Living with Anne Roger Lacan & Caroline Achaintre at Siegfried Contemporary

There is really something to be said for seeing art within the intimate environment of a home. As much as I love a white cube gallery — its’ starkness and simplicity, a neutral palate to truly feature the art — works take on a completely different life when they are in an actual house. And it’s quite special to experience this, especially if you are looking to buy, as it’s good to know for certain if a piece will work within the context of a home.

This is precisely why I find Siegfried Contemporary, a by-appointment-only Notting Hill gallery (and private home to owner, Andreas Siegfried), so special. Attending an art opening there means toasting your date in someone’s living room, munching on olives in their kitchen, which overlooks a charming garden, and watching art live and breathe on the walls of a truly personal space.

Currently showing at Siegfried is ‘Strange I’ve seen that face before…‘ a two-person exhibition with works by Caroline Achaintre and Anne Roger Lacan that explore human psychology and the idea of multiple existences of oneself. Stepping into the private view Thursday last felt much more like entering a magnificently decorated townhouse for a weeknight cocktail party than walking into a gallery show. The art fits so well in the space that it seems almost like an integral part of the interior design.

Caroline’s work was a personal favourite for me. Based in the UK and with a recent Solo show at Tate Britain under her belt, her oeuvre draws consistently from early 1900’s primitivism with a collection of ceramic masks and wool wall installations, both replete with tribal imagery and vibrant colours. What struck me most about the masks is how they seem expressionless, allowing the viewer to interpret the mood of the piece through his or her own lens.

Caroline Achaintre, 'Bunt,' 2015, 17 x 12 x 34 cm; Courtesy of Siegfried Contemporary, London
Caroline Achaintre, ‘Bunt,’ 2015, 17 x 12 x 34 cm; Courtesy of Siegfried Contemporary, London

Caroline’s wall installations are equally brilliant — bringing to mind textiles one might find in a marketplace somewhere exotic — both spiritual and decorative, loud yet elegant.

Caroline Achaintre, 'L.O.N.E.' 2015, 210 x 246 cm; Courtesy of Siegfried Contemporary, London
Caroline Achaintre, ‘L.O.N.E.’ 2015, 210 x 246 cm; Courtesy of Siegfried Contemporary, London

Anne’s work is also quite moving especially in its attention to detail. I find that her pieces possess an innate soul. In ‘Nostalgie‘ for example, the mask’s hair is made of nails and it’s eyes of what appear to be fresh flowers, recalling both our fragility as human beings and our natural instinct to protect ourselves.

Anne Roger Lacan, 'Nostalgie,' 2014, 35 x 25 cm; Courtesy of Siegfried Contemporary, London
Anne Roger Lacan, ‘Nostalgie,’ 2014, 35 x 25 cm; Courtesy of Siegfried Contemporary, London

Not only did I connect with the work, but I also felt comfortable and at home in the space. Leaving that evening, I felt nostalgic, a bit like moving out of a house that had meant something to me. Both artists have created art that I could happily live with, and learn from, and at the end of the day, who could ask for more?

– India Irving

‘Strange I’ve seen that face before…‘ is on view at Siegfried Contemporary until 25th April; 16 Bassett Road, London, W10 6JJ; Visits are by appointment only, please contact info@siegfriedcontemporary.com; Admission: FREE

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