Monday, 24 September 2018

CHOICES UP NOW




SHOWS TO SEE: Up Now in London

See also my Instagram feed as paulcareykent


Paul Anthony Harford at Sadie Coles Davies Street to 10 Nov



Paul Anthony Harford's 'Untitled (artist attacked by gulls)' is typical of the many seaside graphite drawings with a surreally rudderless undertow made by Paul Anthony Harford (1943-2016) who lived in Southend and Weymouth but was no outsider but always refused to exhibit his work.




 Jan Henderikse: Mint at the Cortesi Gallery to 20 Nov



Dutchman Jan Henderikse is a long-term practitioner of emotionally charged accumulation with a Zero-tending aesthetic. Cortesi has a fine survey covering 60 years and ranging from number plates to bars of soap to shredded bank notes. ‘Untitled’ 2017 bitter-sweetly conjures celebration through the detritus of its passing, and also provides a nice word: these are champagne muselets (from the French museler, to muzzle).




APT + ONE at the APT Gallery, Deptford to 14 Oct

In which 41 artists from the Art in Perpetuity Trust studios each show alongside an invited artist, throwing up many compelling - and indeed, apt - conjunctions. As illustrated, studio holder David Webb's painting on a game board is paired with his guest Tom Hackney's 3D depiction of the moves in a chess game.

Yelena Popova: Her Name is Prometheus @ l'étrangère to 3 Nov



The chance to rearrange an interactive sculpture-come-non-competitive-game (as demonstrated by the artist herself above) epitomises this show of heavy issues presented lightly, as the parts can make up the plutonium atom and the colours are for  'danger'. Likewise a female Prometheus, the great physicist Lise Meitner, synchronised swimming and nuclear fission all feed in to various works...




Hugh Mendes: Autorretrato at Charlie Smith to 13 Oct



For a decade Hugh Mendes has been combining still life (of a newspaper clipping, here imagined) with portraits, and his new show also amounts to an intellectual self-portrait through his versions of how the 13 painters who have meant most to him portrayed themselves. 'Obituary: Egon Schiele' sees him fresh faced and less tortured than usual. Hugh explains that this is the only one in which Schiele looks directly back at the viewer, something he wanted in all the faces. 


Martin Maloney: Field Workers at JGM Gallery to 26 Oct.


'Baba Yaga' 2013 is one of ten monumental combinations of figure and landscape with considerable zing and such abiguities as vegetation which could be headwear and bodies through which we may be seeing the land. Their basis - Slovenian 'field workers' awaiting passing lorry drivers - adds to the disorientation.


Hiding in Plain Sight at the Amar Gallery to Dec 13


Ethel Schwabacher's 'Warm Rain' 1959 appears in the Amar Gallery's impressive survey of 11 female abstract expressionists, with top works by the obvious Frankenthaler and de Kooning but also Grace Hartigan, Yvonne Thomas, Amaranth Ehrenhalt... Schwabacher, who was close to Arshile Gorky, is inspired by nature and psychological states - and 'Warm Rain' feels like a relief from traumas, of which she had a few.



Heather Phillipson: My Name is Lettie Eggsyrub at Gloucester Road underground station - throughout 2018.
 






Phillipson is a vegan who says that eggs are subject to torture - would you like to be cracked or boiled? - when we forget they are potential lives. So her whole-platform eggstravaganza questions consumption, bit it's more obviously a fun thing to go to work alongside, with farting eggs making especially wacky sense.






Images courtesy / copyright the relevant artists and galleries 




   

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SHOWS CLOSED SEPT-DEC 2018



Loie Hollowell: Dominant / Recessive at Pace Gallery to 20 Sept


'Double Hemisphere (Ovulation)' is one of the many not-so-abstract - indeed, sexually explicit - sculpturally-shaped paintings in her show at Pace. Hollowell's own notes on a preparatory drawing mention butt cheeks, the drip drip time of month, and speculate that 'two solid red dots would look too much like buttons'.


