Stefan Contini established his London gallery at 105 New Bond Street in Mayfair, London, in 2014, following his other galleries centred in Venice, Italy. As is characteristic of many ground floor units in Mayfair, the space is long and narrow. Unlike many commercial galleries, which have simple staircases in steel with concrete or timber treads, Contini Arts has a luxurious bespoke central glass and steel staircase, built by the luxury contractor MBS Commerical. It stylistically suits an Italian-based art gallery, but in fact was installed for a previous luxury fashion retailer, and leads down to a larger lower level where the space flows through to the adjacent building and under the pavement. Having stripped out the display fittings, but kept the staircase, the lighting and the hanging rail on the ground floor, the space suits a contemporary art gallery far better than a busy fashion showroom, (even though it was a finalist in the “Outstanding New Store” at the Global Fashion Awards).
Currently, the Gallery is showing contemporary work by international and Italian artists, including paintings and sculpture by Columbian artist Fernando Botero and his wife Sophia Vari. Igor Mitoraj’s sculpture on first glance seems to reflect ruined sculpture from classical antiquity but in fact he wants the viewer to avoid this comparison by embracing the nature of time – past, present and future. Are these in fact images of today as we seek perfection in an imperfect world? Enzo Fiori’s portraits similarly have a feeling of age and old photographs, in part through his use of organic material on the canvases and his three dimensional work “The ability of living beings to adapt to the surrounding environment” has hints of Damien Hirst about it.
Can the theme of seeking perfection in an imperfect world also be been in Paul Rousso’s huge crumpled banknotes from the series “One of a Kind” and Enrico Ghinato’s super-realistic paintings of classic cars with their gleaming reflections?
Looking forward to more exhibitions at the gallery.