TEN CURRENT CHOICES
|Still from Matt Calderwood: Six Sculptures, 2011|
|Stéphane Blumer: installation on Bermondsey Square|
Here the overarching theme is the nature of the local from foreign perspectives. That’s most direct in Stéphane Blumer’s soundpiece, in which he asked 50 Londoners to tell him a secret. Only five did, so the result is something of a communicative desert, consistent with the Swiss artist’s other works: a giant hashtag in soundproof packing foam, like an anti-advert for our times; and a panoramic hour-long montage of 25 film scenes featuring lone protagonists in desert landscapes, to meditative and convention-revealing effect. Add ‘Forgetten Materials’, Soomeen’s beautifully judged installation of slates found in nearby building sites and co-opted into her performative inventory; fellow Korean Heena’s near-abstract paintings derived from the regulation of laundry; and some streaky Bagaki bacon a la Greque.. the four artists, along with Indian-born curator Mary George, and have conjured a lively and coherent show from their summer residencies at Vitrine.
|Parker Cheeto's shoes as worn at White Cube|
|Installation view with Yasuko Otsuka left, Kenneth Dingwall ahead, |
Yoko Terauchi right
|Collective Practice, 2014: aluminium bronze, felt, exhaust pipe|
|Quarantine, 2014: felt, paper, exhaust pipe|
|V12 Laraki: Alternator (2013): Yellow copper, red copper, nickel silver, mahogany wood, cedar wood, cow bone, sand stone, cotton, ram's horn, cowskin, tin, chinese superglue and cow horn.|
In an unusual twist on work not being what it seems, the apparent bling of intricate abstract sculptures in the second show of the third gallery to use this spacious former church hall is far from the point. Rather, they’re part of a project which revisits a failed dream of manufacturing a luxury sports car wholly in Morocco by commissioning to-scale versions of the 463 components in the Mercedes V12 engine which Abdeslam Laraki was eventually forced to use in the ‘Luraki Fulgara’. As such, it’s a social sculpture project orchestrated by the multi-national Van Hove to empower 57 of the estimated three million self-employed Moroccan craftsmen to make something other than tourist fodder. They worked reclaimed and traditional materials such as cow bone and recycled aluminium to the point of looking precious, so harnessing traditional skills in a sort of reverse engineering of factory line production.
|V12 Laraki: Alternator (2013) - exploded view|
To 21 Sept: www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
|Vase with Flowers, c. 1715|
The obvious reasons to visit the country’s oldest public gallery are the permanent collection (all that Poussin!) and (also to 21 Sept) a winning account of Ben and Winifred Nicholson and their circle in the 1920s. Yet there’s also a focussed gathering of four floral still lives by the Dutch painter Jan van Huysum (1682-1749). Dulwich’s own example, set against a dark background, is from 1715. Here it’s joined by three loans which follow his 1720 switch in to setting his Rococo bouquets against gardens with statuary. Their pre-refrigeration ‘impossibility’ is, of course, that Huysum took up to two years over each painting, and so shows blooms from quite different seasons - up to 40 different species plus maybe ten insects in each - all of which are informatively set out by means of interpretative keys.
|Flowers in a Vase with Crown Imperial and Apple Blossom at the Top |
and a Statue of Flora, 1731-32
A Poem for Raoul and Agnes @ Ancient & Modern, 201 Whitecross Street - near The Barbican
To 6 Sept (but closed 10-26 Aug): www.ancientandmodern.org
Talking of flowers, here are 14 floral works, chosen by Sherman Sam with a poem of accepting transience by another art critic – Barry Schwabsky – in mind: ….’We more than wounded know nothing / of flowers but the ripe pod / scatters its seed regardless’. Cue a Winifred Nicholson worthy of Dulwich; Phoebe Unwin’s nuanced nude disguised in a bloomscape; Alex Katz alongside his under-seen peer Jane Freilicher; Eithne Jordan’s play in the office - hardly separate given Ancient & Modern’s scale – with the separate lobby of Spruth Magers; and various other seasonal subtleties in one of the most enjoyable summer shows around (Simon Lee and Laura Bartlett’s project space are also commended).
Sam Francis @ Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 6 Cork St – Central
|Untitled (#2 Pri-Rain), 1964 - gouache on paper|
|Untitled (L.A.), 1976|
To Aug 30: www.griffingallery.co.uk
|Dale Adcock: Tomb, 2012|
To 19 Sept: www.benbrownfinearts.com
|Villa Borghese Roma XVIII, 2012|
Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America @ the Saatchi Gallery - Sloan Square
To Nov: www.saatchigallery.com
|Rafael Gómezbarros: 'Casa Tomada' (Seized House)|
There are plenty of big shows which it hardly seems necessary to mention: such brilliance as Matisse at the Tate Modern; Veronese, all theatre and colour at the National Gallery, any lack of depth well-aligned to modern tastes – or at any rate to mine; Phyllida Barlow in ramshackle glory at Tate Britain; and Giuseppe Penone at Gagosian. And the less convincing: Schnabel at The Dairy, for example, or Herman Bas's two sites for Victoria Miro. Then there are mixtures like Chris Marker at the Whitechapel, and Saatchi’s new ragbag of South America and Africa… if you’ve never been to the excellent Jack Bell Gallery, there’s a crash course here as three rooms are given over entirely to expanded versions of four of the African explorer’s lively shows. Still, Pangaea’s signature room is its first: Rafael Gómezbarros' 440 giant ants swarm the walls, each made of two cast human skulls with branches for legs, and held together by dirty bandaging.
Images courtesy the relevant artists and galleries + Mary Boone Gallery, New York (Cotton)