In Quotes @ the Gerald Moore Gallery, Eltham Collage, Mottingham Lane - Mottingham
To 19 May
Cristina Garrido: Hymn, 2012 - homonymous work by Damien Hirst from the series of altered postcards Veil of Invisibility, 2011-present
The Gerald Moore Gallery makes a fine venue for Ann-Marie James’ stimulating presentation of collage and assemblage by 13 artists ranging from perhaps the most famous current practitioners (Linder, John Stezaker and Susan Hiller) to less known artists also finding logical reasons to represent and combine to generate a fresh aesthetic. For example Tim Davies subverts the function of bridges by sanding away their ‘from’ and ‘to’; Cristina Garrido almost erases the works of art from postcards, leaving us to wonder which are improved by the process; and Holly Stevenson’s riotously conjoins vintage postcards of 1950’s cowboy actors with the landscapes in which they acted, the latter in turn inhabited by snippings from jewellery adverts to ramp up their theme park qualities. I liked it more when Holly told me how one of the actors died following a marital row: he drove off with all his wife’s jewellery, crashed, and his head was fatally cracked by the flying casket of bling.
Holly Stevenson: Phosphoresent, Palmy Bonheur Series - 6 silver gelatin postcards, 22 linen type postcards, magazine cut-outs. The series, says Stevenson, applies happiness to images that have come to foolishly symbolise a perpetual state of readiness for a good time.
Invisible Cities: Architecture of Line @ Waddington Custot, 11 Cork St - Central
To 4 May
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva; Le couloir (ou Intérieur), 1948
oil and graphite on canvas, 46 x 55 cm
It would be easy enough to throw together a few artworks relatable to Italo Calvino’s famous book of imaginary cities. Harder, though, to obtain works by four artists whom Calvino actually wrote about (de Chrico, Melotti, Paolini, Arakawa), complement them with three whom he certainly could have engaged with, and persuasively relate each artist’s oeuvre to a particular ‘invisible city’. That’s what curator Flavia Frigeri achieves here. Her three ‘extras’ are Tomas Saraceno (matched logically enough with Octavia, 'the spider web city'), Gego (steel drawing-constructions linked to Ersilia, a constantly regenerating metropolis based on a ‘pattern of strings’) and the Portuguese-Brazilian-French painter Helena Vieira da Silva. Her six shimmering visions of cities on the cusp of abstraction – the most I’ve ever seen at once – are the highlight, delicately teamed with Diomira, one of Calvino’s cities as memory triggers.
Lorna Simpson: Unanswerable @ Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row – Central
To 28 April
William Coldstream @ Browse & Darby, 19 Cork Street – Central
To 2 May
He’s hardly high fashion, but William Coldstream (1908-87) is having something of a moment. A new catalogue raisonné has just been published, three of his paintings feature in Tate Britain’s survey of London painting ‘All Too Human’, and a further 27 are at Browse & Darby. Those 30 are a big proportion of the whole, given that Coldstream completed only 200 works (due I would think to his extensive and influential teaching, as well as an intense and fastidiously calibrated approach which meant that 60 x 90 minute sessions might be spent on one painting). Not many of the 200 are nudes, the subject for which he’s best known, but both shows have great examples, including two titled ‘Seated Nude’. The Tate’s, from 1952-3 after a 14 year gap, is paired with a still life in which it appears in the background twenty years later; Browse & Derby’s, from 1959-60, is of Monica Hoyer. That was a life-changing and all too human process of scrutiny for the 53 year old professor: he left his wife afterwards and married the 26 year old model in 1961.
Signe Pierce: Metamirrorism @ Annka Kultys Gallery, 472 Hackney Rd – Cambridge Heath
To 28 April
Observing the methods of projection, reflection and lighting, and the various films and holograms which populate her studio environment in New York, Signe Pierce saw that she could create a visually echoic gallery installation. All is controlled through her mobile phone, but the effects are actually ‘real’ rather than digital, forming an ever-shifting ‘projector painting’ which responds to fanned air, visitor movements and changing light - both natural from overhead and artificial Red-Blue-Green from the floor level. The factors are too numerous for full control, which keeps things lively, but I was reminded of Larry Bell paintings, lava lamps, fun fair mirrors, swimming underwater and the Aurora Borealis.
