From March 2019, Richard Saltoun Gallery is dedicating 100% of its programme to women. This 12-month programme is part of the gallery’s long-standing commitment to supporting under-recognised and under-represented female artists. 100% Women aims to protest the gender inequality that persists in the art world and encourage wider industry action through debate, dialogue and collaboration.

 

Today less than 30% of artists represented by major commercial galleries in London are women, with only 5% of galleries representing an equal number of male and female artists.[1] In most aspects of the art world ­– from sales and auction results to solo exhibitions in major institutions – male artists continue to outnumber their female counterparts in the majority of activities that signify the development of an artist’s career. According to the 2018 report by the Freelands Foundation, a charitable organisation founded by Elisabeth Murdoch that tackles critical issues of inequality, the representation of women in the commercial gallery section has reached a new low, indicating that women continue to be excluded from the mainstream commercial art market.

 

Through 100% Women, Richard Saltoun Gallery aims to redress this persistent gender imbalance, whilst cementing its ongoing support of female artists. The programme will pursue its mission through a combination of gallery exhibitions, art fair presentations, artist talks, a newly launched film and lecture series, external collaborations and digital exhibitions hosted on its new online platform – all of which will feature artists represented by the gallery, as well as emerging artists and artists without direct representation to achieve greater inclusivity.

 

100% Women will open on 1 March with the gallery’s first solo exhibition of work by the British artist Rose English, an integral figure in the development of performance art in Britain. The exhibition will provide rich insights into this element of English’s practice, as well as her work in other art forms: photography, painting and ceramics. In April the Belgian artist Lili Dujourie, a key force in the 1970s Feminist avant-garde movement, presents her first solo exhibition in London in over 20 years, followed in May by an exhibition celebrating the life and career of French artist Gina Pane, who became known for using her body as a site to explore ideas around abuse, experience and empathy. Coinciding with Mayfair Art Weekend in June 2019, Penny Slinger’s exhibition focuses on the British-born, LA-based artist’s interest and development of Tantric art, while Austrian artist Renate Bertlmann, who will be the first women to represent her country with a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale in May 2019, exhibits work from the 1970s until today. Paola Ugolini, curator of the inaugural exhibition ‘Women Look at Women’ at the gallery’s new location on Dover Street in February 2018, returns to present ‘Around an idea of new Italian Feminism’, featuring Italian artists Silvia Giambrone and Marinella Senatore. The programme will also feature Marie Yates and will close in January 2020 with a group show dedicated to themes of ‘motherhood’, exploring the issues and choices facing women today. Further details of the entire programme will be announced in the coming months.

 

Launching to coincide with 100% Women will be a new film and lecture series, showcasing films or video documentation of performances by female artists, alongside talks and lectures led by some of the UK’s leading academics, journalists and art professionals. The gallery will also dedicate the majority of its presentations at art fairs – both solo and group – to female artists, beginning with Renate Bertlmann at Independent New York in March 2019, with its booth at MiArt 2019 showcasing artists, both male and female, who challenge notions of gender and its fluid nature in their practice. Curated exhibitions, several featuring non-represented and emerging artists, will also be staged through the gallery’s new digital platform launching this spring as part of its commitment to nurturing inclusivity and supporting emerging talent.

 

Richard Saltoun, Gallery Founder and Director, says:

“For me, supporting female artists, and equality in general, has always been a driving motivational force. As a father to two young girls, this is an opportunity for me to do something for them and help secure a better future for women. Whilst we have achieved gender parity in our roster of artists –50% of the artists we represent or exhibit frequently are women – this is an opportunity for us to discuss equality on a bigger scale. Our aim is to ensure the female artists who have made a great impact on the development of contemporary art are duly noted in art history. We want to take responsibility for this and set an example, but of course still have room to grow. Following 100% Women, our programme will extend beyond gender equality, seeking to shine light on under-represented figures despite their race, nationality, religion or geographical location - we will continue developing our programme and taking on new artists with this in mind.”



[1] Statistics taken from the Freelands Foundation’s ‘Representation of Female Artists in Britain: Research Paper No.4’ (2018) and East London Fawcett (ELF) Great East London Art Audit, 2012.