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On Wednesday 24th August 2011, Gazelli Art House ushered forward their penultimate exhibition as part of a five-part exhibition series exploring the classical elements: fire, air, earth and water.  Once again, the exhibition’s location was kept under wraps until the night of the opening reception when Gazelli’s confidantes sauntered into the Rochelle School in London for a private viewing of the exhibit.  This time, the creative inspiration behind the show came from the elemental qualities of air. The venue certainly offered limitless possibilities to the show’s artistic talent. Set across two airy, high-ceilinged floors with expansive windows offering an influx of natural light into the exhibition space, the school provided an ideal space for a show grounded upon installation based sculpture.

According to the Art House, the works present in show ‘celebrate the contradictory nature of this most divine and pure substance; seen as both superficial and representing the intelligence of the soul, air was also believed to own the twin properties of heat and moisture in ancient Greek medicine and was associated with blood as one of natures ‘humours’. Although presenting a mouthful of information to fathom, with all things said and done previously, the exhibition succeeded in providing its viewers with an intriguing collection of works by both established and upcoming artists who, for the first time in the series constructed site-specific installations.

Mila Askarova, CEO and founder of Gazelli Art House, curated the show with the aim of it being ‘at turns provocative and simply beautiful.’ As she stated, ‘Air I Breathe will be a thoughtful counterpoint to our usual concept of what a commercial gallery exhibition can be.’

Among the artists exhibiting their works in the collaborative group show were Craig Little and Blake Whitehead who have worked together under the title of Littlewhitehead since their academic years at the Glasgow School of Art in 2007. With an artistic track record of producing a simultaneous blend of provocative and humorous works, which have, in the past, fixed them a solid place amongst the Saatchi Gallery’s greats, guests had high expectations. ‘We want to beat you up visually’ is the phrase that Littlewhitehead use to describe their desired reaction to their work. ‘Beat us up’ they certainly did with an installation piece of a hyper-real figure of a man’s corpse lying on a pile of ‘gyrating sand.’ Playing with illusions of reality, Littlewhitehead’s piece provoked its viewers with feelings of curiosity and uneasiness. After a few moments, however, the piece does become, perhaps wrongly, amusing.

Each artist responded to the show’s conceptual source in an individualistic way, offering a diverse display of works and ideas. Reputed for being the first sound artist to exhibit in the Saatchi Gallery, John Wynne’s sound installation was certainly the highlight of show, providing resonating sounds of high and low frequencies throughout the exhibition space making guests aware of the ‘air’ around them at all times. John has a PhD from Goldsmiths and his award-­?winning work has been exhibited and broadcast widely around the world. Kate Terry’s intricately constructed thread installation dramatically transformed the same space into a visually rich scene that echoed and complimented Wyanne’s reverberating sounds with an appearance sprung from harp strings. On the floor below, Yoonjin Jing showcased oriental-inspired paintings and wall sculptures alongside a flickering light installation piece that tricked its viewers into different modes and degrees of ‘seeing.’ ‘Yoonjin attempts to aid the viewer to an appreciation of the ‘unseen’ and to stimulate a discovery of what lies between the fragile boundary of invisibility and the visible.’

Underlying each piece was the sense of how each work both responded and interacted with the air, whether through the use of sound light or movement, the exhibition’s airy space was successfully played upon.

Gazelli Art House presents its five-part exhibition series in order to offer an introductory insight into the work of the Gallery, which will establish itself as a permanent gallery space in London in 2012. In an interview on Gazelli Art House, Askarova stated: ‘Gazelli Art House, a new approach to commercial art organization, was found on the premises of providing a new setting for the understanding and creation of art.’ We look forward to viewing the final part of the inaugural series, ‘Bodhi’ in November and to the opening of the exhibition space in June next year.

Article by Emma Corbett for XXXX Magazine
Photos by Olivia Hart for XXXX Magazine