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Pile of golden coffee beans on display in new exhibition

Display probes how high-end luxury goods impact environment

23 February, 2018 — By The Xtra Diary

Golden Beans

NORMALLY, galleries are quick to make bold claims about being bigger, better, brighter.

But word reaches Diary that a favourite spot on the West End arts trail is doing quite the reverse, by grabbing the mantle of The Smallest Gallery in Soho.

Found in a shop on Dean Street, it’s a historic bay window that has been used by curators Phillip Levine, Moira Rizopoulos and Andreia Costa to provide a space for artists, and free art for us lucky lot. Recent shows include a collaboration by illustrator Hannah Dickens and poet Musa Okwonga, who used the street window to display work inspired by the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

And the latest piece also has a thought-provoking idea behind it.

While the pile of golden coffee beans, donated by Soho firm The Algerian Coffee Store, may at first look like a sales pitch for some high-end luxury goods, on closer inspection you can see a destroyed environment as a back-drop. Called New Progress / Novo Progresso, by artists Helen Pearce and Dan Sansome, the installation aims to make us think about the environmental damage caused by our thirst for the products of cash crops. They say it is how we treat the land that has given us such bounty. Phillip says they aim to grab your attention as you head through Soho.

“For The Smallest Gallery in Soho we are trying to counteract the effect of development that has been pushing a creative environment out of the city centre that was so prominent in the past,”  he says. “By producing concepts site- specific for the space, we aim to make anyone passing and seeing the window display feel it is for them. We want to form a continuous dialogue between art and city, engaging the private and urban space to stimulate the passer-by, the tourists and the community.”

See www.thesmallestgalleryinsoho.com

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