Saturday, 29 January 2011

EXTRAS

Here's another round-up of recently commissioned writings additional to the main column: two profiles of favourites, a catalogue essay and three reviews.

Artist Overviews

Beheading of the Cockerel

Online Artist of the Week: Tereza Buskova (written for Saatchi Online magazine - Oct 10)

For a straightforwardly-presented film to work in a gallery context – rather than just turning the gallery into a cinema – it needs to have an immediate impact which draws the passing viewer in, whenever they arrive. The London-based Czech Tereza Buskova has made three films of a few minutes each – with a fourth in production – which achieve that with intoxicatingly effect.

The films present living tableaux, more like a linked succession of moving paintings than a story, in which traditional Bohemian rituals are seamlessly merged with artistic reinterpretations and interventions. They are wordless, their heady atmosphere heightened by haunting, cello-heavy soundtracks. Buskova makes the costumes and props, directs the actor-dancers and edits the film. She also makes screenprints from the action: the colour coordination and heraldic flatness of the scenes are well-suited to the still image.

Buskova’s first three films have given us her take on ‘Wedding Rituals’ (2007), which seem more foreboding than celebratory; the logical follow-up of a ‘Forgotten Marriage’ (2008); and ‘Spring Equinox’ (2009), her version of Easter rituals in the oldest village in Moravia. Slow-moving white-painted near-naked women, cardboard cut-out animals to represent fertility, and bizarre headwear recur. There are narrative strands of sorts but they’re mysterious: the men in Spring Equinox, for example, start out joyfully whipping maidens’ buttocks but end up blindfolded and stranded in a lake, at which they now lash out.

The effect is a kind of invisibly unified collage of the old and the new which freshens up the decadence of the past. But what lies beyond the mesmerising folk surrealism? The films assert the resilience of local cultures – these rituals have seen off communism – and also ask two interesting questions. First, what role should traditions play in the modern world? Best, Buskova implies, not to let them ossify in conservation, but to change them to suit the present. Second, what is the boundary between life and art? The melding of the two shows that the division is not such a simple one, and speaks for the art of living.

Next up will be the results of Buskova’s February filming of the carnival of Masopust, in which, she says, Bohemian villagers deal with their cold winter with a combination of drink, meat, processions, brass bands and grotesque behaviour. Sounds like just the thing for our economically tough times … Let the carnival begin!


Subtraction 9

Online Artist of the Week: Sebastian Lemm
(written for Saatchi Online magazine - Feb 11)

Over the past decade, New York-based German Sebastian Lemm has been a persuasive digital manipulator of the photographic image. His recent projects have used trees to combine the conceptual with the romantic in an unusual way; triggering associations with Caspar David Friedrich and the fairytale psychological parallels of forests, whilst at the same time playing off the modernist grid and questioning both the nature of representation and the representation of nature.

His ‘Schattenseite’ (‘Dark Side’) series show intensely flashlit scenes of tangled branches and leaves by night. But just as we wonder what to read in to the patterning so achieved, how to project the human onto nature in the romantic manner, we are tripped up by the realisation that the patterns contain unnatural contradictions, achieved through the combination of several photographic sources. The natural becomes the man-made, and we are reminded of how every aspect of the world is infused by our perceptual framework: we cannot, after all, pretend to a separated interpretative overlay.

The digital intervention is more obvious in the ‘Subtraction’ series, in which photographs of trees in summer are stripped of leaves, grass and sky so that only the trunk and branch superstructure remain. The effect is paradoxically wintery, while also suggesting both a minimalist concentration on essential form, and the possibility of an environmental disaster born of our interventions.
Lemm’s most recent set of images, ‘Strata’, makes the network of branches even more elaborate in all-over patterns built up through multiple exposures and layering. In a neat paradox, ‘Strata’ suggests the accumulation of memories whilst the means of production denies photography its usual straightforward link to the past: these are representations of what could never have been.

Lemm says he is interested in how the structures, patterns, repetitions and voids (both black and white) in his pictures make for interactions ‘which parallel human nature and relationships’. It turns out, then, that the escape from the memory built into a single photographic event triggers our pasts in a different way.

