When we began Imitate Modern in 2011, we decided to focus on our artists. For an art gallery, London is an incredible place to set up shop. The mixture of a lively contemporary scene, an influx of creatives from all around the world, and a deep history all seemed to set the stage for what we wanted to do: change the scene forever. In the ten years since we became one of the most innovative galleries in London. And it all comes down to the artists.
It all started in the West End in Marylebone. That was our first location. We exhibited some of the best emerging voices of the time, including Philippe Shangti who presented his intense and delectable Saint Tropez to London in 2012. We were an art gallery in London that was making a name for itself as a place unafraid to provoke and inquire about everything in our modern world.
By 2015, our tactics changed. We became a pop-up gallery, showing up here and there. It was a major transition. Those years were, in general, okay for art galleries in London. For us, there was a change in the air. We still presented incredible talent. We still brought new names into the fold. And beyond the bounds of a physical location, we were able to meet people where they were. But we still needed a home. We needed a headquarters where the progenitors of the next wave could find shelter and find each other.
Then things began to fall into place.
The New Location
We settled into our new residence in 2016. 19 Shepherd Market — that’s where we would plant our flag and become the London art gallery that eschewed hushed tones and turned the experience of the exhibit on its head.
At our new, permanent address, we set our sights on discovering like never before. We brought in artists that made brave work, that made a difference in how you wanted to see the world going forward. In the end, every London art gallery has be artist-centered.
We’re proud that Imitate Modern is one of the few modern art galleries London can call on for art that dares, that strives, that seeks to break the narrative and breakthrough to the next level.
With artists like Tyler Shields and Sara Pope, we created a space that broke through the London art scene. We didn’t seek to parody the modern art museums London has to offer. We wanted to find the artists that would fill those museums a generation from now. But the thing is, those groundbreaking artists require a space to show work that’s too forward thinking, too ahead of its time. You can’t find the game changers by hanging around the stunted world of the art elite. You need to go where the action is.
And if we’ve proved anything in the last ten years, it’s this: Imitate Modern is where the action is.
Looking Back, Looking Forward
So it’s been ten years. And the halfway point is marked by our move to our current location. It’s fitting.
We’re taking this time to look back at our history, because looking back is always, ultimately, a way to look forward. As we set our sights on the next ten years, it feels like we’ve somehow come full circle. We set out to become something special among galleries in London. We set out to build something that artists on the frontier and art lovers with a taste for the future could find common ground. We did that.
But the thing about the future is that you can’t stop building it. Here’s to ten more years.