Nick Hackworth

Pavilion, Bloomberg Space

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

Bloomberg Space, set up a year ago, is unique in Britain: a contemporary art gallery entirely funded and housed by a single corporation. Bloomberg, the financial services company founded by Michael Bloomberg, ex-banker and current mayor of New York, has for a while now been the most committed corporate sponsor of contemporary British art. The founding of its gallery, contained within the company’s trendy London HQ, is the logical extension of its strategy to create a deep association between its brand and the art world that it helps support; it has literally brought art “in house”.

There is, of course, some suspicion about corporate money within the superficially Left-wing and anti-capitalist art world but, that aside, the gallery has been a welcome addition to the London art scene, staging a series of generally young, fresh, eye-catching shows with international scope.

Pavilion, a group exhibition that brings together four artists notionally linked by work that merges painting with installation, is typical and presents us with two huge murals, one gigantic abstract painting and one installation.

Though all four of the pieces are unashamedly attention- grabbing, it is the installation that is initially the most intriguing. Non-Stop Amsterdam, by Fransje Killaars, a 44-year-old Dutch artist, is a room-like structure, filled with a series of bunk- beds made up of metal struts. Swathes of brightly coloured and fluorescent, translucent materials make up the walls and ceiling and cover the beds, turning the work into an architectural celebration of the qualities of colour.

The real abstract on show, a five metres by four-and-a-half metres painting by Peter Davies, winner of last year’s John Moores prize, is, however, more successful. Interest in the installation rapidly evaporates after close inspection, but the wall-sized painting is strong enough to sustain a longer engagement. Its surface is covered with an attractive tangle of shapes, colours and depths to give some aesthetic interest, while the flatness of the acrylic paint and slightly jokey forms gently mock the pretensions of the grand old abstract tradition.

The two murals, meanwhile, situated on either side of a square balcony in an atrium, revel in their pop-culture and “street style” look, being large, brash and successful, if throwaway, pieces of decoration.

Though not an earth- shattering exhibition this time, Bloomberg Space is a gallery to watch.

Until 3 May. Information: 020 7330 7959