Bernard Cohen and Nathan Cohen: Two Journeys @ Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Rd – Hoxton
To 5 May
Bernard Cohen: Octet, 2011 - 137 x 167.5 cm
It’s possible to draw a sharp contrast between father Bernard (84) and son Nathan (55) in this unusual pairing: the former is a free, spontaneous spirit, the latter maps everything out beforehand. But both make complex abstractions, and the results are similar enough that you could believe that Nathan’s work is the newest direction of his father, as for all their intricacy they are simpler than Bernard’s thrillingly complex networks. Bernard - from gliding towards a limpid late style - seem to be upping the ante as he ages. That can be seen more fully in his current ‘Spotlight’ display at Tate Britain (to 3 June), which covers six decades.
Nathan Cohen: Crystal, 2017 - 111 x 107.5 cm
Damien Meade @ Peter von Kant, 25 Tanners Hill – Deptford
To 27 April
Installation view with Untitled, 2018
Damien Meade’s paintings feel at home in Peter von Kant’s battered, brick-heavy interior in the deep ford which became Deptford, partly because they, too, make use of clay: Meade sculpts faces from it, and then paints from those models, so doubling up on artifice. Here, in a rare London solo, four of those visages share the space with three flatter, more abstract depictions of clay as it could be after a head, unfired, is mashed back ready for the next to emerge. Do they represent the void for which all human clay is bound? Perhaps, but the plinth-necked presences seem more ineffable than salutary.
Christian Boltanski: éphémères @ Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John St - central
To 12 May
This is just as elemental and impressively installed as the Nitsch show, but in a quieter register focused on the transience of life. That's represented most directly by a new film projected onto torn veils, documents mayflies - éphémères in French, with both languages building in the insects' brevity. It sounds great, too, with the tinkle of Japanese bells on stalks (from a double installation of of Boltanski's roadside shrines to souls) contrasting with Mysteries, 2017, in which something like whale song results from colossal trumpets mounted on the Patagonian coast so that the ocean winds pass through them.
Aslan Gaisumov: All That You See Here, Forget @ Emalin, Unit 4 Huntingdon Estate, Bethnal Green Rd - ShoreditchTo April 28
Emalin have made a considerable effort to maximise the impact of Chechnyan artist Aslan Gaisumov’s linked films, remodelling the gallery and changing its entrance. People of No Consequence (2016) documents a gathering of survivors of Stalin's mass explusion in 1944 of mountain settlement in the Galanchozh region of Chechnya. Keicheyuhea follows the artist's grandmother as she returns, at 90, for the first time allowed to that remote landscape. She recalls being ordered to leave 'with fifteen minutes' notice - no trucks, only with what we could carry'. 'Hail place!', she exclaims, but 'only the mountains are standing' from what she remembers. Gaisumov pulls off an elemental and personal, yet universal and thought-provoking, meditation on history and experience.
Matt Johnson: 0,1,1,2,3,5,6,13,21
@ Marlborough Contemporary, 6 Albemarle St – Central
By titling the show with the Fibonacci Sequence, American sculptor Matt Johnson indicates that he’s working with science and ratios: not so obvious when you see piles of baguettes and a giant (65cm square!) pizza box. But the bread, which is piled in the ration of the golden mean, is a scale model of the Giza pyramid, and it isn’t wheat but wood suggesting stone. And the pizza box has a black hole vortex in the middle – making it the logical pair of a version of the cosmos painted onto the fibreglass replica of the unevenness of a tarp, setting up Johnson’s version of a blip in the space time continuum. Opening just after after Stephen Hawking’s death, this show begun to feel like a tribute. A swan and a frog watch over proceeding, both made from shells enlarged, cast in bronze, and painted to look like shells again. Fun, to which Hawking himself was far from averse, of course, before checking out at the surprising age, given his condition, of 76.
Black Hole Pizza Box, 2018, carved wood with paint, 26 x 25 1/4 x 5 in. (detail).
