone that was thought provoking, rising questions on what is deemed to be real and the actions of society. Interestingly, this is very similar to Deepa’s philosophy in room 108, but using a different medium.
Ricki’s installations started with her using her old toys from her childhood, and luckily for her, she had two sets of each toy, which she used to practice and include in her installations, as she is a twin. The idea behind her art is to capture moments under glass like a diary.
This installation above is my favourite. Ricki used her chopped up credit cards in this installation and explained that the rather large hand covering the dolls mouth is symbolic of what happens when one receives their credit card bill after a massive shopping spree! With the thought that normally comes to one’s head, creatively inscribed on the calculator.
There was so much to see, I peeped into Room 198 and I was mesmerised by the works of soft spoken Sarka Darton in monochrome with a splash of colour. Her depiction of femininity in her subjects was soft, alluring and arresting at the same time. Her works are infused with maps and places close to her heart. She addresses issues of identity and the relationship between people and places. Her work aims to highlight our awareness of the time and space we occupy.
Room 198 is another of my favorites from both a curation and artistic offering perspective. The effective utilization of space and colour found me wanting to experience more of her creations. She utilised every single space, without the room looking cluttered. There was a creative piece in every nook and corner of the room.
As I was about to leave Sarka, a captivating piece on the wall got my attention. I love the gentleness and vulnerability of the subject captured in black and white. This is one of my favorite works at the event.
Sarka Darton was born in Czech Reuplic and is an international recongnised artist. In 2005 she graduated from UCC with a 1st class degree in Fine Art and in 2008 she received a PigDip from the university of Sussex with a distinction in Art and Drawings.
Moving along, I met an amazing larger than life character at the entrance of Room 187. He ushered me into his room and introduced himself as the artist, Pato Bosich. I struggled to reconcile the works of this larger than life character and expected him to be more of a street artist or a contemporary abstract artist, as opposed to the creator of the old master styled paintings before me. As the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover.
That said, I loved the contradiction presented before me. I was intrigued and paused to digest some of his works in soft colors, depicting feminine subjects. Questions around the narrative presented in the paintings started arising within me. I found this a little bit challenging, as I like to take in a painting and create my own stories out of abstraction and nothingness. Around the room, I felt there was a common theme of fear, the unknown, reflection of self, external self, seeing the internal self and the inner self being reflected in physical form.
Whilst in his company, I stepped aside and observed other visitors, who were fascinated by his talent and showed loads of interest in these creative master pieces.
Photo Credit: Pato Bosich
Pato Bosich was born in Chile and pursued art immediately after secondary school. He has lived in the UK for the last 15 years and completed a BA Painting degree at Camberwell College of Arts in 2004. He also exhibits in New York City with Porter Contemporary and in Barcelona with Jano Arts.
Wine and art
As I came out of Room 187, I looked down the hallway and the painting below pulled me into its gaze and I proceeded towards it.
I arrived at Room 192, where I was greeted by an audience, enjoying the artistic works of Gino Donvito and drinking wine. I was told by one of the collectors in the room that the wine was also produced by the artist who has a winery in Italy.
Gino was not present, but was represented by his children. Not my kind of art, but it was nice to see it was being enjoyed and appreciated by others.
Gino Donvito is an italian artist based in south of Italy. Donvito is inspired by his splendor and legends and works that evoke a faraway past, but still touchable in the present monumental mark. He uses an old technique and works exclusively with birch wood cured in advance.
Jazz and Art
After leaving Dino’s room and his guests, I entered Room 196 and I was struck by a powerful visual impact. The vibrant colours, depiction of musicality and jazz instruments all made for a wonderful experience in this room. The work was produce by a husband and wife team Massimo Chioccia & Olga Tsarkova. Massimo, the husband was present with their daughter and her toy which is featured in the picture below.
I did some research when I got home and discovered an interesting article on this amazing husband and wife team, which eloquently describes the fusion of Jazz and Art. Jazz up an Italian site describes the paintings of Massimo Chioccia and Olga Tsarkova as originality of work done by four hands. As skilled pianists, there works blends admirably gestures and emotions of informal painting, action painting, with the expertise and the refinement of figurative painting, from large fields of intense color emerge trumpets, saxophones, bass and the intensity of the faces of the performers, in a poetic language electrifying. Well said in my opinion.
Collage and functional art
Last but not the least is the works of Lillian Mascio in Room 102, I was drawn into the room by the ambience and dim lights and the cozy atmosphere.
I proceeded to look around the room and hanging on each wall were glittery creation
and there it was on the right wall, I found my master piece ‘Ether’. I knew in that moment, she was coming home with me. I was drawn to the bold masculinity of the work, combined with glittery substance and crystal stones. I made a mental note of how the colours will blend in nicely with my black and white decor at home.
I was so captivated by the work and it was only towards the end of my interaction with Liliana that I realised it was a collage, which did not bother me, as I was sold. Ether came home with me and has a permanent home on my wall.
Liliana theme for the event was based on the 5 elements (Air, Fire,Water, Earth and Ether). For each of the elements she made these amazing lamps, which were featured as part of the functional art component of the exhibition.
Lillian Mascio started her career as a Venezuelan architect and lectured art in Venezuela, after which she attended the University of the Arts in London, studying interior design and fashion business as well as colour and ligting at KLC School of Design in London. Currently she lives in London and Slovenia and is pursuing a career as art creator and interior.
This concludes my fantastic experience at the ARTRooms, I must say all my senses were aroused and I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience the first exhibition, first hand. A great exhibition, great venue, amazing talent from established and emerging artist. My eyes had a massive feast of quality art works. A little bit disappointed, as there was not much work presented by local British Artists and I completely missed the functional art element.
I must say, the ARTRooms definitely lived up to its goal and provided a relaxed and intimate environment for me to have discussions with various artists about their works. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the fair and the luxurious rooms of the Hotel. Great Job for a first major art event. I look forward to the next ArtRooms, January next year can’t come soon enough.
If you enjoyed this post, please comment and please share. If you like more blog post like this, subscribe on the homepage. Thank you for stopping by.