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‘There’s Something in This Model That Feels Outdated’: Ibid Gallery Closes Its Central London Space

Detailed installation view of David Adamo's 2017 site-specific installation at Finsbury Circus House, London. PANAYIOTIS SINNOS/COURTESY THE ARTIST AND IBID GALLERY

Detailed installation view of David Adamo’s 2017 site-specific installation at Finsbury Circus House, London.


Ibid Gallery, which was established by Magnus Edensvard in 2004, has closed its space in central London. The gallery is looking to relocate to another location in the city and will continue to operate its recently opened 13,000 square-foot location in Los Angeles in that city’s Boyle Heights neighborhood.

Ibid moved from its original location in east London to its space on Margaret Street, just a few blocks from the London headquarters of both Christie’s and Sotheby’s, in October 2014.

“In the last five or so years, the center of London has become the essential place to have a gallery,” Edensvard told ARTnews by phone from Hong Kong, where Ibid has a booth at the Art Basel fair. “[But] looking at the price points of a lot of the artists’ works we sell and also the frequency with which we met our clients at a gallery, we felt that the economy started to make less and less sense for a gallery like us.”

Edensvard said that about 95 percent of sales with the London gallery’s clientele have increasingly moved to art fairs and other locations, like the L.A. space. “We felt that it doesn’t make sense to sit on this traditional gallery model in the center of London only to sell to our London-based clients all around the world,” he said. “There’s something in this model that feels outdated, and it’s something that’s unsustainable on our level.”

He said it is a priority to give the gallery’s artists the freedom to experiment and stage shows that might not sell. Given the high rent they were paying in London, Edensvard felt the model was no longer feasible. “None of these mid-tier galleries are independent from financial reality,” he said. “I think there’s an opportunity for galleries that have been working under a traditional white-cube model to find new ways of existing and new ways of collaborating.”

Ibid will continue to stage projects and exhibitions occasionally, about four times a year, in London and will maintain an office in the British capital. The gallery represents such artists as David Adamo, Carsten Nicolai, and Christopher Orr. Ibid’s first project under its new model will be a collaboration with HS Projects, to present a site-specific installation by Adamo in the lobby of the Finsbury Circus House in Moorgate, London.

“Once you open the doors for possibilities to exhibit art in London, you realize quite quickly that a white-cube space is definitely not the only place to do it,” Edensvard said. “I feel that we’ve picked up on something I imagine is going to be the beginning of a wider shift.”

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