A HIX Restaurant tour

I was raised by my parents in Barcelona with an immediate and inherent love for art surrounded by local and international artists (such as Ignasi Aballi, who was chosen to exhibiting in the Biennale di Venetia in 2007 and 2015 Joan Miro award winner). I studied photography and fine arts for two years before university and then completed a degree in Dramatic arts.

After having completed my degree I joined a young theatre company as a producer, actress and set designer for most of their plays. During a couple of years I very much enjoyed my roles within the company, however, after a while I felt the need to move on to something different and more challenging, I needed a life change, and this is what brought me to London.

I came here without any specific plans, but the city quickly inspired me and I suddenly had an ambitious plan: I want in the future to own a space which engages all sort of arts in a very specific way. But I obviously couldn’t do this blindly without following a few steps first, although I could have never imagined that HIX company (where I started working behind the desk in one of the restaurants) would help me on my journey to what I want to do.

When I first walked into CNB Gallery, I was pleasantly surprised. I would never expect to find a beautiful contemporary art exhibition in the basement of a busy restaurant. My initial thoughts were of how it was such a wonderful thing to do with a space like this. It could easily have been turned into a bar, or extra space for diners, and I felt proud to be part of a company which really does care about art. That was a few months ago when I first started working for HIX. My interest in the gallery space started growing immediately, but it wasn’t until a while later that I found out about the gallery internships, so as soon as a chance came I applied. I had familiarised myself with the British contemporary art while working behind the reception desk at HIX City, and I found I had a genuine interest and began my own personal research. When I started my internship I was already familiar with the art that is involved with HIX and CNB, however it was necessary to go on a grand tour to observe all of the artwork in the HIX Restaurant empire.

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Mark’s Bar, Hix Soho

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I must admit that I had not heard very much about contemporary British art before moving to the UK from Barcelona and becoming involved with CNB and HIX. What I have come to find after visiting different exhibitions and some research, is a level of sensitivity in every piece, and in every artist whose work I have got to know so far. This emotion extends to the various media employed: installations, canvas, mobiles, street art, sculpture, photography. Despite being famous for (and very much encouraged by) its controversial nature, British contemporary art has a very sharp sense of aesthetics.

The tour coincided with the sunniest day of the year so far, which made the great experience of seeing so much artwork all the more pleasurable. We took in an impressive number of works from artists such as Damian Hirst, Tracey Emin, the Chapman Brothers and more. I especially enjoyed our visit to Soho, where I could find some of my favourite pieces within the company. I always feel seduced by the way the work was curated throughout the restaurant and Mark’s Bar, harmoniously hung from the ceiling, and in particular the artistic headgear of Antony Micaleff and Victoria Grant; and Barry Reigate’s ‘Social Media’, a bronze and steel Mickey Mouse mobile in a cage.

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Getting involved with CNB is the most exciting experience I’ve had the chance to get involved in London, and it’s helping me develop my own understanding of the art but also shows how it exists within the framework of a wider organisation, and how a group like HIX exhibiting the artwork can help bring it to a huge audience who otherwise might not necessarily have the chance to appreciate it.

 

Mireia Fontich

25.06.2015