Art Night is London’s response to Paris’ Nuit Blanche. It’s a new exciting and free annual contemporary arts festival that will open the doors to hidden places in London and keep art aficionados excited until the wee-hours of next weekend. A range of buildings and public spaces across Westminster will form the stage for a series of new large-scale, site-specific art installations and performances for one night only.
The uncanny disused Jubilee line platform in Charing Cross Underground station will be transformed into a sensory installation by Koo Jeong A, co-commissioned with Art on the Underground. The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court of Somerset House will be taken over by hundreds of performers in Physique of Consciousness by Xu Zhen produced by MadeIn Company, a work described as the first “cultural fitness exercise”, in collaboration with Somerset House. Historic rooms in the iconic Admiralty Arch will be taken over with an installation by Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Prouvost and many more events.
Each year, Art Night will invite a leading cultural institution and curator to work in a different area of London, exploring its history, culture and architecture. The first edition is curated by the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), with curator Kathy Noble, who will present a series of artists’ works and new commissions in unusual locations, forming a trail running from Admiralty Arch to Temple.
Gregor Muir, Director of ICA, said: “Art Night builds on the ICA’s experiences of working in unusual locations with our Off-Site programme and adds to its rich history of presenting ambitious cross-disciplinary work by leading artists.”
Art is Alive catches up with Art Night’s founder, Ksenia Zemtsova.
Tell us a bit more about yourself
I studied Public Affairs and Cultural Management at Sciences Po Paris before moving to London to continue my studies at LSE four years ago. I’ve always been passionate about arts and culture and interested in the positive impact of the arts on the public realm. Being keen to discover and create new cultural experiences, this led me and a group of friends from university to start a collective called Unlimited Productions, operating at the crossroads of the arts and urbanism.
How did the idea of the Art Night come about?
As part of a work experience at the Cabinet of the Deputy Mayor of Paris for Culture, I helped organise Nuit Blanche, an all-night contemporary arts festival created in Paris more than ten years ago and exported since then in thirty-two cities. I absolutely loved it and when I came here, I thought it would be wonderful for London to have its own Nuit Blanche.
Who are you excited to see?
Linder (Art Night biggest, most spectacular, multidisciplinary commission and brilliant artist), MadeIn Company (participatory aspect), Jennifer West (very interesting project involving film memory collection) and Joan Jonas & Jason Moran (legendary performers, iconic venue).
How many commissions in total and how many venues?
Ten projects, Ten venues all curated by the ICA for this first edition.
Are you considering organising it in another city in the world in the future?
That would be wonderful! For 2017, and to stick to London, Art Night will focus on the East End in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery.
How long did it take to organise this project?
Two years to put together this first edition; the main challenge was to find all the venues and also to fundraise for the project. Luckily we have the chance to be supported by the international auction house Phillips through their global programme of Arts Partnerships.
What are the highlights this year?
Admiralty Arch will be open for the first time to the public with a project by Laure Prouvost
Celia Hempton taking over an iconic brutalist building on 180 The Strand. Cecilia Bengolea on Covent Garden: video projections and dancehall workshop at 8pm.
Image: Alexandra Bachzetsis, From A to B via C performance in collabora,on with Gina Folly 2014 (courtesy of the artist)
Xu Zhen, Physique of Consciousness video s,ll produced by MadeIn Company 2011 (courtesy of the artist)