Discover a trio of art treats around Berkeley Square
Nestled between the quintessential chic of Berkeley Square and the elegant fashion district at Bond Street are a collection of London’s finest art galleries. With works on view by the hottest established and emerging artists from across the globe, I can never resist popping into the area for a visit. Whether you’re thinking about making a purchase or just in need of some visual inspiration, this is the place to be. With three top spots unveiling new exhibitions, I went along to find out more over a glass of bubbly at the preview parties this week.
My evening began at Bischoff/Weiss on Hay Hill at the south end of Berkeley Square. I was blown away by the stunning sight of the gallery walls, which appeared to have literally burst into life; jutting out into the centre of the room were bold abstract sculptures covered in bright neon colours and mirrored surfaces.
Created by artist Rana Begum, winner of this year’s Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture, the folded sheet-metal structures are reminiscent of origami. They convey that intimate sense of anticipation and mystery when opening an envelope to read a letter. That feeling of suspense is prolonged by a strangely hypnotic play of light as fluorescent shades are reflected onto empty white spaces like ghostly apparitions. Bold yet unassuming, these surprisingly delicate works invite you to stop and stare in the hope of uncovering their secrets.
At the top of Hay Hill I turned left to face the must-visit London branch of revered German gallery Sprüth Magers. Representing a host of exceptional artistic talent – including sought-after names such as Andreas Gursky, Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger – it’s always worth penning their events in your diary. New group show ‘The Vivisector’ revolves around two series of photographs by Cindy Sherman, the popular and highly acclaimed female artist who counts everyone from MoMA to Madonna as a fan.
In ‘Sex Pictures’ (1989-1992) and ‘Broken Dolls’ (1999), Sherman turns away from her iconic self-portraits in costume to explore the body through mannequins and dolls. These pictures are raw, graphic, and certainly not for the faint hearted, but don’t let that put you off a visit to this intelligently curated and thoughtful exhibition. If you’re interested in Sherman’s art, we recommend taking a look at her fabulous collaborative projects with designers such as Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga and the cosmetics team at M.A.C.
Finally I took the short walk just around the corner onto Albermarle Street to find Italian gallery Brancolini Grimaldi. Their solo photography show by Domingo Milella made for the perfect end to my night with some spectacular panoramic views of ancients sites in the Mediterranean.
The artist’s fascination with how man-made architectural forms converge with nature is expressed through powerful still shots of tombs carved into stone cliffs. You can get lost in these images, which capture with timeless serenity the shared memories of these lost civilisations. When you visit, make sure to go all the way around to the back where you’ll find tucked away in another room Milella’s Index – a beautiful compendium of photographs from the last decade of his work.
With all three exhibitions open throughout December, this cultural stroll around one of London’s finest neighbourhoods would make for the perfect peaceful time-out from the hustle and bustle of nearby Christmas shopping.
14a Hay Hill, London, W1J 8NZ
Rana Begum: 23 Nov – 19 Jan
7a Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EJ
The Vivisector: 23 Nov – 26 Jan
43-44 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JJ
Domingo Milella: 23 Nov – 26 Jan