The Zabludowicz Collection – An NBSP Review.
May 26, 2015
Chaim “Poju” Zabludowicz is heir to his arms dealer father’s Shlomo Zabludowicz fortune and is one of the wealthiest men in Britain. Born 6th April 1953 he is the owner of Liechenstein-registered Tamares group. Being a Finnish-British business magnate – with The Sunday Times Rich List 2015 ranking him in the top 100 at £1,500 million (£1.5 Billion) – his influence in the art world, through the Zabludowicz collection is unique.
The Tamares Group
Zabludowicz is a name that resonates in the art world. It is unreservedly symbolic of hierarchy, of a financial elite and of the Tamares group that boast an unrivaled portfolio – to offer some contextualisation – the group own 40% of downtown Las Vegas as well as swathes of casinos and hotels worldwide. But why introduce this wealth? In a world where art is aggressively commodified, and classic works sell for £100m+, there is an obvious allure associated with art produced outside of commissioned limitations – a privilege of which the collection facilitates.
The Zabludowicz Collection
Established in 1994 The Zabludowicz Collection celebrates a variety of disciplines and artistic styles from around the world, with a particularly engaging focus on works from Europe and North America. The fund encourages work far removed from any commissioned based restraints, supporting the development of new works; whilst also circulating and loaning pieces to other collections around the world.
On May 5th 2015 NBSP’s Ian Welsh attended The Zabludowicz Collection, a philanthropic endeavor the collection heralds an ‘ethos of philanthropy’ being central to this stunning artistic collection and its curation.
But this exhibition is not just about philanthropy – and the facilitation’s for artistic excellence that such personal movements encourage – it is about diversity, in art, in curation, in London and in an assortment of movements and great artists.
Disparate Tastes Amongst Curators
As one journalist notes Anita and Poju’s tastes are ‘disparate’ across the 3000 works by a total of 500 different artists. Poju is more appreciative of established names such as the German painter Sigmar Polke whilst younger Anita favours diverse, developing artists, many of which she documents in her art diary.
Although disparate may not be the right adjective, enigmatic seems more appropriate for the pieces spread across the former church in Chalk Farm. The location offers a maze of interior corridors and quirky architectural elements support the exhibited works. The upper balcony area is reserved for Jim Lambie’s colourful Zobop floor, this presents a complex and attractive arrangement of colour against the stark backdrop of the stark church walls. Other works on this floor by Andy Holden seem mismatched and have been said to ‘sit awkwardly next to Lambies imaginative and colourful style that has long been his prevailing theme stylistically.
Highlighted pieces celebrating the artwork of the YBA (Young British Artists of the 1990’s) is contrasted with the internationalist art of today. The work of Turner-winner Elizabeth Price and Ed Atkins present artistry that is in wholly ambiguous routes that may allude some more traditional critics, simply due to generational, inspirational differences. These are works that Robert Clarke of the Guardian describe as representative of a ‘generational shift’ with work ‘immersed in digital culture and consumerism’s sinister allure’. What makes Ed Atkins work so?
A Generational Shift in Art
Ed Atkins presents digital video material that re-defines, subverts and challenges conceptions of the moving image. Atkins makes compelling videos that are made with computer generated material. The figures in the video are surrogates for real people; they speak of the way images are captured, through motion, these films are dealing with innate emotions that are – generally speaking – are about aspects of human experience, love, death, sex and relations generally per-se. Art presented through moving image seems wholly representative of a new wave of art.
Art and subversion, a common dichotomy represented and explored through art. A regular theme throughout the collection continued by the presence of the New-York-centric The Still House Group presents a stark view of objects and there function. Founded in 2007 by Isaac Brest and Alex Perweiler – originally an online platform – the Still House Group has developed into a support network for burgeoning young artists united by there interests an inspiration taken from underground scenes, A review of the exhibition; ‘Testing Ground: Still House Group states:
‘Most members of The Still House Group, which now consists of eight permanent members and one rotating artist in residence, have no formal art education and bonded over a mutual passion for experimenting with materials gathered from underground scenes, such as skateboarding, and their greater surroundings in New York City. Because of this, Isaac Brest, Nick Darmstaedter, Louis Eisner, Jack Greer, Brendan Lynch, Dylan Lynch, Alex Perweiler and Zachary Susskind’s work is heavily influenced by artists that established themselves in New York, and within Testing Ground this seems to be particularly drawn from colour field painters.’ Still House Group – A review of Testing Ground
Celebrating the Zabludowicz collection
This summary offered by an advocator of The Still House Group seems a compelling note of the diversity of the collection, and of the desire to represent emergent and progressive forms of art. Traditional commentators of another generation would struggle to attach such reverence to these artists, perhaps. They may understand a completely different definition as to what is art? As indeed this is an evolving phenomenon. This idea is as impermanent as a lifetime of a human, as hard to place as great cultural amalgamations and shifting emotional tides that manifest in the art that is produced through collectives and individuals.
A collection of this calibre and sort has never exhibited such a homage to the diversity of modern art. It paints an emphatically encouraging picture for emergent ability and for freedom of expression, a term that’s weight is consistently diluted in today’s capitalist society. Indeed I attach great regard to this collection as it celebrates what is spectacular, what is striking, and what is clearly the only way to achieve progressive collection; a curation cemented in an ethos of philanthropy and highly intelligent eclectic sensibilities. Including a small collection of artists that use inanimate objects to explore their emotion – inspired by humble roots in skateboarding – put next to classical heavyweights in the art scene is testament to the originality, and periodical consideration of The Zabludowicz Collection.