One of the effects of this current pandemic is that many of us are wondering what changes the virus will have wrought upon our society after it goes away (if it ever does go away!).
In a broader sense, this zeitgeist has been taken up by Kovet.Art, a new arts organisation designed to help collectors discover the best emerging talent in the UK and to harness and mentor that talent. Its inaugural online exhibition, Delineating Dreams, invites eight of its artists to delve into a dream world expressing visually both the conscious and the subconscious. It’s a surrealism-heavy show just as our current plight has many such characteristics.
For example, in the top shot, entitled Sashimi on the Tube, 2019, Kristy M Chan, who was brought up in Hong Kong, has subverted the reality of a scene she witnessed on the London tube into a semi-abstract piece. Her process is to mix snapshots of what she has seen during the day with what she’s been dreaming about. Her work reflects displacement, movement and change.
Chan is a recent graduate of the Slade School of Art, whereas Italian photographer Giovanna Petrocchi recently graduated from Camberwell College of Arts. She photographs old magazines and used material to create collages which she constructs, in this case, above, on a contrasting surreal landscape.
Kovet’s modus operandi is to cream off a small number of art students from some of the UK’s top universities and colleges. In particular, they’re looking for artists who work across a range of media and use it in exciting and original ways.
Janet Waring Rago studied botany before turning to Digital Fine Art in which she gained an MA at Camberwell. She had previously studied painting in Florence. Her work, as with Cultivating a Commons above, has an organic nature about it with transparent layers. She’s influenced by music and poetry.
Kovet.Art’s Director of Curation Averil Curci and Chief Art Officer Camilla Grimaldi supervise a stringent selection process in which they visit the degree shows of around 100 students. Through a process of examining past work, studio visits and interviews, they have whittled the number down to 30, with eight signing contracts of exclusivity that will last for at least a year.
“We have a very strong mentoring programme which includes not only how to present their work in the best way,” says Camilla Grimaldi who has 20 years experience as a gallerist and international art advisor. “For example with photography it’s about framing, editions, how to scale, but also helping them, for example, to find which residency they can do, which awards they can participate in”.
Tom Faber is a graduate of Chelsea College of Art. His somewhat apocalyptic landscape in Composition No. 5, above, with its jagged edges, is a good example of the broad range of Kovet’s portfolio, in this case encapsulated in one piece. His process is to take a drawing and leave it out in the open air at the mercy of nature. Then, after 20 days, he retrieves it, photographs it and then works on it digitally. He’s creating a new world in which reality and fantasy combine, showing how we distort nature.
Kovet.Art is attempting to carve out a niche by not only scouting new talent but also by curating shows like this, restricting it in size, with the artists showing three works each.
Loreal Prystaj, an American photographer and performance artist who recently gained an MA from Royal College of Art, is concerned with the subconscious and inherited psyche. Her Reflected on Nature series was made during a residency in Finland. In Untitled #1, above, in erotic pose she holds a mirror that creates a disembodied effect. She examines our relationship with the natural world and asks what if nature looked at itself?
Kovet.Art is the brainchild of Saras Rachupalli who’s background is in technology and finance. She has managed to get support for her venture from the Mayor of London’s programme for businesses and from the EU Regional Development Fund. Her passion for art stems from her grandfather, P T Reddy who was influential in the “Modern Art” movement in India.
Online galleries have become increasingly popular with art enthusiasts, especially so in the current pandemic. The London art scene, unlike in New York say, has become more spread out thanks to high rents, rates and service charges which together threaten the current gallery system. However, to temper any hesitancy by collectors worried about provenance with online galleries, Kovert will support the certificate of authenticity and provenance through the Blockchain data base network.
Other artists in the Kovet.Art roster include Max Gimson, an MA graduate of the Royal College of Art. Gimson mixes the real with the abstract using the fireplace, for instance, as a metaphor for both the sharing of ideas and of elitism, while the smoke represents subconscious emotion.
Candice Jewell from Plymouth College of Art is both photographer and performance artist, covering herself in a plastic material hiding all identity and showing a desire for hiding oneself away. Christopher Pearson from Central St Martins has developed a new technique for etching, using silver and gold leaf in a flat plane yet giving a sense of three dimensions.
Online galleries can never replace physical galleries completely. So Kovet will exhibit the work of all artists at pop-up galleries in London for a week, three to four times a year. It has also set up Klub, a members club that will advise on such topics as how to start a collection, and will feature talks and panel discussions. If the model works, Rachupalli aims to extend Kovet.Art’s reach to several more cities across the globe.
“The idea is to involve a bigger and wider community not only with enthusiasts and collectors, but with students, art enthusiasts, academics. So we want to grow and become the abrogator of this community of different elements”, says Camilla Grimaldi.
You can view Delineating Dreams at https://www.kovet.art/ from 10 June 2020.