How long have you been at Saatchi and what is your main role?
I’ve been working with SAATCHI since ’99 when it was based at Boundary Road. Given my main role as a director of exhibitions and acquisitions, I’ve been lucky enough to work on some amazing shows and collaborate with some inspiring artists.
What is it about the Saatchi gallery that defines you above other galleries?
I think that the Saatchi gallery has a particular knack of showing work that is visually arresting and compelling to look at, which engages visitors and urges them to find out more about it, and the contemporary art scene in general. We never just show work which needs any intellectual justification – we show work that requires an open eye and an open mind so that you can make your own decisions on it.
Frieze is around the corner, what does it represent to you?
Frieze is important in that London becomes an international epicentre for contemporary art along with every collector, gallery, artist, curator, advisor … for us it opens up fresh dialogues and hopefully discovering new artists that we will later show at the gallery.
For Frieze you will be opening the first female only show – ‘Champagne life’.
Can you tell us a little about it?
‘Champagne Life’ takes its title from one of the works on display by the artist Julia Wachtel. The title used by Julia is originally taken from a song by the R&B artist Ne-Yo. It suggests prestige and affluence, qualities that have led to champagne being appropriated into Hip-Hop culture as a gauge of success. But when applied to this exhibition, which showcases the work of 14 emerging women artists, the irony becomes apparent, throwing into contrast the many long, lonely hours these artists spend in their studios with the perceived glamour of the art world.
Julia Wachtel, Champagne Life, 2014
Alice Anderson, Bound, 2011
Soheila Sokhanvari, Moje Sabz, 2011
What were your reasons for running an only female exhibition?
The gallery chose to run an all-female exhibition to celebrate its 30th anniversary year, as it has a long history of supporting emerging women artists. It seemed fitting to pay tribute to their important contribution to contemporary art, while also highlighting the fact that there is still an enormous amount to be done in order to address the disparity in gender representation in the art world. Women are definitely better represented in commercial galleries than they have been, but there is a long way to go for that change to be seen in museums, exhibitions and at auction, where the work of contemporary women artists commands far less than that of their male counterparts.That said the artists in the show appreciated that the title didn’t define it as an all female show.
The countdown has begun for Frieze, what are your tips of getting through it?
Getting round Frieze, no tips, wear comfy shoes and keep going… I would suggest mixing it up so you don’t get too overloaded. Take breaks visit the shows and the other fairs. Have fun!
What is your life mantra or favourite quote?
Mantra – less is more..
And finally we always like to find out what is your earliest memory of jewellery if you can remember and what was it?
First piece of jewellery: a carved piece of jade from my mother – I still wear it now. The twist, or ‘pikorua’ is a Maori symbol with design roots in nature. It’s said to represent the path of life.
Thank you Philly!
Philly is wearing Bex Rox Love Token from the Venus Collection.
The Love Token dates back to 1788 and was engraved by prisoners of war as a token of love to their partners. Cast from real Love Tokens, hammered and crinkled in two sizes, they fit perfectly together. Available online.
Love Token Double