At just twenty-seven, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the art world.
Pioneering a new way of working with emerging talent, Vladimir’s company Feedback Ltd sources space to suit the individual artist, operating as a sort of travelling gallery. Their latest project has been scouting a suitable platform for the work of French painter Nicolas Pol, whose exhibition ‘Mother of Pouacrus’ opens tomorrow at The Old Dairy as part of Frieze Art Fair. Vladimir worked with Nicolas last year on his New York exhibition, and returns with more of the artist’s large-scale paintings that explode with colour, violence and passion. i-D Online caught up with Vladimir to talk about his heart for art.
How did you first discover Nicolas? I was introduced to him one and a half years ago by a mutual friend of ours, Stavros Niarchos. He had seen what I was doing in New York with artists, and Nicolas had recently lost his representation in London, so Stavros set up a blind date for the two of us in Paris and we got on really well.
How would you describe Nicolas’ work to an untrained eye? Nicolas’ paintings are very modern – obviously his work is very contemporary. His art is abstract, colourful and full of stories. Many people can see his work as violent and strong in its expression but I think the longer you look at it and get to know Nicolas and his life, the more humorous his art becomes. You could spend 30 years looking at Nicolas’ paintings and discover something new each time.
Your role in the art world is somewhat unconventional, can you explain? I would say I am like an art dealer. I have introduced a new way of presenting art that allows the maximum amount of people to see it and that gives me more creative control. Rather than paying lots of money for a fixed space, I have created a mobile gallery that can travel around the world, promoting new artists. This means I don’t need to worry about struggling to pay bills but can focus on being creative and choosing artists I really believe in, gathering as much interest for them as possible. I look for spaces that would be attractive to a crowd of people that don’t necessarily have time to make it to exhibitions. I want to introduce as many people to art as possible.
Tell us about the space? I’ve been working with Nicolas for the past five months on a huge gallery space here in London near Kings Cross that we’ve transformed with 150m of walls. It looks great and I’m going to keep it open until Christmas, exhibiting the artist Richard Hambleton after Nicolas.
Do you dabble in art yourself? No, never. Originally I was interested in the movie industry. I made the switch to the art world almost three years ago. I have very good relations with creatives – I’d say that is my strength. Of course I am creative in many ways but I have never practiced any one form of art, I’ve never made my own movie!
‘Nicolas Pol: Mother of Pouacrus’ is at The Old Dairy, 7 Wakefield Street, London, until the 5 November 2010.