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The online art expert goes physical

feature alix henry glover, summer again, oil, soft pastel and charcoal on canvas, 2021, 150 x 170 cm
Henry Glover, Summer Again, oil, soft pastel and charcoal on canvas, 2021, 150 x 170 cm

Launching an online gallery in the midst of the pandemic was a risk that paid off for one art advisor. Now, for the first time, she’s showcasing a physical exhibition

“Good art,” says Riana Raouna, “is like a house. You will appreciate it for years. And it, in turn, will appreciate.”

As an expert in the field of art sales – a celebrated contemporary art advisor, and holder of a qualification from Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Riana’s knowledge of art is unparalleled; her understanding of which artists will be the Tracey Emins, Damien Hirsts, and Anish Kapoors of the future unmatched.

She’s run the online Riana Raouna gallery since July 2021, when she launched amidst a global pandemic; confident that, though physical art sales were down, the trend for buying art through the ether was on the up.

VIRTUAL SALES

She was right. Over the last two years, the world’s major art houses have pivoted to online sales. Sotheby’s held more than 100 last spring alone; Christie’s followed suit with a five-hour online art sale that swung from auctioneer to auctioneer across time zones, its 78 lots netting a cool $420 million in total.

Meanwhile, Artprice, the France-based leader in art market data, admits that this digitisation of art sales has opened up a huge new customer base, particularly in the 30 to 40 age bracket: people who once rarely dabbled in the world of art. And what they’re after, it transpires, is exactly what Riana is offering: contemporary art – a genre that accounts for nearly 20 per cent of new sales worldwide.

feature alix riana raouna
Riana Raouna

“The current reality is that, although many galleries continue to have physical exhibitions, online sales often constitute the majority of purchases,” says Riana. “So while a handful of local viewers can drop in and see the art in person, thousands more international buyers can also purchase pieces, unrestricted by geographical location.”

With her online only gallery, Riana has been championing this emerging trend for almost a year. But, as of March 30, she’ll be bridging the gap between virtual and real with a physical exhibition, entitled ‘Under The Same Sky’.

PHYSICAL SHOWCASE

“Until now, I’ve only hosted virtual showcases,” Riana explains. “And, as predicted, they’ve been highly successful. But, given the strength of the works in ‘Under The Same Sky’, I felt it was time to host a physical exhibition.”

While online viewers can visit her website’s dedicated viewing section (which includes detailed shots of artworks and artists, as well as comprehensive background information and curator’s notes), those who prefer to evaluate potential purchases in person will be able to visit the physical exhibition.

Taking place at the A+ Multipurpose Event Space on Nicosia’s Ermou Street, the first of Riana’s physical showcases highlights works from 11 emerging contemporary artists, whose work has never before been seen on the island. Hand-picked for their artistic and remunerative potential, amongst the 11 are those whose work, Rianna believes, “will become the classics of the future…”

“Good art,” she reiterates, “is both a passion and an investment; like your home, it’s an asset in every sense of the word. But the question is, how do we know what constitutes good art?”

INVESTING WISELY

As an expert on the subject, Riana is able to evaluate a host of criteria, including “each artist’s activity, the press they’re getting, the support they receive. It’s also important to note their place of study,” she remarks. “Did they graduate from St Martins, the Royal College of Art, the Dusseldorf Academy – places that cultivate an already considerable talent, and have a history of turning out blue-chip artists? And is the work they produce finding an international audience, or is it merely localised to a certain country or region?”

There is, Riana adds, a great deal more to the process of recognising good art, not least our individual appreciation. “Art may be an investment,” she explains, “but if you don’t like the piece yourself, will you want to live with it on your walls?”

feature alix k blick, the yellow scent ii, oil on canvas, 2021, 150 x 120 cm
K Blick, The Yellow Scent II, oil on canvas, 2021, 150 x 120 cm

In ‘Under The Same Sky’, Riana has combined years of experience and personal taste to curate 20 works of art that are sure to both appreciate and be appreciated. A well-known figure at major international art fairs – “Frieze London, the FIAC in Paris, the Vienna Biennale, and Art Basel” – her aesthetic sensibilities have been well-honed over the years.

“The more you see art, the more you can identify what is good and what is not so good,” she discloses. “And with this exhibition of contemporary works – my personal specialisation – we’re featuring 11 artists whose depth of flair, research, and expression go far beyond the ordinary.”

Included in the showcase are works by promising young South Korean K. Blick, a graduate of Central St Martins, whose work has previously been exhibited at the Tate Modern and the Florence Biennale; by London-based painter and ceramicist Henry Glover, recipient of the Saatchi Art ‘Rising Star’ award in 2020, which named him amongst the top 35 artists under 35 years of age on the planet; and by German photorealist Lara Rottinghaus, twice nominated for the prestigious Bloom Art Award, which recognises progressive contemporary artists.

“For the first time, the gallery is showcasing these emerging artists in a physical space,” says Riana. “These are the contemporary pieces that will have a lasting impact on both viewer and world; that will provoke both emotional response and financial return. I know I’m a champion of virtual art,” she concludes. “But these works are so strong, they’re absolutely worth seeing in person.”

 

The contemporary art exhibition ‘Under The Same Sky’ takes place at the A+ Multipurpose Event Space on Ermou in Old Nicosia from March 31 to April 20, with an opening event on March 30, at 6pm. For more information, visit https://www.rianaraouna.com/

 

 

 

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