Platform – Gemma Rolls-Bentley

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.

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Zach Toppin, 'Stuck' (2021), 25x30.5, Oil on linen. TIN MAN ART

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.


Gemma Rolls-Bentley

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. 

Gemma Rolls-Bentley. Photographer: Gina Soden


BWG Gallery | Guts Gallery | Gerrish Fine Art | Liminal Gallery | Janet Rady Fine Art  | QUEERCIRCLE | Soho Revue | TIN MAN ART 

N.Shepherd, IV, 'The Lovers', hard ground etching on somerset satin soft white, plate 22 x 14cm, paper 35 x 25.8cm, edition of 10, 2023. Soho Revue
Olivia Strange, the delicious things theyre doing, 2022, Plaster, Clay, Nail Varnish, Chrome Wall Plate and Titanium Nipple Piercing, 28cm x 24cm x 28cm, Courtesy of Liminal Gallery-CLOSE UP 1014
James Dearlove, Figures in a Room with Tulips. Courtesy of BWG Gallery
Ghada Khunji, FaRIDA X, 2019, Photomontage printed on Hahnemuehle paper, 116.8 x 116.8 cm, Courtesy of Janet Rady Fine Art
James Dearlove, Figure on a Raft with Sea Creatures. Courtesy of BWG Gallery
Olivia Sterling. Guts Gallery
David Hockney, Two Boys Aged 23 or 24, 1966-67, edition 25 + 5 AP's, 22.5 x 35. Courtesy of Gerrish Fine Art.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Kudzi, limited edition screenprint, edition of 50 and 15 hand embelished, Queercircle and Avant Arte

Discover Platform Artist's at London Art Fair 2024

2023 Platform

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.

Platform Partners

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Photo50 is a curated selection of contemporary photography, providing a critical forum for examining some of the most distinctive elements of current photographic practice.

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.

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