London is full of art. There are more galleries of all shapes, sizes and qualities than in any other city in the world (probably) and the Ronchini Gallery is one of the London's newest additions to the scene. A spin off of Lorenzo Ronchini's gallery in Umbria, it's not a big space, but it's a good space, slap bang in the middle of Derring Street - a mini Mecca of independent galleries which showcase emerging and established international artists. Ronchini's latest show is a perfect juxtaposition of the emerging and established, handily confirmed by its full billing, Time After Time: Parallels Between Young American Artists and Italian Masters.
As the title rather succinctly suggests, the exhibition brings together a collection of young American artists (born in the mid 1980's) and compares them with some of Italy's recent masters of the 1950's & 60's which might seem a tenuous, possibly even clunky premise but on meeting the shows curators, Carlo Berardi and Jason Lee, we were convinced. Time after Time is not simply a visual comparison between old and new, it is a dialogue between the past and the future, exploring similar themes in coincidentally similar visuals and mediums. Coincidence is generally considered unlikely in abstract expressionism but as Berardi and Lee explain, most of the young artists they found for this show were unaware of the connection (both aesthetic and intellectual) with Italy's Arte Povera movement and were simply responding to themes which are as relevant now as they were in the 1960's. One might also wonder if a young artist should be offended by a direct comparison with the past but the curators insist that they were, without exception, both surprised and flattered to be placed alongside such established figures.
Berardi and Lee built this rather eclectic show slowly, visiting various up-and-coming artists studios in the course of their day job as art consultants (and collectors), gradually seeing a pattern emerge and direct links between a new generation of American artists and the work they already new so well in Italy, eventually pulling together the various groups and individuals for a genuinely surprising and inspiring show which is well worth a visit.
Time After Time runs until 4th October 2012
Ronchini Gallery, London
All images are courtesy Ronchini Gallery and Susanne Hakuba.