London’s IBID Projects, at Hoxton Square, is presenting an exhibition of the Riga-based painter Jānis Avotiņš. As the gallery says in its press release, this is the most extensive display of Avotiņš work in the United Kingdom to date.
IBID gallery is located in the once very cheap – but now very gentrified, and therefore no longer quite as exciting – Hoxton Square, in the east of London. Much like many other London East End galleries, IBID was founded in the last decade, at a time when London had just put itself on the contemporary art map with the opening of the Tate Modern and the start of the Frieze Art Fair.
As for the art galleries, the proliferation of art spaces and commercial art galleries gave East London the distinction of having the highest concentration of art per square meter in Europe. Vita Zaman, the gallery's former co-owner, together with co-owner Magnus Edensvard, introduced artists from the Baltic states to the growing art scene in London. From then on, the gallery continued collaborating with Jānis Avotiņš, and their mutual cooperation has proved to be very fruitful.
In the previous decade, the London scene was not yet overly-saturated with interesting artists, especially those from unknown post-soviet countries. Presenting a unique painterly style, combined with soviet-era-infused imagery, Jānis Avotiņš paintings had a melancholic quality, punctuated with a somewhat cold and mediated gaze. His paintings are like dreamscapes, functioning as cropped memories inspired by portraits from old newspapers, documentary photos and screenshots from soviet films.
Photo credits: IBID PROJECTS
Exhibition is open through Saturday, March 10, 2012
35 Hoxton Square