German post-war anti-expressionists come to the fore in this inaugural exhibition from ArtCricle, writes Jessica Irving
A fog machine stands in the corner of an exposed brick second floor room in Mayfair. When it is turned on a stream of smoke starts to billow through the darkened space and intricate patterns of light begin to appear above an installation of 20 concave mirrors. This is Adolf Luther’s Focusing Room (1968), the star artwork of the new art business platform ArtCircle’s inaugural exhibition, Focusing Space.
ArtCircle is the brainchild of Elena Sereda, Natasha Chagoubatova and German gallerist, Volker Diehl, presenting a new pop-art concept that combines the mobility and convenience of a pop-up with the high art world standard of museums and the ease of sale of an art fair.
This exhibition, the platform’s first, is curated by Bettina Ruhrberg of the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in Goslar, Germany, from whose collection the Luther work is on loan for this show. It is the first time it is being shown in the UK. With a focus on the post-war, anti-expressionist movements of Kinetic Art, Op Art and Zero, Focusing Space has a sleek industrial feel, which is complemented by the bare style of the makeshift gallery space at 48 Albermarle Street.
Seminal sculptural light-based works by Adolf Luther, Heinz Mack, Alberto Biasi, Nanda Vigo, Christian Megert, Nicolas Schöffer, Grazia Varisco and Peter Sedgley are thoughtfully arranged throughout the three-room space. Heinz Mack’s iconic Rotor (1960-62) is among the works on view, Mack of course being the father of the artistic movement known as Zero alongside Otto Piene. Piene describes the movement as 'a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning' and sure enough the whole of this exhibition seems to fit that bill.
Another standout work is Nicolas Schöffer’s Lumino (1968), a kinetic light installation constructed of metal, plexiglass and a motor. The hum it produces has come to be considered part of the artwork as well over the years. Akin to Focusing Room, this piece really creates its own environment through movement, sound and a dance of colour and light.
Ruhrberg has done a quite thoughtful job with the curation, moving beyond just the Zero movement (as with the Guggenheim’s 2014 exhibition in New York City) and instead incorporating Kinetic Art and Op Art as well. This makes for a cast of characters not always seen together, but certainly most complementary.
Focusing Space will be on view until 2 July at 48 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, and participates in this year’s Mayfair Art Weekend from 30 June – 2 July