Sunday, 15 July 2018


Up Now in London

Aki Sasamoto: Clothes Line @ White Rainbow 47 Mortimer St - Fitzrovia

To 4 Aug (Tues-Fri 11-7)

Sasamoto making a performative drawing at the opening

I wasn’t surprised when New York based Japanese artist Aki Sasamoto told me she has experience as a stand-up comic. Her practice centres on wry dialogues delivered in a Japanese accent as delightful as Laure Prouvost’s French, all the while making drawings to illustrate her points. At White Rainbow You can see the drawn result of her London performance alongside films of her actions and resulting drawings from three further performance projects in America. To give you a flavour, one starting point is to contrast the detailed view of the dung beetle with the broad sweep of a bird. What kind of life do you want? One which includes this show would be a sensible start…

Sasamoto in dung beetle mode in the film Yield Point


Rafal Zajko: Jaka praca dziś - takie nasze jutro and Jutro @ Castor Projects, Resolution Way, Deptford

To 4 Aug

Anna Perach: The Red House Lord, 2018 - hand and gun tufting, artificial hair and yarn, 140 x 115 cm

Now is the time to visit Deptford, as Andy Wicks is expanding from one of the enclaves at Resolution Way to take Castor into two - but for a while he has all three. The old space contains Rafal Zajko's solo show, which sees him move from a performance-based practice to an emphasis on sculptural forms derived from public art in his native Poland, but retaining a performative element: inserted ice melts, cracks and falls; visitors have the chance to add chewing gum. The new double unit holds a group show which elegantly plays wall-based sculptures off against each other, curated by Zajko together with Wicks and introducing some fresh Eastern European voices. 

*  The work of today – determines our tomorrow

Rafal Zajko: Technological Reliquary I (Current), 2018: Jesmonite, embroidery, steel, push button, ice 80 x 50 x 4.5 cm


Summer is traditionally the time for group shows, typically combining gallery artists with a sprinkling of guests and tied to a theme which suits a fairly light curatorial touch. That can become formulaic, but it’s not necessarily a bad formula. Timothy Taylor, Simon Lee have good examples and White Cube a grad version. My favourites so far are either muted or expression-mutingly masked:

Mute @ Amanda Wilkinson, 18 Brewer St - Soho and Elizabeth Price: txtʃərz   at Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Rd - South Bank (to 14 July including Art Night)

Derek Jarman: Household God III (Wagner), 1989

‘Mute’ is, quite simply but originally, a series of works which keep themselves quiet in various ways. Angela Bulloch’s ‘On/Off Line Drawing Machine’, 1991, allows itself hardly any expressive capacity as it proceeds to build up a horizontal. Derek Jarman decapitated the busts of several composers, replacing their implied music with rocks or objects found near Dungeoness. France Alys provides a delicately hesistant drawn gesture. Jimmy Desana’s figures are gagged. Isa Genzken’s radio is concrete.

An offsite extension to Elizabeth Price’s new film at the Morley Gallery is very much on track: in her trademark ‘archive with disco’ style, she presents the 6 minute story of a strike-of-sorts through which the governing committees of universities and museums opt for wordlessness in – it would seem – the face of increasing corporatisation of those institutions. The only visuals are collaged video clips of magazine clippings showing long dresses as worn by models c. 1960-80: on the one hand summoning better days for academic freedom from commerce, on the other referencing hoe the dresses’ models had to pose for the purpose of display, rather like a lecturer ticking inspectorial boxes. 
Elizabeth Price: still from txtʃərz

Mask @ Kamel Mennour, 51 Brook Street – Mayfair

To 28 July

Installation view including François (left), Rondinone (centre) and Halilaj (right)
An obvious enough theme avoids the obvious: Nobuyoshi Araki shows half-face, half-flower collages of what were previously two separate streams of work to propose 'a still life which masks the psychosexual desire of the Japanese people'; Petrit Halilaj’s ‘Do you realise there is a rainbow even if it’s night’ is a moth; Michel François half-masks his then-wife Ann Veronica Janssens with a white liquid dip; Alberto García‑Alix photographs himself as partially self-masked - and so on, with 13 artists in all… True, Ugo Rondinone appropriates the look of an African tribal mask, but that winks at us, conspiratorially. 

Araki collage

Yuko Mori: Voluta and Peter Fraser: Mathematics @ Camden Arts Centre 

To 16 Sept 

Seasonal light on two Untitled images from Mathematics - chairs and a thinker.

Camden’s latest pairing is of Peter Fraser’s saturated photographs with Yoko Mohri’s cutely contingent orchestration of objects. Is there a connection?  Maybe, if you see the Japanese artist’s way with fish, spoons, bells and percussive Venetian blinds as a model of our thoughts pinging round our brains. For Fraser’s untitled photographs form the project ‘Mathematics’, which show (i) scenes which remind him of how maths underlies reality and (ii) portraits of people asked to imagine that something they had long held to be true had just been proved false. So both can be related, but abstractly, to thought: for we can’t see what Fraser’s subjects are thinking, and pretty much any items might have illustrated the metaphysics of maths, given it’s attributed to everything.  Both shows prove to be metaphysically knowing in a wryly amusing way.

