When I was a boy visiting the dentist, the dental surgery was on the first floor of a residential block, with only an engraved brass plaque at the entrance to give the game away. The waiting room was a warm cosy sitting room with old-fashioned sofas, Persian rugs, dark oak tables and glazed cabinets bursting full of books. It was a relaxing welcoming environment, with only the sound of a drill somewhere in the distance to indicate the torture to come.
Why therefore have modern waiting rooms in railway stations, hospitals and in doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries become so sterile, cold and characterless, with hard plastic-covered seats and walls covered in official-looking notices and posters, rather than paintings or art? Why do you have to pay for business or first class seats on planes and trains, or pay for private medicine, to find a waiting area that is welcoming and well-designed, with tasteful furniture and perhaps even art.
French artist Elvire Bonduelle (born 1981) has an ongoing project to recreate the Waiting Room as a place of enjoyment and stimulation, with art to be enjoyed and immersed in by those who wait there with time to kill. At the Ronchini Gallery, appropriately near Bond Street tube station, she creates a Waiting Room with her black metal benches, which include phrases, lining the centre of the room, surrounded by her rotating paintings created from simple sweeps of the brush in a variety of colours, taking the forms of petals, clouds, feathers or curtains blowing in the wind, providing flowing shapes for the people to concentrate on and let their imagination wander while they wait.
Italian artist Tino Stefanoni, born 80 years ago in 1937, originally trained as an architect and Little Anthology at the nearby Jerome Zodo Gallery contrasts his older conceptual work which translates items such as a mason’s trowel into graphic paintings and drawings with his new paintings where Italian landscapes, trees and buildings, along with their dark shadows, become graphic shapes which move from the lines of Sinopia ZA12A and ZA39A to landscapes where the brilliant colours fade into darkness.
This is the last exhibition in Ronchini Gallery’s current location with its four classical columns giving the ground floor a hint of classical grandeur. The next will be in its new home in Mayfair.