"The theme of the night was secrets, and no word could more aptly describe Neue Galerie on London’s Vyner Street.
Last Thursday, the new establishment’s curators threw open the doors to a discerning crowd of art lovers and critics.
On display were works by seven Swiss artists, whose treatments on contemporary issues of secrecy and privacy herald a unique approach to tackling social degradation through the medium of art.
Privacy rights have been a hot topic in recent headlines: as Facebook gathers information about our relationships, so Google tracks our whereabouts and offers a street-level peek at our homes and bedroom windows.
The repeal of Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws is yet another step along the road to privacy elimination.
Rather than railing against the virtual publication of our personal details, these contemporary artists present a riddle in each of their works, a throwback to the cherished need for secrecy.
The characters in Ivan Ebel’s oil paintings, display troubled, seemingly grief-stricken expressions, leaving the viewer to guess at the origins of their anguish.
As Charles Baudelaire wrote in his treatise Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne, art is a process of reflection, a merging of the artist’s intentions with the spectator’s inner perceptions.
When faced with Sebastien Verdon’s Digital Portraits, the viewer’s introspective process kicks in, and we are left mulling over the darker side of our own secrets.
This exhibition is proof that motivation for art can be found in any topic. Moreover, artistic responses to changes in society need not fit a prescribed mould.
A well-planned exhibition should challenge the mind and provoke the senses (aesthetic as well as emotional). By reaching across the varied mediums of oil, digital and installation art, ‘Keep The Secret’ succeeds in both.
The gallery itself is situated in an unimposing building on the artistic highway of London.
Gallery visitors and artists alike tour refurbished warehouses housing some of the most intriguing art in the East End. Afterwards, spectators, journalists and artists gather in the alley’s old Victorian pub to contemplate and debate artistic themes.
Nowhere else in London could attract such an uninhibited, bold and adventurous group of artistic merit.
The Neue Galerie and its neighbors propose a glimpse into a new realm of exciting art designed for the modern gallery visitor, set apart from the mundane offerings of Central London."
The newspaper was published on April 23, 2009.