The Parasol unit Foundation for Contemporary Art was founded in 2004 by art historian and curator, Dr Ziba Ardalan.A graduate in History of Art from Columbia University, Dr Ardalan worked as a curator in a number of galleries across America and Europe before founding the Parasol Unit.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit institution and educational charity that functions for the public benefit, offering a vibrant contemporary art space.The Foundation’s mission istoserve the public and, as such, aims to run an annual programme of educational events inaddition to exhibitions. Parasol unit is also devoted to promoting contemporary art for the benefit of the public.
The exhibition programme comprises workby emerging and contemporary artists in a variety ofmedia: sculpture, painting, installation, video and photography. It holds no permanent collection, instead, each year, it organises four challenging and thought-provoking exhibitions of British and international contemporary artists working invar-ious media and has introduced a host of international artists to London, as well as having been instrumental in launching the careers of artists such as Michael Borremans, Yang Fu-dong and Charles Avery.Each exhibition is supported by a programme of educational events and accompanied by a new publication and an artist’s monograph or catalogue which is distributed world-wide.
The Foundation also runs artistic projects and gives awards to graduating students, as well as sometimes exhibiting their work.In 2009, the Foundation launched its EXPOSURE Award, an annual programme which gives recent graduates from a UK art school the oppor-tunity to exhibit their work alongside a major exhibition at the gallery.Three winning artists are selected from which one or more are invited to mount an exhibition. Parasol unit is housed in a converted warehouse in London which provides 460 square me-tres of exhibition space over two floors.It was renovated by the Italian architect, Claudio Silvestrin. The Foundation has a total commitment to artists and their creative endeavour, which leads to a unique relationship developing between it and exhibiting artists.