Mercer Chance, Hoxton St
Went to a Private view – I don’t so often anymore – at a new gallery in Hoxton Street. I don’t usually get the chance to go that way, always interesting, always something new to see.
This is a studio-gallery, which is to say an artist curated gallery – initially featuring their own work, branching out with other artists as time goes on. The intention is to use it as a studio part of the time and gallery part of the time. Which is quite an interesting idea in itself. The modern conception of art often hinges on performance, and an unobserved performance is a log falling in the forest. Well without the by product of art to prove its existence it would be anyway. It made me think about the career model of artists today – speculative production. There is no way that such a thing would have been contemplated in say, sixteenth century Venice. Then everything was strictly generated to order. Only later did work start to emerge outside of that framework (Goya’s Black Paintings come to mind). Work produced for no other reason than a fevered imagination wanted to let them out. Today we have many intelligent and talented individuals seeking (at their own expense and risk) a unique approach to making work that will be critically appealing and marketable. But critics and galleries sharing in the reward are not for the most part sharing the risk and there is a lot of unsaleable produce.
To wear both artist and gallerist hats seems to make a crazy sense in this context. Usually it is done by artists who have a curatorial leaning. What makes Mercer Chance slightly more unusual is that the principals seem to be primary producers and the work is not of a conceptual strain but generally within the familiar idiom that used to be called School of London, except there never really was a school – but anyway. This work put me in mind of Michael Andrews a little – which is quite a good thing I think. I wish them luck!