Installation view with Karen David
Law firm Collyer Bristow have, remarkably, now been using their offices to show art for 25 years*. And they’re big shows: 60-odd works by 20 artists appear in regulator curator Rosalind Davis’ latest, which uses a Talking Heads lyric even older than the gallery to set off thoughts about what the future might be like. Any danger of sci-fi similitude is countered by plenty of wit (eg Kitty Sterling, David Worthington, Sasha Bowles) and a good sprinkling of retro-futurism (Tim Ellis, John Greenwood and young German Arno Beck, who has the surprising idea in one of his age of using a typewriter to convert digital images into deliciously delicate analogue equivalents). Four artists contribute especially large and coherent bodies of work: Dan Hays, Alison Turnbull, Ian Monroe and Karen David. You do need to know, I think, that the candies** are in David’s pictured installation because just that was used to lure E.T. from the woods.
* By appointment during office hours: and subject to meetings sometimes occupying rooms, so Friday afternoon is a good time to visit. Comes with a nice booklet.
** Odd what you can learn looking at art: Reese's Pieces are American packs of peanut butter candy spheres, manufactured by The Hershey Company in yellow, orange and brown. Sales tripled when, in one of the earliest such film product placements, they featured at a cost of $1m in ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’, 1982.
Arno Beck: Textmode (Mountain), 2017 - typewriter drawing on Japanese paper
Dominic Beattie: Cascade @ JGM Gallery, 24 Howie St – Battersea
To 14 April
Untitled (yellow/blue), 2017
Dominic Beattie has made his name with paintings which make a virtue of their scruffy construction, but here he adopts a new near-rigorous manner: repeated shapes are hand-drawn onto plyboard, which is carefully taped; and ink blotted on with a cloth to make patterns with two tones each of two colours depending on whether two or four layers of ink are applied; and modules so made are combined to make large paintings. The somewhat tapestry-like results are complemented by several studio chairs (co-produced with Lucia Buceta) - monochrome contrasts on which one can sit to read Martin Maloney, in the excellent catalogue, compare his ex-pupil’s new mode to a schoolboy sarcastically double-knotting his tie to indicate rebellious conformity.
Installation view with studio chairs
Anna Reivilä: Nomad @ Purdy Hicks, 25 Thurloe St – South Kensington
To 7 April
Young ‘Helsinki School’ photographer Anna Reivilä cites Smithson and Araki as inspirations, though Christo and Goldsworthy seem equally present. Her first solo show anywhere presents photographs taken in the remoter parts of her native Finland. They follow a move from drawing on landscape photographs to ‘drawing’ on the landscape itself, using rope which she knots around tress, rocks and ice. That proves a beautiful ambiguous way to muse on man’s relationship with nature. The rope nets, intuitively rather than systematically formed with sailor’s knots, hover between protection and strangulation. In the case of ice, of course, rope is a hopeless stay against melting, triggering the thought of how little chance we seem to have of protecting ice in the larger scheme of global warming.
To 31 March
Peter Schuyff came to prominence as one of the Neo-Geo painters in New York in the 1980's, but moved to Amsterdam in 2003. He's known for geometric abstraction with a 'stoner Zen' aesthetic, and wood carvings which use the shape of a baseball bat as a convenient starting template. Here the sculpture has swollen to uncover feminine undulations in three tree trunks, two of them named after ex-wives. They look great in the wood-panelled gallery. Other painted motifs include infinite spaghetti and a sort of anthology of previous themes, as shown below. The whole ensemble has a characterful vibe consistent with Schuyff's parallel interest in making music.
Plato Combinato, 2010, Oil on linen, 140 x 140 cm
Gideon Rubin: Black Book @ Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens - Finchley Road
To 15 April
Whereby a Jewish artist tackles, modestly yet intensely, the reason Freud lived here during the last year of his life: fleeing Nazi Germany. Such a charged subject suits Gideon Rubin's way of sourcing old magazines (from Germany in the 30's) and using them to make collages, and paintings at a further remove. He paints out all fascist references as well as all faces - the latter an established move in his practice to universalise an image and shift what viewers focus on. He also blocks out, line by blacked line, a copy of the original serialised English translation of Mein Kampf, as if seeking to identify the abstract pattern of evil. Rubin, moreover, secretes much of the work in among the many archaeological objects in Freud's study. But some memories cannot be suppressed, and we know what came next.
