Header Artwork by Michele Tombolini, courtesy of Artrooms 2016
There are not many Art events that would welcome its patrons via a Staircase that looks like a deconstructed spaceship, with walls adorned with foil and unravelled video tape hanging, tendril like, from the ceiling, but Artrooms M.O. is definitely one of challenging accepted norms.
Last weekend I attended Artrooms 2016 at the Melia White House Hotel just off Great Portland street. Pitched as ‘London’s largest Art Fair for Independent Artists’, the concept of this relatively new event in the Art world is fascinating, and one that is very close to the principals behind why I founded Galleryfy.com in the first place.
If you feel exhibitions aren’t for you, that they seem impersonal, filled with perhaps ostentatious creations by monolithic Artists past, of whom you feel little or no connection with, then Artrooms is the antidote.
This notion hits you from the start. Reaching the first floor I came upon a number of people milling through the hotel’s corridor, disappearing in out of the rooms, all with the doors wide open casting sunlight in to the hallway. A small sign from the ceiling let me know I was in ‘Europe’. I turned into the first room on my right, tentatively knocking with an unsure hello.
The room was filled with Art, propped up (there can be no nailing into the hotel’s walls!) in every available space, including the bathroom!
A man was sitting at the desk who rose as he heard me come in and introduced himself as Diego with a shake of the hand. This was Diego Baldoin, an Artist based out of the Aosta Valley in the Alps, who proceed to tell me about his work, and to some degree his life in the Arts. He talked me through the method behind the pieces on display, bringing them to life with the passion he had for his work.
I have always believed Art should be a connection between the Artist and person viewing it, which Artrooms embodies to its very core. However, what Cristina Cellini Antonini, founder of the event has achieved is something far more personal, with each artist being tasked with bring their room to life with a theme of their own design. On entering, you feel like you get a glimpse into the minds of the artists and through every door you are in effect walking into a living installation. Yuliya Martynova’s was one such example where her stunning Migration series extended out of the canvas and on to the bed in the form of Paper Airplanes with quotes from Alice in Wonderland (her favourite book I found out). On entering the room I was instructed to pick one and give to the first person who smiled at me on the day as an icebreaker, and have to say great PR!
The event is a truly international affair with each corridor a gateway to another corner of the world, one artist even crowd funded their way from Australia to be there.
Artrooms also chooses Artists with a real sense of innovation, behind the second door was a Spanish artists called Roberto Grosso, a previous Artist of the week on Kanye West’s website. Roberto creates his work through the inspiration of music which he then prints on to metal, metallic paper or Perspex in a vibrant explosion of colour. The deconstructed images can be further brought to life through an Augmented reality feature which plots the journey of the creation of the piece along with the song that formed it’s inception.
There was also a raft of home grown talent on show, one of the more exciting of which for me was Neil Shirreff. I was enticed into a dark room by slow transitioning coloured lighting like a chill out room at a London club, and it was here I found a selection of Neil’s work. The work comprises of colour photograms (cameraless photographs) in box frames lit by colour changing LED lights. As the lights change colour your perception of the photogram’s colour and form is altered. The effect is memorising and certainly one of the standout rooms.
Also at the event, was current Galleryfy.com featured artist, Paola Minekov whose work combines multiple different styles and disciplines including cubism and post impressionism and can portray London in a truly unique way.
All the artists were of a very high calibre and were joined by some heavyweight speakers from the Art world including Jonas Almgren, CEO of artfinder and Marine Tanguy of Marine Tanguy Art.
I left Artrooms feeling like I had met a lot of Incredible people and enjoyed the Art on a different level as a result. Art is Human, ultimately, and I felt I understood the work more that day, because I got to understand where that work came from. The lives and stories of the people I met last weekend become interwoven with the rooms and the Art they accompanied. When you find art you like you share something with it’s creator, a common vision perhaps?
In any case Artrooms is most certainly in my diary for next year.
To see more of Paola Minekov’s work, Click here