For one year from March 2019, Richard Saltoun Gallery dedicated 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 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. 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, a public events programme, 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 in order to achieve greater inclusivity.
100% Women opened 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. In April the Belgian artist Lili DUJOURIE, a key force in the 1970s Feminist avant-garde movement, presented her first solo exhibition in London in over 20 years, followed in May by an exhibition celebrating the life and career of the radical performance artist Gina PANE. Coinciding with Mayfair Art Weekend in June 2019, the exhibition by London-born, LA-based artist Penny SLINGER focuses on her interest and development of Tantric art.
100% Women: Part 2 launched on 30 August with the exhibition 'Made Routes: Mapping and Making,' featuring two South African artists, Vivienne KOORLAND and Berni SEARLE, curated by acclaimed academic and art historian Tamar Garb. Curator and staunch feminist Paola Ugolini returned to the gallery with the exhibition 'Feminism in Italian Contemporary Art,' opening on 1 October to coincide with Frieze Week. With work by gallery artist Silvia GIAMBRONE and guest artist Marinella SENATORE, the exhibition showcases both artists' interest in politics and collective action. The programme closed with a two-part exhibition examining themes of maternal experience and subjectivity in art. Curated by Catherine McCormack, an expert in the field, the first exhibition opens on 15 November around the idea of 'matrescence' and features Laia ABRIL, Renate BERTLMANN, Leni DOTHAN, Helen KNOWLES, XIAO Lu and more. The second exhibition, 'Maternality,' opens in January 2020 and reflects on the etymological root of the word mother and its relationship with material matter, with artists from Eve ARNOLD, Judy CHICAGO and Annegret SOLTAU to Helen BENIGSON and Carmen WINANT, amongst others.
Female artists are additionally promoted through the gallery's new online exhibition platform, which launched in spring 2019, with the programme also extending to the gallery's art fair presentations. Coinciding with 100% Women is a new series of public events, featuring film screenings, artist talks and lectures by some of the UK's leading academics, writers, journalists and art professionals. Sign up to our newsletter to receive invitations.