Catalogue Essay

Interior with Couple and Photographs

Andrew Hollis: Realities and Otherwise (written for show at ROLLO Contemporary, Feb-April 11)

It must be some time since it was any kind of news that photographs aren’t automatic carriers of truth – so much so that the natural tendency to assume that they are, which was probably general thirty years ago, has been largely unlearned. It’s the rise of digital technology which has altered popular instinct, but the case for scepticism doesn’t depend on such developments.

True, photographs have an indexical aspect which links them directly to some kind of origin in a way which cannot be said of painting. But the possible challenges to that kernel of truth are manifold. The growth of popular skepticism is probably linked to how the world might be distorted to the photographic purpose (take Alison Jackson’s photographs of celebrity look-alikes), or the image may be manipulated by airbrushing or Photoshopping. But the connotation of a photograph is also affected – in all innocence, as it were – by the ideological assumptions built in to how and why it is taken; by the time and physical conditions in which it is seen; by what the viewer brings to the experience; by a title, or a context within a wider body of work, both of which may point to particular meanings.

That much we know, then: there is plenty of space for subjectivity in the apparent objectivity of the photograph. Nor is it news that a painting derived from a photograph can point up all those issues by being explicit about a further transformation: that required to represent the image in the language of paint. We see that in the conceptual trick of photorealism, which feints as if to paint the world, but doesn’t: it paints a photograph instead, and by the sheer effort required to do so with the technical exactitude of Franz Gertsch, Richard Estes or John Salt, invests a greater sense of worth in the objects photographed than could the photograph itself. It’s a variant on Duchamp’s exploration of the found object, applied indirectly. We see a different effect in the paintings of Gerhard Richter, Michael Borremans or Luc Tuymans: they concentrate on the aura of the photograph rather than its indexicality; on its connections with memory and its own imperfections; with its rootedness in one time, but relationship to other times.

So, if all of that is given – not perhaps fully played out, but well established – and one comes across a new artist who paints from photographs, one is bound to ask: what’s different here? How has an artist who exploits all that – as Andrew Hollis does – built on the history of engagement with the nature of photography and the limitations of its truth?

Partly, I think, by the clarity of the conceptual framework Hollis brings to his work, neatly summarized in his statement that his paintings can be understood as ‘images of historical non-realities and images of non-historical realities’ . Partly through a diverting mixture of painting styles: sometimes informational, sometimes more gestural; sometimes like photographs as source, sometimes emphasizing the photograph as object, witness the curious cropping of the figures in Landscape with Women and Figure and Interior with Couple and Photographs (in which the couple are more photographic than the photographs). Partly through a distinctive colour world which tends towards a range of greys, consistent with black and white photographs; and a liking for pinks, hinting at the rosy viewpoints of nostalgia.

And partly – quite a large part, I think - by the surrealist-tinged edginess of unexpected actions or juxtapositions. Why are the women in Landscape with Women and Figure carrying a sort-of cut-out relief of a figure? Why are swans in Oil Barrels with Swans and Columns swimming along what looks like a river of oil? What is the role of the sinister structure in Children with Frame? One can imagine answers to do with female empowerment, environmental concerns and the nature of constraint in childhood, but the images escape such reductions. There are also striking mismatches between the main goings-on and their backgrounds. Why – as an extreme case – is a boat being rowed indoors in Pool with Rowers? Why is the wall in Interior with Couple and Photographs so obviously not the one on which such a couple would display their photographs? Sometimes the apparent mismatches exploit nods to art history: the ‘Children with Frame’ are set against what could be rusted Richard Serra sculptures, and there’s a suspicion of Richard Diebenkorn in the Exterior with Rowers.

But those, I think, are subsidiary aspects in this particular set of paintings. For me, the main event is how Hollis’s latest images gain their own peculiar resonance through his use of encyclopedias and yearbooks from the 1960’s, 1970’s and early 1980’s. ‘What interests me’, says Hollis, ‘about images like these is that they were originally used to describe something of significance of a specific time. In doing that, moreover, the sources doubly echo the modern reception of photography.

