PLATFORM 2024, Curated by Gemma Rolls-Bentley
A Million Candles, Illuminating Queer Love and Life
Inspired by London Art Fair’s 2024 Museum Partnership with Charleston, the modernist home of painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, the 2024 Platform section of the fair brought together art that shined a light on Queer love and life selected by guest curator Gemma Rolls-Bentley. In the early 20th century, the historic house and artist studio became a Queertopia for members of the Bloomsbury Group, including Vanessa’s sister Virginia Woolf. In Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando, an imaginative biography of her lover and muse Vita Sackville-West in which the protagonist changes sex from male to female, she wrote:
“A million candles burnt in him without his being at the trouble of lighting a single one.”
At a time when LGBTQIA+ life is increasingly under threat in the UK and globally, Rolls-Bentley calls on the words of Queer Ancestors as she brought together art that reflects the resilience, the beauty and the passion of Queer love and life.
Rolls-Bentley has long been focused on platforming Queer Art and art that explores LGBTQIA+ identity in her curatorial practice. Read more about the 2024 Platform curator below.
Each year Platform invites an exclusive selection of galleries to present work by well-known, overlooked and emerging artists aligned to a single distinct theme chosen by a guest curator. London Art Fair worked with curator and creative consultant Gemma Rolls-Bentley to curate Platform 2024.
MEET THE CURATOR
Gemma Rolls-Bentley has been at the forefront of contemporary art for over 15 years, working passionately to champion diversity in the field. Curating exhibitions and building art collections internationally, her curatorial practice amplifies the work of female and queer artists and provides a platform for art that explores LGBTQIA+ identity. Gemma is an advisor to early stage startups, global businesses and cultural projects and she teaches at institutions including the Royal College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Goldsmiths. She co-chairs the board of trustees for the charity Queercircle and is a member of the Courtauld Association Committee. She spent a decade working at the intersection of art and technology, holding positions of Chief Curator at Avant Arte and Curatorial Director at Artsy. In 2011 Gemma launched the arts arm of the East London Fawcett Group and ran their 2012-2013 Art Audit campaign. Most recently she curated Tschabalala Self’s first public art project at Coal Drops Yard in London and the Brighton Beacon Collection, the largest permanent display of Queer art in the UK. Her group exhibition ‘Dreaming of Home’ is currently on view at Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in NYC and she is the host of the museum’s new podcast series. Her debut book ‘Queer Art’ will be published in 2024 by Frances Lincoln.
2024 PARTICIPATING GALLERIES
BWG Gallery | Guts Gallery | Gerrish Fine Art | Liminal Gallery | Janet Rady Fine Art | QUEERCIRCLE | Soho Revue | TIN MAN ART
Discover Platform Artist's at London Art Fair 2024
Platform 2023 was titled ‘Reframing the Muse’, curated by Ruth Millington. The showcase highlighted the diverse individuals, past and present, who have inspired artists to draw, sculpt, paint or photograph their immortalising portrait. Turning the tables on traditional accounts, the exhibition invited questions about the collaborative role of the muse, beyond romanticised notions of the passive model.
Click the link below to lookback at the 2023 Platform.
The Museum Partnership provides a established platform and significant opportunity for patrons, collectors and Fair visitors to engage with an exhibition of exceptional museum quality works.
The Talks Programme is a space for debate and discussion with expert speakers. Covering topics such as the macro state of the art market, tips on building your art collection, art as investment, and more.