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September 2013 / Diary / by Ali Howard

Gallery Elena Shchukina

Not that we’re complaining, but we’ve got the Capital’s finest art exhibitions coming out of our ears. As far as exciting new art spaces go, however, this has made our discerning little gallery-going ears prick up: artist and curator, Elena Shchukina is launching an eponymous space in Mayfair this September that promises to truly stand out. She explains: “I want visitors to Gallery Elena Shchukina to feel almost as though they are stepping into a painting when they come here”. Painting, it seems, will take the lead, setting the tone for the interior design and furnishings that take up the rest of this groundbreaking, three-dimensional space.

She goes on: “We are going to work with contemporary designers who will take their cue from the artists with whom we work to create furniture, rugs, lighting and even jewellery that will all complement and reflect the paintings that we show.  My idea is to create holistic environments that are inspiring, creative rooms that become perfect living spaces; places that are uplifting, yet also make you feel comfortable, and ‘at home’.”

First up, the work of Onyeka Ibe will be on show, running from 24 September to 9 November.  Now somewhat of an international hit in the art world, Ibe grew up during the unrest that followed the end of the Nigerian civil war.  In his formative years he experienced periods of intense violence that beset the floundering democracy.  He realised that his art could take two paths – either to rail against dehumanising situations or to capture elements of humanity in his work. Luckily for us, his work reflects the latter: Ibe’s portraits, landscapes and still lifes are quiet and reflective, meditative blocks of richly coloured paint and we can’t wait to see them. Of course, Ibe’s work will be shown alongside beautifully-crafted interiors pieces that echo the palette and structure of his canvases.

So, if you don’t have the space (or the inclination) to turn your living room into an art gallery, Elena Shchukina’s turning her new gallery into a living room, so get down there and pull up a chair.