Attollo Art curator, Vestalia Chilton, describes how she discovers new artists and why she would pick Henri Rousseau to make her a special jewel. Hear her thoughts on jewellery as art at our upcoming exhibition in South Kensington.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO FOUND ATTOLLO ART?
Our lives are riddled with rules and regularities. To see the world though a different lens even for one moment can bring new opportunities and perspectives to our lives. After all ‘a picture is a thousand words’!
I trained in Valuation and Auctioning of Fine Art and Chattels. The art history, the art market, its politics and the artists are an endless source of fascination to me. I founded Attollo to share my passion for the arts and to share their power.
HOW DO YOU SELECT THE ARTISTS YOU REPRESENT AND COME UP WITH THE IDEAS FOR YOUR EXHIBITIONS?
Our exhibitions do not conform to any specific style but aim to surprise and impress. We seek out the artists who challenge perceptions of a particular concept or idea. Many artists find us but mostly we find talent by visiting cultural institutions, Biennales, art-fairs, word of mouth and increasingly, we use Instagram and other social media. The process is not always predictable but we try to have as broad of a view as possible.
WHAT MAKES THE EXHIBITIONIST HOTEL SO SUITED FOR SHOWING THE WORK OF EMERGING ARTISTS?
The Exhibitionist Hotel is a public space. Our visitors may not be familiar with the arts but through our shows they become accidental participants. Our focus is not to decorate the space but to allow each exhibition to have a message or a great idea.
WHICH OTHER VENUES DO YOU WORK WITH AND HOW DO THEY DIFFER?
We tend to focus on any outside space or venue that may not have been used for display of art. Galleries are our least favourite places to work in. Our previous projects included locations in Marrakech and Essaouira where international street artists painted murals on the red walls of the two cities, including the largest mural in North Africa on the floor of public a square spanning 6,600 meters. We also took to the waters of the Thames during the Olympics with 6 Fine Art Sails painted by artists and sailed by GB Olympic Sailing Team; we held an art battle in Los Angeles in celebration of British Culture - to name but a few.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK THE WAY ART IS DISPLAYED IS TO ITS INTERPRETATION?
Visual arts have to respect their audiences. It is important to present the artwork as the artist intended but also to make sure the viewer can understand its message. Lighting, framing and labelling are key to presenting the idea in the best possible way and to allow the viewer to engage with the work.
CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF INCORPORATING JEWELLERY INTO FUTURE EXHIBITIONS?
Absolutely. We work with textile artists, wood carvers, painters, writers - any craft that can lend itself to creativity is our inspiration.
IF YOU COULD PICK ANY ARTIST TO MAKE YOU A JEWEL, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Henri Rousseau’s surreal works lend themselves to imagination when thinking about jewellery. His work is imbued with a sense of mystery and eccentricity, which I often find interesting in embellishment. Rousseau drew inspiration from African tribal masks and other "primitive" and traditional art forms to create surprising juxtapositions and dream-like impressions. In my view, these are perfect concepts for working with precious stones and coloured metals.