A Romance of Many Dimensions at the Sid Motion Gallery to 22 Sept 



Matthew Barnes, Hannah Hughes and Abigail Hunt make for an interesting group show in which a painter, sculptor and photographer by training all converge on means of collage. Matthew Barnes presents his photographs in effective sculptural ways: 'Palace Walls' 2016 sets an image of security fencing on such fencing to suggest that a royal residence has become not merely an empty facade, but just the facade of protection.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

ART STUFF - WEEKLY COLUMNS FROM FAD 261-300

276: To Deptford


Part of Laura Yuile’s installation for Deptford X

The annual Deptford X (21-30 Sept) may be a relatively small event in organisational and funding terms, but makes for a packed visit. Six commissioned projects form the core, and this year they’re all within five minutes of the festival’s hub on Deptford High Street. For example Laura Yuile has covered domestic items with pebble-dash in a striking estranging move, and had shop mannequins talk to each other as a stand-in for the restricted interactions of social media. I also enjoyed Louise Ashcroft’s subversion of the Festival’s own operational process: she attended a board meeting and persuaded its members to press various body parts into clay, which she has used to make a tea service for use at their next meeting with a title – ‘Fleshing Board’ – drawn from a report she found in the archives. The breadth of special projects is shown by the inclusion of a volume of playfully post-modern stories by David Steans – it starts with the author looking for the book in the library before he’s written it… The bulk of the Festival action is in 61 fringe events, ranging from well-known artists in established spaces to pop-ups in shops. My lucky dip suggested that the standard is good: Gossamer Fog (on the rare topic of technomancy), Castor Projects, Peter von Kant and APT all have interesting shows – the last being the biggest, with 41 artists from the Art in Perpetuity Trust studios each showing alongside an invited artist, throwing up many compelling conjunctions. Nor is it far to the new Goldsmiths CCA gallery, which has a seven room presentation of Mika Rottenberg’s compellingly grosteque work. So the area is well worth a visit…

Nicholas William Johnson: ‘Antennae’, 2018 at Peter von Kant, a trippy depiction of the halluciogenic Angel’s Trumpet.
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head
275: Abstract Expressionist Women on the Rise



Grace Hartigan:  ‘White’, 1951
Around 65 years after its productive highpoint, it’s interesting to speculate how the history of abstract expressionism will look in another 65 years. By the time pop and minimalist tendencies came to be seen as the newer vanguard, the received story concentrated almost entirely on white men: Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, Newman, Kline, Motherwell…). More recently, black painters have gained increasing attention (say Jack Whitten, Frank Bowling and Sam Gilliam); and among women, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell have seen their prices and reputations escalate. Yet the correction may have some way to go, given that plenty of women worked alongside  their male peers in developing and exploring what Elaine de Kooning pithily summarised as painting which was ‘an event first and only secondarily an image’.  The exhibition ‘The Women of Abstract Expressionism’ suggested a shift when it toured the United States in 2017, reintroducing Grace Hartigan, Judith Godwin, Ethel Schwabacher and others to considerable acclaim. Now ‘Hidden in Plain Site’ (at the Amar Gallery to Dec 13) provides a stimulating chance to see eleven such artists’ work in London. Its curator, John Paul Rollert, has a theory of what happened. The men ‘were happy to divide the spoils of artistic appreciation when there were essentially none to speak of (de Kooning, Fine, Frankenthaler, Thomas, and Hartigan all presented in the 9th Street Show, a legendary 1951 exhibition featuring nearly 60 New York artists in which not a single artwork sold)’. But the minute there was recognition, and money to be made, ‘the women were sidelined’ and ‘newly christened as second-class citizens who were steadily pushed out of the spotlight’.  So: how will the cannon look in 2080?


Amaranth Ehrenhalt: ‘Carmona’ 1957
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

274: The Joys of a Small Biennale



 
Eca Eps: ‘Pure Water’ – fills a boat of sorts such as refugees might not survive in with water as packaged for those who do.

