Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Posts Tagged ‘Sumarria Lunn’

We do what we want – not what is expected of us.

Posted by cathedralofshit on April 12, 2011

Cathedral of Shit receives some of the worst press releases of all time, which usually leaves us rapid firing the Spam button. This little gem however, is a real squirmathon.
Watch out for these guys – they’re the next Gagosian apparently. More likely gone when Papa won’t throw money down their bottomless pit of a business idea any more.

It was sent this way by Donna Howard PR. What an idiot.

“Baby Gallerist” Hits the Big Time
From Peckham to Mayfair: the rise and rise of SUMARRIA LUNN

London’s youngest gallery has successfully defied the economic downturn and in a stunning move are opening a permanent gallery space in Mayfair – and one of them is only 22 years old. Nicknamed the “Baby Gallerist” by press, the youthful Will Lunn and co-Director Vishal Sumarria make up the youngest gallery the capital has to offer; one renowned for brutal honesty, trend-bucking artists, and a business nous that reaches far beyond their tender years. Having enjoyed their share of controversy along the way, the unique journey of SUMARRIA LUNN from Peckham to Mayfair has kept audiences on their toes as they watched the “Baby Gallerist” finally hit the big time.

Will Lunn began his career at age 17, curating his first exhibition whilst still at college. A success, it even featured a little-known street artist called Banksy; a surprising presence but indicative of a talent-spotting skill that would come to define his later partnership. Going on to study at the prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art, it was not long before he was juggling lectures with running a contemporary art gallery. Immersed in a world of exclusive openings, collectors dinners and champagne brunches, Lunn claims he still has to pinch himself:

“I have always liked to set myself ridiculous targets, but thought I had no chance of going permanent in Mayfair before 25. I still can’t quite believe it’s really happening”

Co-director Vishal Sumarria’s background is very different, with roots in the other side of the world. After studying in Sydney, he organised a significant exhibition of contemporary Australian art in Mumbai, an early experience that taught him a valuable lesson: success in the art world would be all about networking. To that end, he founded Young Professionals in the Arts (YPA), a unique networking group he runs alongside the gallery which ensures the pair stay in touch with the art world’s next generation:

“Having a good network is not just about celebrities and big names, it’s about creating a symbiotic community that you can depend on”

With an exhibition history as rich as their own backgrounds, innovation and flexibility have been key to the gallery’s success. One of the first to use the pop-up exhibition model in London they have pursued every opportunity, working creatively with constraints rather letting them hinder progress. A small budget and a creative eye has seen them curate shows in crypts, gardens, and a listed shopping arcade, and all this without mentioning their participation in international art fairs as distant as Korea, or their hosting a charity exhibition and auction featuring the likes of Anish Kapoor, Paula Rego and Sir Howard Hodgkin. This new permanent move heralds not a ‘settling down’ for the duo, but their most daring investment yet – a space they can truly call their own. And what a space it is.

Nestled in Mayfair, the cultural hotspot of the West End, SUMARRIA LUNN are now to be found between two sections of Grays Antiques, an institution as historical as it is renowned. The clash of old and new is a striking contrast, fitting for a gallery with a reputation for bucking expectation. Featuring a multicoloured chandelier, retro tiling and an entrance adorned with eye-catching green foliage, SUMARRIA LUNN’s new space is a significant step not just for them, but also for their audiences as they are welcomed into a new era for one of the most exciting contemporary art galleries around.

“As a London gallery it may have made more sense to open with one of our British artists but if our move has proven anything, it’s that we do what we want – not what is expected of us”
Ever true to their word, their inaugural exhibition is by Yun-Kyung Jeong, a groundbreaking Korean artist whose most recent body of work has been produced just in time for the grand opening. Tying in cleverly with the new foliate exterior and particular location, Jeong’s intriguing landscapes are literally built of thousands of leaf-shaped motifs, bringing together multiple worlds in a single painting – past and present, traditional and contemporary, architecture and nature. Her works display a sincerity foreign to many of her peers, and it is just such a show that will set the tone for the gallery’s future. After the success of two solo exhibitions in her native Korea, SUMARRIA LUNN eagerly bring to London the long-awaited solo exhibition of this internationally-acclaimed artist.

In the few short years since a New York magazine advised audiences to check out the pair’s Peckham gallery in order to find the next Gagosian, SUMARRIA LUNN have done more than enough to live up to the hype – in the next few they will surely surpass it, as they continue their reign as not only the youngest, but the most dynamic gallery London has to offer.

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