Home is where the art is. In conversation with Richard Woods and art advisor Andreas Siegfried.
Since launching in 2012, Siegfried Contemporary has offered a refreshing take on the gallery experience. “It’s clear that an intimate, domestic setting allows for a closer relationship between the viewer and the artwork,” says the private showroom’s eponymous founder, Andreas Siegfried.
The setting certainly provides a fitting backdrop for its current show, Behind Closed Doors. A site-specific installation by artist Richard Woods, architecture, sculpture and design are combined in a series of boldly patterned, colourful pieces. Playful commentary on everyday domesticity is what Richard’s is known for – with an archive spanning everything from the interiors for the Comme des Garçons flagship store in Osaka, Japan to brightly-coloured bungalows scattered across Britain’s coastal towns.
Behind Closed Doors is an uplifting take on the practice of interior design and fashion for home improvement. Inspired by the beloved children’s author Richard Scarry, there’s a cartoon-like quality to Richard’s paintbox-coloured doors: “[Scarry] was always my hero”, he says. “His books illustrate the everyday and how things work: walls being built, cars being mended, vegetables being harvested. Every page is a gold mine – a narrative that explores the physical world.”
In a nod to Scarry’s storytelling, Richard has also penned a poem for the exhibition – an excerpt reads: “Walls are coming down / Walls are going up / Behind closed doors”. It’s an eye-opening observation on the relationship humans have with their domestic settings, “a poem with an air of nostalgia and romanticism” adds Andreas. For Richard, building and altering spaces is the most fundamental of all art forms; his work has always been fully imbedded in the language of construction and redecoration. “Housing gives us shelter, but also works as an empty canvas to personalise,” he says. In this instance, his block-printed doors offer an eye-catching dialogue with the refined period architecture of the Bassett Road space.
Creating a body of work specifically for Siegfried Contemporary was something Richard and Andreas felt equally as excited about. Over the years, a host of Richard’s pieces have found their way into Andreas’ collection: “His playful, colourful and dynamic creations excite me. As I was commissioning a piece for my garden, I came up with the idea of continuing the project throughout the house.”
“I like to live with my art,” says Andreas, whose philosophy when curating his exhibitions is one of equilibrium. “I am drawn to colour and a dynamic vibe, but I implement acute curatorial attention to balance my shows. I like to introduce some punch, but it can’t become too noisy; everything needs to work in harmony.” Such an approach is effortlessly realised in the pared-back gallery space; Richard’s doors take centre stage against pale wood frames. Outside, a tiger-print patterned door – the inspiration for this entire project – sits boldly in a tranquil walled garden.
“Housing gives us shelter, but also works as an empty canvas to personalise”
- Richard Woods, Artist
Behind Closed Doors offers a taste of what’s to come for the showroom. Working with curator Tiffany Zabludowicz, Andreas will be showcasing a group exhibition of up-and-coming artists alongside more established names later this year. “Our programme has been going from strength to strength and I’m so pleased that the artists I’ve worked with have been so supportive of this endeavour.”
Having been in Notting Hill for over 20 years, Andreas draws inspiration for his shows from the strong cultural mix and community that characterises the neighbourhood. “London’s vibrant art world continues to emerge, something continually exciting for me.”
Behind Closed Doors is showing until September at Siegfried Contemporary, 16 Bassett Road, W10 6JJ. To book an appointment visit, contact 07712673217.