I’ve just returned from the third Biennale to be held in the small (pop 43,000) German town of Halberstadt, 100 miles west of Berlin. It’s quiet, historic and slightly eccentric*, a good setting for 14 projects spread across six sites throughout September on the theme ‘Climates of Change’. The budget was a modest € 50,000, and while it was no surprise to learn that volunteer effort underpins such an event, the effort needed became evident as I toured with the event’s chairwoman, local artist Ilka Leukefeld.  For the ambition is international, with an independent curator (London-based Pippa Koszerek) given free rein to initiate several performances and such technically challenging installations as a machine for reproducing a tornado at small scale (Alistair McClymont), an interactive worldwide public broadcasting jukebox (Sara Lehn) and a three screen video programme with randomly alternating use of a single soundtrack (installed in an atmospheric cellar under the town hall, still filled with World War II bomb rubble, by the best-known artist to feature – the German film maker Alexander Kluge). A notable organisational triumph was the agreement of free travel for all visitors on the town’s handy tram network, but I wasn’t surprised to hear of teething problems in setting work up, operational difficulties, late funding decisions and sudden withdrawal of planned venues – all confirming the selfless dedication required to work through such issues. Back at the art, the Italian collective Museo Aero Solar were overseeing the participatory production of a huge balloon made of recycled plastic bags; the Nigerian Eca Eps wove performance, film and installation together impressively to consider the paradoxes of water as life saver and life threatener; and the Slovene Jasmina Cibic’s film ‘Fruits of Our Land’, which bitingly yet entertainingly recreates a 1957 Jugoslav debate  about what art works should be commissioned to represent the nation, was well placed in a Town Hall committee room**. Attendance will be modest, but a day at the MKH Biennale does tick the boxes required for a worthwhile biennale: interesting and fresh work presented in the context of a coherent and topical agenda in unusual locations which add to the experience.

* A former monastery in Halberstadt is the site, for example, of a performance of John Cage’s organ work ‘As Slowly as Possible’ which is due to last 639 years, the next change of note being set for September 2020!

** Recent words from President Erdogan chime exactly with Cibic’s implicit critique: he complains that Turkey’s arts have become ‘more Western than the West, at odds with the nation’s values, and unaware of the rich heritage left behind by our ancestors’.

 
Balloon making workshop with Museo Aero Solar

Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

272: Art, Duchamp and Retinal Chess





Tom Hackney X Purling London Art Chess – ‘Retinal Chess’, 2018

Art and chess have often been linked, most famously via Marcel Duchamp, who was addicted to the game to the extent that not only did he switch his focus from Athena to Caïssa, but it contributed to the failure of his marriage in 1927. According to Man Ray, Duchamp spent so much of the honeymoon studying chess problems that his bride got up when he was asleep and glued the chess pieces to the board. They divorced after three months. Duchamp designed and carved a chess set of his own, and Purling London’s is the latest of several projects over the years which have asked artists to design sets. Much the most interesting is by Tom Hackney, who has since 2009 played on Duchamp’s refusal of art in favour of chess making an ongoing series of apparently abstract paintings which actually represent the moves from games played by him. Duchamp famously saw his readymades as an antidote to purely ‘retinal art’, emphasising the thinking behind what is seen. As Hackney explains, both art and chess can be considered in terms of their retinal and non-retinal characteristics, as the physical placement of the pieces represents the thought-space shared between opponents. ‘The set I have designed’, says Hackney, ‘aims to accentuate this retinal aspect of chess, with the pieces defined by the two primary types of photo-receptor cells found in the eye – cones and rods. As the game progresses the pieces are scattered into disordered configurations and combinations, before being reset into spectral sequence and tonal rank’. The result is the most interestingly coloured pieces since Yoko Ono’s ‘White Chess Set’,1966.




 
The set in action: the position is from a game between Turner and Duchamp, played in New York, c1948 – photo by Austin Fuller, World Chess Hall of Fame




 
Tom Hackney: ‘Chess Painting No. 118 (Duchamp vs. Le Lionnais, Paris, 1932)’, 2018 – 48 x 48 cm | gesso & primers on linen, oak frame
 
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

 

 

 

271: Completely Coconuts at the British Museum

It’s not easy to get a grip on the boggling scale of the British Museum: it has around 8,000,000 items. There’s room to show only some 8,000 at any given time, i.e. 0.1% – but half of them are included in the surprisingly extensive online catalogue. Take masks: a catalogue search on the term yields 9,631 items.


