Installation was first introduced to GalleryLOG upon our arrival in Manhattan as we accepted the tremendous invitation to act as the main media partner for VOLTA NY. Before the hum drum of the fair began and the doors were officially opened to the public there was a moment of calm before the roar. As the early urban sun began to break and radiate against the expansive and exposed window panes of 82 Mercer, A. Moret, Garet Field-Sells and Bahram Safinia sat down at a single wooden table to exchange our ideas about the shifting digital landscape in the art world. The dialogue that began in in NYC in March continued to Basel, Switzerland. The power of the digital medium has proven to become stronger with the passing of each day.
Installation: What inspired the founding of GalleryLOG?
Bahram Safinia: I really wanted to give the public the opportunity to understand more about the actual art itself- the process and the person. One of the first questions that come through anyone’s mind when viewing art is, “Who,” “How,” and “What ?.” These are the elemental questions that we apply to everything in life, and they certainly apply to viewing art. The “how” really interested me, How do they do that? What is it made of? The other interesting question is the “who.” Who is this person? Where do they come from? What do they look like?
How does GalleryLOG work?
GalleryLOG acts as a promotional tool for the gallery before and during the fair, before and during the gallery exhibition and then after that. Galleries invest a ton of money putting together amazing shows and they only run for four or five weeks. Thousands of dollars are spent in shipping and installation and then the show is over. It vanishes, becomes dust and disappears. The best archive a gallery has (if they can afford it) is a really nice looking catalogue, but not all galleries can do that. There are also the press releases, installation shots and maybe a postcard.
How do the videos improve upon traditional tools implemented by galleries such as press releases and exhibition catalogues?
Until now we’ve had bios, we’ve had milestone-like verbiage, exhibition histories, award listings, and all those things are great in terms of data but we don’t respond to data, we respond to people. So I knew it would be fascinating if I could sit face-to-face with an artist, have a chat about how they did what they did. It could be a conversation about their whole career or about just one work. It is really about telling the story, the fact that you are looking into the eyes of an artist when he or she is talking and every single nuance is there. We have managed to come up with an equation that makes artists feel comfortable talking to the camera. That intimacy is what shines through in the videos.
The catalogue sits on a coffee table, the collector that has it, at best is going to share it with one or two of his mates, but you can’t share a catalogue with 100 people. You can forward your email with that video in it to how many people you like. So there is this element beyond the show, in the archive. The GalleryLOG video is not just an archive but it is this highly potent, versatile tool that you can still use after you spent thousands of dollars in an exhibition that has come and gone. This is something that has never existed before, until now when exhibitions close, that is the end. This is just one way of keeping it alive, video is the closest thing we know to reality.
Here are some of Bahram’s favorite GalleryLOG videos! Which one is your favorite?!
Amanda Coulson, co-founder and Executive Director of VOLTA, highlights the quality of the productions and the promotional power of GalleryLOG’s videos: “We were absolutely stunned not only by the artists’ videos that GalleryLOG produced for the New York fair but also from the feedback we got as a result of presenting them.” Coulson goes on to say that, “these mini features gave such a close and immediate feel, it was like having a one-to-one conversation with the artist, and I think this intimacy was what the visitors responded to. They came to the fair with a deeper sense of what to expect.” Ultimately, viewing art in person is the surest way for a gallery to make a sale, and what counts is the number of visitors walking through the door. As Coulson puts it: “The number of hits was amazing — far more than we would ever get for posting a traditional press release — and traffic increased as a result.” VOLTA received a record number of visitors this year in New York.
Ethan Cohen New York (one of the exhibitors at VOLTA10) and I met last year at VOLTA9. We later hooked up in New York to start producing videos for his gallery program. One of them would be a video on artist Aboudia. It turns out one of his client saw a work in the video and then saw it in the fair and decided to proceed with the purchase. You may have read about this in V10’s opening-day press release: “The client saw it on the wall, and they’d seen it in the preview announcement before so it put the pressure on them,” recounted Cohen. “They bought it straight away.” He noted several other collectors wanted that particular painting… Cohen clocked interest in Aboudia’s other paintings from top European collectors, adding “reactions from GalleryLOG’s video on Aboudia inspired interest in him and drove traffic to VOLTA.” In my follow up with Ethan I discovered that 80% of all the works in the video have sold — the majority of which was directly attributed to the video. In the last two days two collectors bought works specifically mentioning the video as the connection. So this is a full-circle story — evidence that a GalleryLOG video can enhance gallery communications directly leading to hard sales at the exhibition.
Michael Goedhuis, Principal at Michael Goedhuis, shares his experience with GalleryLOG: “I have had an exceptionally rewarding experience working with Bahram Safinia of GalleryLOG. His guidance, professionalism, visionary range and capacity to allocate unlimited time to our projects have been invaluable. And of course the GalleryLOG videos have generated not only a wide response internationally but also have done their part in expanding cultural awareness.”
Andrée Bober, Director of Landmarks, states her experience with GalleryLOG Founder Bahram Safinia: “Bahram is an outstanding professional who cares passionately about his craft. Thousands of people have been introduced to Landmarks and our projects through his powerful lens.”
Featured image and videos © GalleryLOG