Just shy of a month after news went out that Regina Gallery would not be participating in Art Basel, now Artguide reports that the gallery will be closing its London location.
The London outpost opened its doors in April 2010. Notable exhibitions include Oleg Kulik’s “Deep into Russia,” staged during this year’s edition of Frieze. Regina was in a unique position to delve into the artist’s scandalously zoophilic oeuvre; after all, Kulik got his start as a curator in the gallery’s original Moscow location in the early 1990’s. (There’s a DVD documenting Kulik’s more outlandish curatorial ventures – including having spectators line up along the walls while paintings came to them, or the infamous pig-slaughtering-as-art incident – floating around somewhere. We highly recommend tracking it down.)
More disappointingly, Artguide announced that Regina will also be losing two of the artists we cited in our recent write-up as the gallery’s emerging stars: Arseny Zhilyaev and Evgeny Antufiev, who currently is featured in a show at Collezione Maramotti. While both artists claim to be on good terms with the gallery, citing mostly friendly creative differences, Zhilyaev indulged the grievances of the commercial conceptualist, in a quote to Artguide:
I understand that amid galleries in Russia, Regina is number one, and as such, I’m basically not leaving to go anywhere else… However, the specifics of my work do not translate into an easy commercial boon. I always considered myself in the category of artists for the sake of Regina’s image, the ones who create a certain kind of publicity for the gallery. I am well aware that my works are very difficult to sell and that today, in principle, nothing is going to change this situation… Still, when an artist agrees to work with this or that commercial gallery, then he rightly expects that they intend to sell his work. And so far this hasn’t happened. I need a gallery that will attempt to work with the type of art that I make. I understand that this is a challenge, but from another point of view, if a gallery isn’t fulfilling its basic function, then it’s unclear what the point is, especially when you can get production support for works or even entire exhibitions from private funds or through activists.”
We can presume Zhilyaev is referring to institutions like Stella Art Foundation or the state prize Innovation (which he won in 2010), but it is a bit perplexing to hear these expectations voiced by someone openly identified as a member of the Russian Socialist Movement in the “Discursive Interventions into Russian Art” piece on the Frieze Blog. For examples of Zhilyaev’s work and writing samples, you can check out his personal site.
Regina’s London location is listed as having a group show, which supposedly opened February 28 and will run through April. So far, the only information on the website is the sparse mention of “Group Show.” According to Artguide, Regina will maintain a London-based representative.
For Artguide’s full report (in Russian), check here.