One which appeals to me achieves character in the simplest possible way, by exploiting a coconut shell. It is a late 19th century example from the Idahan Murat – that is, Indonesian hill people, blackened by fire with eyes and mouth cut through.  That made me wonder if, narrowing matters down considerably, there were more of these. Indeed there are, although  few of the 1,590 objects which depict or use coconut materials are masks…


This three-horned 1980’s mask from the Mexican state of Guanajuato was made for use on the Day of the Dead (now Nov 2 but differently timed during 3,000 years of pre-Colombian observance).


The jauntiest drupe is this recent mask from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, which wittily retains some shaggy mesocarp as a beard.


Even hairier, though not strictly a mask, is this fabric face made with knotted  coconut fibre over a wooden core. It’s a god image made for ritual purposes by Society Islanders in French Polynesia.

Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

270: Art in Tunbridge Wells?






Tracey Rowledge & David Clarke: ‘Zoo’, 2018
  
Royal*Tunbridge Wells is an attractive town to visit, yet I was surprised by the merits of Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery (even before the major facelift for which it has obtained lottery funding). The permanent collection covers such matters as biscuit manufacture and how to make a cricket ball, and holds the last known wildcat in the south-east (stuffed in 1888). What could be a dull display of a local family tree showcases top notch portraits by Reynolds, Lawrence and Gainsborough. There is, as one would hope, a definitive history and display of Tunbridge Ware – intricate marquetry items mass-manufactured by gluing together long strips of various woods to make the required pattern, then delicately sawing off  horizontal slices to decorate the surface of objects. Added to which there are currently two excellent temporary exhibitions. Tracey Rowledge and David Clarke‘s ‘Shelved’ (to 20 Aug) re-presents local items such as worn shoe soles, wooden gazelles from charity shops, and the bases from trophies. Nine such groupings are secreted around several buildings, adding to the adventure. Steffi Klenz’s ‘Staffages’ (to 8 Sept) redeploys the museum’s own objects into constructed photographic scenarios and also allows visitors to make their own arrangements.




Steffi Klenz: from ‘Staffage’, 2018





 
Typical Tunbridge ware

*  Can you name the nine places in the UK officially holding that honorific? They show a southern bias as well as a recent increase: Kingston upon Thames (from the 10th century), Windsor (12th century), Sutton Coldfield (1528), Leamington Spa (1838), Kensington (1901), Tunbridge Wells (1909), Caernarvon (1963), Wootton Bassett (2011) and Greenwich (2012). Perhaps Irvine in Ayrshire, Nicola Sturgeon’s suitably historic birthplace, should be added to the list, righting the balance somewhat and complicating  any Caledonian secession…

269: Lorenzetti, Mantegna, Bellini: Fragment or Part?









Ambrogio Lorenzetti: ‘Group of Four Poor Clares’, c 1320-25

The aesthetic appeal of the fragment is well known, and though it tends to arise accidentally in older work it’s not so rare to wonder whether the whole would really have been much better. I was reminded of this when coming across Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s ‘Group of Four Poor Clares’, c 1320-25, at the National Gallery. Not only are they removed from context, two of them are only partial glimpses, making it doubly fragmented. The Poor Clares are members of a contemplative Order of Catholic nuns (officially the Ordo sanctae Clarae), founded by Saints Clare of Assisi and Francis of Assisi in 1212. But the lack of narrative explanation frees things up from what may well have been a more more male-driven narrative, and teasingly suggests that that the same unfortunate Clare may be repeated quarce here. That set me wondering whether nearby paintings might  also provide good fragments, should it come to that. Andrea Mantegna’s ‘The Virgin and Child with Saints’, c 1490-1505, is a good candidate on account of the details of drapery and flowers. Moreover, Mantegna will soon share a show with his brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini, at the gallery (1 October – 27 January). So here’s a snip from the ‘Madonna of the Meadow’ c 1500-05. Both excerpted works are masterpieces, but whether bits and pieces or the whole thing, the double exhibition ought to be good…







