Mequitta Ahuja: Notations @ Tiwani Contemporary, 16 Little Portland Street
To 2 June
Material Support, 2017 - 213 x 203cm
|Crossword, 2017 - 107 x 106 cm|
Hermann Nitsch: Das Orgien Mysterien Theater @ Massimo de Carlo, 55 South Audley St - Mayfair
To May 25
This three floor survey with extensive film documentation of
Nitsch's Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries, plenty of paintings and rooms full of
relics gives a powerful overview of what Hermann Nitsch has done these 60
years. Plenty of transgressive and blasphemous animal slaughter, ceremony,
nudity and crucifixion of course, but what’s it all about? Nitsch is an
existentialist who seeks to maximise intensity by embracing extremes as - in
his words - ‘the artist who is into meat and blood'. He believes that
natural human instincts have been repressed, and that the rituals will release
their energy, purify and redeem us. Even if you're not convinced, the spectacle
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