This week we caught up with Elena, gallery owner of Gallery Elena Shchukina, who is passionate about art, personally curates all the exhibitions, and has a strong desire to promote new and emerging artists from all over the world.
1. Tell us about Gallery Elena Shchukina?
Gallery Elena Shchukina is a contemporary art gallery in Mayfair, just off Grosvenor Square. The Gallery specialises in emerging international artists, with a special focus on artists that have not been exhibited in the UK before. I curate most of the exhibitions and I am passionate about finding and spotlighting underrepresented artists.
2. What exhibition is on at the moment?
The current exhibition, Utopian World, is a selection of paintings by Japanese artist Kyosuke Tchinai. Tchinai was trained in Western-style oil painting, but his mature work draws heavily on traditional Japanese motifs. His paintings contribute to the dialogue between East and West, and between the traditional and the modern. Tchinai is widely acclaimed in his home country, but Gallery Elena Shchukina is the only gallery in the UK to have exhibited his work. I am excited to see how the public engages with his work.
3. With so much talent out there, how do you decide who to exhibit in your gallery?
Since my Gallery focuses on emerging artists, research is paramount. I have found my artists in a number of ways – at art fairs, at degree shows, and (more recently) on online art platforms – but ultimately the artists I represent are all artists that I believe in personally. I like to be surprised by art. My gallery has a very diverse roster of artists, and the one thing that links them together is their focus on innovation and technique.
4. What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
When I started this business, I was advised to remain clear and strong in my own vision, and not to focus on short term trends. That has really been the best advice I’ve been given. In order to pursue what you are passionate about, you have to have confidence in your own judgment. I will (of course) listen to other people’s advice, but I try not to let another person’s opinion displace my own.
5. Where are your favourite hangout spots in London?
I don’t really have time to hang out! I spend most of my time at work or with my family. I try not to miss any major exhibitions though, and in the London art scene that can sometimes be quite hard work. I am a patron of both the Royal Academy and the Serpentine Gallery, and I spend a lot of my free time at both institutions. They are both institutions with a very strong curatorial voice, and I am always impressed with the quality of their shows. I particularly loved the Serpentine’s recent Hilma af Klint exhibition.
6. What would an ideal Sunday in London be?
My ideal Sunday would be spending time with my family. One of the best things about living in London is that there is so much green space – especially now that it is coming up to summer. We like to go to the zoo, or for picnics in the park.