"I think what is currently happening is a change in the traditional gallery model and the development of an environment within which the 'survival of the fittest' occurs."
Our interview with Founding Director of Gazelli Art House, Mila Askarova
Could you talk about the galleries background? How did it all start?
In 2010, we held a series of pop up shows across various spaces in different neighbourhoods of London. From townhouses to large warehouse spaces, the group shows were interlinked thematically with a focus on the audience and their reaction to the works presented. The gallery was found on the premise of being a comprehensive space for artists (both budding and the more established), collectors and art enthusiasts alike. An extensive educational programme was put together in order to bring together like-minded people curious to engage with the works and the artists on a closer and a more approachable level.
Could you talk about the space you have on Dover Street (London) and the journey that got you there?
The pop up shows then led to the opening of our permanent space on Dover Street (the fifth show of the series held as the launch exhibition of the gallery). It was a combination of luck that we have found the space and the clear understanding that we had to be in prime location in order to engage with the audience and continuously reassert our commitment to both artists and our exhibition programme.
How do you feel the art world is changing? Do you think art fairs are becoming the lifeblood for most galleries?
I think what is currently happening is a change in the traditional gallery model and the development of an environment within which the 'survival of the fittest' occurs. There are many more players in the industry than ever before , and much more interest in the arts. The art fairs are definitely a way of getting introduced to a wide selection of artists under one roof, but on the other hand there are now an abundance of them which can make it exhausting for both galleries and collectors. It is important therefore to be more selective from both the viewer's side and and the gallery/dealer's side.
How do you differentiate yourself from other galleries?
I would like to believe we offer an alternative approach to the way we present the artists we work with through our diverse program, and the way we position ourselves amongst collectors by providing an unbiased opinion on the works and artists their interested in. I think most galleries have their own individual take on what they believe to be great art so in that sense we are no different to them.
What advice can you give to young artists?
To experiment and find your own voice and stick to it even if there is no response from the industry at first. You also have to go out there and network, to be heard.
What do you look for in an artist?
Consistency and the ability to take the viewer through several levels of analysis.
What has been your biggest obstacle and greatest achievement as a gallery so far?
The obstacle has been to strike a balance between running the gallery on an all-inclusive basis , giving the opportunity to artists and exhibitions which were / are not necessarily commercially viable , and making the business into a self-sustaining venture.
What's the future for Gazelli Art House? Any exciting new shows lined up?
Our program this year is more focused with only solo shows lined up until the end of the year. Following the current group show, toute seule, we will dive into the solo shows of Saad Qureshi, Niyaz Najafov, Stanley Casselman, Derek Boshier and Jane McAdam Freud.
Banner Image: Kalliopi Lemos, In Balance, 2016
Images courtsey of Gazelli Art House
Interview publishing date: 09/02/17