A tRUe ArT InSIdER: MEET LGDR SENIOR PARTNER VICTORIA GELFAND-MAGALGAES

Want to know what to see this Frieze week and how to invest in art? Here’s your chance.

How did your interest in the art world begin?

I've been in the art world since September 2001, first at Philips, but before then I interned at the Guggenheim in Venice. That was truly my entry into art because, by education, I have a degree in economics from Northwestern university. I was then consulting but got so bored so wanted to pursue my passion.

What were you doing before LGDR?

I spent 15 wonderful years at Gagosian between London and New York. My focus was on the market of the former Soviet Union, which previously didn't exist, so I got a reputation amongst oligarchs and had my first show in Moscow in 2007.

Describe LGDR?

I came to LGDR three years ago and, as of January, they added two more partners. It’s a small but very mighty boutique gallery. We do massive transactions, advise on big deals and help younger clients develop their tastes. We are a one-stop shop in the art world.

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

What is your role and what are the most exciting aspects of your role?

My official title is senior partner for the gallery in Europe. I oversee all European operations – we have a gallery in Paris and a gallery in London. What is interesting to me about my role is that I get to work with artists, I get to curate historical exhibitions and I get to help clients find things. It’s whatever I decide I would like to focus on that day – the sky's the limit.

What is your role and what are the most exciting aspects of your role?

My official title is senior partner for the gallery in Europe. I oversee all European operations – we have a gallery in Paris and a gallery in London. What is interesting to me about my role is that I get to work with artists, I get to curate historical exhibitions and I get to help clients find things. It’s whatever I decide I would like to focus on that day – the sky's the limit.

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

How do you spot new artistic talent? What do you look for? 

I think one has to trust their eye. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I trust my gut instinct. But any good piece of art has to be visually interesting in some shape or form – and then it has to have depth. As long as something makes you stop in your tracks and think, that’s a sign of an important work of art.

What should we all be looking out for at Frieze – or indeed in London – right now?

There are a tremendous amount of exhibitions in London currently, the best I’ve seen for a while. In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery is such a refreshing show featuring contemporary artists. The Freud show at the National Gallery takes your breath away. The Kamala Ibrahim Ishag exhibition at the Serpentine is really different and unusual – she was a novelty to me and to most people. The Cézanne show at the Tate Modern is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

How should we tackle Frieze?

I start my viewings by going to Frieze Contemporary as it’s a bombardment of novelty, then Frieze Masters is almost like a palate cleanser – there are so many incredible things from antiquities to African art. 

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

What do you like to wear during Frieze?

I am a creature of comfort – I usually like to wear a nice suit jacket and a pair of pants or jeans with comfortable loafers. But as for jewellery? Something funky. I have certain jewellers I think are really good, I find them more artistic. I love this Notting Hill-based designer, Ming. And a guy called Taffin from New York City.

What do you like to wear during Frieze?

I am a creature of comfort – I usually like to wear a nice suit jacket and a pair of pants or jeans with comfortable loafers. But as for jewellery? Something funky. I have certain jewellers I think are really good, I find them more artistic. I love this Notting Hill-based designer, Ming. And a guy called Taffin from New York City.

But what of his upcoming show? What plans does Rizza have in store? His Milan show, taking place later today, is his biggest yet. It’s a large space with a 360° video screen surrounding the viewers showcasing 30 models at actual size. “You won't know where it begins and where it all ends.”

“I call it the safari of life,” says Rizza. The video will showcase both men and women, a first for Rizza who previously focused on womenswear (although he states anyone can wear anything from his collection). Initially, “they will be doing daily life things” he explains, like “eating ice cream [and] talking.” But it’s of course not that simple (this is Rizza after all), as the models will also build their looks in front of viewers, with a woman taking the suit off a man and giving him her shirt, for example. It’s a cool concept.

Who is an under-the-radar artist that we should all be following?

In In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery, there is one artist we are supporting – Lina Iris Viktor. A painter, photographer and sculptor with a background in film, she was born in England but is of Liberian descent. Out of the 11 artists in the show, to me, she is one of its stars. It’s a show you must see.

How should someone start investing in art?

Don't look at art as an investment – it’s the wrong angle. See things as much as you can and buy things that you react to. If you are in need of guidance, hire a reputable consultant. 

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