Firstly, because printed encyclopedias have, like photographs, a claim to authority, but one which has much less ready acceptance than it once did. The internet has largely taken over their reference function. And Wikipedia – a major factor in that usurpation – is well-known for its subjectivity and the occasional jocular or malevolent inclusion of rogue information. That’s part of the territory of user-generated content, but it also increases the popular awareness of how all knowledge is mediated and constructed in subjective ways. What never quite reached the man in the street through the writings of Foucault and Baudrillard has been picked up through Photoshop and Wikipedia.

Secondly, such encyclopedias have a more specific presence in time than literature does as a whole. Just as the indexical aspect of a photograph shows what things were like at a particular moment, a time which cannot be regained and - as Barthes suggested - imports an element of death to its photographic record, so the encyclopedia sets out what is judged to be important and true at a particular time. The information has its own kind of death – its future uselessness – built in.

The combination of two or three elements in each painting amplifies these effects. We don’t know how old the different elements are, and so how far out of date they have beome, and whether there are ‘mis-matches’ within a painting . That brings in the potential for more contrasts to add to the visibly curious conjunctions, but these contrasts in the degree of ongoing validity of the sources are not so much mysterious as impenetrable. We know they might be there, but we can’t distinguish them.

That resonant double parallel, heightened by conjunctions, is, I think, what gives Hollis’s work its distinctiveness and potency. To illustrate that, it’s worth tracking through the sheer number of different times depicted in a painting such as Water Flowers with Boat. Starting from the here and now of the viewer, we go back to the still-recent antecedent of Hollis producing the image, back further to the publication times of the encyclopedias used as sources, back a little further to the taking of the photograph reproduced in the encyclopedia, and then back again to the time in the nineteenth century when painting itself was emerging from its primary function of mimicking appearances – for there must be a reference to Monet’s waterlillies, supported by the peculiar purple coloration which echoes the cataract-induced colour distortions in Monet’s late work.

Hollis’s paintings, then, aren’t just theoretical ways to examine the legacy of the painted image, nor just provokingly mysterious conjunctions of images – though they are both – they’re surprisingly complex voyages in time across the history of how images are constructed and perceived.

Reviews




Mike Nelson (written for ArtUS - Nov 10)
Tate Britain | London

It’s a decade since Mike Nelson built his seminal work, 'The Coral Reef', at Matt’s Gallery in London’s East End. It has now been acquired by the Tate and put on display through the end of 2011, a welcome adjunct to Nelson’s selection as Britain’s representative at next year’s Venice Biennale.

'The Coral Reef' is a labyrinthine, 15-room installation in the style of William Burroughs’s “interzones”- hallucinatory spaces between worlds or ideas. Here they take the form of waiting rooms, which Nelson first had perfectly replicated and then scuffed back to a seedy, dilapidated state-–originally inspired, he says, by a South London minicab office. Various, potentially conflicting, ideologies are symbolized by the contents of these ostensibly just-abandoned rooms. The occupants seem to be what Nelson terms “modern primitives,” or figures at the margins of capitalist society, such as revolutionaries, hoodlums, evangelists, and drug users. Even when you know roughly what to expect, it’s easy to get disoriented here, an experience exacerbated by finding a room duplicated or having to leave via a fake fire exit that would normally set off an alarm.

Since 'The Coral Reef' was made in 2000, Nelson has been frequently approached to make similar places to get lost in. Projects in Venice, New York, Istanbul, Sydney, San Francisco, and Copenhagen have enhanced his reputation while responding more directly to their geographic and institutional surroundings than perhaps did this prototype, which could then be seen as the originating myth or global template for more locally grounded projects of this kind.

