Inside a New Exhibition Celebrating London’s Emerging Artists

Archie BoonImage courtesy of the artist

Angelica Jopling’s Incubator exhibition series is back on Chiltern Street, with six week-long solo shows from some of London’s most exciting young artists

“I think Incubator can serve as a new model for presenting emerging artists in London,” says curator Angelica Jopling of her renewed exhibition series Incubator 22, which will showcase the work of six emerging artists at A. Society on Chiltern Street. Instead of the archetypal group show format, Jopling and her curatorial consultant Clara Galperin are giving young artists the chance to have week-long, back-to-back solo exhibitions. The series kicks off today with the haunting, cinematic canvases of Mary Stephenson, and will end in the first week of June with Polish artist Alicja Biała’s zinc and copper plate etchings – in between, Xavia Duke Richards, Archie Boon, John Richard, C. Lucy R. Whitehead will also display their work. Aptly titled Incubator – named after a controlled, protective environment designed to help small babies grow – the clever, “adrenalised” exhibition format gives these buns – or artists – a little bit of extra time in the oven.

Jopling knows more about art than most; her father is Jay Jopling, the prolific art dealer and founder of the White Cube gallery, while her mother, Sam Taylor-Johnson is a Turner Prize-nominated artist and filmmaker. “I’ve been fortunate enough to visit studios and spend time with artists throughout my life,” she explains. “They sparked my interest in art.” Jopling later studied History of Art at Stanford University and completed a Master’s in Curating at the Courtauld last year, although her firsthand exposure to artists throughout her life has, obviously, been unparalleled – White Cube represents powerhouses like Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, and Isamu Noguchi, to name a few.

Jopling first launched the Incubator 21 series last October with a series of spindly, delicate paintings by Charlie Gosling and work by five other recent graduates, although this year, many of the artists on show are still studying at universities like the Royal Drawing School, the Royal College of Art, and Camberwell College of Arts.

Described as a “brick-and-mortar antidote to the hangover of forced-isolation and virtual-substitution,” the exhibition series aims to foster real-life connections, and draws its inspiration from the multidisciplinary spirit of Serge Diaghilev’s legendary 1920s ballet company, the the Ballet Russes. “One of the most exciting aspects of Incubator 21 was the development and fostering of a community around art,” says Jopling. “Each week brought a new cast of characters as well as many regulars, some of whom met at the first or second week and were fast friends by the end.”

Currently, Jopling is busy making a name for herself and her artists in London, although she hopes to expand the series abroad in the future. “The general aim was, and continues to be, reflecting the energy and shifting cultural face of a city through the eyes of emerging artists,” she says. “Incubator is mobile and, ultimately, international – I hope to continue the project in other cities around the world, supporting a young, emerging global art community.” 

Incubator 22 will take place from 27 April - 5 June 2022 at A. Society, 2 Chiltern Street in London. The artists featured are Mary Stephenson, Xavia Duke Richards, Archie Boon, John Richard, C. Lucy R. Whitehead and Alicja Biala.

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