This private view, Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd: running a Picture Gallery, was overpopulated and did not flow the way one would expect to move from one artwork to the next. It was not until after I did some research that I was able to look back at the experience and truly appreciate it.
Admittedly, I relied too heavily on the obscure titles and monochromatic spread of work and in doing so overlooked how the exhibition captured a moment in time when contemporary art in the 70s was emerging in London.
Nigel Greenwood was a curator and one of the UK’s most prominent gallerists and in the 1970’s operated one of the few galleries in London that was committed the developments in contemporary art. Nigel Greenwood Inc enabled many emerging artists by introducing them to what was back then a small audience for contemporary art in London. The exhibition mostly comprised of momentos of private views held at Nigel Greenwood Inc, other information on past exhibitions and even curating notes.
Nigel Greenwood Inc sold work by several now prominent contemporary artists such as The Evening Before the Morning After: Drinking Sculpture 1972 by Gilbert & George:
This work comprises of 114 monochrome photographs mounted between glass and card. These photographs were taken in 1972 at the Balls Brothers Bar that was once located on Bethnal Green Road. Gilbert and George frequented this bar and chose random subjects to photograph during the hours it was closed to the public. They determined the effects and distortions that should be applied to the photographs in an effort to represent, for example, the perception of drinker when drunk. For them, the photo taking process was straightforward; it was the film development in the darkroom that was the creative process for them. This process continued to the finishing of the works where the artists framed each photograph individually. The idea was that individually, the photographs conveyed a particular meaning. I suppose the effect would be different to that of viewing the collection of photographs in a typical collage where the white spaces create distance both visually and perceptively between each subject of the photographs.
Present day, Gilbert & George can now be found at Mangal 2 restaurant on Kingsland Road in Dalston where they dine every evening. I saw them there myself last summer but at the time did not have anything of substance to say to them.
Towards the exhibition, one could see film reels, photographs and newspaper clippings. They all gave me a feeling of nostalgia and provided me with a glimpse into the short history of contemporary art.
Ultimately, A larger space that could give more attention to each piece and a glass of prosecco would have enhanced the viewing experience. I feel the essence was lost in such a space but it did prompt me to read and enjoy the work of Nigel Greenwood after the fact on my own.