LAMB was founded by Lucinda Bellm in 2013, originally as a pop-up, then in Shepherd Market from 2015-18, where a multi-level building due to be knocked down suited adventurous installations. In 2021 she moved into an elegant eighteenth-century townhouse directly opposite Sotheby’s rear entrance.
LAMB is unusual among London galleries in two respects. First, it operates on two floors, one for art and one for design. Second, although Bellm is British, she has travelled widely in South America, and the gallery’s programme has always emphasised that region’s artists and designers. That’s not a rule, though – Alma Berrow and Clara Hastrup, for example, have had excellent solo shows. And Italian-based Briton James Hillman, who has shown in all of LAMB’s venues, is permanently present in George Street through such touches as door handles forming ropes or lemons, and an unusual toilet roll holder! All the same, it is Latin American artists – Patricia Camet, assume vivid astro focus, Tiago Mestre – who come to mind first among the artists shown. Indeed, LAMB ran a space in Sao Paulo throughout 2019, consistent with the goal of pursuing a cultural exchange between continents.
The current two shows are both worth catching. Downstairs is an anthology of traditional Colombian design techniques, as applied in modern versions by Lucia Echavarria. On the ground floor, ‘Surrealism and Witchcraft’ starts off with Leonora Carrington’s series of designs for witch hats from 1955, and features ten other female artists. One of them is Bea Bonafini, shown above with a work inspired by the importance of the ear as a passage to the whole person in Chinese medicine: Lucinda preferred not to appear herself, even when I gave her the chance to do so as a witch…
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.