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Edel Assanti: Alex Hoda

11 September 2013 | Mary Howell

You may not know it yet, but there’s a gallery in Victoria that’s using the area as a blank canvas in creating a platform for emerging and semi-established artists.

Both fans of concept driven art that responds to its historical context, gallery founders Charlie Fellowes and Jeremy Epstein tell us a little more about Edel Assanti prior to Alex Hoda's D-Construction exhibition opening on the 18th September.

London Calling: What are your respective backgrounds and why did you partner up?

Prior to starting Edel Assanti, Charlie previously managed Hamilton’s Gallery in Mayfair and Jeremy worked for Gagosian Gallery, London. Whilst we both started our careers working with blue chip artists, we were brought together by our mutual desire to create an exhibition platform for some of the younger artists we knew who were making exciting work. With full time jobs at the beginning, sharing a crazy work ethic was fairly crucial in the initial stages!

LC: Why did you name the gallery Edel Assanti?

The names “Edel” and “Assanti” respectively belong to family members two generations away from each of us – originally the idea was to steer the gallery away from ourselves, with the focus on the work we were showing. We also liked the idea of a fictitious person being behind the gallery.

LC: What is the gallery’s ethos and why is that so important to you both?

We aim to present work by artists who are simultaneously forward thinking and conscious of their place in a broader art historical context. We are drawn to concept-driven work, where technical approaches endorse the ideas behind the work itself.

LC: Many sceptics would say that Victoria is an unusual place to open up a new art gallery, are they wrong?

The initial decision to open in Victoria was a function of opportunity rather than choice, however the area turned out to be ideally suited to our needs. It is central enough that visitors and clients can conveniently reach us, and yet it still feels like a blank canvas in terms of its character, allowing us to have carved out our own niche. That said there are more and more creative industries arriving in Victoria as it undergoes transition, driven largely by Land Securities’ redevelopment of the area.

LC: Are there any plans to open up a new gallery? And if you were/are going to, where would it be?

We have no immediate plans, but as frequent visitors to New York, we would love to have a second space there.

LC: What defines this “new generation of contemporary art galleries” that you belong to?

We would not necessarily say that there are obvious unifying features of our generation of galleries – the work being shown is so varied and the galleries so abundant… Although a sense of identity and continuity throughout one’s programme does seem to have become increasingly important.

LC: You’ve nurtured emerging artists such as Gordon Cheung and Noémie Goudal, who’s next?

We have some great shows coming up in the next six months with artists we have never shown before, which we are extremely excited about. These will include an immersive installation by Brussels-based artist Marcin Dudek later this year, and in 2014, solo shows from Robin Foottit and New York based painter / sculptor Andrew Sutherland.

LC: Your Alex Hoda exhibition is set to open on the 18th September. What is it about his work that you love and why does it fit the Edel Assanti profile?

Alex’s latest work sits on the forefront of a new method of manipulating materials using 3D modelling. He uses this radical technical approach to immortalise ephemeral, throwaway objects such as banana skins in “sacred” sculptural materials such as bronze and marble, rendering the original objects unrecognisable. What we like about these works is that they force us to revisit our assumptions about traditional sculptural materials, and more broadly, our need to classify and categorise objects in order to make sense of the world around us.

LC: What is Edel Assanti’s relationship with the Saatchi Gallery?

We do not have a direct relationship as such – we have enjoyed collaborating with the Saatchi Gallery in so far as they have supported several of our artists and exhibited them as part of large group shows.

LC: Who are your favourite artists [of all time] and why?

Kazimir Malevich for creating an all-encompassing artistic practice.

The Alex Hoda's D-Construct exhibition runs from 18th September – 26th October 2013 at the Edel Assanti gallery, Victoria.

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