Collector’s Conversation

Rapha%26euml;lle Bischoff, co-founder and co-owner of London-based gallery Bischoff/Weiss, fields questions from Kenny Goss, the man at the top of The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas.

Describe your trajectory as a gallerist, and how you and Paola Weiss came to found the gallery. Paola and I met in 2004, and after curating a few projects together we decided to open a gallery. We found a little space in the East End just behind Hoxton Square. The rent was low, and our location was perfect at the time.
The area was really buzzing with lots of other young galleries around us.

Why are you exhibiting in the Dallas Art Fair 2013? Dallas came naturally to us for two reasons. The first one is that we now have close relationships with lots of collectors in Texas, and the second one is that some galleries that we like really recommended the fair. The team of the fair has been incredibly welcoming, and we are very impatient to take on this new challenge.

Who will the headliners be in your booth? Rana Begum, Nathaniel Rackowe and Michael Reisch. Begum does sculpture, and she comes from Bangladesh. Rackowe is from the UK and also does sculpture that involve light. Reisch comes from Germany and does very large-scale photographs.

What is your personal background? Paola%26rsquo;s? What strengths do you both bring to running a gallery, and what roles do each of you play? Paola and I come from very different backgrounds. Although we started with different roles at the gallery, I would say that through time we have really merged, and we always take all the decisions together. Our tastes have become more similar with time, and if we both go around an art fair separately, chances are that we will like the same works. I see this as a real strength, as we have a very clear vision of the gallery%26rsquo;s program, and we are a very strong team.

Most significant break to date as a gallerist? Where and when? After four years in the East End, we moved to an amazing space in Mayfair in January 2010. We also showed a very large-scale sculpture of Nathaniel Rackowe in Positions at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2009. Both were big turning points and really put our gallery on the map.

What%26rsquo;s the London art scene like at the moment? Current art talk of the town? What led to your decision to move from East London to Mayfair? The London art scene is really booming. From major American galleries like Pace or David Zwirner (who has just opened on our street) to major UK players like White Cube, everyone wants to be in Mayfair. Our move was carefully planned. After almost five years in the East End, we felt that it was time to offer more visibility to our program. We have a beautiful space with a large window on the street. Our neighbors are very important galleries such as Spruth Magers or Simon Lee, but we are also walking distance from Sotheby%26rsquo;s and Christie%26rsquo;s. As we are the youngest gallery in the area, we have benefitted from a real support from the more established dealers, who often come and visit us.

How has being a participant in international art fairs fostered opportunities for your artists? Most significant fair experience to date? Anecdotes to share about your Fair experiences, be it NADA Miami Beach or Art Dubai? All the art fairs we did have been shaping us. Of course, participating in major ones like Frieze London, Fiac in Paris or Art Basel Miami were definitely turning points for our visibility. But we also love small and focused ones like Dubai, and we hope that Dallas will have this intimate feeling, too.

Where do you discover rising talent? Will you be expanding your stable from its tightly curated roster of eight? The gallery%26rsquo;s program grew from two or three artists we were representing when we were in the East End to eight now. We have always been very selective about whom we want to work with. Next year, we will be adding one more artist: Sheree Hovsepian. We are very, very happy to be starting this new relationship and very much look forward to her first solo show with us that will open in May.

Is there a particular aesthetic or point of view that your artists share? I would say that we have grown a lot with the artists we work with and have learned from them %26mdash; like Nathaniel Rackowe, who has been with us since we opened in 2005. His work is very strong and present visually, and people associated us a lot with him at the beginning. Our love for sculpture is still very present, and we will be presenting the work of another sculptor at the fair: Rana Begum. But we have also opened up to photography since 2011 with Michael Reisch, and he has been a fantastic addition to our program.

What are you most excited about for 2013? Shows you%26rsquo;ll be seeing? Books? Films? What will you be checking out in the Dallas scene? Regarding the Dallas scene, we are relying on friends from Texas and American curators we work with to get a list of all the places that we should discover. Paola and I travel a lot to different parts of the world for work, and we can, within a few weeks, go from Dubai to Hong Kong or Berlin to New York, so we are very used to absorbing rapidly cultural differences. We try each time to adapt, and we try to stay with friends who live locally to avoid staying in hotels, as they can be quite sterile. As I am French, I always keep an eye on what is happening in the galleries and in the institutions in Paris. I love the programs of the Palais de Tokyo ( and Le Plateau ( Paola will for sure be following closely what%26rsquo;s happening at the Sharjah Biennial, as we are very much involved in the Middle East.

Comments are closed.

Sign up for the DADA Newsletter