Friday, 30 September 2011

OCTOBER’S MULTITUDE

No doubt about it: October is an almost embarrassingly rich month with Frieze itself plus other fairs, and the accompanying shows put on by major public institutions and the galleries in Frieze – such as Aaron Young at Carlson; Nathalie Djurberg at Camden; Mike Kelley at Gagosian; Anne Truitt at Stephen Friedman; Pipilotti Rist at the Hayward; Cory Arcangel at Lisson; Richard Tuttle at Modern Art; Rebecca Warren at Maureen Paley; Degas at the Royal Academy; Georg Herold and Andreas Slominski at Sadie Coles; Anri Sala at the Serpentine; Gabriel Kuri at the South London Gallery; Gerhardt Richter, Barry Flanagan and Tacita Dean’s Turbine Hall commission at the Tates; Post-Modernism at the V&A; Wilhelm Sasnal at the Whitechapel; and Grayson Perry at (where else?) the British Museum, to name only however many that is. And my favourite September shows carry on: Phyllida Barlow at Hauser & Wirth and Jemima Brown at Standpoint. Then there are three (!) Artangel commissions, various pop-ups and auctions and several new galleries due to open, including Pippy Houldsworth, Pace, Thomas Dane’s second space, White Cube’s third… Enough? Not quite! Here are ten shows separate from those categories above, but which are also well worth seeing…

Untitled from the Star Portrait series

Laurel Nakadate @ the Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Rd – Chalk Farm

To 11 Dec: http://www.zabludowiczcollection.com/

Anita Zabludowicz’s multi-room project space works well for an impressively broad survey of video and photographic work by the young American Laurel Nakadate. The individual works cover established tropes of video art with a winningly light touch: personal diaries, for one of which she cries every day for a year; unorthodox casting calls; dancing in odd places; and interaction with strangers – including an edgy yet empathetic way of luring lonely middle-aged men into her schemes, and photos taken by means of just a night flash to reveal by camera someone unmet. The cumulative effect goes further, though, collapsing the distinctions between self, friends and strangers to make us wonder who we really know…



Zoe Paul: Thalasseum @ Cole, 3 – 4a Little Portland Street - Fitzrovia

8 Oct - 5 Nov: http://www.colelondon.com/

Anita Zabludowicz sponsors the alternative Sunday Art Fair, which includes Tom Cole’s gallery. When asked to nominate promising eighties-born London-based sculptors, I tend to reply ‘Nika Neelova (who'll be in 'The Future Can Wait' during Frieze), Steve Bishop (up shortly at Christopher Crescent), Magali Reus (showing at The Approach in November) and Zoe Paul’. So this is a welcome chance to see the latest from the only British-born artist on that list – though Paul did grow up partly in Greece, consistent with which she’s previously used marble-effect tiles to box in the shapes of classical fragments, as if returning them to the stone from which they were carved. That sardonic dialogue between past, present and future is set to continue here with sculptures using clay from an ancient Minoan site to hide and fragment the figurative forms within….


Lettre sur Aveugles II, 1974
  Frank Stella: Connections @ Haunch of Venison, Burlington House – Central

To 19 Nov: http://www.haunchofvenison.com/

Banned from Frieze for being owned by an auction house, Haunch of Venison could be seen as the ne plus ultra of non-fair galleries. The last show in Burlington House, operating in brief parallel with its newly refurbished eponymous space, is the fullest Frank Stella retrospective seen in Britain. It runs from his initial late 50’s explorations of the painting as an object in space (rather than as window onto the world) to such 60’s geometry as a big ‘protractor painting’, through the more complex constructions of the 70’s and on to the baroque turn those objects began to take in the 80’s and – some tastes may feel – proceeded to take too far in the years beyond… Like it all or not, though, this is a must-see.

Portrait 42

Mona Kuhn: Bordeaux Series @ Flowers, 21 Cork St

5 - 29 Oct: http://www.flowersgalleries.com/

If Frieze had been around 30 years ago, Angela Flowers would surely have been central to it; yet though it may no longer be seen as cutting edge, the gallery still represents some interesting artists. One such is the Brazilian-born, US-based, internationally-inclined photographer Mona Kuhn. She spends her summers in a naturist community in France, and that has fed into a style which deals with the nude in domestic and landscape settings in a relaxed, intimate and non-prurient manner. Kuhn became known through her projects ‘France’ (2002-2008),’Brazil’ (2009) and ‘Venezia’ (2010), and now returns to her second home for .the 74 photos of the ‘Bordeaux Series’.


Spiral (Square Argyle)

Daisuke Ohba: The Light Field @ the DAIWA Anglo-Japanese Foundation, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace – Baker Street

To 20 Oct: http://www.dajf.org.uk/

The young Japanese artist, Daisuke Ohba, makes shiftingly mysterious abstract and landscape paintings which stand in for flux in the world. He layers iridescent pearl paint over other colours so that from some angles and in some lights, all is grey; whereas from other angles or in other lights, manifold colours shimmer into view – sort of Cruz-Diez done naturally. The mystery, to me at least, is why exactly the effect occurs: as neither Ohba’s gallerist nor the show’s curator could enlighten me at the opening, I don’t feel too ignorant, but trying to work that out provides another reason to attend… Answers welcome!


