Contemporary Art Market: New galleries reflect taste for avant-garde

IN A short stretch of Foley Street, W1, three young gallery owners are providing London with a dose of continental taste. With the arrival of Marc Jancou from Zurich two months ago, it has become London's most concentrated showcase for young artists at the cutting edge of the avant-garde.

Karsten Schubert (41-42 Foley St) is German and Laure Genillard (38a Foley St) and Marc Jancou (41-42 Foley St) from Switzerland. They all share a taste for art that stems from the intellect.

This week's shows underline a search for meaning through the study of banality; the process of contemplating these works may allow the viewer - if he or she is lucky - to discover a new level of reality that underlies the surface of life. Jancou is showing an American photo-artist who lives in Europe. Sam Samore takes other people's photographs of everyday life and blows up details of the figures, printing them at life-size or more, in grainy black and white. The faces and mannerisms he selects all highlight the process of thought; he uses these generalised images to convey the idea that human beings are physical envelopes of spirit. All five of the works on show measure about 3ft by 6ft; they are printed in editions of two and sell at pounds 4,000 each.

Genillard's show is a swap with the Galerie Martine Detterer in Frankfurt and demonstrates how much the German 'cutting edge' is in sympathy with youthful London. There is a spectacular installation piece by Thom Merrick, an American artist who divides his time between New York and Frankfurt.

It is called Covert Confetti and comprises an aluminium box containing confetti and a miscellany of other objects painted in bright colours - a wrench, a bottle, a baby's shoe, a trowel and a carved wooden elephant. Instructions on the lid read: 'Find highest overhead-target position; scatter contents of box on opponent; stealthy discretion advised'. It costs pounds 4,500.

The other exhibitors include Gert Rappenecker, who photocopies illustrations to travel brochures, blows them up and paints over the surface in oil paint ( pounds 1,900), and Susanne Stovhase, who encases abstract patterns made from substances such as toothpaste and floor polish in transparent resin ( pounds 1,000).

Karsten Schubert is giving Peter Davis, a young painter who graduated from Goldsmith's last year, his first one- man show. He has spent months making three paintings specifically for the gallery by the same process: first a base of white gloss paint, then a grid of vertical and horizontal strips of masking tape, then Dulux blue paint applied with a roller, then the removal of the masking tape.

The artist's statement says: 'Each painting takes 28 days to complete . . . The process for making each painting is identical and premeditated . . . My control over this process is unstable . . . The final image of each painting is unknown until the 28th day.' They cost pounds 2,800 each.

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