Fedja Klikovac and Toto the gallery dog in ‘Colours In The Air’
Handel Street Projects – Montenegrin gallerist and curator Fedja Klikovac, who arrived in Britain in 1992, currently shows mainly from his home in Islington – though there are plans to change that. He’s ably assisted by his dog: Toto prefers painting to sculpture, though Fedja suspects that may be more a matter of not wanting his space obstructed than of informed aesthetic preferences. Handel Street Projects – now in Florence Street – takes its name from Handel Street in Bloomsbury, from where Fedja operated after the 2005 closure of his pioneering gallery medieval modern in Marylebone. Not surprisingly he has championed artists from the former Yugoslavia who should be better-known here, notably Olga Jevric and Raša Todosijevic.
Yet the gallery’s programme has been varied: I recall excellent shows by Mark Fairnington, Graham Gussin, Gerard Williams and recently Lucy Heyward; and a presentation of Jeremy Cooper’s collection of art postcards. And the office still displays 28 postcard-sized versions of Phillip Guston’s greatest hits, painted on copper plates by Filippo Caramazza for his show last year– a cheap and convenient alternative to the Tate’s forthcoming blockbuster! In the main space you can currently see (to 31 March, by appointment) David Batchelor and Richard Deacon’s collaborative project ‘Colours In The Air’, a collection of 60 photographs from around the world which find blue and yellow in the quotidian of the streets. The aesthetic has a political edge: as Batchelor explains ‘I would become Ukrainian just for the colours of their flag’. It also incorporates a nod to Fedja’s roots: he was a prominent artist in the Yugoslav scene of the 1980s, and seven of the images in the show were taken by him.
London’s gallery scene is varied, from small artist-run spaces to major institutions and everything in between. Each week, art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent gives a personal view of a space worth visiting.