Rozsa Farkas talks about her multi-platform programme and reveals her Frieze Week tradition
Where in London is the gallery based?
Peckham, in South London, in a railway arch. I found the site by hassling Network Rail as I had heard that per square metre arches were cheaper
How did you choose your gallery's name?
I did a project at uni that I named Arcadia after the pastoral utopia. Then when I graduated and was wanting to set up the space, I found that Philip Green's (of Topshop) company is called Arcadia PLC, or something like that - so I had to add something. I liked ‘Missa’ as it means holy mass in Latin, and I thought it chimed with the whole Inside the White Cube theory, as well as the fact that many buildings similar to mine in South London are now used as churches. Also: because it sounded good - like "Miss".
As well as gallery, you incorporate a studio programme and publishing arm. How do these activities fit together?
The studios are behind the gallery and give a lot of life to the space, as well as help with a portion of the rent. Liv Wynter has recently moved in which is great, and Ruth Angel Edwards had a residency in one studio we gave her over the summer (at the end of the residency she did a show, which was also fantastic). It’s really lovely being around artists making work. The publishing is a parallel programme to the gallery, which sometimes intersects: for example with Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings' exhibition 'Tifkas', we published a book entitled @Gaybar alongside the show. Our yearly journal How to Sleep Faster focuses on a certain theme each issue, and is not directly related to the gallery programme but is vital to what we do - thinking through ideas and working great people in various disciplines, be that visual art, poetry, experimental writing, interviews or essays.
What are you presenting at Focus?
It's a very LONDON stand, with all London-based artists: Dean Blunt, Jesse Darling, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings. The fair is Frieze London and I am from London so I thought this year I would "represent". It has a real coming of age vibe to it too - which happened incidentall, both while we were selecting and as the artists were making. There are these Evisu paintings by Blunt that feautre the logo of the Japanese jeans brand that bring me personally right back to being a young teenager in the early 2000s; and Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings' piece resembles the gate of a school or community centre. And then Jesse Darling has taken primary school chairs to create March of the Valedictorians: an incredible installation you need to see in person.
Are there any other galleries in Focus you are especially looking forward to seeing?
Our neighbour Antenna Space! Loads actually. There are lots of great European galleries here, but being able to see galleries from places I have yet to visit - like Shanghai - is a pleasure.
Any typical Frieze Week traditions?
Drinking as much water as possible to deal with being on the stand with a lack of sleep and hangover. I probably drink three times as much water as normal during Frieze Week.
What are you currently showing in Peckham?
A new exhibition by Amalia Ulman, 'Labour Dance', until 5th November, and after that Penny Goring, which I am incredibly excited about.