 
Detail from: Andrea Mantegna: ‘The Virgin and Child with Saints’,  1490-1505
 
Detail from Giovanni Bellini: ‘Madonna of the Meadow’ c 1500-05
 

268: Similarly Different: Isa Genzken and Caroline McCarthy

Isa Genzken: ‘Untitled’, 2017 – adhesive tape and foil on aluminium panel

It’s fairly common to find that two artists arrive, by different means, at a somewhat similar looking endpoint. That’s the time to remember that the motivating force is part of the work. A different case arises, though, when the effect obtained is the reverse of the other artist’s. Isa Genzken’s wall pieces from 2017 look, from a distance, like bright and dynamically balanced polychromatic abstract paintings with colour and glimpses of metallic ground in play. But the German is known for applying the collage aesthetic to found objects across the wide range of her work, and up close it does indeed turn out that she has applied horizontal and diagonal shop-bought tapes and foils onto plates of brushed steel.  Mondrian’s use of tape to plan his paintings interacts with Duchamp’s invention of the ready-made. But if Genzken is pretending to be a painter, London-based Irish artist Caroline McCarthy in the similar-looking, if more ordered, ‘Crosstown’ is pretending not to be. Like Genzken, McCarthy typically brings everyday items into conversation with art – I like her still lives sculpted from wet coloured toilet paper and paintings reproducing matchboxes. And her tape works look rather like Genzken’s – even when you get close. But ‘Crosstown’ is a painting: McCarthy, I’d say, is undermining the readymade aesthetic by returning to the illusions of retinal painting it was meant to replace – the reverse of Genzken’s manoeuvre. In doing so, she joins quite a roster of contemporary artists to use ‘the tape illusion’ in different ways: other favourites are Kees Goudzwaard, David Musgrave, Alastair Gordon and Kaz Oshiro.

Caroline McCarty: ‘Crosstown’, 2016 – acrylic on canvas

 

267: The RA’s Types of Thing











 
Anne Griffiths: ‘The Taxonomy of the Cornflake’

Who doesn’t like a good typology? Certainly the Royal Academy hanging committee do, judged by the number in its Summer Exhibition, from which I’ve chosen four. The ideal art typology, I think, looks initially rather too repetitive: it’s only the artist’s attention to detailed individuation which persuades the viewer that there are discriminations to be made. On those grounds, the cornflakes and peach stones  are my favourites here…


Mark Beesley: ‘Mock Tudor’

Mark Beesley won the Hugh Casson drawing prize for his pen and crayon on tracing paper depiction of 20 Mock Tudor frontages, which call to mind the typologies of the Bechers even as they channel a quintessentially English form of – bad? – taste.


Peter Randall-Page RA: ‘Peach Stones’

It isn’t immediately obvious that peach stones are markedly different one from another, yet Randall-Page, better known as a sculptor, contrives to make them seem worth looking at in his lino-cut, not to mention setting them up as sly genital substitutes. Talking of which…Cathie Pilkington RA:  ‘The Joys of Six’

From objects to actions: Cathie Pilkington’s hand-coloured lithograph is  pretty small scale, given that 64 positions are described in the Kama Sutra, but she covers the basics in typically jaunty style. That said, her formally similar set of glass animal images has sold twice as many as this sextet, which may be trickier to hang.


Anne Griffiths: ‘The Taxonomy of the Cornflake’ (detail)

The previously unknown Anne Griffiths has got plenty of press for her arrangement of 84 cornflakes, rather as if they were butterflies, with an elaborate key alongside to give each of them a reference code based on eight factors such as brand, size, colour, and degree of contortion. The alluring T7.922110, for example, is a fairly large single Tesco flake, marked, frilly-edged, teardrop-shaped, bubble-textured and somewhat curled.

