Philippa zu Knyphausen - piloto pardo Gallery - Q&A

Tuesday 25th January, 2022

The gallery, piloto pardo was named after a Chilean Navy ship and its officer ​​Luis Antonio Pardo Villalón, who went on a rescue mission in order to save 22 crewmen stranded on Elephant Island, an ice-covered mountainous island off the coast of Antarctica. piloto pardo similarly began its recent voyage in the art world. Founded in 2021 by Philippa zu Knyphausen, the London-based gallery invites emerging artists from the western edge of South America. Philippa and I discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on a young gallery, as well as the possibilities and aspirations that are born from those challenges.

How did piloto pardo come to be?

I initially found the space for some friends of mine who wanted to open a second gallery in London. As that didn't work out, I was faced with this small quadrant and its availability.Even though I was a master’s student I started the space with the aim to reclaim it as something that is both experimental and unapologetically self-financed. As it starts from so little, it can only grow.

Where does the name of the gallery come from?

The name stands for piloto, the try-out or initial exemplification of an idea, and honours piloto pardo, the commander of the Chilean ship that saved Shackelton from his expedition in the coastal south, near Antarctica. The ship saved what later on was called a successful mission, but not a lot of mention is given due to the convoluted historical facts that jeopardised the latter. It's kind of a relational upheaval between coasts of the Arctic and the English lavatory books. A humble retelling of perhaps colonial discourse, in the face of what is in itself a bit of an adventure.

Can you tell me about the artists you have exhibited so far?

The artists so far have been Chilean and emerging artists such as Darya Diamond, Sebastian Espejo and Manuel Peralta. Each show is very different from the previous one. The current show is by Cosima zu Knyphausen [7 October - 15 of November ]

How would you describe the process of “finding” artists, or do the artists find piloto pardo?

My main goal is that the artists become 'part' of the gallery in some way, both in their art-making and in their personal relationship to it. It’s not a deliberate encounter between the gallery and the artist, it’s a joint enterprise.

What is the role of the art market regarding your gallery that has started quite recently?

The gallery hasn't really started yet. It's more of a project space with a curatorial focus on changeability and growth, but the sales are important as they finance the space. So indeed, the art market will adopt an important role as soon as we dive into it, which hopefully happens by default from creating something new inside a variable and diverse art system.

How do you feel about the current art world? Do you think there are some new possibilities during and after the pandemic?

There is a speculative identity between art and capital, as Marina Vishmidt says. I think the art world happens at this juncture and is rooted in this future-oriented place, so changes and new possibilities will always be present. But the pandemic, I think, has brought fewer possibilities because it has slowed down the efforts and advances the 'periphery' has gained towards its constant voyage to the 'centre'.

Is there anything you would like to change or challenge regarding the art scene, through the gallery?

My aim is not necessarily to bring Latin American artists to London, but I think that is a nice and very desirable consequence. But I'd be lucky if the art scene changes the gallery as it moves forward as well.

What are your future aspirations for piloto pardo?

As I mentioned, growth is one of its main focuses, being a commercial space. But for now, it's survival!

Interviewer: Nimco Kulmiye Hussein

Cover image:

Installation View
Manuel Peralta Lorca
“Correos de Chile”
Photo: Philippa zu Knyphausen

Images (from top to bottom):

Installation View
Manuel Peralta Lorca
“Correos de Chile”
Photo: Philippa zu Knyphausen

Installation View
“Judgement Proof” by Darya Diamond
May 14 - June 17th 2021
Photo: Theo Christelis

Installation View
“Closet Drama” by Cosima zu Knyphausen
07 October - 15 November 2021
Photo: Theo Christelis

Installation View
Sebastian Espejo
“Mockingbird”
Photo: Ana Cristina Blumenkron

All images courtesy of the artist and piloto pardo, 2022.