Launched earlier in 2014, HEIST is London’s first ‘anti-gallery’. The aim is to break down the barriers between artist and collector though creating a dialogue in a unique space. Instead of offering exhibition-goers a blinker view experience in surroundings reminiscent of hospitals, founder Mashael Al-Rushaid and his team want to “create an immersive space that allows for a personal engagement with the artists and their work”. It’s located in a converted house in Notting Hill, and they follow a highly hospitable philosophy: at every exhibition launch the shown works are accompanied by performance pieces, music and food that is inspired directly by the art. Their current exhibition, The Road to Elysium, demonstrates that their interest in photography goes beyond a pretty picture. HEIST believes that the story around it is just as important.
The Road to Elysium hinges on Aeneas’ quest for a second home in Virgil’s Aeneid. Featuring some of the world’s most innovative fine art photographers — including AES+F, Amanda Charchian, Laurent Badessi, Kim Keever, Aaron Hobson, Madame Peripetie, and Liu Ren — the exhibition focuses on pieces that encompass variations upon the idea of utopia. According to the organisers, “HEIST journeys with you to a post-apocalyptic world where life is magnificent. Like most journeys you take it wasn’t always easy but we have arrived. Welcome to our brave new world.”
At the centre of the exhibition is a AES+F’s three metre high and six metre long piece, Jungle Elegy. Dubbed ‘animated sculpture’ by the Russian photography group, their idiosyncratic combination of photography, video art and animation has already been exhibited in museums worldwide, including in Australia, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Switzerland, Russia, UK and USA.
AES+F, Amanda Charchian, Laurent Badessi, Kim Keever, Aaron Hobson, Madame Peripetie, Liu Ren