If you could change one thing what would it be? Greek performance artist Tomàs Diafas asks the question to visitors to the new Cork Street home of Nahmad Projects. We write our answers on a piece of paper, and he gathers them up and bellows them out with his back to the audience. ‘Grandmother.’ ‘Job.’ ‘Girlfriend.’ Everyone laughs. He remains impassive.
The event marks the opening of the new gallery space, founded by Joseph Nahmad, 27-year-old member of the Nahmad art dealing dynasty. The revamped space will focus on contemporary emerging artists, main operations (post war and modern art) having decamped to St James’s Square last year.
‘We want to change the gallery model,’ says Nahmad Projects co-director Tommaso Calabro, ‘in here, there’s not really anything to buy.’ Calabro and Nahmad who have a combined age of 53, will bring in performances and site specific installations chosen by a mix of international curators and there’s little to take away but experiences.
The opening show, entitled 'I am NOT Tino Sehgal', is curated by Francesco Bonami and features 30 young artists across 30 days. Expect a band performing live without instruments, choreographed sleep sessions and unusual language lessons, all with full audience participation.
‘It’s no longer valid to just think of a gallery in fixed terms,’ urges Calabro. ‘It should be a boundary free space for everyone,’ adds Nahmad, who has been immersed in art since birth and was attending auctions aged 10.
Diafas' voice suddenly interrupts. ‘Nothing’ he cries. Who’s the one with the perfect life, we wonder. Nahmad admits it was him.