We first became aware of Francesca Gavin through the distinctive ‘collages’ of different artworks adorning the walls of Soho House and its sister establishments. As the chief curator for the Soho House group, Fran’s idiosyncratic choices played a major part in defining the character of each distinctive ‘house’ around the world.
Fran recently took the decision to leave the world of exclusive member’s clubs behind however and forge a new life in Berlin, where she has recently relocated to from London. We discussed how she first dug herself out of the familiar post-graduation floundering and transformed her passion for writing and exhibitions into a rewarding career - as well as how Berlin offers her “a space of [her] own to fill with flowers and plants!”
It seems your work can broadly be divided into writing and curating - how did you end up down this path? Did one arise out of the other or did you always want to work in both worlds?
I fell into both! I started as an intern and then journalist, writing for years about everything from books to soul music to graffiti to fashion to interaction design. Over time I naturally started to specialise in contemporary art – it became my main focus about ten years ago. I wrote numerous art books, catalogue essays and curation offers began to come in from there. I've always said an exhibition is just like a book or thematic article but 3D. It’s all about making connections.
Could you tell us a little about your background - your formative years and how you first became interested in art?
My mother went to St Martins in the 60s and when I was 9 she gave me and my sisters her art postcard collection, from there I became obsessed and have collected them ever since. I have about 2000 now. It just grew from there - I studied History Of Art at University in York because I loved it, but I never imagined I could make a career out of it!