Elena Francia Gabriele from EFG ART Ltd presents the project called @fromstudiolockdown, an initiative to support artists during the pandemic
Can you tell us about yourself and your activity at EFG Art and the Artist Hive Studios?
EFG Art supports international emerging talents by producing and promoting their works. I choose a limited number of projects per year with a tailor-made approach and promote them through a selected network of galleries, corporations, museums and public spaces, dealing with art curators and critics.
My collaboration with Artist Hive Studios (@artisthivestudios) happened by chance, I love the work of Mark Beattie and I went to visit his studio in Tottenham (London) and he introduced me to the studios, a coworking space for artists, founded by Mark and the curator Chantelle Purcell. Hive Studios is an artist’s hub with individual units for art studios, workspaces, a gallery and an area for performance art.
Many initiatives have been created during the crisis. Can you tell us about your own project called “@fromstudiolockdown”?
@fromstudiolockdown is a project that came about as a response to the biggest challenge that we have faced in the 21st century. In a time of uncertainty, social distancing and self-isolation, it’s very important to stay connected to artworks and artists, albeit digitally for the first phase of the project.
Throughout history artists have used their medium to spread positivity, humour, resilience and innovation in difficult times. Many artists are forced to be away from their studios and have had to use different mediums.
Can you tell us about the artists who took part in this project?
@fromstudiolockdown is an open call to artists and we had an amazing response. We have featured all artists who have tagged us in our story on Instagram but we will choose 40 or 50 artists to feature in the pop-up exhibition that will take place in London when we finally transfer the artworks from a virtual world to a physical one.
In mentioning a few artists who responded to our call let’s start with Catalan artist Nei Albertí (@neialberti_art) who shared a very surreal video of one day of isolation, the anxiety and pathos are very palpable and real.
Then there is the English multimedia artist Lucy Bryant who turns kitsch ceramic figurines into something completely new, subverting the everyday and banal to create something unique and humorous.
We are fortunate to have had pictures from Misan Harriman – your can view here the BBC interview describing his lockdown experience.
Nettie Wakefield with her brilliant pencil work truly represents distancing in the time of Covid-19, whilst Renin Bilginer with her vibrant colour palette allows her painting and collages to retain a light-hearted quality.
You mentioned there will be an exhibition after the quarantine, can you tell us more about it ?
The intention is that the pop-up exhibition will take place in central London and to highlight the difficulty that we are all facing socially and economically, we are looking for a unit or space that was previously used for a different purpose, like a restaurant or a shop. We will be searching for places once the lockdown is over.
This is a developing project but at this stage we are looking at offering three small prizes for the best works, although this is not a competition and accessibility to all, both in contributing and viewing remains one of our core values. This is not primarily a commercial exhibition but we would like people to buy a piece of art as a poignant, sensitive and historic thing to do in the knowledge that any proceeds from sales will go to help the artists and NHS charities.
Has this time been more creative for the artists of Hive Studios?
This has been a very challenging and creative time for all artists globally and, in many cases, they have had to rethink their approach. For example, Mark Beattie, a sculptor unable to go to his studio and get full access to materials, has started to draw again and has just released some limited edition prints.
What is next for EFG Art?
Personally, I am very glad that we have a new opening date for Nei Albertí’s exhibition Directed Tensions in Milan (9th of September 2020). This is a collaboration with Copernico Art Journey and Giorgia Sarti. A brilliant site-specific installation has been especially created by the artist. This is a project we have worked on for a year but the opening on 5th March was cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.
I also have an exhibition planned in Turin during Artissima with Mattia Lapperier called 40 days also dealing with the lockdown, that was very restrictive in Italy, the first European Country to be affected.
2021 should bring a very challenging installation in Bologna but I cannot say much more about it at this stage. So many projects will need to be reassessed after these incredible events that have affected our lives but I am looking forward to finding new opportunities in a changed environment.
EFG Art Limited
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