Cubism. Dadaism. Surrealism. Pop Art. Influential 20th century movements tied together by a desire to question the status quo. What does a similar creative spirit look like in today’s world? Avanguardian is a London-based online gallery dedicated to avant-garde contemporary works. With an aim to make art accessible whilst championing emerging names, they are leading the way in the digital space. Founder Ranko Davidov speaks to Aesthetica about what the platform has to offer.
A: How did Avanguardian get started?
RD: Avanguardian was born out of a healthy curiosity for art and an innate need to act with purpose. We were already privately acquainted with artists of different backgrounds; this revealed an urge to support them – to help them feel more confident and ready for a new chapter. We discovered a need for a unique, inside out, more boutique approach to gallery representation.
A: What kinds of artwork do you highlight – is there a particular style, media or approach?
RD: It’s in the name. We try to make our choices based on authenticity. We appreciate complex compositions, ambitious endeavours and experiments with different art forms.
A: How do you select artists to feature on the platform?
RD: It is a mutual recognition. We choose, but at the same time, we are chosen. When artworks burst into flames before our eyes, we know that’s it. This kind of elevated impression is what we believe art is all about. We like to shake things up and consequently we are recognised by artists with a similar “mojo”. It is also about the relationship: we believe that we must trust each other to progress and grow together. We really appreciate artists who respect the relationship; Avanguardian is always ready to go extra mile for this kind of co-operation.
A: Do you have any personal highlights from Avanguardian’s collection? Could you talk us through a couple of examples?
RD: I personally enjoy the aesthetics of the 1970s and 1980s. The art world was reacting to dynamic global movements and was flavoured by different music styles. These have shaped my creative side and rebellious nature. My preferences are works that are disruptive to viewers, with innovative forms and lots of symbolism. The best way to give some examples is to refer you to our ongoing virtual exhibitions by Margareta Alvthin and Decolife, featured on our website. You can also explore our Surrealism, Outsider Art and Pop Art collections.
A: What does Avanguardian have to offer in terms of photography?
RD: The photography collection is mainly based on conceptual works that fit our aesthetics and tell stories that inspire. We try to offer a variety of styles: black and white art photography, street art, surreal, abstract… There is also an interesting selection of digital art.
A: How has the pandemic impacted the digital space? What new opportunities have opened up – both for audiences and artists – from exhibiting online?
RD: The way in which the world changed resulted in exhibiting online becoming its own sort of art form. At Avanguardian, we try to create visual metaphors and content that will evoke a personal experience in a not-quite-real world. This adjustment and innovation in the way art is exhibited and consumed made it accessible to much larger audiences than we could ever imagine. It opened otherwise unimaginable cooperation between fairs, art dealers and even luxury brands and auction houses. It’s also interesting to see the growing interest for crypto art and its inclusivity.
A: What are your future plans? Could we see Avanguardian occupy a physical space?
RD: The art world has already experienced an increase in pop-up gallery spaces and Covid- friendly exhibitions in alternative locations. For example, last year, Johann König’s Messe in St Agnes Berlin, amidst the art fair cancellations, symbolised a very important shift. A physical gallery space of some kind is at the very heart of our ambitions; it is vital for further growth.
Find out more here.
1. Svetlana Ochkovskaya, Adapting To The New Reality Of Life Under Lockdown.
2. Marcus Hamilton, Imagine #13.
3. Marcus Hamilton, White Light #7.
4. Mario Fior, Colors from Cascais.
5. Mario Fior, Abstract Reflection.