Haunch of Venison’s opening show at Burlington Gardens

Contemporary art dealer Haunch of Venison’s inaugural show at 6 Burlington Gardens (part of London’s Royal Academy) will include a major recent installation by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, The Things We See After We Die, which has only been seen in Poland until now. “It’s quite unlike anything they’ve ever shown in the UK,” Ben Tufnell, head of exhibitions at the gallery and one of the show’s curators, told The Art Newspaper.

The show opens on 12 March and explores the building’s previous role as the Museum of Mankind—which housed the British Museum’s ethnographic collections—with works by 40 international artists including Damien Hirst, Bill Viola, Sophie Calle, Tony Cragg, Tim Noble and Sue Webster and Richard Wentworth. Almost all of the work is for sale, including the Kabakov installation.

We are launching our presence in this new space by referring back to its past,” Mr Tuffnell told us. “It’s not gloomy, but there is a certain darkness to it…It is our intention to make quite a theatrical installation. We’re not planning to do a conventional white box contemporary art show.”

Also included are works by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo, currently showing at Tate Modern until 1 March, and Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat, on show in “Indian Highway” at the Serpentine until 22 February. Kallat is showing a large-scale painting made for “Mythologies” that has the exact dimensions of Picasso’s Guernica, responding to the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Haunch of Venison’s current central London premises, just off New Bond Street, will be redeveloped, with a planned completion date of 2011. The gallery, which was founded in 2002 and acquired by Christie’s in 2007, is leasing the Burlington Gardens building from the Royal Academy (RA) for three years. A number of Academicians expressed reservations over the lease to a commercial gallery (TAN, July 2008), but it was reported that Haunch is paying the RA more than £4m for use of the space, which will cover the costs of renovating the building for future public use. The building was acquired by the RA in 2001 for £5m. During Haunch of Venison’s occupation, the RA will have three months per year in the space for its contemporary art programme.

News story published on The Art Newspaper website 4 February, 2009 www.theartnewspaper.com