Black Book (detail) - ink on serial parts of the 1939 English edition of 'Mein Kampf'
David Harrison: Fuck Me @ Lungley Gallery, 438 Kingsland Rd - Dalston - to 30 March & Liane Lang: Prussians and Other Villains @ Coffee Is My Cup Of Tea, 103B Dalston Lane - Dalston - to 25 March
This Dalston double of new spaces is good for refreshment and transgression. You can have a beer at The Haggerston, then step down to the basement where David Harrison (who's represented by Victoria Miro) has a decidedly left field project. 'Fuck Me' concentrates on his glory hole masks, which for all I know are made to be worn for sexual action. They're complemented by a couple of striking paintings and some short video loops of the artist dancing around, fully costumed, in his Aladdin’s Cave of a studio. Harrison’s masks are clean-shaven, but walk north-east and you can sip a hot drink as you examine Liane Lang’s collection of bronze moustaches, inspired by the post-Communist theft of Stalin's mouth mirken from a statue. Various fascists and dictators are reduced to the suitably ridiculous and murine by these synechdochal portraits.
Liane Lang: Stalin's moustache and cafe installation view with Prussians and Other Villians (Prussian rulers and politicians) and Hair of the Devil (fascists and dictators), 2015
The Machine Stops @ Danielle Arnaud, 123 Kennington Rd – Lambeth North
To 23 March
Gabriela Schutz DISconnect, 2016 clay 46 x 18.5 x 12.5cm installation view by Oskar Proctor
‘The Machine Stops’ takes its title and themes from E.M. Forster’s only sci-fi writing, a 1909 short story in which physical interaction is displaced by communication over distance, and all surface desires are catered for - until a breakdown occurs. That sets the context for three artists and a composer to ponder what the Internet done to us, and what will happen when it shuts down. Clare Mitten's sculptural grouping of plant-come-machines resonates with Forster’s prescient themes*. Gabriela Schutz contributes clay figures which seem overtaken by their mobile phones even before one of them is broken to the point of disconnection, and also shows her astonishing analogue blog, a giant roll of drawings and text setting out everyday experience and responses to artworks in front of which she unfurls her incongruous alternative to Instagram.
* Take these quotes: 'The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine' or 'Few traveled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over'.
Valérie Belin: Photographs of Women @ Huxley-Parlour, 3-5 Swallow Street - Central
To 17 March
Alongside other subjects from fruit to engines to bodybuilders, French photographer Valérie Belin has found several ways to focus on ambiguities and uncertainties in depicting women – if, indeed, they are women (‘Transsexuals’, 2001). Are we looking at a person or a model? (Mannequins, 2003). At the spilling out of inner life or the drowning out by cultural norms and excess information? (‘All Star’, 2016). At physical make-up or digital additions? (‘Painted Ladies’, 2017, in which the foundation is more like an abstract disguise than a figurative enhancement). All of which and a makes these 15 images from six series, all printed huge and clinical, an arresting line-up at the newly-named Huxley-Parlour. An interesting comparison, incidentally, is with Laurie Simmons' contemporary classic 'Fake Fashion' series from 1984 at Amanda Wilkinson's new gallery in Soho.
Glenn Brown: Come to Dust @ Gagosian Gallery,
20 Grosvenor Hill
To 17 March
Fat Boy (1945), 2018: indian ink and acrylic on drafting film, 130 x 103cm - presumably a mash-up of the code names for the Nagasaki ('Fat Man') and Hiroshima ('Little Boy') atomic bombs, so pretty dark...
I tend to assume Glenn Brown is a slow worker - influenced, no doubt, by the exactitude of his famously flat ‘Auerbach copies’. Yet here are a commanding 60 works made in 18 months, with three distinct streams prominent: painting reworked, as usual, from many sources but always from other paintings, the queasy Life on the Moon being my favourite; Indian ink drawings which distort art history, often by taking their cue from the pre-sourced frame, as is at its clearest in Fat Boy (1945); and Brown’s signature method of making sculptures from paint in the very opposite manner from flattening an Auerbach, here applied to riotous effect on the armatures provided by found sculptures. Prolific, then, yet good.
