Monday, 12 August 2019


SHOWS TO SEE: Up Now in London 

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Katarina RankovicVernacular Spectacular at Tension Fine Art, Penge

I like the entertainingly intelligent channelling of freshly tweaked philosophical thought, and Katarina Rankovic’s first solo show  delivers just that in a welcome new space in Penge. She slips into ten personae: one who dances, one who kisses the wall, and eight whose slanted monologues raise all sorts of issues. One of them complains about being brought into temporary being. Among the claims others make are that  20-22% of the things that happen actually don’t happen…  Don’t worry: I’d still recommend this show if 1/5 of it went missing.

Where Were You at Night at S│2 to 19 Sept

This is the second of three shows Sotheby's is setting up which use a literary framework, in this case a collection of fourteen short stories written by Brazilian Clarice Lispector. It's an interesting show, including plenty of Tonico Lemos Auad, for example, and a fascinating film collaboration from 2003 by Shelagh Wakely with Tunga, in which ritual interactions take place with sculpture to the beat of a naked drummer ('Egypsia and the Phenix', above). Moreover, you can pick up a free copy of Lispector's book - and she was, after all, one of the 20th century's finest exponents of the short story.

Mark Handforth: Trash Can Candles at Modern Art, Vyner St to 14 Sept

The gallery's own description of this is good: 'a battered beach trashcan barely contains a mass of colourful, burning candles whose wax flows through its metal grid and hardens across the floor, transforming an everyday object into a shrine set for vigil— a slow, endless performance'. And there are other juicy installations..

Olga Jevrić at Peer (to 14 Sept) and Handel Street Projects (by appointment)

Serbian artist Olga Jevrić (1922 ­– 2014) developed a distinctive sculptural language – playing mass against void using a mixture of cement, iron dust, rods and nails. For example, she says, one means of resolving ‘the relationships between different masses' within her sculpture is provided 'by transferring the action to the iron rods’, which combine movement with inter-connectedness. This first UK solo runs across both Peer and Handel Street Projects. Above is  ‘Three Elements’ 1955-6.

Her Ground: Women Photographing Landscape at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Rd to 31 Aug

This excellent survey includes Mona Kuhn: 'AD 6883', 2014. The Brazilian  must be the leading contemporary photographer of the figure  in landscape, and here I especially like how Jacintha - a long-term friend whom Kuhn sees as a 'soul sister' - appears to 'wear' a shadow. The image features in her new book, 'She Disappeared Into Complete Silence' - shot in and around Acido Dorado, a house in the middle of the Californian desert. Robert Stone designed it with mirrored ceilings and walls which reflect and complicate the light. I wondered if the title indicated a future date, over 4,000 years hence, so picking up on the timeless aspect of what Kuhn terms the 'abstraction of being' which the solitary nude represents. It's probably just a serial number within the project, but I'll stick with the thought. 

Michael Rakowitz at the Whitechapel Gallery to 25 Aug

The Whitechapel is filled with with nine thought-provoking installations. Most are connected by conflict, making surprising connections and challenging stereotypical assumptions. This, from The Visionaries, 2006, is the Iraqi-American artist’s drawing of one of various proposals he collected from the general public for how to use the ‘missing teeth’ left by demolished buildings around Budapest, counterpointing the imaginative results with the grandstanding utopian aspirations of architects. In this case it’s a ‘car park’ to replace a parking lot - aspects of which are left behind, such as the multi-use tyres. 

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelly: Rand/Goop at Studio Voltaire to 6 Oct

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelly's from 'Rand/Goop' features six weirded versions of  Mary intoning the words of Ayn Rand's 'Objectivism' and Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle advice for 13.5 minutes. The press release says that Ran's espousals of individualism begin to resonate with the purchasable wellness offered by Paltrow's Goop. Actually I wasn't always sure what came from which source...

The Immaculate Dream at Collyer Bristow Gallery (to 30 Oct) and Backyard Sculpture at DomoBaal (to end of summer) - both by appointment

Head to Clerkenwell for two teeming summer shows, with 70-odd works in both 'The Immaculate Dream' and 'Backyard Sculpture', which does indeed spread into the back yard at DomoBaal.  Kudos to Claire Mitten and Alice Wilson, who are in both. Image above is one view of Domo's backyard, including Matt Hale's painting of a dead tree which was already there... 

Gradation at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art to 21 Sept (closed Aug)

Eight artists explore subtle gradations within works over three floors of a Georgian townhouse, and feature various ways in which a material may turn out to be other than you thought (there's no particle board in Roland Hicks' ‘Three Part Dissemblage (OMM)’ above, for example). With Bella Easton, Diogo Pimentão, Erika Winstone, Katrin Bremermann, Melanie Smith, Nicole Fein, Roland Hicks and Troika: I couldn't have chosen the artists better myself...

Lee Krasner at the Barbican to 1 Sept

Lee Krasner: 'Self Portrait' 1928. The mature works of Lee Krasner, now fairly fully emerged from her previous mis-categorisation as Mrs Pollock, need to be encountered at scale, but this result of the 19 year old Lena (as she then was) nailing a mirror to a tree has personality at any size.


Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers at Tate Britain to 6 Oct

Related image

'The Asset Strippers' 2019 fills the Duveen Halls with online auction sourced industrial, agricultural and bureaucratic detritus from our analogue past, repurposing it as sculpture and memorial while echoing many modern art tropes. The best use of this space since Phyllida Barlow in 2014...  Moreover, Frank Bowling's retrospective is as worthy of enthusisam as Lee Krasner at the Barbican.

Images courtesy / copyright 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, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.