Published by Pure Luxury Magazine - Award winning Chinese luxury lifestyle magazine est. 2013, distributed nationwide in Canada.
Edition Jul-Aug 2022 - Arts and Culture Section, August 4, 2022 (Page 74)
Natalie Clifford interviewed by Zhizun "Supreme"
Natalie Clifford and photographer Jean-Philippe Piter at the New York Gallery, Space Gallery Soho. Jean-Philippe Piter was exhibitting a solo exhibition "Private Session".
In a world full of social problems, crises and changes, Space Gallery St Barth uses art to build a refuge for people to escape from the chaos of the world, an oasis full of positive images.
Zhizun "Supreme" exclusively interviewed Natalie Clifford, partner and director of Space Gallery St Barth, to listen to her insights on the art industry, trends in art collection in recent years, and the impact of the epidemic on the art industry.
Zhizun: As a curator, gallery director, and art consultant, what role do you think art plays in people's lives?
Natalie Clifford: Art reflects people's personalities and is a way of expressing themselves - whether it's making or collecting! In essence, art should bring happiness. When you appreciate a work of art, it should take you on a visual "holiday", or give you space to think and imagine. Sometimes art is decorative, providing beauty or inspiration, other times it tells the story of your life and travels, triggering a certain memory. For other collectors, it can be an investment.
Giuseppe Veneziano Pop Fiction, 2021 Acrylic painting on canvas (39.37 x 49.21 in / 100 x 125 cm)
Zhizun: What is the biggest challenge in establishing Space Gallery St Barth?
Natalie Clifford: To be honest, everything went smoothly from conception to opening. I am fortunate to have known talented gallery partners Paolo Nicola Rossini and Maria Angela Ventura, who share a common vision. In addition, we found the perfect location in the heart of Gustavia on St. Barthelemy. Everything seems to be a matter of course. One of the challenges of opening a gallery on a small island in the Caribbean is logistics, which means we need to make a lot of extra considerations and arrangements in this regard.
Zhizun: How does the gallery choose the artists to cooperate with and the artworks to be exhibited?
Natalie Clifford: First of all, you have to appreciate and love the work from the bottom of your heart. If there is no enthusiasm, then everything will appear inauthentic and insincere. In addition, I need to consider the artist's market, exhibition history, selection of works, and how I can guide them to grow.
Gabriella Imperatori-Penn Extinct #4 (Ocelot), 2019 (Edition of 10 + 2 AP), Archival pigment print photograph on fine art paper (28 x 22 in / 71.12 x 55.88 cm)
Zhizun: What do you think distinguishes Space Gallery St Barth from other galleries?
Natalie Clifford: We focus on European art and artists, including many French and Italian artists, which makes our gallery show a unique personality and atmosphere. Whether it's painting, photography or sculpture, we're not only looking for work by up-and-coming and established artists, but also emerging artists. We hope that we can jump out of the frame and expand the audience. Whether you are a collector with more experience or a new art lover, you can find a collection that suits you. At the same time, we also want to attract the next generation of art collectors and teach them about art collecting and buying.
Zhizun: You entered the art industry around 2000. What do you think is the biggest change in the industry in the past few decades?
Natalie Clifford: In recent years, the influence of the Internet and social platforms on the art industry has become more and more significant. For example, Instagram has become a major entrance for art lovers all over the world to enter the industry. In addition, the way of buying art has also shifted from traditional face-to-face communication to more and more online transactions, which can be said to have hardly existed a decade ago. With the development of NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) and the digital space, it is foreseeable that the Internet will bring more changes to the art industry. NFT has expanded people's participation in the art world, spawning more new artists and a new generation of collectors. In many ways, it represented the first entirely new art market in over a century.
Menashe Kadishman Sheep head (#9), 1988, Oil on canvas (22 x 22 in / 55.88 x 55.88 cm)
Zhizun: How have art mediums of interest to art collectors changed?
Natalie Clifford: Paintings have always been a popular art form among collectors. In recent years, we have found that more and more people are interested in photography. As for digital art, people are curious about this new art form, but they are still cautious about acquiring digital art works, and most of them hold a wait-and-see attitude.
Zhizun: Should gallery owners and curators have a sense of social responsibility? How can galleries support social activism?
Natalie Clifford: Throughout history, art has been a medium for expressing views on social and political situations, as well as describing social unrest or injustice, and a way of commenting on contemporary social issues. We believe that everyone should have free speech, that is our right as human beings. We recently added two female artists to our arts program in areas where women have been disempowered.
Zhizun: How will the new COVID-19 Corona Virus epidemic change the future business model of galleries?
Natalie Clifford: With all adversity comes innovation and opportunity. We found that customers want a more personalized experience in many ways - such as choosing to communicate on the phone instead of email, the need for human contact has increased, and people are more willing to make an appointment for a private experience. After all, offline feeling art , in the traditional sense, is an aspect of the appreciation of the materiality of art. What clients are really interested in is maintaining a personal relationship with the gallery and creating a long-term connection that is not just about a commercial transaction, and we take great pride in that.
COVID-19 has made more remote conversations necessary and collaborations with artists to create artworks, capsule collections and digital collections, while exploring the possibilities of entirely new art forms. In addition, we are very interested in developing and exploring the digital art industry in the future, which is an exciting new field for the art world.