Let me ferry you out to sea To see who you could have been When time comes to row back in You’ll be in the place you should have been, 2017 - Oil paint on bronze
Here & There: Paintings by Lisa Milroy @ Parasol unit,
To 18 March
Anglo-Canadian Lisa Milroy is probably still best known for 1980’s paintings which put life into the still life against an off white background. Since then she has brought increasingly experimental approaches to explore the performative aspects of painting and its relation to objects, and the role of clothes and shoes in identity formation. Here, for example, concentrating on this century, is a chance for visitors to rearrange 4 from 45 dresses as painterly wall-hung combinations; to choose between many shoes presented on paintings; to watch a performer move around dressed in a painting as she enacts connections around the show; and to read a 20 metre wide narrative of the studio. It’s a riot of colour and invention downstairs, and of monochrome-tending invention upstairs...
Roger Ackling: Brought to Light @ Annely Juda Fine Art, Dering St
To 10 March
Roger Ackling (1947-2014) worked through the universe rather than the hand, using the sunlight focused through a magnifying glass to burn lines onto card, paper, pieces of wood and detritus from marginal zones. He met his future wife, Sylvia Crowther, at the wedding of his close friends the artists Trevor Sutton and Carol Robertson in 1985, and now they have chosen and presented a wide range of Ackling's work and archive materials. “When Roger was working", says Robertson, "he entered a world of ritual and hermetic order... Time burned in linear geometric patterns, line after line after line. He liked to say he was always making the same piece of work. So in our mind’s eye we join all the lines together like a burning fuse, stilling our minds too.” The resultant Gesamtkunstwerk is beautiful, meditative and - given you can get a twig for £1,000 - not so very expensive to buy in to.
Minjung Kim: The Memory of Process @ White Cube, Mason's Yard - Central
To 10 March
Pieno di Vuoto, 2008 - Mixed media on mulberry Hanji paper, 206 x 143 cm Photo: White Cube (George Darrell)
In her native Korea, Minjung was a pupil of Dansaaekhwa master Park Seo-Bo*: an inspiration, she told me, but rather severe and not a man to take women seriously as potential artists. She moved to Italy, and then France, where she has found the Mediterranean light suits her as continues to use the traditional Korean mulberry Hanji paper, collaging singed pieces to make meditative series.. I’ve been impressed by her work several times previously at an intimate scale, yet White Cube's selection demonstrates across several series that the same processes can have a different but equally powerful effect when they assert themselves with gently but insistently in Mason Yard’s big spaces.
* Two years ago he, likewise, showed at Mason's Yard under Katharine Kostyál's aegis
Richard Ducker: End Credits @ dalla Rosa gallery, 3 Leighton Place – Kentish Town
To 3 March
In which three streams of Richard Ducker’s retro-futurist practice come together to create an edgy scenario full of size inversions. Eight Horizontal Hold aerosol drawings suggest an end-of-broadcast black and white TV with which the titular reversal of Joan Jonas’ 1972 ‘Vertical Roll’ would be temporally consistent*, but they’re on the scale of the biggest new colour flat screens. The cinematic-sounding End Credits impose tabloid newspaper styled headlines onto smoky backgrounds at tablet size: that is, phrases from the artist’s spam box are given mysterious prominence on top of online images of post-explosive smoke. And one of Ducker’s Stealth Devices, a wall-based missile-like sculpture domesticated by its small scale and flock covering, invades his own show.
TERRA: A contemporary history of clay @ Hotel Contemporary, Lamb Projects, 10 White Horse St - Shepherds's Market
To 25 Feb
Ceramics have been trending in the art world beyond their previous craft reputation for a while now, all of which is brought together by the Phaidon book Vitamin C: Clay + Ceramic *. So where is the corresponding survey show? Curiously absent until this punchy gathering of 30 work shows by a classic (Lucio Fontana), five of Phaidon’s 100 ( Caroline Achaintre, Liz Craft, The Grantchester Pottery, Emma Hart, Mai-Thu Perret) and nine up and coming practitioners who fit in well. The highlights include masks by Jonathan Baldock and Caroline Achaintre, an anus-cum-peephole by Zoe Williams and a boxing glove you wouldn’t like to be hit with by Paloma Proudfoot. The funniest is Liz Craft’s anti-Brexit piece Merrie Olde England, which might be sub-titled ‘Boris speaks shit’. Certainly, if you’re redecorating your loo and have set aside £9,000 for a toilet roll holder, you should buy it immediately!
