Lieve Beumer on surviving the digital paradigm shift at Flowers Gallery
Money Must be Made, Lorenzo Vitturi
Since opening in 1970, Flowers Gallery has firmly established itself as one of the leading galleries in contemporary photography. Undeterred by the monumental paradigm shift into the digital realm, it now owes three gallery spaces to its name and has accumulated some of the most exciting artists to its roster. Taking over the reins from his mother in the late 1980s, Matthew Flowers, alongside Head of Photography Lieve Beumer, continues to keep up appearances across every trajectory: online, offline, print and digital, ever expanding their curatorial focus to accommodate the latest artistic developments.
Money Must be Made
Emerging artists are immensely important to Flowers Gallery, how do you discover them and what do you look for in such artists?
Discovery is a part of every working day – as a gallery, we feel it is our responsibility to educate ourselves on new and exciting talent. I have found myself using Instagram and other digital platforms as a means of discovery alongside more traditional methods, such as festivals, art fairs, word of mouth recommendations and visiting exhibitions.
The photography department at Flowers Gallery has historically engaged with large-scale landscape photography within a social/political context. In more recent years, that emphasis has expanded to include more experimental photography that pushes the boundaries of the photographic medium, incorporating sculpture, installation and performance.
We are interested in a wide range of photography and generally look for original ‘passion-projects’ with strong aesthetic character.
Following on from this, how do you balance newer artists with the more established parts of your roster? Is this a challenge?
Instead of describing this as a challenge, I would define it as a very interesting aspect of our role. Balancing newer talents with established names in the correct context, i.e art fairs or specific group shows, can draw attention to unique parallels between both.
My Shadow's Reflection, Edmund Clark
Unseen booth presentation, 2018
What are the main changes in the art world that you have seen in the last few years?
The biggest change has been a digital one. Particularly so when working with photography, because of its accessibility and immediate character, digital outlets and social media have expanded its reach and output exponentially.
While the physical gallery space remains integral, it is not the only place for people to see work anymore. Curated online spaces such as Unseen Platform have become a great way to discover work.
All Work and No Play
Julie Cockburn, 2017
What’s the most exciting thing that you are working on at the moment?
The first photography exhibition that Flowers will be exhibiting this year is a solo show by Tom Lovelace at our Kingsland Road gallery in London (22 February - 27 April). His exhibition Interval will include a new body of work focussing on conceptual ideas of ‘theatre’, to explore spaces and encounters where the real, imagined and performed converge and intertwine.
If you could have worked with any artist in history, who would it be?
When you are not busy in the gallery, what do you enjoy doing?
When not working at the gallery I try to spend as much time with my friends exploring London and all it has to offer.
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