Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House

Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House | Soho House

A work by Julian Opie – a members’ favourite since the west London House first opened – inspired the vivid interplay of line and space in the new display

Thursday 23 November 2023   By Anastasiia Fedorova

Electric House – located in Notting Hill – is one of the most atmospheric Houses in London. Just steps away from one of Britain’s oldest purpose-built cinemas, the Portobello Road outpost reflects the quirky, playful, ever-evolving spirit of west London and is home to a dedicated community of members.
In the spirit of that self-same evolution, this month – just as they did with Soho House West Hollywood and Soho House New York earlier in the year –the Soho House art team went through the Electric House art collection, with a plan to reinvigorate the pieces on display, while staying true to its existing spirit.

Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House | Soho House

‘When we approach a refresh, we start by having a conversation with the House team to find out what members’ favourite art pieces are,’ says Senior Art Collections Manager, Sara Terzi. ‘We want to introduce something new to the space, but if you are a person who has been going to that House for 10 years, you might not want us to change the collection entirely.’
The previous art collection was curated by Francesca Gavin and focused on monochromatic small-scale artworks. In her curatorial vision for the refresh, Terzi was inspired by an existing work in the collection – ‘The Outline’, by Julian Opie – which depicts a bold dancing figure and is a longstanding favourite for the House’s members. 
‘It’s an iconic piece, which is very recognisable in [the context of] the artist’s practice, and one we definitely wanted to keep on display,’ Terzi notes. ‘I was struck by the primacy of the bold outline of the figure in the work. It's a pared-down, yet effective representation of a woman dancing – you understand straight away what it is. It has a powerful impact.’ 

Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House | Soho House
Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House | Soho House
Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House | Soho House

‘The importance of line, and the play between negative and positive spaces,’ in the piece –and Opie’s style in general – went on to inspire the team’s approach, says Terzi, right down to the name given to the refreshed collection as a whole. The Outline, as the new collection is called, incorporates the work of 50 artists across a variety of mediums and includes three site-specific commissions. 

In the Snug, Charlotte Edey has created a new series of works based on Clotho. One of the three fates in Greek mythology who spun the thread of life, Clotho – along with her sisters – had the power to decide who should live or die and when; in Edey’s work, the parallel between line and thread expands across the room, in drawings, a rug and the TV cover, all of which created by the artist.
For the Dining Room, Anousha Payne painted four large-scale canvases featuring mysterious characters in elongated forms – an expansion of her ongoing fascination with storytelling and Indian folklore. Elsewhere,  Martha Hviid has created a work on carpet for the Library that is centred around a paper plane in motion, as if it is being moved by the heat of the fireplace above which it is displayed. The collection also features works by Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Monica Bonvicini, Godfried Donkor, Mary Evans, Donna Huddleston, Allison Katz and Caragh Thuring, among others.



Step inside the refreshed art collection at Electric House | Soho House

Every Soho House art collection enhances and plays with the interiors in which they’re placed, and Electric House was no exception to this. ‘From a design point of view, it was interesting to work within the limitations of the space,’ Terzi notes. ‘There is a new curved ceiling with brass finishing details and high panelling which is meant to reference a train carriage, so we deliberately went with a uniform arrangement of works – the artworks almost look like little windows, as if you are looking outside.’
As a whole, the Soho House art collection is one of the biggest private assemblages in the world, offering wonderful scope for Terzi and her team. ‘We are often asked what happens to artworks when we do a refresh,’ she says, noting that it’s not uncommon for ‘swaps’ to take place. ‘In this collection,’ she explains, ‘there are pieces on display that were previously at Soho House 76 Dean Street and High Road House’, a process that builds new networks and connections across our Houses. Which, as our members know, is just the way we like it.

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