Meet the gallery: jaggedart

Andrea Harari and Janeen Haythornthwaite launched jaggedart gallery 21 years ago. The pieces they sell are ‘quiet, poetic’ and there is often a story behind them

When did you launch jaggedart, and why? We launched jaggedart in February 2002. This year we are proudly celebrating our twenty first anniversary. Janeen Haythornthwaite and I met at Christie’s in 1995, Janeen had been living for some years in Venezuela and I am from Argentina. She was the first person I talked to on our course on our first day. And then we became friends.

Years later, after being manager of a gallery in Cork Street for four years and art director of a, I was left for the first time without a job. I thought I would use my experience to launch a gallery of my own. I mentioned this to Janeen and she said ‘let’s do it together’. And this is how we started.

We came from different backgrounds, I worked in the artworld in Argentina for many years, curating exhibitions and running ARTE BA, the most important contemporary art fair in South America. Janeen had read geology and was doing a MA in Art and Politics.

We really did not set out to be the gallery that jaggedart is today. But we knew then, as we know now, what are the works that we like and we do not, and we always shared and agreed on the same aesthetic.

We guess that our backgrounds informed our taste in art, works with texture, layers, craftsmanship reflecting the artists’ great knowledge of materials. Time is of essence in making the pieces; they are often organic, our artists use a variety of materials, from paper, maps, wood, to ceramic, grasses and porcelain. The works we show are quiet, poetic, there is a story behind them, told through the material they are made of, the artist’s story or the technique. We are known for creating beautiful and intriguing dialogues between materials and works.

How do you choose the artists you represent? We have been working with some of our artists for many, many years now and it is nice as we are like a family. Many have come through word of mouth, some just came in through the door and show us their works, with others we saw their works in graduate shows. It is an instant feeling when you see work that you like, when you feel that you would like to show and represent it. That means promoting the work, talking about it, discussing it and ultimately growing with the artist. We show the work in the gallery and at fairs and events and always try to match our clients to the works.

What can interior designers expect from jaggedart? We work a lot with interior designers. Sometimes they come to the gallery with a brief of what they are looking for. Many times we work on special site-specific commissions. If a designer is looking for works we can discuss with them and suggest options or give them ideas of what could work in the space. Our website only gives an indication of the works that we represent, but if someone likes something, they can contact us and we can show them what is available or in that style and what will work well with the client and space. As many of our artists work with existing materials such as books and maps, we can always find a connection or material that relates to the client. There are many options available and budgets too, so we always work with that in mind.

Our clients ask us many times to visit their homes and help them with curating their spaces. That is something that we love doing, creating dialogues between our works and what the client has, mixing new with old, objects with artworks. Some small change can make a big difference in a home.

What is your favourite possession? So many, so difficult! I am privileged in that I am surrounded both at work and at home by beautiful artworks. I love pieces and objects that have a story or that relate to someone I know, or to my past. Japanese porcelain tea cups with which we had tea when I was a child, or glass vases that belonged to my grandmother, silver cutlery, objects and things that have an emotional history. I particularly love an art deco Murano glass box, it is black with a bit of silver and gold emerging through the glass, with a curved lid and bronze finish, probably used for cigarettes. It is very heavy and luxurious and it was a gift, so not sure who owned it before or their story, but I love to imagine its story, that it must have been used in parties in an elegant environment owned by someone worldly and sophisticated.

Truly Desiredan exhibition of artworks and gifts for Christmas runs until 23 December at jaggedart’s London showroom

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