HomeArtHashtag Abstract Group Exhibition in London Curates Abstract Painting for the Social Media Age Long-time art collector, first-time curator Kamiar Maleki recently bought a piece of art from Instagram for the first time. And so the idea for his curatorial debut, Hashtag Abstract at Ronchini Gallery, London was born. Kasper Sonne, BAD 04, Volcanic ash exfoliator, water and UV protection on canvas in aluminum frame: “The show’s title references the fast-moving phenomenon of the digital era and the impact of social media on art,” explains Kamiar. “Within the exhibition we will invite the viewer to interact with the works through social media in a critical and engaging way, moving beyond the barrier of mere observation and positioning all individuals as a critic.” Kasper Sonne, TXC series, 2014, Industrial paint and chemicals on canvas in aluminum frame: Kamiar will be bringing together the work of four rising international abstract artists: Oliver Clegg, Richard Höglund, Christopher Kuhn and Kasper Sonne. The works are as diverse and divergent as you might expect from a show with such a broad theme, but they hang together effortlessly in spite of this. “The artists in this exhibition are ones I believe have a great future ahead of them,” enthuses Kamiar. “They also produce visually stunning pieces that work well in a social media context.” Kasper Sonne, TXC87, 2014, Industrial paint and chemicals on canvas in aluminium frame, 186 × 155 × 5 cm: We spoke to Kamiar in greater depth about preparing for his inaugural show: The Plus: How did you get into curation? Kamiar Maleki: Growing up, I was surrounded by my parents’ art collection and quite quickly felt inclined to start my own collection, focusing on emerging contemporary artists. The idea to curate a show with Ronchini Gallery was conceived during an engaging conversation with the director, Lorenzo Ronchini, discussing numerous emerging artists I have come across at various exhibitions, fairs and studio visits. Oliver Clegg, Bloody Mary, 2015, oil on canvas, 120 x 162 cm: TP: Do you think abstract painting is experiencing something of a Renaissance? KM: There is an identifiable re-emergence of abstract art but this is not to say that it completely faded away in the past 20-30 years. In my opinion abstract art has been less visible in the ‘80s and ‘90s but it had strong advocates even during those decades such as Mark Grotjahn, Beatriz Milhazes, Sarah Morris and Anselm Reyle. In the past 5-10 years I have identified that a new generation of artists are inspired by the non-presentational, which is supported by collectors and curators around the world. Oliver Clegg, Cunt, 2015, oil on canvas, 120 x 162 cm: TP: What are the main challenges of curation? KM: Curation is very diverse nowadays and has evolved dramatically in the past few years. For Hashtag Abstract the main curatorial challenge was to create a space where the viewer is invited to engage with both art and social media, to ensure the collective impact of both landscapes are considered fully. Oliver Clegg, On The Pull, 2015, oil on canvas, 120 x 162 cm: TP: What other artists should people look out for in 2015? KM: I like the work of Ida Ekblad, Neïl Beloufa and Charline von Heyl amongst others, and I am also very interested in the work of Will Boone and Harold Ancart. In regards to more emerging artists, I have recently been following the career of Isabelle Yellin. Kasper Sonne, TXC, 2014, Industrial paint and chemicals on canvas in aluminum frame: Kasper Sonne, BAD23, 2015, Volcanic ash exfoliator, water and UV protection on linen in aluminum frame, 182.9 x 152.4 x 5 cm: Hashtag Abstract is on at Ronchini Gallery, London 2 July – 29 August 2015. Cover image: Christopher Kuhn, Code Switch, 2015, oil and acrylic on linen, 177.8 x 137 cm. All images courtesy of the artist(s) and Ronchini Gallery.