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Bringing art to life

Elena Shchukina opens a new gallery with an immersive Onyeka Ibe show

Siberian-born curator-cum-designer Elena Shchukina has dreamt of owning a totally immersive gallery ever since she was set a project to create a themed environment while studying at Milan’s prestigious Istituto Marangoni. And on September 24 that dream will finally be realised as the doors to her eponymous Mayfair concept space open on a selling show entitled Onyeka Ibe: Interactive Spaces.

Onyeka Ibe is a Nigerian artist who has been winning effusive international accolades, such as The Best SOLO Artist of the Year 2006 at Artexpo New York, since relocating to New York. He is an abstract expressionist and his quiet, reflective paintings are composed of richly coloured blocks (first picture, Structure I, £15,600). Prices for paintings in the exhibition range from £6,000 to £37,500.

Taking the palette and structure of Ibe’s work as a starting point, Shchukina has turned the once-white gallery into a complete and unique living space. There are a pair of chairs (second picture, £7,200), a console table (third picture, £9,000), two jewellery boxes (fourth picture, £2,200 each) and picture frames inlaid with coloured squares, all designed by Shchukina herself, alongside quietly graphic Nepalese rugs and intricate, abstract sculptures by Gianfranco Maggiato (from £22,275).

“I want visitors to the gallery to feel almost as though they are stepping into a painting when they come here,” says Shchukina. And that’s just how it feels. Even better, absolutely everything is for sale, so it’s possible to create a similar effect chez vous. 

Onyeka Ibe: Interactive Spaces runs from September 24 to November 9 at Gallery Elena Shchukina, 10 Lees Place, London W1 (020-7499 6019;

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