Angelica Jopling, daughter of White Cube founder Jay Jopling, has been hosting pop-up exhibitions at 2 Chiltern Street in Marylebone since 2020.
The success of these week-long exhibitions, devoted to emerging artists, now demands a fixed space. Positioned opposite Chiltern Firehouse, and a stone's throw from the Wallace Collection, Incubator has now permanently set up shop in the Chiltern Street location, marking its debut with a solo exhibition series, 'Incubator 23' (5 April–25 June 2023).
The fortnight-long, back-to-back exhibitions showcase six emerging artists working in the English capital: four from the top art schools of London, UCLA graduate Atticus Wakefield, and Chilean-Italian artist Marco Bizzarri.
With two 'Incubator 23' shows now under her belt, Angelica Jopling chats to Ocula Advisory on her spring programming, the attraction of Marylebone, and the future of Incubator.
You're young to be establishing a gallery and the artists you are working with are likewise early in their careers. What do you feel are the advantages of a gallery run by a Gen Z gallerist for Gen Z artists?
Working with artists of the same generation is wonderful as we get to grow together. There's a real sense of collaboration which, especially as both myself and the artists are at the beginning of our careers, allows a dialogue and feedback which I think we both appreciate.
However, I've also exhibited artists who aren't necessarily young in age, but young in their career.
Many of the smaller start-up galleries in London are opening in Deptford or Fitzrovia, not Marylebone. What attracted you to Marylebone, and this space in particular?
It was quite a coincidence stumbling upon this space. I was looking for somewhere in London for the first pop-up and found this big warehouse in East. However, ultimately it fell through which led me to stumble across this space in Marylebone—a shop which since COVID had closed down.
So it was a happy turn of events as we're close to the Mayfair blue-chip galleries, and the new generation of galleries in Fitzrovia, while museums such as the Wallace Collection, and Soho are just a stone's throw away.
White Cube was established by your father just a couple of years before you were born and I'm sure you've learned a lot from its success. What are the most important lessons you've taken with you to Incubator?
While being surrounded by artists and art from a young age has had a huge impact on me, it has really just been the biggest privilege as opposed to the biggest lesson.
You've selected six artists for this spring edition. Can you talk about your selection process and how you landed on these artists?
With two-week-long, back-to-back shows I was looking for artists who were going to bring something radically different week by week. Whether that was in medium, or theme, or the artist's background, I wanted to curate a programme that shows the breadth of what artists are making in London at the moment.
In terms of selection, it's quite a natural process. Degree shows of London-based art schools such as RCA, Camberwell, Royal Academy, Royal Drawing School, and Goldsmith's are always a good start. Yet, we also initiated an artist open call as a means to democratise the selection process and not restrict it to a certain school or age.
For example, while our next artist, Graham Silveria Martin is a recent RCA graduate, Marco Bizzarri—the final artist in this edition—graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2014 and found us through our open call.
We are talking as your second show, featuring the Ghanaian British artist Kesewa Aboah, has just opened. As with the others, it will run for two weeks before the next artist, Graham Silveria Martin, opens on 3 May. It's a pretty quick turnaround. Why did you decide on two-week exhibitions?
The accelerator element and the regularity of the openings, I feel, brings a real pulse to the programme that feels really exciting, allowing us to build momentum and community around the artists.
Every Wednesday, we also put on events in the gallery which is a new project since becoming permanent. So far we've had a dance and music performance by Noah Berrie and Marketa Fagan, and last week the musician James Messiah conducted a poetry recital amongst Kesewa's work.
My hope is that the gallery becomes a spot where people feel they can keep coming back to, knowing that each time will be different.
What shall we expect for the autumn edition of Incubator? And what is your vision for Incubator in the long term?
We are still in the process of selecting artists for another solo programme for the autumn edition, but also working out the rhythm for a longer term programme over the next year.
For the summer and winter, we will be curating two very exciting group shows, so stay tuned to find out more. —[O]
Main image: Courtesy Incubator, London. Photo: Evie Milsom.