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Clemency Cooke

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To outsiders, the art scene can seem intimidating and inaccessible. For insiders, it can be can feel jading and ruthless. 

Clemency is out to offer an alternative. She is the founder and co-director of a gallery space, Cooke Latham, that launched in Battersea at the end of 2018. With a slower-paced exhibition programme and an extraordinarily intimate setting, the gallery offers quite a different take on Contemporary Art.

Why do you do what you do? 

Having worked in the gallery sector for a long time I had become exhausted with the gallery model as I knew it; a very fast paced exhibition programme and a dependency upon the art fair model. At some point it became clear that to change this model I would have to have full control (with my partner) of how the business was structured. We would need to re-build the model as we saw fit, slower, more considered and hopefully more accessible.

What's one thing that your work has taught you that you wish everyone knew?

I think risk taking is in itself a galvanizing force as it increases your dedication to the endeavour in which the risk lies. I wish I had realised this earlier and perhaps taken the plunge in founding my own business sooner than I did.

What book or resource have you found inspiring recently?

I am currently obsessed by the book "Wilding" by Isabella Tree. In this book, Tree describes her and her husband's attempt to return their large commercial farm to nature and renew its ecosystem after decades of commercial agricultural chemicals. It is a superb book for anyone interested in the environment or the future of farming, however, as a business owner it is also a superb example of someone looking at an established model or mode of operating and managing to entirely re-work and review it afresh.

How could The Hot Breakfast community help or support you? 

My business is still in its infancy and as such it is still in the act of being formed. As a dedicated HB member I am always refreshed by exposing my plans to a breakfast audience and gaining their insights and hearing of similar or relevantly different experiences. I am aware how fast one's business structure can ossify as the managerial aspects of the enterprise takes over. HB offers a caffeine fueled chance to reconsider the principles or ideas that originally inspired me.

What's your morning routine?

I shop for a baguette with my son at the shop below our flat and we haul the loaf home, Thomas leaving a trail of crumbs in his wake. Toast, jam and lashings of coffee.

Cooke Latham Gallery // Instagram