As Nelson says, “a work such as this relies on the spaces in between what is actually there. It acts like a catalyst, coercing you into imaginative space. These residues of suggested narratives pull you into several spheres--psychological, sociopolitical, and anthropological.” To achieve this effect, the artist employs a wide range of influences--most obviously, fantastic fiction (Borges, Ballard, Lem), outsider subcultures (Nelson’s early works were presented as made by a biker gang), current political concerns, and the history of installation art (clearly Nauman and the Kabakovs). Consequently, Nelson’s work can be experienced both on a visceral, immediate level, and by tracking down his intellectual sources and attempting a more elaborate reading.

Crime, the black economy, the growing underclass, and antisocial aspects of the Internet are all up for grabs in the teeming ecology of 'The Coral Reef', which, as its name suggests, accommodates multiple, if often fragile, life forms and strategies. Much of what seems to be going on in these rooms deserves our sympathy, and there is a sense that, as Nelson puts it, all of us are “lost in a world of lost people.” The work’s vacant atmosphere, augmented by such props as a gun and a mask, or, in the heroin user’s room, drugs and pictures of horses hanging on the wall, suggests a yearning for escape - but the boxed-in arrangement does more to entrap than to liberate.

Various narratives can be constructed around 'The Coral Reef', but it is ultimately open-ended, in that there is no single cause from which Nelson’s scenarios are derived or by means of which they can be forensically “solved.” In that respect, the original work was remarkably prescient of the atmosphere of abandonment, foreboding, and paranoia that rapidly followed the events of 9/11. I found myself playing an undercover cop when visiting Tate Britain: these are surely the very places one would need to infiltrate to find out what plots are being hatched. As powerful as it ever was, this is the return of a masterpiece.



Urs Fischer (written for ArtUS - Jan 11)
Sadie Coles | New Burlington Place, London

Sadie Coles opened her new, additional space in London’s West End with an Urs Fischer installation named “Douglas Sirk” (through December 11), a collection of mirrored cubes silk-screened with images of miscellaneous objects and sundry wall items. The multifaceted Swiss artist is best known for blowing holes in white cubes, gibes or digs that reveal unforeseen perspectives and a kind of hidden beauty. Fischer’s work is the typical late-century meld of influences, combining an interest in letting object and material interact to see what happens and a somewhat childish ambition to get away with murder. It all adds up to a certain amount of biting the hand that feeds him.

Far from mocking the new space, however, “Douglas Sirk” seemed set on a flattering imitation of life. Over 30 large, variously sized mirrored cubes and rectangular forms reflected the surroundings and each other, expanding everything to infinity. Most have photographic transfers on all four sides and top, resulting in a dizzying to-and-fro between object and image. The larger-than-life depictions fill their containers, mostly grouped in double pairs, to the brim, affording such odd conjunctions as fox masks and chairs, playing cards and nuts or bolts, shopping carts and ducklings (which from certain angles threatened to spill over into a gaggle of them). If there were links between the cubed subjects, either within the groupings or overall, these were matters for serendipitous discovery in transit. They certainly didn’t feel purposely imposed.

Plenty of recent installation work plays with scale or space, the ambiguities between two and three dimensions, and doubling or seriality. “Douglas Sirk” ticked all of these off the list, whilst also orchestrating a collision between kitsch sensibilities and geometric minimalism. You indeed could identify many of the same games in Fischer’s numerous references to other artists: most obviously, Koons’s high-finish fetishes, Oldenburg’s scaling up of the everyday, Robert Morris’s mirrored cubes, and Pistoletto’s distorting mirror images. Or else, you could think in terms of genre: still life painting, loaded fruit in _vanitas_ mode, or fashion photography. The sheer pileup of themes and insinuations was impressive.

Less obvious perhaps is the possible reference to another artist, one who used still life elements to create paintings to be read as cityscapes, but whose work is more about the spaces and relations between objects than the objects themselves. Could it be that Giorgio Morandi, who once said of his arrangements of bottles that “nothing is more abstract than reality,” finds a fitting home in Fischer’s remark, apropos a comparable installation of his, that “the mirror surface is irrelevant. What’s interesting to me is the absence of the object.”