Frances Richardson: ‘Ideas in the Making: Drawing Structure’ @ Trinity Contemporary, 2nd floor, 29 Bruton St - Central

11–28 Oct: http://www.trinitycontemporary.com/

Both Trinity Contemporary and Frances Richardson are best known for drawing – the latter uses just the signs ‘+’ and ‘-‘, and her recent colour versions, in a kind of meditative parallel to Ohba’s practice, build in optical transformation effects. Yet this show of MDF structures with a participative dimension looks like sculpture. Not so: Richardson, a classmate of Leeds schoolboy Damien Hirst who later trained in the Yoruba tradition of carving, sees them as drawings in three dimensions. One gives you the chance to measure up to the artist – as I do in her studio above – in a Richardson-sized riff on Robert Morris’ 1961 ‘Box for Standing’.

Rudyard Kipling, perhaps

Liane Lang: House Guests @ WW Gallery, 30 Queensdown Rd - Hackney

6 - 22 Oct: http://www.wilsonwilliamsgallery.com/

Rudyard Kipling is a rare bird in contemporary art, and I tend to think of him as strongly English and colonial - so it comes as a jolt to be reminded that from 1892-96 he lived in Vermont. Liane Lang’s mixture of film and installation will enable us to enter the atmosphere of Naulakha, Kipling’s isolated house in the Connecticut River Valley, and to consider Kipling in light of the shifting historical boundaries of what constitute racism, imperialism and condescension. And this is showing in an appropriately Victorian house. My own engagement may be enhanced by the face from which Lang cast her Kipling – mine!


The Fountain
Fiona MacDonald: Works from the mirrored series 2009-2011 @ 10 Gresham St – St Paul’s

To 22 Jan: http://www.fionamacdonald.co.uk/

Fiona MacDonald is on a scholarship in Rome, but usually manages the artist-run Standpoint Gallery. Here she shows her own work in the contrasting space of a corporate lobby: Lloyds TSB staff will have three months to walk by her characteristic hybrids of classical beauty and visceral entropy. The titular mirroring refers to how the works all reflect historic art, but in a different, distorted form, as if each practice were trying to destroy the other: thus sculptures (Bernini, Easter Island…) are turned into paintings and paintings (Titian, Tintoretto…) into sculptures. The painted sculptures seem menacingly organic (that’s the Tivoli Fountain above), while the paintings become clay sculptures trapped in baroque swirls of lurid silicone. In City terms, I suppose, they’re derivatives gone out of control.



Hamra Abbas: Cities @ Green Cardamom, 5a Portchester Place - Marble Arch

To 21 Oct (not weekends): http://www.greencardamom.net/

Boston-based Hamra Abbas, best known for her ‘Lessons on Love’ sculptures of lovers with weapons, finds this small space big enough to show her remarkable diversity in media and location: sculpture, video, text animation, photography, collage and performance made in – and reflecting – Berlin, New York, Sharjah, Istanbul, Thessaloniki and her native Lahore. The common elements are a playful way of combining sacred with secular and innocence with experience – whether through portraits of children as attributes of God, the artist ritually cleansing another woman in a Turkish bath, or toy missiles mutating into vibrators (see www.hamraabbas.com for an overview).

Rapunzel

Wen Wu: A Re-interpretation of the Fairytale @ the Hua Gallery, Unit 7B, Albion Riverside, Hester Rd – Battersea

To 25 Oct:  http://www.hua-gallery.com/

‘Hua’ is Chinese for ‘painting’, which gives you a clue about this new gallery in the same Norman Foster building as once housed the larger Albion Gallery. Aiming to showcase artists well-known in China but little-seen internationally, it opened with predominantly abstract Zen Buddhist painter Yi Xuan, and now shows Wen Wu’s comparably serene meditations on beauty and the relativity of myth. Chinese women – herself in the case of the fantasy platter seemingly trapped in a vase – either enact western fairytales or, in subtly inflected portraits, seem to be thinking about their role in them. Levi-Strauss may come to mind…


Even that isn’t all. I was tempted to list Michiel Ceulers at Rod Barton, David Rickard at The Nunnery, John Finneran at Arcade, John Smith at Peer, Emma Hart at Matt’s Galley, LA painters at Josh Lilley, Richard Galpin at Hales, Morandi @ Robilant & Voena, Alex Hoda at Project 20, Michael Stubbs at Laurent Delaye, Nabil Nahas at Ben Brown, Robert Motherwell at Bernard Jacobson, Lucien Smith at Ritter/Zamet and Artists Anonymous at Riflemaker, Monika Grzymala at Sumarria Lunn and Leonardo Drew at the new Vigo - still without touching on the 37 galleries in Frieze which have a London space.


Images courtesy the relevant artists and galleries.

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About Me

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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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