266: Liverpool Biennial 2018: 14 July – 28 October

The 18th Liverpool Biennial, with 40 artists from 22 countries, steers clear of the standard offerings: there is no central hub; no big ‘wow factor’ work to provide a talking point; and far less use than in previous editions of unusual locations, preference being given to exploiting the existing infrastructure of public arts buildings – so no ‘wow locations’ either.Perhaps the idea is to call attention to Liverpool’s improved infrastructure, which is also sufficient to swallow such major parallel events as the John Moores Painting Prize, Bloomberg Contemporaries and a celebration of current art from Shanghai. That thinking extends to foregrounding existing collections, such as the World Museum’s impressive papiermâché flowers.  And the theme – Beautiful world, where are you? – is pretty loose, allowing for regret for what’s gone and optimism for the future. The result is a quietly democratic and thoughtful Biennial experience, with many of the best work too old to have been influenced by the event: three artists to whom I warmed were in that category…









Banu Cennetolu: The List on Great George Street, Liverpool
Banu Cennetolu

The Turkish artist, who is also showing at the Chisenhale currently, doesn’t necessarily see The List as art: her purpose is to draw attention to the fate of over 34,000 asylum seekers who have died since 1993 in trying to enter Europe, or within the system for detaining them. She re-presents internet-sourced data to maximise its visibility, here by showing what’s known of date, name, origin and cause of death on a massive advertising hoarding (you can also read the distressing litany of drownings, security force shootings and suicides in detention here). It  led to something of a fly posting war, as prior users of the site pulled down sheets, which then had to be replaced.








Alys in Veracrus, Mexico at age 30
 
Francis Alÿs

One modest room in the Victoria Museum is ringed with postcard-sized paintings which the Mexico City-based Belgian has made plein air in the course of travelling to conflict zones to make his renowned film works. And the hauntingly light touch of the paintings in Age Piece is presented as a means of self-discovery by the wall labelling, which sequences them according to how old Alÿs was – from 22 to 59 – at the time of their production.









The 1954 photographic origin of Varda’s ‘Ulysse’
Agnès Varda

The veteran French new wave film director has shown regularly in galleries this century. At FACT she combines a monumentally-sized new photograph with a three-screen installation of extracts from previous films, and the beautifully nuanced 1982 short Ulysses, in which she tracks down the subjects in her own photograph from 1954 to inform voice-over reflections on the nature of images and the effects of memory. In a subsequent Q&A, she majored on her passion for heart-shaped potatoes, beaches and cats – which she admires for how people love them but – unlike dogs – cannot tell whether they love them back.

265: The Downside of Germany’s World Cup Failure












 
Aleksandr Deineka: ‘Football’,1924
I can’t claim that the combination of art and football in a magazine excited me when the new magazine OOF was announced, but the first two issues have been excellent. The first included articles on Leo Fitzmaurice’s soccer strips made out of cigarette packs; Chris Ofili’s obsession with Mario Balotelli; Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewing Rose Wylie about her football paintings; and how Marcin Dudek’s youthful stint as a KS Cracovia hooligan has fed into his art. The second, out for the World Cup, includes a thorough discussion with Eddie Peake of exactly what his naked five aside matches might mean; an assessment of crowd behaviour as demonstrated by Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg’s riveting film of reactions to a goal; and how Aleksandr Deineka’s still-fresh ‘Football’ (1924) fed into the more formulaic development of ‘socialist realism’ in the USSR. In sum, OOF has unearthed interesting art which just happens to feature football, and has proved commendably international, female and analytical. Moreover, Justin Hammond, who launched the magazine with Time Out’s Eddy Frankel, has converted his J Hammond Projects gallery into a pub of sorts for the duration of the World Cup. There are drinking and match viewing opportunities alongside the art, and a chance to hear how Mark E Smith read the results in 2005. Jurgen Teller, who also features in Issue 2, probably won’t be attending: the photographer, a passionate Germany fan, set up a project in Russia to record himself watching every game his team plays. Alas – perhaps – Germany failed to progress for the first time since 1938, leaving him with blank screens. Oof!


Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

 

264: SATURDAY NIGHT IS ART NIGHT


Still from Yuan Goang-Ming: ‘Dwelling’, 2014 

London’s Art Night shifts zone each year, encouraging exploration beyond Mayfair (2016) to the East End (2017), the South Bank (this year) and on to Waltham Forest (2019) and Brent (2020). Judged by last year, the free fare on offer on 7-8 July from will be very lively and crowded. With 70-odd projects (12 curated by the Hayward Gallery on the theme of ‘home’), and the South Bank – Vauxhall – Nine Elms areas not easy to traverse, some careful preplanning is advised using the official guide. Here’s what I’m looking forward to most in a geographically feasible order moving west:

* young Dutch artist Puck Verkade presents a video installation at the Oxo Tower which draws pointed parallels between sexual violence and environmental threats, yet does so with whimsical wit (purple number 56 on the official map).
* The Hayward Gallery itself gives you the chance to catch the excellent retrospective of Lee Bul in the main gallery and Yuan Goang-Ming’s three films in the project space before looking at his fourth, projected onto the building. It’s a vision of normality – only underwater and exploding (green 12).
* Jane Bustin has an attractive way of building narrative – including ballet – into abstract painting. Now she branches into a music and dance performance at Marriot County Hall (purple 37)
* The Morley Gallery is showing a brand new two screen film ‘txt??rz’ by 2012 Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price: her striking subject is a contagion of muteness (purple 34). You could warm up for that earlier in the day, incidentally, with a whole Mute show at Amanda Wilkinson’s gallery in Soho. Let’s hear it for the mute!
* Turkish artist Halil Altindere is occupying the British Interplanetary Society (yes, really!) with an extensive installation with film and virtual reality which pretends to take seriously the sarcastic proposal that migrants should be settled on Mars (green 8)
* The Sunday Painter, which started in Peckham but moved to Vauxhall last year, combines the sharp group exhibition ‘The Shape Left By The Body’ with performative readings of – you guessed it – an erotic fiction about liquid PVC (purple 32).
* Tamara Henderson will fill the New Covent Garden Market – it moved to Vauxhall in 1974 and Saturday bring its weekly inoperative night, with a choreographed procession of dressed in costumes made from material found at the market (green 4).
* Another Turner Prize winner, 2004’s Jeremy Deller, brings the Melodians Steel Orchestra UK to Prince of Wales Drive the Nine Elms area, playing a spectacular 53 instruments made from 45 gallon oil drums (green 3).
*  DRAF’s film choices at Battersea Power Station’s village hall look interesting: a one hour loop from six artists including David Shrigley, Cyprien Gaillard and Lars Laumann. That also provides a chance to see how the redevelopment of the massive site is going (purple 8). And it’s followed (11pm-4am) by a club night with the Lisson Gallery, with live sets from Haroon Mirza and Hans Berg.

Art Night runs 6pm on Saturday 7 July to 6am on 8 July, but some projects (see the guide) run on through Sunday and a few beyond that.


The community on Mars as imagined by Halil Altindere

Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head















263: Darkness, Tea and Art

 



Roughly what I didn’t see

Only after I had attended a tea ceremony at  Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix  (19 Goulston Street  to 3 August*) did I receive a beautifully written formal invitation. I replied immediately with my apologies, for such are the paradoxes put in play by Yoi Kawakubo’s solo exhibition ‘I/body/ghost’. Kawakubo explores the nature of phenomena which are hard to pin down with a physical presence,  for example by sanding the gallery walls to form charts of share price movements. And he presents the Japanese tea ceremony in a room rendered totally dark.  Biscuits and tea are served, as the evidence of taste indicates, and the sounds  of what I – new to the ceremony – imagine are its preparation can be heard. There are two things going on here. First, the darkness, which alters the impact of our other senses and made me wonder whether what was said to be there was actually present: I was asked to admire the floral arrangement and calligraphic art which are integral to the setting. Second, there is the ceremony, which has an ancient tradition – originating in peace-making discussions between warlords – and has many precisely defined variants are possible.  Both darkness and ceremony are interesting in themselves, but the particular characteristic here was their combination. I was asked to imagine something I had never seen, whereas Japanese participants would have found familiar visuals replaced by a novel foregrounding of sound.  Either way, routine perceptions are challenged – which is, after all, just what art is meant to do.