A spoon prepares to play a bell in Voluta


Dialogues with a Collection @ Laure Genillard, 2 Hanway Place – Tottenham Court Rd

To 16 Sept

Lucy Heyward: Face Up Face Down, 1998

The premise for Laure Genillard’s new show sounds a tricky one to pull off: ask 11 artists to show their own work as complement to one of the works she has in her own collection. It turns out, though, that the original works, the new works, the pairings, and the precise explantory texts supplied come together beautifully. Highlights include Gerhard Lang’s ‘visus signatus’ (unsighted) drawing of clouds alongside their meteorological data in response to Frank Heath’s penetratingly funny project of inscribing computer back up in laser cut form; Sarah Staton’s updating of the language in Stephen Willats’ 1960’s rearrangable clothing with text (‘poor / rich / sick…’) with categories from 2018 (‘pangender / neurodivergent / aromantic…’) and Lucy Heyward's 'Face Up Face Down', which seems to derive some sort of merger of sex and forensic anthropology from the attractively tweaked logic of displaying a photogram of a plate-stand on that very plate-stand as if it were itself a plate.. Laure also has as a good a Tomma Abts as you’ll find at the Serpentine…
Tomma Abts: Zerka, 2015

Caroline Jane Harris: A Bright Haunting @ ASC Gallery, Taplow House, Thurlow Street - Elephant & Castle (to Aug 3) and Superimposition @ Partners & Mucciaccia, 45 Dover St - Mayfair (to 31 Aug)

Caroline Jane Harris: Shroud, 2018 - hand-cut archival pigment print, 130 x 100cm

I’d better start with a double bias-alert. I chose Caroline Jane Harris as winner of a solo show at ASC Gallery; and I helped write the text for the rather substantial catalogue of Catherine Loewe and Michael Stubbs' curation. All the same, here are two excellent shows which investigate the nature of image-making today. 

Caroline Jane Harris: Monolith II (detail) 2017–18 - white pencil rubbing on archival Kozo pigment print, 112 x 66cm

Harris uses all manner of technical processes to expose and work through the digital aspects of such quotidian views as clouds seen through a window, which becomes the screen of post-production. The intricately beautiful results emerge not as a critique of any truth attributed to  analogue indexicality, but (to quote Jon K. Shaw's catalogue essay) as ‘an affirmation of the visual mysteries of the everyday’. 

Paul Morrison: Pyxide, 2010 - gold leaf and acrylic on linen, 72 x 54 cm

The superimposition in 'Superimposition' can be seen various ways: Barry Reigate mixes modes over each other – carton, graffiti, abstraction. Mark Titchner imposes language on pattern to baroque effect. Michael Stubbs obscures graphic signs with abstract overlays. Paul Morrison ruptures space by combining different scales and sources within the same pictorial space – an implied planar superimposition. All of which suggests the digital overlaps of the screen without using its technologies directly, and makes for a highly stimulating conversation of contrasting yet related voices. 

Mark Titchner: Up, 2012 - carved wood and imitation gold leaf, 141 x 141 x 10cm     

Richard Woods: The Ideal Home Exhibition @ Alan Cristea Gallery, 43 Pall Mall  - central

To 31 July

House with Solar Panels, 2018

At last year’s Folkestone triennial Richard Woods came across the illogical combination of houses being sold as second homes because the locals couldn’t afford to buy them as their only residence.  That – in the form of implausibly colourful model ‘holiday homes’ - is the starting point for a rich mix of ideas bringing the housing market to Woods’ characteristic modes. Fashionable cellar extensions and solar panels are mocked. Eight prints of ‘Dream Homes’ refer to the somewhat double-edged compliments of estate agents: does ‘mature garden’ mean it's overgrown, does ‘potential to convert’ indicate it's currently uninhabitable? Another set converts Woods’ famous wood effect prints – by rotation, cropping and minimal intervention – into ‘handheld landscapes’, ie views of plots of ground to be sold. 

Handheld Landscape (51 acres), 2018 - Acrylic on birch plywood, 27 x 20 cm

Carol Bove @ David Zwirner, 24 Grafton St – Mayfair
To 3 Aug
May, 2018

Some of Carol Bove’s best known work uses peacock feathers, quite an apparent contrast with the big all-metal collages here, which she makes ‘in the air’ using a robust system of hoists, jacks and harnesses. Yet – perhaps due to that – there’s a lightness to Bove’s combinations which she says she ‘imagines fast’, as if working in clay. The results are compelling. Partly due to the interplay of rusty found steel, manipulated and then powder coated steel tubing, and highly polished steel discs. Partly due to the superbly orchestrated ‘abstract narrative’ (if I can be allowed the term) which unfolds over the two floors. 
View with Nike I and Nike II, 2018


Family Values: Polish Photography Now @ Calvert 22 Foundation, 22 Calvert Avenue – Shoreditch

To 22 July

From Zofia Rydet's Sociological Record

At the core of this show, despite its subtitle, are two stunning long-term series from the last century.  Zofia Rydet made an amazing 20,000 images of Poles in their homes for her Sociological Record (1978-90) – detailed orchestrations at a rate of five per day from age 67 to her death! Film maker Józef Robakowski, banned from exhibiting his work, turned to the apolitically personal, albeit with the texture of surveillance, as a way of protesting obliquely at collectivist ideology. From My Window (1978-2000) is just that: the neighbourhood’s coming and goings to a commentary which stresses their personalities just as it transmits Rabakowski’s. There are also four recent projects in the show. Remarkably, they assert themselves successfully in the context of the older work, especially Aneta Grzeszykowska’s Negative Book and Aneta Bartos’ startling dual portraits of herself with her bodybuilder father. 

From Aneta Grzeszykowska’s Negative Book 



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.