12 February 2013

'Contemporary Emotions' @ Opera Gallery London

by Kostas Prapoglou


Opera Gallery showcases ‘Contemporary Emotions’, an exhibition featuring an army of some of the most influential and pioneering artists from the second half of the 20th century and until today.  

The show takes visitors to a journey of contemporary art through a collection of representative works by artists of the Western world such as Pierre Soulages, Arman, Niki de Saint-Phalle , Fernando Botero, Andy Warhol, Ron Arad, Daniele Buetti, Julian Opie, Marc Quinn, Anish Kapoor and others, as well as works by Asian artists like Yayoi Kusama , Wang Guangyi, Yan Pei-Ming, Feng Zhengjie and Li Tianbing. Ranging from oil on canvas paintings, acrylics, assemblages and plexiglas, bronze, fiberglass, polyester, aluminium sculptures to perforated photographs in light boxes, ‘Contemporary Emotions’ will give us the pulse of the art movements that were embraced by innumerable other artists and engaged art lovers, enthusiasts and collectors across the globe.

The rare chance of seeing so many pioneering artists under one roof in a private gallery is of great importance. It signifies not only the status of London as a pivotal contemporary arts centre but it also reflects the strength and the growth of this particular market.

The co-existence of a generation of Western artists involved with movements such as pop art and neo-pop with postmodern and contemporary representatives from Asia is unquestionably a statement for the rise of the analogous Asian art and its role of involvement within the international art scene.

‘Contemporary Emotions’ is a show not to be missed and I personally see it as the messenger of more similar exhibitions to come from private London galleries in the near future.



Jean-David Malat, art dealer, director of Opera Gallery London and curator of the show talked to REVma -/+: 

REVma -/+: Since its opening in London, Opera Gallery always presents exhibitions encompassing modern art and continuously introducing intriguing contemporary artists. What has the response of the London audience been so far?  
J.-D.M.: Yes, that is indeed exactly the concept behind Opera Gallery, we are very well known for the magic names of the contemporary art scene that we show on our walls. But we are also known for introducing up-and-coming artists to our collectors. It is an important part of our role. Opera Gallery London is on New Bond Street, therefore we are meeting new collectors all the time and some of them want to go step by step when building their art collection and to start with a young artist on the up, before going further with bigger names and bigger amounts in terms of investment! 

REVma -/+: Opera Gallery is a worldwide art dealer of modern and contemporary European, American and Asian art. 'Contemporary Emotion' will showcase artworks from all these geographical regions. How do you feel the emergence of Asian art in the recent years has affected the western art scene? 
J.-D.M.: Our network of galleries covers regions all over the world, from London to Seoul and Dubai. In ‘Contemporary Emotion’, I wanted to bring together a panel of some of the top and best known international artists of the contemporary scene. Asian art has started affecting the Western art scene a few years ago, when Asian art was really undergoing a boom (2005-2006) and when collectors were actually buying more Asian art than Western art! But time has change and Western art is now dominating the demand again. Don't get me wrong, Asian art is still selling -and well- but it is more specific collectors that seek it, rather than the general art collector body. 

REVma -/+: What are you hoping to achieve with 'Contemporary Emotion'? 
J.-D.M.: This exhibition brings together -in one space located on the high street and accessible to everyone- some of the best living artists such as Fernando Botero and Anish Kapoor, and some of the most famous names of the Contemporary Art movement. It will feature some really amazing artworks, ranging from painting to photography, sculpture and installations. Contemporary Emotion will open to the public on February 13. I believe it is an exceptional event, as it is rare for commercial galleries like us to bring so many amazing artists together in one happening. One of my favourite pieces from the selection is an original canvas by Keith Haring from 1984, it is so rare to see such a piece in a gallery rather than a museum and I am delighted that we will be able to present it!

 REVma -/+: The New Year has started with a very exciting exhibition. What should we be expecting from Opera Gallery London for the rest of 2013? 
J.-D.M.: In 2013, we will present a big solo exhibition by British Artist Joe Black. Nowadays, he is seen as one of the top upcoming contemporary British artists, the demand for his works is huge. Joe Black is returning in October 2013 -during Frieze- with a wide selection of new pieces that will mix sculptural and mural works. A show not to be missed for sure. 

REVma -/+: How do you see the London art scene developing in the next ten years? 
J.-D.M.: The art scene is big in London, I find out that almost every month a new gallery opens. Of course, not all of them remain, because it is not an easy market, because you have to fight all the time, in order to get new pieces, to find the next big artists, while making your collectors happy... But new galleries appearing show a healthy market and a healthy creative scene. We have been here for 8 years now, and we only get bigger & bigger because it's just too exciting to remain quiet.

images from top to bottom: Philippe Pasqua, ‘Vanité’; Marc Quinn, ‘Endless column’ (micro cosmos); Julian Opie, ‘Woman dressed 4’, 2002; Yan Pei-Ming, ‘L’Homme invisible, retour sur le lieu du crime’, 1999; Yayoi Kusama, ‘Flames’, 1990.  
all images courtesy of the gallery

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