LONDON - Last year Sotheby’s collaborated with Birmingham’s acclaimed Ikon Gallery to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a number of lots sold for their benefit in the Contemporary Art auctions. Ikon returns to London this year in partnership with Plinth, who offer unique products and limited editions by leading contemporary artists.
The Plinth team are currently transforming an untouched Georgian house directly opposite the British Museum into a unique pop-up space – part home, part gallery. Plinth has left many of the original features of the building at 44 Great Russell Street untouched: carved wooden door and window surrounds, plaster cornicing, wood-panelled doors and marble fireplaces create a unique backdrop for the exhibition.
The building extends over four floors, with British artist Susan Collis creating a site-specific installation in the gallery’s dedicated Ikon studio on the top floor. New editions by Cornelia Parker, Beatriz Milhazes, Richard Deacon, Richard Wilson and Ding Yi among others will be sold to benefit Ikon.
Jonathan Watkins, the director of Ikon Gallery, explained more:
Tell us about Ikon’s collaboration with Plinth. How did this project come about?
In 2015, Ikon celebrated its 50th anniversary – an important milestone passed in its history. In order for us to celebrate that year many people joined in, artists particularly, in order to support us. There was a fundraising drive, artists were donating work, which was subsequently auctioned at Sotheby’s, and as a result we now have an endowment fund.
Plinth also joined in and was keen to make a set of artist’s editions from five artists who have shown at Ikon over the years and, incidentally, also donated to the Sotheby’s auction. They have been involved in producing new work in limited editions, and through this means the fundraising for the 50th anniversary goes on.
RICHARD DEACON, ICON, 2015.
Why is it important to exhibit in a physical location?
Through the development of this project the question arose of where would it take place. The work is, of course, available to buy online, but [it’s a great opportunity] to have somewhere where it could be brought together, a space in which people could see it in the flesh. We had the good luck of landing on this wonderful old Georgian house opposite the British Museum. It’s early 18th century, it’s got so much atmosphere. Nice ghosts haunt this place.
CORNELIA PARKER, STOP, 2015. EMBOSSED ENAMEL SIGN WITH HAND-PAINTED WHITE LETTERING SIGNED, LIMITED EDITION OF 50. PLINTH IKON 50 EDITION.
Co-founder, Chloe Grimshaw, explains “Plinth is not only about providing a new platform for unique artist-designed products and limited editions. It’s a project centred on a spirit of openness, and creating a means by which a wider audience can access and own contemporary art.” Would you agree?
There will be a lot going on in Great Russell Street – there will be work for sale. Besides that made by Ikon, there’s work that’s available also through Plinth, and there’s lots of furniture and various design items as well. There will be workshop spaces; there will be an exhibition space, in fact, for a work by an artist [Susan Collis] who’s out of Ikon’s programme. There’ll be artist’s talks – Richard Deacon, Richard Wilson for example. So it’s a place where there’s something for everybody.”