I have been working here in the London shop for two months, having just finished a degree in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. There is a community spirit between the dealers on Kensington Church Street that I have found extends beyond the boundaries of the street itself; it has certainly welcomed me. It is therefore with pleasure that I can talk about a recent opportunity I have had here, to curate an exhibition of contemporary artworks that reference our cultural and art historical traditions, just up the road at Sphinx Fine Art.

Called Young Masters Revisited, the exhibition seeks to explore the often forgotten relationship between the artists, techniques and materials of the canonical past, and work that is being made today. It was initiated by the Cynthia Corbett Gallery in 2009, and this year I have curated it over three venues. Sphinx Fine Art, an Old Master dealer with a fascinating collection of many of the finest European paintings I have encountered, is displaying the work of artists including Karen Knorr, Chris Antemann, Charlotte Bracegirdle and Lynn Hatzius, who all play with imagery related to connoisseurship, collecting, portraiture and the social critique.

Karen Knorr, Painting After Nature, 2005, C-type print, courtesy James Hyman Gallery.

Locating the show within a more Spartan ‘white cube’ context, a portion of the show including artists such as Katsutoshi Yuasa, Tracey Eastham and David Roche will open on Thursday 14th October at the old Truman brewery near Brick Lane. The brutalist architectural setting for these works will be as important within their dialogue with the past as their imagery and media, placing emphasis onto the space of display as a bearer of meaning.

Tracey Eastham, Bright the Vision that Delights, 2008, collage.

The Courtauld Institute is kindly hosting the last part of the exhibition, which will be a solo show of the work of Spanish Artist Lluis Barba. His pieces use Old Master works as backdrops for a bricolage of contemporary phenomena, such as global brands, the celebrity image, and the idea of mass-consumption.

Lluis Barba, La muestra de Gersaint, Watteau, 2009, digital print on diasec.

If you find yourself on our street over the coming weeks, Young Masters Revisited is open at Sphinx Fine Art (number 125) from Monday to Friday 10am-6pm, and on Saturdays from 11am-4pm.

More information on the show can be found here.

Matthew Reeves


October 09, 2010 — Peter Alexander