Inaugural exhibition: Bruce Conner, Steve McQueen, Catherine Opie, Caragh Thuring, Kelley Walker

Thomas Dane Gallery, London

January 10, 2018

January 25–March 24, 2018

Opening: January 24, 7–9pm

Thomas Dane Gallery
Via Francesco Crispi, 69
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11am–7pm,
Saturday 12–7pm or by appointment

“It is a Paradise: everyone lives in a state of intoxicated self-forgetfulness, myself included… They say that someone who has once seen a ghost will never be happy again; vice-versa, [one] could never really be unhappy because [one's] thoughts could always return to Naples.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Part residency, part project space, part exhibition space, the restored first floor of the 19th century Casa Ruffo, in the Chiaia district of Naples, will be, above all, a place for artists: a unique physical and mental space for them to alight, work and show.

The space has undergone a significant renovation process, repairing and restoring the original features of the building, including the veranda that looks over the bay, to Capri and beyond. Built by Beniamino Ruffo of Calabria in the late 19th century, Casa Ruffo has since been the home to a succession of inspired inhabitants including the liberal idealist philosopher Benedetto Croce (1866–1952) and the Polish writer Gustav Herling-Grudzinski (1919–2000).

Writers and artists have always found inspiration in the city’s bustling chaos, transient energy and opulent history; it was a popular saying at the end of the 18th century that one should “see the Bay of Naples and die”. It has always been, and still remains, an entry point, a Gordian knot and the end of the road—or the beginning of another—for exalted grand-tourists, artists and voyagers alike. For example, Lucio Amelio (1931–94), art dealer, curator and actor, notoriously brought international contemporary artists to Naples, who, in turn, became in awe of its creative charge.

In keeping with this sense of curiosity, trepidation and journey that has inspired so many, this new venture will offer up—as well as open-up—the gallery’s philosophy and programme to the city of Naples.

For the inaugural exhibition of Thomas Dane Gallery Naples five rooms of the renovated Casa Ruffo have been given over to five artists whose work, whether literally or allegorically, draws inspiration or substance from Naples, or our “idea” of Naples.

The works and group of works on view by Bruce Conner, Steve McQueen, Catherine Opie, Caragh Thuring and Kelley Walker, each in their own way, echo and illustrate the bustling, hedonistic beauty of the city, its constant collision of old and new, where such urgency for life coexists with a looming sense of death.

Each room will be dedicated to a single artist: Conner’s last completed masterpiece and metaphysical paean to rebirth and renewal EASTER MORNING (2008); McQueen’s nature morte meditation on mortality and time Running Thunder (2007); Opie’s iconic series of portraits from the 1990s exploring gender and identity with a regal opulence drawing on the European Old Masters, and new works made specifically for the inaugural exhibition by Thuring and Walker exploring recurring motifs from their respective oeuvres in the context of the city of Naples.

For enquiries please contact Federica Sheehan: federica [​at​]