Absent presence aside, there was still plenty of room on the walls to show six large paintings from two recent series, four from “Monsters,” which combine digitally screwed up faces of men with fruit, and two from “Star Lights,” which engineer encounters between archetypal 1950s screen sirens and a giant fork or spoon. In lots of ways these wall works are the most Sirkian of the bunch, superficially testifying to the filmmaker’s sentimental Technicolor melodramas, underscoring the repressions and psychological traumas of 1950s America. Yet Fischer’s cubes equally hint at Sirk’s love of mirrors, wherein only the vanity and deception of life shines through. The Sadie Coles show certainly captured the right nuance of Sirkian melodrama: but did it contain the titular critique of social conformity, or just its denial in idle reflection?


Oleg Tselkov: Work, 2006

'Squaring the Circle' at the Aktis Gallery, London - through 31 March (review for ARTnews, Feb 11)

The Aktis Gallery, specializing in Russina nonconformists and Soviet artists working in exile, recently joined a growing Russian presence in London’s art scene. This show provides a fascinating overview of four painters, tagged “non-conformist,” who were subterranean presences in Moscow in the 1960s: Dmitry Krasnopevtsev (1925–95), Oscar Rabin, Oleg Tselkov, and Vladimir Yankilevsky. The last three were allowed to leave the USSR in the ’70s and ’80s, and now live in Paris. Yet this exhibition, featuring a mix of their Soviet and subsequent paintings, shows the recent work is very much of a piece with the earlier output.

The nonconformity of Krasnopevtsev, Rabin, and Tselkov was relatively modest: it lay in their refusal to follow the official path of Socialist Realism in the service of the state. That meant that they were not publicly exhibited, but there’s little sign of political subversion here, nor any pushing of esthetic boundaries. Krasnopevtsev gives us gloomily lit and broodily atmospheric still lifes. Rabin makes equally dark landscapes, often incorporating a still life element, such as a vase of flowers. Tselkov depicts implausibly lumpish men—perhaps representing the monsters which communism has made of men, but more likely part of a personal language the artist evolved.

Only Yankilevsky, who was associated with Bulatov and Kabakov, could be described as unorthodox in his art. He’s best known for the collages he made from street-scavengings, in the ’60s, but is represented here by some rather inert still life paintings from the late ’50s that scarcely hint at what was to follow. Two quirkily sexualized series from this decade, ceramics with designs that reference the pubic triangle and energetic paintings that combine cartoonishly contorted nudes with a range of personal symbols, better convey this artist’s restlessness and confrontational stance, which opposes social constraints and officialdom in all forms.

Friday, 21 January 2011

COMBINATIONAL

Collage techniques seem more relevant than ever given today’s teeming overload of information. Film collages have been prominent of late: Oliver Pietsch runs to the end of January at Nettie Horn, and Christian Marclay’s 24 hour ‘Clock’ reappears shortly at the Hayward. There are several other collage methods in my choices for February: straight photo collage, neon collaged onto postcards, paintings made after collages, the effect of ‘decollage’ on layered posters, even the collaging of thirty exhibitions into one...

Love X

John Stezaker
@ Whitechapel Gallery - Aldgate East

29 Jan - 18 March: www.whitechapelgallery.org

John Stezaker has moved from marginal cult figure to recipient of his first public gallery retrospective in the five years since he retired from full-time teaching: not so much by changing what he does in his series of collages, many of which have years of pedigree, so much as by being able to show more. His primary, and influential, thrust is to make us look differently at old images by changing their combinations or contexts. Thus film publicity stills gain a fresh yet troubling allure through the imposition of surprisingly face-mimicking postcards of caves, or two characters are 'married' in freakish combinations, while others eerily duplicate themselves.

Autoportrait, 2007

Jacques Villéglé: Trajectoire Urbaine @ Alexia Goethe Gallery, 7 Dover Street - Central
11 Feb - 25 March: www.alexiagoethegallery.com
The veteran (born 1926) but still active French affichiste flaneur of the lacéré anonyme is known for his exploitation of the poetics – and politics – of urban decay and unknown intervention through the medium of ripped posters. One advantage, as he says, is that ‘the whole world makes work for me — I only have to collect it’. Actually, as I found in his 2008 Pompidou retrospective, his work is more varied than might be expected, and this selection across thirty years is a welcome chance to see that demonstrated this side of the channel.


