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art-with-a-heart

ART WITH A HEART      

18.03.19

He oozes creativity and inspiration, but the most charming thing about Jean-David Malat is his emotional connection to the art world. Stephen Penn caught up with him to find out about his new gallery in London, and how he fights for lesser-known artists to make it onto the global stage

The art world is forever evolving, and Paris-born art dealer, John-David Malat, is at the centre of showcasing brand-new talent to the world.

The noted art buyer and celebrated snappy dresser has been making waves on the London art scene for the past 12 years, working with the most notable figures the industry has to offer and becoming celebrated for his unique vision and ability to discover fresh talent.

“I’ve always had a sensitivity towards art since a young age,” Jean-David explains. “As a shy boy, my mother took me to museums and galleries in Paris every week, but I never considered I would do this as a career.

“Then in 2006 I purchased a beautiful and sad self-portrait from Chinese artist Li Tianbing. It wasn’t expensive, but I felt it was special and now he is one of the biggest names in China. Going with my gut-feeling proved to be correct, and this opened up my eyes forever.”

Jean-David has built a legacy for plucking artists from obscurity and making them international names, taking delight in passion for work that not only makes a handsome profit, but harnesses the passion of both the artist and the viewer. His vision has secured himself a spot in the cultural zeitgeist, and as such, this year he opened his debut gallery in London’s Mayfair.

“I had been on the lookout in London for quite some time and always wanted to be in the heart of town as it’s the epicenter - full of wealth and vibrance,” he says. “When our current site – a former gallery – became available I knew it would be the perfect fit. It has amazing space and great on-street presence, so with a lot of interior work we’ve created something rather special.”

With assistance from his curated team of experts, the bold and vibrant exhibition space is ever changing, with the arrival of every new, carefully curated collection – whether that be the polarizing yet captivating work of Turkish artist Zümrütoğlu or the hauntingly beautiful paintings from Instagram sensation Henrik Uldalen - absorbing the emotion of each artist and immersing every visitor.

“There are no rules when it comes to sourcing artists,” Jean-David says. “We travel the globe visiting art fairs and even use social media to keep track of new comers who stand out. We look at everything, their work, their story and when it all comes together I just feel it.”

The winter exhibition – showcased during the latest Abode2 Property, Art and Design Soiree – is from Colombian visionary Santiago Parra, whose abstract and highly expressive black and white paintings emote movement, strength and spontaneity with every stroke of his horse-tail.

“Santiago Parra is an incredibly powerful artist and has been very well received in the UK market,” adds Jean-David. “I first discovered him in New York at an auction house. I bid on his work and lost out, but he stayed in my mind after that. Then a few months ago, I reached out to him and invited him to exhibit at the new gallery. It has all come full circle. Those serendipitous happenings always feel very special.”

But despite the incredible success of the gallery opening – attracting thousands of visitors from across the globe and a string of talented artists in just four months – there’s no rest for the wicked, with upcoming collections planned well into 2020, and a ‘mission’ to open sister galleries in keynote global art hotspots. “New York would be marvellous,” he smiles.

To keep an eye on the latest exhibitions at the JD Malat Gallery, or to take a virtual tour, visit www.jdmalat.com

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