Text by Giulia Ponzano
In the heart of the traditional art land, Mayfair, is now open a new dynamic space dedicated to interdisciplinary exhibitions, performances and site-specific installations which will investigates the limits of contemporary art practises. Joseph Nahmad, the latest member of the London-branch of the Nahmad art dynasty and the 26 years old ex-Sotheby’s co-ordinator Tommaso Calabro are the founders of Nahmad Projects and their aim is to invite emerging and well-established artists, innovative curators to raise essential questions about art, bringing life to this young space.
The first show ‘ I am NOT tino sehgal’ is curated by critic and curator Francesco Bonami and it’s inspired by the revolutionary performance artist Tino Sehgal who, even if not involved in the project, inspired this radical project. If Tino Sehgal’s works are ‘constructed situations’, ‘I am NOT tino sehgal’, thorough the works of other artists, tries to go further, introducing new ideas and experiments. 30 young artists will be featured across 30 days: these selected scripts represent the keys of unique and thought-provoking performances which bring a sense of fun into the gallery environment and let the viewer experience something completely different each day.
Greek artist Anna Fafaliou choreographed visitors to sleep in the space: the effect created a wave of bodies, a human landscape within the gallery space. Whilst Proverb exchange, by the Finnish Susanne Kass, is a teaching-learning situation: the artist encourages visitors to interact and teach each others new phrases in the different languages they speak. Thanks to this dynamic form of teaching focused on cultivating sensitivity to familiar objects and situations rather than the transfer of knowledge, a new reality and a new network of ideas are created in the gallery space.
On July 20th, the last day of the exhibition, the Irish Beth Fox, dressed in the classic black uniform of the gallery invigilator, will sit in the corner of the space reading silently James Joyce’s Ulysses for the duration of the gallery opening hours. The invigilator/artist remains static, predominantly ignoring the audience and avoiding social interaction – In stark contrast to performers in Sehgal’s situations, where the interaction is strongly encouraged. Employing humour and using pre-existing cultural behaviour, Fox highlights absurdities and contradictions present in societal hierarchies, leaving the audience disoriented and impressed at the same time.
Each day the audience will have the opportunity to live a different experience: a fresh and unconventional art space where the boundaries of contemporary practice are tested and freedom questions the future direction of art itself.