YCE: Hannah Barry

Starting up a squat living space slash gallery, Barry now has thirty artists under her wing.

Photograph by Laura Pannack
If you’re looking the next decade’s uber-curator make a beeline for Hannah Barry. The 25 year old gallery owner, who studied History of Art in Cambridge, started her space in 2006 when she was living with a group of artist in Peckham, South London. This squat-living space-gallery grew into her own gallery in a Peckham industrial estate, with her partner Sven Mundner. The tirelessly energetic artist has 30 young artists under her wing, has established Bold Tendencies, an annual group show of outdoor sculpture on a Peckham garage roof and is putting on her first international show at Venice Biennale this year. Barry describes her approach thus: “A friend told me once that it was important to relax into chaos. Another great friend always tells me to hold my nerve. I try a combination of the two!”

Name a person or organisation that shares your DIY ethos, and explain why.
Though on a completely different scale to the work we are doing I admire the  ambition of Tate very much. From its founding in the late Nineteenth Century to its network of four galleries across the UK today, and most particularly since 2000 and the opening of Tate Modern, it constantly reassesses, invents and updates the extraordinary service that it provides to the world of culture in the 21st Century. It is an organization that absolutely does not stand still.

Send us a picture/video that summarises your view of modern life, and explain why.
This painting by Marcus Kleinfeld: lies, loneliness, plenty, isolation, questions, elegance, restraint, anxiety, confidence – in one way or another it has it all.


Do you think the recession has helped or hindered your creativity? Why?
Our world is cyclical and we must learn through times of plenty and times of frugality. I think it is important to experience these things, to enter them, and in time to leave them behind and begin a new period.

Music for a revolution - what song sums up your attitude?
A difficult question to answer though perhaps the Rolling Stones’ BEAST OF BURDEN…

What other period inspires you the most, and why?
Black Mountain College – an American university founded in North Carolina in the early 30s which operated in rural isolation and with minimal budget yet facilitated many significant and lasting collaborations between art, music, literature and dance.

Read more of the YCE feature here.

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