|Untitled (Egungun series)|
Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou at Jack Bell
Jack Bell, who travels the world to bring the unexpected to his Mason's Yard space, is showing Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, the leading photographer from the Republic of Benin. Here what may look like an improbably imaginative means of disguising the self for performative art purposes is in fact from one of several series which picture life in the Porto Novo region. Here one of the Egungun masqueraders who appear at Yoruba funerals to mark and guide the passage of the deceased to the spirit world, and at festivals in order to forestall major misfortunes which threaten the local community.
|Carting the Cardboard|
Steven Morgana at La Scatola Gallery
It’s a shame Poppy Sebire is closing her eponymous gallery, which has not only had a consistently impressive programme but also been perhaps the most artist-friendly of commercial spaces. More by way of celebrating a stimulating four year project that than mourning its end, she signs off with a first London Art Fair appearance, and promises to do so in style: Georgie Hopton will be taking over the entire booth with her gently witty photographs, vegetable prints and collages, all shown against her own wallpaper in a collaboration with the RA print department. Expect an integrated adult garden context for playful childishness...
Julia Alvarez’ Deptford gallery is a regular at the Fair, and will exhibit 'Penumbra', the latest series by Suzanne Moxhay. She uses a combination of found images - the National Geographic is a favourite source - and model making to construct what are effectively her own small scale designs for film sets. She photographs and digitally manipulates these so that the miniature merges with the epic and it is hard to tell the real space from the illusory. The resulting environments, as she says, ‘exist in a space between various intersecting fields of representation while embodying a reality of their own’, in this case inspired by exploring the edgelands of London, where small patches of wilderness encroach on the man made environment, creating strange juxtapositions of the natural and urban.
|Wreath to Pleasure No. 1, 1992-3|
Richard Saltoun, who has just opened his own gallery in Fitzrovia but is collaborating here with Karsten Schubert, is a particularly strong presenter of female artists from previous generations. Helen Chadwick prefigured aspects of the YBA’s approaches before her untimely death in 1996. Her thirteen-strong series of‘Wreaths to Pleasure’ (she called them ‘bad blooms’) have a seductive repulsiveness to their bodily sub-texts. ‘No.1’ clusters tightly-bunched tulips round a single black cherry in a well of oil to generate an image which collapses interior and exterior to appear at once cellular and sexual,
|Model Study 21, 2007|
|Being & Nothingness|
Bristol-based Works|Projects 'will explore the disruption of form and language, time and space' through five emerging artists from the South-West. I'll be interested to learn how writer-sculptor Marie Toseland's striking installation of 15 speakers, 6 amps, mixing desk, ice block and raw amplified sound tackles the themes implied by its title: 'Being & Nothingness'. Perhaps it performs the impossibility, according to Sartre's doomy account, of fully aligning consciousness with bodily being? Result, if so: a melting ice block of sexual frustration.
In fact, Works / Projects showed a range of work including a rather quieter Toseland and this witty 'Pike Planning Inspectorate)' by Mike Ricketts, made with spray paint on suburb-sourced door numbers, hanging basket brackets.
|the mirrory beaches, the rosy rocks|
Samara Scott at The Sunday Painter
Those proved good choices, and - sticking for no particular reason to abstract-tending work, I also liked...
Much of the Fair concentrates on 20th century British art: this year it seemed to William Gear who was most in evidence rather than, say, Nicholson, Heron and Frost. Landscape, Grey / Orange (1964) at the Redfern Gallery was a nice example.
Hannah Know's 'Hyper' at Ceri hand, which uses thermochromatic sensitive paint on a jersey on a heated frame to make a Rothkoesque image which changes temperature and colour.
Beardsmore's combination of subtle greyscale explorations by Francesca Simon and Rebecca Salter with the vibrant colour of Ghanaian Atta Kwami's paintings representing the attributes ascribed to a dozen African premiership footballers by their fans.
Darren Marshall's Hole 1 at Gallery Vela, combining an abstractionist's interest in the performative site of the painting as object with an earthquake source.
The spiritual circuitry of 'Mandala 02' by ex-engineer Leonardo Ulian at Beers Lambert: a intricately symmetrical meditation on the components of computer technology.