It is a well known fact that we are going through a recession and that art is becoming more and more difficult to sell and promote than two years ago. Galleries are at the front line of this crises and there is a polarization going on that benefits the big players and is cornering the medium size ones and eliminating the smaller ones. This sort of analysis, however, forgets a vital component in the contemporary art equation: the artist. Who protects them from being the ones paying for other people’s bold business enterprises. 

A Wels Artist Between Two Italian Gallerist in Berlin…. Tricky Formula

A Welshman in Berlin

This is the story of British artist Carl Hopgood show which was supposed to open at MILA Kunstgallerie in Berlin, March 17th. A multimedia artist with a relevant trajectory in London, Hopgood works across 16mm film, digital media, sculpture (human scale and gilded), photography and installation; his objects and ornaments come to life through the medium of film projection. Hopgood was going to presents video projections of Butterflies, Night Owls, Water Falls onto objects such as Victorian Urinals, Cider Bottles and Bell Jars. The moving image envelopes the object or is seen through it like smoke and mirrors. The video projector becomes the work’s life support machine, immortalising the captured image within. This show obviously demands a certain level of logistics and commitment from the part of the organisers. 

Daniel Mancinetti with MILA Gallery/ Berlin 
The Talented Mr.Ripley (Danielle Mancinetti with MILA Gallery) 
A Black Hole 

MILA gallery had committed to organise this exhibition for which the artist had been working for the past year and a half. Hopgood financed the materials, organised the shipping and invited his friends and family. Many of them had booked their flights and hotel  rooms in Berlin. The logistics company and art handlers Martin Speed picked up the heavy installation and everything was ready and on time. Danielle Mancinetti, owner of MILA gallery did not answer the phone nor collected the works from customs. Eventually, the owner of the gallery told the artist that they were going to cover the costs with the eventual sales of the works but this meant that the artist had to cover the expenses for the gallery’s show. The show was cancelled and Martinspeed retained the works. 

Carlo Mecchi: Not A Patron spoke to Mancinetti who said that the one to blame was the gallery’s financial backer, Carlo Mecchi. Mecchi, who is based in Italy, considered a week before the show’s opening that it was not commercial enough so decided not to back it up. This entailed not honoring the gallery’s commitment with the artist (and the logistics company). Thousands of euros had been spent at that point. This without even taking into account the time of the artist. Who protects the artist?  

Hopgood is already working for his next show in Kensington Gardens sponsored by The Groucho Club, Dean Street. In spite of this, he was generous enough to spare a thought for LA based Michael Weber ‘who is about to have his worked shipped to this Gallery for a show next month hope this doesn’t happen to him!’. Lessons learned. Artists of the world….Beware!