ICA Off-Site at Dover Street Market: Interview with Adrian Joffe

A new ICA Off-Site project London's Dover Street Market running until 6 April - sees the ICA return to its former home on Dover Street.

ICA Exhibitions

10 Feb 2014

A new ICA Off-Site project at London's Dover Street Market - running until 6 April - sees the ICA return to its former home on Dover Street with an installation of rare imagery from the ICA archives. We spoke to Adrian Joffe, Dover Street Market's President, about Dover Street Market and the significance of its address.

The site at 17-18 Dover Street is very important to the history of the ICA, what does this history mean to Dover Street Market?  

Creative synergy has always been a very important part of the fundamental idea behind Dover Street Market, as it is for Comme des Garcons. The fact that the ICA occupied the building for 18 years, while having had no  conscious bearing on the decision to take the building ten years ago, is a wonderful accident of history that means a lot to us. In fact, on a supra conscious level, one could venture to say that it may not have been such an accident after all, as if we were somehow pulled into the building by such a creative past. In any case, we are proud and happy to have had such an honoured presence in the space wherein we find ourselves.

Rei Kawakubo mentioned in the past that the underlying ethos of Dover Street Market is 'beautiful chaos' – how does the ICA project fit into this?  

It fits more than perfectly. There are so many aspects and values of the ICA that form the essence of DSM, such as the unacceptance of established norms, the search for new ways of doing things, being unafraid of risk taking. The obstinate attachment to the spirit of creation is fundamental to both of us.

How do you see the relationship between fashion and art? Comme des Garçons seems to inhabit the space in between. 

Comme des Garcons is just a fashion company based on creation. We don't see the space between art and fashion, or architecture or design.  Borders have always seemed  an unnatural man made apparatus invented to try to explain and categorize, with a view to make people more comfortable and secure. True creation doesn't concern itself about definitions and groups, and has to remain steadfastly uninformed by them.

Could you tell us about any contemporary art that inspires you? 

There are many but I don't like to mention names. Some are so famous and you can find them in Miami and Gstaad, and some might never get out of a backstreet gallery in Istanbul, Johannesburg or  Valparaiso. We need a world ICA to find these unknown artists who can move us.

What are the future plans for DSM?

We don't really make plans. After the opening  in New York a month ago,  we are not about to open another one any time soon. Unless of course we can find a building in an amazing city such as London and in which an institution such as the ICA spent long years restlessly and provocatively forging ahead in the endless search for exciting and inspirational art.

ICA Off-Site: Dover Street Market
Until 6 Apr 2014
Free Exhibition
Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street, London, W1S 4LT

Opening hours:
11am–6.30pm Monday to Wednesday
11am–7pm Thursday to Saturday
12pm–5pm Sunday

This article is posted in: Interviews

Tagged with: Dover Street Market, Adrian Joffe, Comme de Garcons, Off-Site