FOLD, a commercial gallery in central London, has closed due to “mounting historic debts, the fallout from the pandemic lockdowns, Brexit, inflation and a general downturn in sales,” according to its founder, Kim Savage. The gallery, which was established 15 years ago, has been forced into voluntary liquidation. The company’s accounts have now been frozen and all future shows have been cancelled.
In a letter to FOLD’s artists dated 21 August, Savage notes that going into administration was a “sudden decision” he had to take after “doing everything possible to keep the gallery operating and to pay off creditors and artists alike”.
The dealer adds: “As a gallerist I have always sold art to make exhibitions, I never made exhibitions to sell art. I have always put the art and the programme ahead of selling. Possibly at times to my detriment.”
Savage first launched FOLD in 2008, as a project space in Hackney in east London, before moving to Clerkenwell and then Fitzrovia eight years ago, when his gallery became more commercial. He was one of the first to move to the central London location, just north of Mayfair, which in recent years has seen an influx of galleries.
Savage, who cut his teeth working for Saatchi Gallery after graduating from his painting degree, started out showing the likes of Simon Callery, an artist once part of the YBA movement, and, at the point of closure, represented 12 artists including Dominic Beattie and Jo Hummel.
Despite taking on “substantial personal debt”, Savage says that he has not been able to meet running costs, “which have got more and more difficult to manage in the last 18 months”. He has endeavoured to honour his debts, but says he has not been able to make full repayments to all artists. He adds: “I am deeply saddened to make this announcement and really have tried my utmost to avoid this and to make it work, but I am afraid now the tank is empty.”