Anna, what was the seed of your idea for the gallery?
I travelled a lot between 2000 and 2002 looking for fresh ideas of what a gallery should be. I felt there was room for a dialogue with other countries and a departure from the established “white cube” syndrome of elite clientele. I saw a synergy between Australian and European artists, particularly within the Berlin scene. I initially exhibited artists from Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Greece, alongside artists from all over Australia. We invited them to visit Melbourne and travelled with them all around this wonderful country, encouraging them to produce work based on their unique experiences. In 2009 I moved premises and changed the name of the gallery and its vision, concentrating mainly in new local art.
You have an impressive stable of artists; how did you find one another?
With the exception of the few who took the initiative to approach me, it's been my team and my research, constantly looking for the risky and the exciting.
Do you help boost the careers of emerging artists by aligning them with world-class artists?
I have mentored and assisted many young emerging artists by including them in group shows where established or international artists have participated. I’ve also showed them in international art fairs and assisted them with obtaining residencies within Australia or overseas. I must be one of the very few Australian galleries that risked taking artists such as Bonnie Lane, Grant Nimmo and Michaela Gleave, to name afew, to international platforms such as Korea, Chicago and Hong Kong at such young stages of their career.
What's a highlight of your eight years so far?
The most powerful moment for me is when the works are being shared for the first time, when the artists cease to be in control of their creation, when they can no longer protect this creation and must share it with the world. That is a highlight every time. As for specifics, the Cuban Photographers Exhibition, ‘Fotografia Epica Revolucionaria’ by Roberto Salas, Osvaldo Salas, Livorio Noval and Alberto Korda – including the iconic portrait of Ernesto ‘Che’ Quavara – was a true highlight.