How did you approach the art world? What motivated you to take up this work?
It had always been in the back of my mind to pursue, even from the days I was living in London a few ideas / opportunities presented themselves then vanished but it wasn’t until more recently it was something I decided I really needed to do. It was actually through being a photographer myself while living in Berlin where I did a few group exhibitions with friends which then lead to curating an exhibition for Berlin Alternative Fashion Week. I think this was the first real step into solidifying this as an idea and concept to develop.
What do you think is the future of art and how do you think the new generations will develop?
I see everything as a progression, There is a great clip with Ansel Adams talking about the then new technology of digital photography and how a completely new generation of artists were about to be born with a completely different outlook on how to create works of art. I believe in this in the same way there is so much attention revolving around NFT’s, AI, Digital art and so fourth. Its not necessarily the tools that are used but whats produced with them. If we utilise technology in the right way we can move with it and not against it, but only time will tell.
Can you tell us about SIILK GALLERY, how it was born is how it developed?
The name actually came from a party we were planning while I was living in Mexico City. Funnily enough when I opened the gallery space in Athens, in Metaxourgeio coincidence has it that the whole neighbourhood was Siilk producing at the turn of the century and the word “Metaxi” means ‘Silk”.
I love it in life when things like that happen, makes me feel as if on some kind of track. As I mentioned before the first few exhibitions I had co-curated is what pushed me to develop this as an idea. I ended up leaving Mexico City and moving back to europe.
I wanted to come back to a new city, and develop something that was missing and thats why I moved to Athens originally to open the gallery in 2019. It was a lot of fun! I also wanted to completely create a space from nothing and make it as impactful as possible. I took the contract to a small, completely messed up 2 floor space on a main street in Exarchia and basically learnt how to do everything when flipping a building from youtube. I lived upstairs, with a DIY shower and hosted exhibitions on the ground floor… Everything grew from there in a really positive way… before C19 hit!
How do you choose the artists you present in your gallery, do they have a common line?
Siilk definitely has its own aesthetic of work we like to exhibit but also it’s the personalities behind the photographs and the message they portray. I think all the photographers we work with are very like minded. And their works very seductive, beautiful, political, punk, meaningful and capturing something of a personal viewpoint independently.
Now that the art world has moved to the Internet, how has the way of presenting artworks changed ?
I’m actually very interested in digital curation and virtual gallery spaces. The pandemic basically thrust me into this when we had to close the doors for 2 years. I did’t want to let momentum die off and wanted to stay active and supportive throughout lockdowns and such. Initially I was seeing what all the big galleries, institutions and museums etc were doing as virtual exhibitions and viewing rooms.
And, well, they were terrible, unimaginative and just not progressive at all. This is what really made me want to push and create much more engaging virtual exhibitions, with full concepts, that were interactive. I’m actually a big fan of presenting works online in original ways. I think we still have so far to go with this but theres definitely a big future in it if its done right!
How was your last exhibition in Rome, would you like to tell us something about how the Roman cultural scene seemed to you?
Yes, I love Rome, Italy in general! We worked with Spazio Fontanella which is a space I love for a group show focusing on emerging Italian photography talent. The exhibition was great! A lot of people who once lived in Rome have since moved back from places like London and Berlin and their really trying to push a new scene and underground culture in Rome, this also coupled with political tension I think has given a lot of life back and a fresh start to things happening there, so I found it very exciting and inspiring. Theres a big love for the arts in Italy, imaginably. So theres definitely a sense of passion to create.
What new ideas and events do you have planned?
We want to move into publications. We’re speaking with a few artists to produce a small run of collectible newspaper style items focusing on a series of works or a concept. Its a step away from traditional photography prints. The first being a project I’ve wanted to do for a while now “A modern History of Sex” which will be a publication with select photographers exploring the title as a theme.
It’s very much taking inspiration from a series of work I love by Andres Serrano “History of Sex”. If I manage to get it produced in time we will present it during Berlin Art week later in the year! We will be also be doing 2 exhibitions in the coming months, the 1st a solo show with Andrea D’Auria “Martians on Venus” at Soho House in Rome (26/27 April) and the 2nd an exhibition with a group of Berlin based artists at Anomalie Art Club in Berlin (05/06 May).
This is a collaborative project and a big pop up exhibition, event, party with music, performance and projections. Later in the year we will be doing another exhibition at Spazio Fontanella with Lorenzo Castore during Rome art week. Between these we’ll be working with a new NFT market place called “TAEX”.
I will be on boarding some of the artists we work with into this realm, likely coupled with new immersive virtual exhibitions. Then hopefully at some point.. I can have a few days holiday… Actually I love what I do, it always feels like some kind of holiday!
We aim to exhibit influential and controversial emerging visual artists who belong to underground / alternative scenes from cities around the world that produce their art independently. We look for talents whose attitude and lifestyle inform their technique and work. We want our audiences to be exposed to beautiful and meaningful imagery.
Our curation focusses on work which is quality, progressive and contemporary. We look for artists who are provocative, incendiary, seductive and who challenge the traditions of art. At SIILK GALLERY we promote originality, free expression and are against banality and the commercialization of human creativity.