* Impressive, even allowing for my bias as a contributor
Co--curator Carmen Blanco Santos employs Paloma Proudfoot's ceramic boxing glove on artist Holly Stevenson, who happened to be in the line of firing
Painting All Around
I’m reasonably medium-neutral, but it’s hard not to notice that a stellar range of painting shows have already opened across London this year. Even if group shows are omitted, many tastes are catered for:
Dale Lewis: Devils Juice, 2018 - Oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 200 x 400 cm
Pulsating figuration: Dale Lewis at Edel Assanti and Emma Cousin at Lewisham Arthouse - see separate review
Glenn Brown: Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above, 2017 - Oil on panel, 231 × 192 cm
Imaginative appropriation: Glenn Brown at Gagosian
Intricate interiors miniaturised: Paola Ciarska at IMT
The life in still life: Lisa Milroy at Parasol unit (see below)
Disturbingly detatched realism: Philip Pearlstein at Saatchi Gallery
Mindy Lee: It’s a bit scary (front and back). Acrylic and thread on cotton,. 73 x 47 cm. 2016
Collaborating with a toddler: Mindy Lee & J.A.L-B. at Griffin Gallery
Painting on cut-up carpet: Bea Bonafini at Lychee One
Retinal repetition: Bridget Riley at David Zwirner and Mohammad Ali Talpur at Austin Desmond (see weekly column)
Geometries of space: Selma Parlour at Pi (see my review at Saturation Point)
The substance of colour: Carmen Herrera at the Lisson Gallery
Hans Hartung: T1988-E35, 1988 - Acrylic on canvas,180 x 142 cm
Unrestrained abstraction from a wheelchair: Hans Hartung at Simon Lee
Collaged means: Minyung Kim at White Cube (see below) and Tara Donovan at Pace
Self-painting performance: Neville Gabie at Danielle Arnaud
The grace of the would-be-unfinished: Georgia Griffa at Camden Arts Centre (see below)
Piero Dorazio: Nel Cuore Verde, 1965, oil on canvas, 148 × 197 cm
Maximally colourful and crisp abstraction: Piero Dorazio at Tornabuoni
This, Georgio Griffa’s Paolo e Piero, 1982, is a tribute to Dorazio’s geometrics and the lances in Ucello’s famous Battle of Romano. As that’s in the National Gallery, you can see all three in London now!
And if group shows come into the mix, such as the five artists subverting portraiture in 'Face to Face' at Angus-Hughes and the three gay women painting themselves and each other in the innovative triangulations of ‘Threesome’ at New Art Projects, then there are even more worthwhile shows of painting...
Simon Fujiwara, Fabulous Beasts (Bluewashed Mink), 2017. Shaved fur coat on wooden stretcher frame, 175 × 100 cm.
Rose Wylie & Wade Guyton @ Serpentine Galleries - Kensington
To 8 Feb (Guyton) / 11 Feb (Wylie)
Rose Wylie: Choco Leibniz, 2006 - 366 x 305 cm
Both Serpentine Galleries feature artists who've found a highly distinctive visual language. Rose Wiley's cheerfully dispenses with convention in her thrillingly free and spontaneous-looking accumulations of floating memories and sensations, featuring her wartime experiences alongside films, animals, football, tennis, skating... The installation aces the Sackler's spaces, with the multi-panel works particularly at home. Here she is, in the show's simplest and least colourful painting, eating that most philosophical of biscuits, the Choco Liebniz. Back at the old Serpentine, Wade Guyton - much lower key - continues to develop the range of his his modern style of diptychs - doubled computer print-outs that push the capabilities of the equipment to a limit which becomes painterly.
|Wade Guyton: installation view|