Inside the art collection at Cecconi’s Bicester Village
Comprised exclusively of portraiture, it’s a fascinating snapshot of what the art form means today
Thursday 22 December 2022 By Anastasiia Fedorova
Soho House’s global art collection is one of the biggest privately owned assemblages in the world. The House Art series invites you to take a peek inside them, offering a closer look at individual works and collections, and revealing why they’re such an integral part of Soho House. Next up, the new collection at Cecconi’s Bicester Village in the UK.
Cecconi’s Bicester Village is the newest addition to Soho House’s family of Northern Italian restaurants. The new opening is located in Oxfordshire, at the heart of the refined shopping destination in the British countryside, and is the perfect spot for an aperitivo or Spaghetti Lobster after hitting the stores.
Cecconi’s has been part of the Soho House group since 2005 and is well known for its menu offerings, including the famous Cacio e Pepe, Sicilian Prawns and Wood-Fired Pizza, to name a few – not to mention its stylish Art Deco interiors. Cecconi’s Bicester Village has the recognisable striped floor and marble tables, but what is totally unique about the space is its own art collection.
Assembled by Kate Bryan, Soho House’s Global Director of Art, the collection consists solely of portraiture (similarly to Cecconi’s DUMBO in New York). ‘We’re really proud of this collection, because it’s a fascinating insight into what portraiture is today, running a very wide spectrum from avant-garde to figurative oil paintings,’ says Bryan.
Scroll down to learn more about five works in the collection, picked by the Soho House art team.
Mary McCartney, ‘Tracey As Frida’, 2000
After starting her career as a photographer in 1995, Mary McCartney’s work spans the worlds of portrait and fashion photography. Her portraits often seek to unveil a new unexpected perspective, even if the subject or person are known – which is true about this portrait of British artist Tracey Emin dressed as Frida Kahlo, two art icons unexpectedly connected over the years.
Preslav Kostov, ‘The Latchkey Man’, 2022
‘My practice rejects depiction. There is so much to omit and so many to estrange once specifics corrode relatability,’ says artist Preslav Kostov about his work. Born in Bulgaria and based in London, he admits that art often brings him more questions than answers. In his canvases, the figures are often elusive, intertwined and captured in motion – sparking conversation both about the nature of human emotion and portraiture as a medium.
Shirin Fathi, ‘Man Bride’, 2015
Fathi is an Iranian-Canadian artist who explores cultural changes in relation to gender identity. Similarly to her work ‘Blonde Colonel’ at Soho House 76 Dean Street, ‘Man Bride’ is a self-portrait inspired by masculine beauty in 19th-century Iranian royal paintings, urging the viewer to find a new kind of fluidity in history, beauty and gender.
Christabel Blackburn, ‘An Age Of Curiosity’, 2022
London-based artist Christabel Blackburn creates atmospheric scenes that focus on the interplay between people and spaces. Her visual language is often stripped down, concentrating on her subjects locked in their own private worlds. It is true about this particular portrait as well, capturing the contemporary phone-gazing posture in all its authenticity.
Jack Sutherland, ‘The Thinker’, 2022
Based in London, artist Jack Sutherland is drawn to the surreal and the cinematic, often unveiling the absurdity of the day-to-day scenes. His paintings are bold and playful, inviting the viewer to craft their own story around them, while also retaining the interest in colour and form.