Katja Strunz: Untitled, 2009

Never The Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts) @ Camden Arts Centre – Finchley Road

To 20 Feb: www.camdenartscentre.org

This group show is perhaps best seen as a new work by Simon Starling, who has selected 27 artists who have previously shown at Camden with the forbidding constraints that their works themselves deal with our understanding of time, and that they be installed exactly where they were previously displayed (not that my memory was up to checking much). To these he has added the ‘possible futures’ of three artists new to the venue. The resulting temporal cacophony may - inevitably but intentionally - look rather odd, but aside from the time collage aspect, there are some interesting works and dialogues here.


Figure with Indoor Pool


Andrew Hollis: Im(possibilities)@ ROLLO Contemporary, 51 Cleveland St - Fitzrovia

17 Feb - 28 April: www.rolloart.com

Andrew Hollis’ latest paintings are derived from photographs taken from 1960’s –
70’s encyclopedias. They work through a surrealist-tinged edginess of unexpected juxtapositions, and by echoing the modern – sceptical – reception of photography: they set up parallels with both the diminishing claims to authority of printed encyclopedias, increasingly less-used in the internet age; and with how their information becomes marooned in time, with its own future uselessness built in. The results are complex voyages through the history of how images are constructed and perceived.

Topless

Rob & Nick Carter: Postcards from Vegas @ FAS Contemporary,148 New Bond St - Central

To 15 Feb: www.fascontemporary.com

There’s a zingy feel-good factor to the Carters’ fourteen conjunctions of reduced-size recreations of vintage neon signs (found on casinos, diners, motels etc) on top of quaintly kitsch 60’s-70’s postcards blown up to six feet wide. This meeting in the middle of scales and places also gains from the contrasts between flat and sculptural and between types of artificial colour. Add a double dose of nostalgia and some wit in combining the paired elements in ways which elude exact logic but tend towards the cheerfully sexual and it’s possible to see why this show shines where Gilbert & George’s extensive sex ‘n’ postcard combo at nearby White Cube fall rather glumly flat.

Most Wanted

Richard Phillips: Most Wanted @ White Cube, 48 Hoxton Square - Hoxton

to 5 March: www.whitecube.com

American Richard Phillips' big, lush, hyper yet unreal oils bring traditional Venetian techniques to pop cultural icons who seem to teeter between on the one hand embodying the desires teased at by their self-publicity, and on the other hand being exposed as dead ends in a morally vacuous society. Where pop art celebrated consumerism, Phillips’ take is more ambiguous. He shows ten celebrities deemed 'the most wanted' in contemporary US society, and captured in maximum commodity mode, ie in front of logo-covered posing backdrops. Small pastels upstairs, squared up for trasnfer to the big paintigs below.For those as unhip as me, it may also lead to such questions as ‘Who is Taylor Momsen? Or Zac Efron?’ - though even I can recognise Leonardo DiCaprio.


Disportrait 1

Matthias Schaller: Disportraits @ Ben Brown Fine Arts, 12 Brook’s Mews – central

To 4 March: www.benbrownfinearts.com

German photographer Matthias Schaller is known for sequences of indirect portraits. Here gives us a deadpan gag with a bonus punchline. He’s sourced an impressively wide range of spacesuits and photographed them from various angles. This proposes that we take seriously the profile and frontal views of occupants (should there be any) who remain uniformly invisible, thus frustrating any use as identification or any urge to compare cosmo- with astro-nauts. Neat: but, neater still, the reflections of each set also describe a lunar cycle, conflating the explorative goals of the 60’s with the minimalist sequencing of much of its art...

