Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Paul’s ART STUFF ON A TRAIN 221-230

'Peles Empire's Empire': Paul’s ART STUFF ON A TRAIN 224


Peles Empire in Hanover: ‘Grid’, 2017

Peles Empire in Munster: ‘Sculpture’, 2017 


Peles Empire in Kassel:’Remnant’, 2017 

Passing through Munster, Kassel and Hanover last week, I saw work by the collaborative project Peles Empire (Barbara Wolff and Katharina Stoever) at all three. What’s more, there a sense in which all their work is part of one: since 2005, both their own shows, and the space in which they exhibit other artists (they currently run one in Berlin, following on from London and Cluj) collide their actual architecture with photo-copy-derived features from the Neo-Renaissance Peles Castle in Romania, a grand palace which imitates other architectural styles to an absurd extent. Peles Empire copy and dislocate the Castle, applying printed images of its rooms to walls, sculptures, and other surfaces to complicated effect. It can get hard to tell 2D images on a 3D surfaces from 3D versions of a 2D images: their room in Hanover, part of an admirable quinquenial survey of art being made in Germany, features plenty of such play, including detritus in the floor which proves surprisingly easy to walk across. As part of the decennial sculpture festival at already much-reconstructed Munster, they have built a castle-derived meeting place in a car park; and though in Kassel they’re not part of Documenta 14, they have a bigger presence than most artists through a solo show at the Kunstverein. So they are making a good fist of ruling, all confusing levels of reality and time – making the point perhaps that contemporary cultural production inevitably acts similarly, even when that isn’t acknowledged.


The show ‘Da Da Da’ in Peles Empire’s London space, 2014

                        Barbara Wolff and Katharina Stoever


The 170-room Peles Castle in the Carpathians, built 1873-94 

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

Sculptural Weight in the City:  



Martin Creed: ‘Work No. 2814’, 2017

The seventh version of the annual ‘Sculpture in the City’ places 18 artists’ work in the stimulating context of the square mile. This year, for example, sculptures by Karen Tang and Nathaniel Rackowe, both exhibited previously in London, gains fresh impact: Tang suggests that the sci-fi energies of her ‘Synapsid’ echo the hidden activity in the surrounding offices, and enjoys how their workers spill out to eat their sandwiches while sitting on it; Rackowe delights in the contrast between the ‘anti-architecture’ of his upturned shed structure ‘Black Shed Expanded’ with the surrounding big statement buildings. Another diversion in the stroll around is to consider the different sculptural weights involved. On the heavy end, I was surprised to find that Peter Randall Page’s ‘Envelope of Pulsation’ is at 6.5 tons, twice as heavy as Damien Hirst’s colossal painted bronze ‘Temple’, which at 21 feet high is the most spectacular work, and well sited. Seven tons, according to co-director Stella Ioannou, is the limit after which even the strongest pavement locations are too likely to collapse. At the other end of the scale, Martin Creed’s materials are mere plastic bags, but the way he places them on a tree has considerable impact. And Mhairi Vari uses TV aerials and poly-tunnel repair tape to attach delicate lung-come-clouds to several buildings. 

  Damien Hirst: ‘Temple’, 2008

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

56 x Bloomsbury at ‘Masterpiece’



From Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant ‘The Famous Women Dinner Service’, 1932-1934

The 8th edition of Masterpiece fair (29 June – 5 July at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea) features 150 exhibitors with all manner and periods of fine and applied art. It’s easy to range from to a late Paul Klee to a mummified ibis to an erotic feather painting by George Taylor to a 19th century Indian ebony and bone-inlaid rosewood turban stand to Ivan Navarro’s political yet abstract installation of lightworks to a set of six coco de mers, and so on… Artists more ‘on trend’ than in previous years are John Hoyland, Alexander Calder and John William Godward (1861 –1922). The last was a protégé of Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912) with a commonality of subject – women disporting themselves in classical architectural settings – but more availability and lower prices, though ‘A Happy Awakening’ is £0.6m, so hardly a snip. Alma-Tadema himself has a major show shortly at Leighton House, so this is a teaser of sorts. All that all caught my attention, and you should look out for it, but what surprised me most was to find two dealers showing remarkably large and well preserved collaborations by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. In 1920 those two seminal figures of the Bloomsbury Group were commissioned by a third – John Maynard Keynes – to make murals for his rooms at King’s College, Cambridge. Philip Mould has a wall of eight studies they made in preparation. The second Bell-Grant collaboration was produced in 1932-34 for another distinguished commissioner: Sir Kenneth Clark. Piano Nobile have the complete set of 48 plates on which they painted agreeably camp portraits of Famous Women – 12 Queens, 12 great beauties, 12 writers and 12 artists (including Bell, and Grant as an honorary woman). Clark’s diners had the option of eating off, for example, Great Garbo, Charlotte Bronte or the Queen of Sheba. 

Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant ‘The Famous Women Dinner Service’, 1932-1934 


Studies for The Muses of Arts and Sciences, 1920, by Duncan Grant & Vanessa Bell

John William Godward: ‘A Happy Awakening’, 1903



Channing Hansen: ‘Software’, 2017, Hand spun, hand dyed wool and tulip wood, 218 x 244 cm

Typical! You wait years for a solo show of knitted paintings to come along, then two open in the same week. Both use the material as a means of confusing the picture and its support. That aside, they are perfectly contrasted. Rosemary Trockel’s Strickbilder (at Skarstedt to 4 Aug) have been central to the famous German artist’s practice since 1984. They challenge the status attributed to traditionally female craft, both by presenting it as fine art, and by having the knitting done by others on computerised machines. The results shown here are rigorous, coldly analytical black and white representations of knitting patterns and political and commercial motifs. Channing Hansen is a new-to-London Californian man who shears, washes, dyes, blends and spins rare breeds of wool himself before using his own designs of stitches to make unwieldy multicoloured textiles full of holes, as if parodying the expected level of male knitting expertise. He then stretches them around his own wooden stretchers, which remain visible (at Stephen Friedman to 29 July). As if that’s not enough personal input, the patterns are derived from computer coding of his own DNA. And if that’s not enough knitting, the highlights of ‘Playing Mas’, a six artist show themed around carnival and masquerade (at Vigo to 21 July) are wool works: Zak Ové’s crocheted doilies and Caroline Achaintre’s hand-tufted wall rugs…

Rosemarie Trockel: ‘Untitled’, 1985 – knitted wool (black and white), 30.5 x 40 cm.

Caroline Achaintre: ‘Moustache Eagle’, 2008 – Hand tufted wool on fabric 240 x 154 cm

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

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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.