It is a story about three remarkable places in London, which share nothing in common, but they are unique and revolutionary in their own way.


Not everyone will be taken to the future

Ilya Kabakov

Interviews and featured galleries, artists by Zoltan Alexander

Trino Verkade of Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation (London), Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at Tate Modern (London), Loïc Le Gaillard and Julien Lombrail of Carpenters Workshop (London), Vincent Dubourg, Andrea Branzi and Wonmin Park at Carpenters Workshop (London, Paris, New York)

Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation + Ilya & Emilia Kabakov at the Tate Modern + Carpenters Workshop / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Art galleries opening all over the city with art as international as innovative. Given London, more than 1.500 galleries, its current art scene is one of the world’s biggest market; a strong rival to Paris, Los Angeles, New York or Shanghai.

Now, that Soho is no longer the shabby but lively area it once was and has largely lost its reputation as a bohemian enclave, in retrospect, from the mid-1930s through to the mid-1980s numerous artists, writers, and others congregated in Fitzrovia and Soho, today artists and the contemporary art scene moved to the East End with the exception of Mayfair alone. The art scene wasn’t the same until the late 80s, when a bunch of kids out of Goldsmiths, the Young British Artists, changed all that.

Our review, however, is not about them; it is a story about three remarkable places and people in London who share nothing in common, but they are unique and revolutionary in their own way. A gallery in Mayfair run by two French entrepreneurs, a well-established South East gallery currently showing a Russian couple from the ex-Soviet era and a Haggerston based foundation established by a genius, Brit, iconic designer.

There is no more sacred, than a story and not everyone will be taken into the future. True or “fictionary”.

Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation / “Moth” by Nick Knight / Photo © Courtesy of Nick Knight OBE / ShowStudio


Lee is definitely in the future. But who is really Lee Alexander McQueen? (put deliberately in present tense). He is undoubtedly one of the most genius designers of our time and his name is not just graved into the fashion industry but also strongly identified with his multidisciplinary foundation.

PORTRAIT in 30sec

Lee was born in London in turbulent 1969. At the age of 16 he begins an apprenticeship on Savile Row, then subsequently moves to the land of theatrical costumiers and masters the methods of pattern cutting from melodramatic to razor-sharp tailoring. After having graduated from St Martin's in 1992, he establishes his own label, and in 1996 is appointed at Givenchy until 2001.

Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation / “Aubrey O’Mahony” by Damian Foxe in John Alexander Skelton’s collection at Sarabande Foundation / Photo © Courtesy of Damian Foxe and Sarabande Foundation


Established after Lee’s death in 2010, the Sarabande Foundation, once functioning stables with horses, provides a space for designers to experiment with diverse art forms, collaborate with patrons and run fundraising activities.

Named after McQueen’s collection, the Sarabande Foundation is run by the close friend and business partner of McQueen, the passionate Founding Trustee, Trino Verkade, houses a group of designers, a good blend of creatives. Scholars are offered a scholarship at the graduate and postgraduate level and a workspace after their graduation from 12 months to two years. The trustees, on the other hand, did not just want to give out scholarships, they wanted to find a more collaborative way to keep Lee's legacy.

After having found a building near the canal in Haggerston that felt right to house designers and the studios, the Foundation opened in 2015. The inhabitants did not just receive financial support; but also a moral support, and a lot of support that the designers in the studios gave to each other.

The Foundation support system allows them to be fearless and spend time on their experimentations in a practically stress-free environment. The only requirement is to be passionate and inspirational. The Foundation also pays a great attention to their developing relationships with industry professionals.

Lee passionately believed that creative minds should push their boundaries; they should be given great opportunities he had enjoyed for a long time, and their work should not be held back by any financial constraints. He had a deep appreciation for creativity and loved to collaborate. It is that openness and bravery that the Sarabande Foundation seeks to inspire the future generation of designers.

The patrons are Nick Knight OBE, Andrew Bolton, Shaun Leane, Naomi Campbell, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Tim Blanks. Others, including Jake Chapman, Matthew Slotover, Katy England and Sarah Burton OBE worked with the Foundation to select scholarships.

The designers, some are still inhabitants, are John Alexander Skelton, Katie Roberts Wood, Molly Goddard, Erik Litzen, Sinead Dolores Cloonan and Craig Green who recently left the Foundation to open his own workspace.

Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation / “Nick Knight and Mimma Viglezio” by David M. Benett / Photo © Courtesy of Sarabande Foundation


The Sarabande Foundation is well known for their talks and discussion panels held on the first floor. In 2017, actor Eddie Redmayne had an intimate discussion with multi-Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, Jonathan Wingfield with editor Tim Blanks of Business of Fashion, Harriet Quick with Andrew Bolton and writer Mimma Viglezio with iconic fashion photographer Nick Knight of SHOWstudio. For 2018, Thom Browne, Mat Collishaw and Kickstarter are confirmed so far.

The Foundation also holds art exhibitions for artists-in-residence, including Donal Sturt, Saelia Aparicio Torinos, Jocelyn McGregor and as part of the Fashion Revolution programme, curator Tamsin Blanchard revisited the art studios and designer-in-residence, John Alexander Skelton at the Foundation.

For 2018, a series of live drawing sessions are planned following by art installations with Mircea Teleaga’s paintings in April and Rosa Uddoh for Craft Week in May.

The direction of Trino Verkade stays firm in programming, focusing on passion, dedication and practicality that make the Foundation today relevant and revolutionary.

Tate Modern / Kitchen from the “The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment” series by Ilya Kabakov / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


On the planet Kabakov, a terrifying journey to the dark side of the former Soviet Union. The first major UK exhibition dedicated to Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, the true pioneers of large-scale installations and the use of fictional characters from propaganda art invented in their Moscow studio, and its highly optimistic depictions of Soviet life.

PORTRAIT in 30sec

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov were born in Dnepropetrovsk, in what was then the Ukraine of the Soviet Union. He begins his career in Moscow as an illustrator during the 1950s; she attends a music school and studies literature. He is part of a group of conceptual artists who work outside the official Soviet art system and in 1985, he receives his first solo exhibition in Paris. Two years later he moves to the West; she emigrates to Israel, then to New York. In 1988, they begin to work together and Emilia becomes his future wife. Today Ilya & Emilia Kabakov are the most recognized Russian artists to have emerged in the late 20th Century.


The exhibition is broken into rooms of installations, each providing a unique experience and exploring the visual culture of the former USSR. Hope and fear. How could it be more relevant than today? Kabakov’s work addresses universal ideas of utopia and imagination. The exhibition takes the visitor through an incredible journey, from the early paintings and sculptural works made from the 60s up until the late 80s when he moved to New York. A turning point which marked his collaboration with Emilia on large-scale installations and architectural models of utopian projects to attack the USSR’s state domination over the individual mind.

Throughout the exhibition three major and rarely exhibited installations are presented for the first time: “The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment”, “Labyrinth (My Mother’s Album) and “Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future”. These uncanny environments draw the spectator into absurd and moving stories of fictional characters playing with the notion of personal identity. Kabakov’s work is influenced not only by visual art but by literature, particularly the Russian narrative tradition of Chekhov and Dostoevsky.

Tate Modern / Bedroom from the “The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment” by Ilya Kabakov / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


Kabakov grew up in a climate where only officially approved art was endorsed. As a visual reflection to the Cold War during the “space-race” between the US and the USSR, “The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment” blows off the constraints of socialist realism. It is a series of rooms of a communal apartment, in which generations of a family crammed into a single room and shared all the facilities. The pots from the communal kitchen hang suspended in mid-air; objects nicked from neighbours are piled on a table.

The installation is a metaphor of Soviet life. This complex work ridicules Soviet technological ambition and holds a mirror reflecting the reality of everyday life in Russia. At the core of the installation a smashed wooden door leads into another room, the tiny space is entirely wallpapered with communist propaganda posters with an obscure, slingshot-like catapult built in the middle, and a hole blasted in the ceiling, where our fictional man finally managed to burst away from the tyranny of his life for a space mission. Escape and Freedom.

Tate Modern / “Labyrinth” by Ilya Kabakov / Photo © Courtesy of ZOLTAN+MEDIA


Kabakov, a few years before her mother died persuaded her to start her memoir. “Labyrinth” is a seemingly endless, harrowing installation with a set of dreary, under-lit corridors turning one corner to another, only to find yet another claustrophobic corridor filled with typewritten excerpts from her autobiography, juxtaposition with photographs of a Russian coastal city and hang on one side of the walls. The corridors lead to the end of the maze filled with rubbles and an echoing, melancholic sound of singing old Russian songs from Kabakov’s childhood. The installation gives the viewer a similar experience of being trapped in time waiting for something that will never arrive.

Numerous corridors have persecuted me all my life – straight ones, long ones, narrow ones, but in my imagination, they are all poorly lit and always without windows, with closed doors along both sides. All the corridors of my life, from earliest childhood on, have been connected with torture of endless anticipation.”