Interview with art dealer Danielle Horn of Nettie Horn gallery in Fitzrovia

Your gallery migrated from Vyner Street to Fitzrovia last year.

What has been your experience of your new environment?

It’s been really great on many fronts. We were on Vyner Street for five years and we felt it was time for us to move to a new space and have a new working environment for us and our artists – relocating always generates a new dynamism, and being in central London means that we can get to people more easily and people can visit us more regularly, it feels a little less isolated. The atmosphere of our new space is also really different to the more ‘industrial’ feel of our Vyner Street premises, we are cherishing the natural light and the frontage onto the street!

Is there a sense of camaraderie amongst local dealers?

How do the Fitzrovia Lates (Last Thursdays) compare to the East End’s hedonistic First Thursdays, is there a different audience?

We’re still relatively new in the neighborhood and so far there’s been a friendly attitude overall – we’re also pleased to have our neighbour from Vyner Street FRED who moved in next door to us here so there’s a taste of home!

Fitzrovia Lates is quite different to First Thursdays, and I’m not complaining! FT was probably a bit too hedonistic and it was getting out of hand in the way that some weren’t respecting the space and the works. FL is quieter, it took a bit of time for people to get to know about this initiative but it feels more manageable.

You must be very excited about the great news that your artist Antti Laitinen is representing Finland in the Venice Biennale this year!

Are you allowed to give us a sneak preview of what he will be creating in May?

Yes, we were over the moon! We’ve been working with Antti since the very early days of the gallery and it’s so rewarding for him to be part of such a global event.

I can’t really say too much about his project for Venice but Antti will be deconstructing a forest and will also be doing a live performance during the preview days of the Biennale. The concept for this project entitled ‘Falling Trees’ revisits the events of the last Venice Biennale when a falling tree unexpectedly closed the Aalto Pavilion, effectively interrupting the Finnish exhibition at the 2011 Biennale.

As ever, and as in all of his performances, Antti continues to push his mental and physical limits but the tragicomic nature of these performances (which are slightly Monty-Python-esque) brings an irony and humour that people really relate to.

Your outlook at Nettie Horn seems international, how do you select the artists you represent?

Do you seek out artists with a particular kind of working process?

We work with ten artists based internationally (France, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada, Indonesia and Britain) and we tend to go to quite a few exhibitions and fairs so we have the opportunity to discover new artists all the time. Sometimes collectors or curators will recommend we take a look at a particular artist they think we might be interested in - as they are familiar with the identity of the gallery and our ethos, they are quite apt at pointing us towards artists that are in line with our programme. The Internet is also a great tool for research.

We have quite an instinctive way of selecting the artists we work with, we don’t follow any specific ‘guidelines’ other than a visual and conceptual coherence and it’s often like developing a crush on an artist’s practice.

How important are art fairs for promoting the work of your artists?

I guess they are pretty important in the way that they are a perfect platform to promote artists on an international level and an opportunity to meet new collectors as well as curators, museums and institutions. The benefit of art fairs is two-fold: developing contacts and meeting new collectors … but there is of course an element of financial risk – art fairs can be very expensive and it is a commitment, especially for the younger galleries where cash flow can be tight and the results can sometimes take time to materialise so it’s important to be strategic about how many you take part in and the choice of fairs.

Ali MacGilp

Antti Laitinen Voyage 2008

Antti Laitinen Voyage 2008

Bertille Bak, installation view, Nettie Horn, 2012

Bertille Bak, installation view, Nettie Horn, 2012