The Russian Club Gallery was set up in 2008 as a not-for-profit, artist-run space. Based in East London, the Gallery commissioned new works by more than fifty emerging and mid-career artists, with a particular focus on presenting a dynamic programme of artist pairings, before closing its doors in 2012. Annely Juda Fine Art has invited The Russian Club, now a nomadic curatorial practice, to curate a group show at its established West End gallery.
Rupert Ackroyd, Natsue Ikeda, Juneau Projects, Richard Paul, Yuko Shiraishi and Roy Voss, who have all previously exhibited or performed at The Russian Club, have been selected for this exhibition, alongside Clare Rojas and Simon Cunningham, whom Matt Golden, the final artist and curator of The Russian Club, says ‘he would like to have made his next pairing, had the gallery continued for longer’.
Aside from a connection to the East End space, the artists brought together for this exhibition share an interest in the dualities and inter-changing of fact and fiction, the authentic and acted. There are practices that utilise a pop-fashion magazine and an invented musician character; landscape painting, the gallery architecture, furniture and staff; children’s paintings with a post-civilisation sci-fi scenario; traditional American folk art with contemporary politics and the mimicry of an 18th Century copy of a 17th Century prop. A human connection with the past, in heritage and tradition abounds as a sub-plot to the theatrical staging of the works throughout the exhibition.