KRISTIN HJELLEGJERDE GALLERY
Established in 2012 in South West London, The Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery has grown to become a force in the art world. Consecutively named as one of Blouin’s 500 Best Galleries Worldwide for the last two years, and winning The Londonist’s Independent Gallery of the Year in 2014, Kristin Hjellegjerde presents a compelling roster of new and established talents, creating a family that is absolutely grounded in a collective passion for the arts.
One of the key skills of any devoted gallerist is an eye for talent. On finding the right artists for her space, Kristin is a firm believer in finding talent everywhere “I read and research artists every day. It can be from magazines, Instagram, Facebook or talking to other artists, collectors or curators. I always look for a strong narrative, and excellent techniques that present themselves throughout the work. I look for a person who can be inventive but still with a strong sense of self. By being true to yourself, you are always unique, however, very few artists dare to continue in that route.”
It is clear that the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery is more than a show space for some truly thought-provoking talent, According to Kristin “For me, there is nothing better than to take part and create a platform for artists, and to help them earn a living by doing something that they are passionate about.We operate as a family throughout all aspects of the gallery, where i continue to make sure that we are surrounded by people who care deeply about each other. I really believe that we are stronger as a collective than as individuals, therefore, I appreciate how the artists support each other as well. Although individuality is the key in any good piece of art, having a family around you really pushes you to take risks and develop your craft.” Today, we discover some of Kristin’s beloved artists, who have become both extensions of herself and her family.
Juliette Mahieux Bartoli
In Pax Romana - Juliette Mahieux Bartoli’s latest exhibition at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, we see splintered women, frozen in time, yet caught in a split-second of dynamic movement. The artist illustrates her mastery of traditional Renaissance painting techniques and juxtaposes this with an abstract geometry — compositions that work exceedingly well on the brightly coloured two dimensional canvases.
Juliette Mahieux Bartoli’s creative process begins with an intimate self-reflection that starts with the artist taking photographs of herself in child-like poses. A return to a fragile innocence yet also an observation of the socio-political landscape of the 21st century. According to Juliette,“When we are children we are unaware of the broader constructs and events around us: history, politics, literature and art — yet they influence the narratives we play out because they ARE our context” In this context, the subjects of her art, while spliced and splintered, are unified through collective fragmentation, individuals made up of clashing cultural facets that cannot be completely classified.
Finally, Pax Romana, refers to the 200 years of peace that Europe experienced under the Roman Empire. In today’s world of vast globalisation, mass cynicism, and collective cultural displacement, Juliette Mahieux Bartoli’s work doesn’t only ring true but also proves to be exceedingly relevant.
Italian artist Andrea Francolino explores the philosophical iterations of human existence through an extensive study of the cracks in cement and stone. The exhibition is entitled From / To and is Francolino’s second solo exhibit at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery. Here, he traces the evolution of man and the consequences of consumerism, materialism, and hedonism in today’s capitalist culture.
According to Francolino “Looking at a crack is like looking at the universe: I reflect on the sense of life and things” In one corner of the gallery, he presents two vases side-by-side, one filled with soil, and the other filled with cement and steel rods — a perfect illustration of the dialectic between life and death, man vs nature. The use of cement frees Francolino from the limitations of aesthetic structure. By dematerialising cement, breaking it down, studying the quiet beauty of the cracks that form on the stone, his work becomes both expressive and ambivalent. A study on the oscillation between humanity and the natural world; and the often parasitic relationship between man and nature.
British visual artist, Chris Agnew, will be presenting at this year’s London Art Fair with his latest series Ba da Doda. His finely detailed etchings have become his signature style. The occasional pops of bright colour, collaged in perfectly placed geometric snippets add a playful and modern element to the black and white tableaus that play a large role in his work.
Ba da Doda takes references from Romanian artist, Constantin Brancusi’s Infinity Column, which towers infinitely upward like the perfect archetype of brutalist architecture. Chris Agnew reinterprets the Infinity Column into stacked rhomboidal shapes — bleak and despotic and reminiscent of JG Ballard’s High-Rise. They are the perfect metaphor for socio-economical divisions. With this work, Chris Agnew uses perspective and architecture to question concepts of home and cultural identity. Splitting his time between Bucharest and London, Agnew is all too familiar with being a stranger to one’s own home country. These pencil and gouache drawings serve as the blueprints for 3D models of the same work, to be presented for the first time at the London Art Fair. Taking inspiration from various Orthodox icon panels, the installation takes a sensory approach to explore themes of folklore, religion, and the divisions in the word today, both real and imagined.
Words by Hannah Tan