The Library (1)

Raphaël Zarka
: Rhombus Sectus @ Bischoff / Weiss, 14A Hay Hill – Central

To 19 Feb: www.bischoffweiss.com

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the French artist Raphaël Zarka’s discovery of abandoned concrete breakwaters in rhombicuboctahedron form (since you ask, a semi-regular polyhedron with 26 sides, 18 of them square and 8 triangular). Whatever the concealed, perhaps mystical, properties of the shape may or may not be - and therein lies some of the tease - Zarka has tracked down many such since, as if seeking to flesh out an ideal. Talking of idealism, this show reprises past rhombicuboctahedral finds along with his latest discovery: the regime-spanning National Library in Minsk, Belarus, which was designed in the communist 80’s but not built until 2006. Mind you, President Lukashenko’s methods tend towards the old-school, too.


Rectangles (Green to Blue), 1976

Peter Hedegaard: Paintings & Screenprints @ Rocket gallery, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St – Shoreditch

To 19 Feb: www.rocketgallery.com

On the one hand this is a vibrant show of intensely-coloured hard-edged abstraction from the 1970’s by an almost-forgotten Danish-born Londoner who runs through variations in scale, tone and hue within a painting to punchy effect, and has a persuasive way with oddly-shaped canvasses. On the other hand it conceals a sad tale. Hedegaard (1929-2008) gave up painting completely in 1976 following unfavourable reviews. Those missing decades seem a shame in the bright light of this selection.

Manhattan Transfer

Christiane Baumgartner
: Reel Time @ Alan Cristea, 31 & 34 Cork St - Central

17 Feb - 19 March: www.alancristea.com

Both Alan Cristea spaces will be devoted to Christiane Baumgartner, a German artist who combines the oldest and slowest means of reproducing images with the newest and fastest in the form of woodcuts made with paradoxical labour from video images, and sometimes on a monumental scale. Baumgartner arrived at this combination as a means of returning to her traditional training in communist Leipzig after working in digital media for some years. Her subjects are often linked to movement and communication, subjects emphasised by showing the same scene at slightly different times. Baumgartner will be speaking the opening (6 pm, 16 Feb, all welcome).

Also recommended:

Lynn Chadwick: The Couple @ Pangolin to 26 Feb – a more varied progress through the theme than you might expect, and just right for a Valentine’s visit.

Christian Hidaka: Waterfall at the Top of the River @ Max Wigram to 19 Feb – New! Improved! Christian Ward rebrands himself successfully in the Japanese context of his mother’s maiden name.

Cindy Sherman @ Spruth Magers to 19 Feb: fascinating larger-than-life latest from – to totally triviliase her identity games – David Byrne’s ex.

Adam Ross: The Eternal Space Between @ Hales Gallery to 19 Feb – spatial ambiguities and muitilayered seduction through what look like abstract versions of flights over California.

Peter Coffin: Cosmolology + 1 @ Herald St to 20 Feb – coloured clouds and vertical neons as the imaginative American ponders those who study the studiers of the universe.

Jennifer Rubell: Engagement @ Stephen Friedman Gallery: 8 Feb to 5 March - Britisg debut for food artist from mega-collector family, here teasing our Royal Wedding and providing paintings you can drink.

Myriam Mechita @ Bloomberg Space to 12 Feb: her installation of glittering headless excess, 31st in the long-running ‘Comma’ series, is one of the most striking.

Phoebe Unwin: Man made @ Wilkinson to 6 March – plays the game (and maybe more) of guess-the-image out of near abstraction with painterly assurance.

Please Write @ Posted – second part of the 67 Wilton Way project in an ex- Post Office includes Emin, Noble & Webster, Kim Rugg’s stamp deconstructions and some diverting bleaching.

Keren Cytter: Avalanche @ Pilar Corrias and the David Robert's Art Foundation: four linked films fragment and cross-stitch a narrative across two galleries. Makes most sense, I think, if you start at David Roberts.

Philip King @ Flowers East to 19 Feb – an interesting 50 year survey of the still lively sculptor who represented Britain in the 1968 Venice Bienalle, though I did feel that the show peaks early with 'Drift' from 1962.

Photo credits: relevant artists and galleries

About Me

My photo
Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09)and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, The Art Newspaper and Border Crossings. I have curated five shows in London during 2013-15 with more on the way.Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.

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