* slots available, £10,  between 4pm and 6pm on Saturdays 7, 14, 21 July – contact  news@yamamotokeiko.com to arrange












Roughly what I did see
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

262: Bricks in Basel
















View of Per Kirkeby works at Michael Werner

Brick sculptures were one characteristic stream of work by  Per Kirkeby, who died in May at 79. Michael Werner showed one of his last at Art Basel. The Danish artist, who grew up in the shadow of a brick church, invokes mystical and monumental as well as the everyday and minimal  by making buildings without a purpose – there are no entry points.  As it happens, Basel had several other interesting works featuring bricks, as if extending the tribute.














Asta Gröting: ‘Naturkundemuseum’, 2016 at carlier gebauer
Carlier Gebauer showed one of Asta Gröting ‘Berlin Facades’, which – before such scenes disappear as the city redevelops – hauntingly capture the physical impact of war damage on Berlin’s buildings through an exacting silicon casting process for which the artist has set up her own factory.














Elisabetta Benassi: ‘Equivalenti’, 2014 at Magazzino
 Two artists used real but distorted bricks interestingly: Elisabetta Benassi arranged misfired examples in the number and formation of a classic sculpture by Carl Andre, undermining its minimlist perfection.














Kate Newby: ‘I want to hear everything’, 2018 at The Sunday Painter
Kate Newby – both at The Sunday Painter’s stand at Liste and now in the London gallery  – herself vandalises the bricks in her platforms, which serve as the base for many subtle interventions. Ugo Rondinone and Michael Wilkinson transfer the look of brick into the language of painting.














Ugo Rondinone: ‘erstermärzzweitausendundsechzehn’, 2016 at Esther Schipper
The former has them painted, somewhat expressively in oil on burlap – yet deadpan and titled just by date – as a way of importing their studied neutrality into the more historically and emotionally charged matter of applying paint.














Detail of Michael Wilkinson ‘Untitled’ lego work at The Modern Institute
The  latter uses lego bricks to set up a minimalist barrier partly inspired by Pink Floyd’s The Wall . Both depart as suits them from traditional brick colours, something Kirkeby never did.

Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

 

 

261: Subversion at the Royal Academy


















Tal R: House 44, 2015 – Pigment and rabbit glue on canvas, 254 x 254 cm
I’m not sure one could claim that the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (12 June – 19 Aug) is now cool. But in its 250th anniversary year it is no longer so uncool that it is simply ignored. Instead, it is ripe for being subverted. To some extent, lead organiser Grayson Perry does that himself with the riotous and provocative tastelessness of his hang (‘the biggest, brightest and most colourful Summer Exhibition yet’ says the PR).  Some contributing artists play along. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Michael Landy’s large drawing, teeming with figures making a sort of salon hang of warning signs, is called ‘Not Fit for Purpose’. Mike Nelson could be playing on both the social standing of the average visitor and the inevitability that many of the 1350 works in the show will be overlooked by placing a homeless person on the grand stairs leading up to the exhibition – or, rather, a suggestion of such made from the telling material of building detritus. My observations confirmed that most people didn’t notice the piece, but those who did were strongly drawn in.  The colourfully abstracted architecture of Tal R’s ‘Haus 44’ 2015 looks much more innocuous. I imagine few of those filing past will twig that it introduces a brothel into the polite environs of the Summer Exhibition: it’s one of a series looking at frontages from the sex industry – which Tal likes for how, like much art, ‘you only know if you enter’.
















A visitor who did spot Mike Nelson’s ‘Untitled (Public Sculpture for a Redundant Space)’, 2018 – sleeping bag, concrete and rubble
 
Detail from Michael Landy: ‘Not Fit for Purpose’, oil stick on paper
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

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.

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