This November, Unit London presents Beyond Borders, an iconic group exhibition with 14 artists at Unit London, Mayfair. From 28 November – 11 January, artists from across the world respond to the current socio-political instability we are facing. Putting an uplifting spin on a turbulent time, the exhibition celebrates diversity and focuses on what connects rather than divides us.
Launching in line with the UK’s exit from the EU amongst other global instabilities, the show includes artists from varying backgrounds, nationalities and political stances. The show explores themes as familiar as love and fear, and as complex as quantum physics and our relationship with history.
The stories of marginalised women are shown through the portraits of Hiba Schahbaz, a Pakistani artist living in New York, whose work reclaims their history. Since migrating to the United States, her practice has expanded from Indo-Persian miniature painting to human-scale works on paper - with black tea as her favourite medium. The materials in Beyond Borders are as diverse as the themes - such as the build-up of textural surfaces that compose Michael Staniak’s works, David Spriggs’ plexiglass sculptures, or Jason Seife’s concrete canvases.
Works by Seife fuse traditional techniques from his middle eastern background with modern materials, making the old craft accessible to a younger generation. For example, in Holding on Together (2019) he revives traditional Persian rug weaving by hand-painting the pattern with acrylic onto a concrete canvas.
The balance between unpredictability and control is echoed in the work of Aaron Johnson, whose hallucinatory paintings comment on societal ills. Watery bleeding colours clash with hard-edged brush stroke, with themes exploring a wide range of the human experience that audiences can empathise with, both grotesque and humorous.
The exhibition is taking place at Unit London, one of Mayfair’s youngest galleries, co-founded by two young entrepreneurs: Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt. The space at 3 Hanover Square encompasses 6,000 sq ft over two expansive exhibition floors. With over 462,000 Instagram followers and one of the biggest engagement rates across any art platform, they have become a powerful art-world influencer, garnering millions of weekly impressions across the globe