After nearly four years, the Italian duo behind the deceptively English-sounding Robert Prime Gallery in Warren Street, Tommaso Corvi-Mora and Gregorio Magnani, has announced that they are parting company—to the other side of the street. From January 2000, Mr Corvi-Mora will operate under his own name from Duncan Cargill’s old space at 22 Warren Street, while Mr Magnani will continue to use the existing Robert Prime premises, but under a different name, yet to be decided. “It was getting to a point where the workload was becoming so intense and the amount of work needed for each of our artists was so great that one structure was not enough,” Mr Corvi-Mora told The Art Newspaper. “We had to think of another solution, so we decided to organise a very amicable and sweet separation: it is a new departure, not a bitter divorce.”
Since it opened in March 1996, Robert Prime has provided a valuable showcase not only for British artists, but for those from Europe and the US, who often enjoy a considerable international reputation, but are not so often seen in the UK. Gallery artists have included Liam Gillick; the 1997 Turner Prize nominee, Angela Bulloch; the American, Jim Isermann and Candida Hofer from Germany. In the future, some of these artists will work with Mr Magnani, some with Mr Corvi Mora, and some will be shared between them both.
“Everything will be very flexible and organic; issues of representation are losing importance as artists increasingly act on their own behalf. It is more about the relationship with the artist,” says Mr Corvi-Mora, who also reveals that Robert Prime will continue to exist, albeit in an ad hoc manner. “We are going to keep the name Robert Prime for the times we do something together, be it publications, exhibitions or the production of work. We’re going to play around with the idea of a triangular structure. We envisage new ways of working, at least in London.” However, these new ways of working have nothing to do with Mr Corvi-Mora’s recent marriage to Cornelia Grassi, whose Greengrassi Gallery around the corner in Fitzroy Street remains determinedly independent from any such mergers or triangular ventures. “Our partnership is strictly personal,” stresses Mr Corvi-Mora.