Sunday, 9 September 2012


Everything gets going big-time from the first week of September across a couple of hundred galleries. Here's what's appealed to me most so far: we start with sexual innuendo before  entering the void...


Daniel Sinsel @ Sadie Coles HQ, 69 South Audley StMayfair

To 29 Sept:

London-based German painter Daniel Sinsel has a way of sneaking the fetishistic and sexual into classic modernist tropes while also undermining their seriousness with kitsch. His new show is very much par for that course: protruding fingers disrupt the surface of one tar-covered canvas, and several use bindings of custom-made linen tape woven around the frame to set up a grid which is disturbed by the bumps of underlying nuts or inserted items such as glass eyes-come-boiled sweets-come-nipples. Some use colours so archly dated they must be current, but this one is fleshy and seems to have got literally dirty…

Nude IX

Alexandre da Cunha: Full Catastrophe @ Thomas Dane Gallery, 3 & 11 Duke St – Central

British-Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha is known for sculptures which make the most of surrealist and art-historical aspects of found objects. Here he contrasts the two spaces, in both achieving an unexpected impact. At No. 11 the battered drums of old concrete mixers are elevated into archaeological discoveries. At No. 3 are ‘paintings’ in which the plane (which may be canvas, towel, dust sheet, leather…) is interrupted in a sort of reverse Fontana move by the jut of sun hats which, along with their titling as ‘nudes’, makes the work feel even more titillating than Sinsel’s. ‘Nude IX’ is more complex than it may appear: I reckon there are 17 hats attached, of increasing circumference.

Julia Riddiough: Roxanne Series @ A Brooks Art, 194-196 Hoxton St

To 29 Sept:

An unreconstituted ex-florist’s is now a lively artist-run space with a community focus. There Julia Riddiough cues the viewer in to a different world: she gained access not to the interior detail of an east end  lap-dancing club as she’d intended, but to the CCTV screens which, for legal reasons, are used to record activity in its ‘private rooms’. She grabbed hundreds of images and homed in on six which echo painterly traditions – here Degas’ – of depicting the nude. We join that history as extra regressions in what one of the women characterised as ‘the strange sensation… of always looking at myself through the eyes of others’.

Nor Any Haunt of Mine

Emma Bennett: And, Afterwards @ CHARLIE SMITH London, 336 Old St (above The Reliance) – Hoxton

To 6 Oct:

Two years ago (see for my still-relevant interview) I commended the way Emma Bennett's paintings combine four things – a black void, images sourced from Dutch golden age painting, an abstract expressionist intervention in furniture polish, and the striking effect of combining those three – to bring together four different timescales: the 17th century of the sources, 20th century of the abstract gesture, 21st century of their combination, and eternity of the void. This new set has an increased emphasis on gravity, with dead animals falling through the void, and an intense new element in fire, the flames of which flicker into Bennett's increasingly subtle splurges of polish.

Greedily She Engorged Without Restraint, And Knew Not Eating Death

Boo Saville: The World, The Flesh and The Devil @ TJ Boulting, 59 Riding House St - Fitzrovia

To 4 Oct:

Boo (for Rebecca) Saville was just 12 when big sister Jenny made her breakthrough sales to Saatchi in 1992. That could have been intimidating, but she's prospered with a mixture of precision drawing in biro and loose painting in oil on deathly figurative themes… From which this show in the re-located and re-branded Trolley Gallery departs radically. The biro drawings act as Beuysian 'batteries' to immersively-sized oils, and both are monochrome fields built up from obsessive combinations of different colours. That said, the titles and the ominously glowering lustre do provide a bridge to Saville's back-catalogue.


Artists Anonymous: Alice ’ s Apocalypse @ Lazarides Gallery, 11 Rathbone Place – Fitzrovia

To 3 Nov:

London/Berlin collective Artists Anonymous, counter-cultural activists with attitude, have a distinctive and conceptually rich way of combining
‘image’ (a painting, typically from photographs of their own performances) and ‘after-image’ (a colour negative photograph of the painting).  Showing for the first time in a gallery known  for its street art, they play with the fresh context by integrating collages, which look as if they’ve been pasted in street-art style or ripped from outside walls into a darkly fantastical installation. Female anonyme Maya takes centre stage as the image pairs switch back and forth between real and imagined – leaving only the question ‘which is which?’

Eduardo Chillida: CH/C - 10, 1953
Sculptor’s Drawings and Works on Paper @ the Pangolin and Kings Place Galleries – King’s Cross

Both ‘sculptor’ (would Ben Nicholson have so termed himself?) and ‘paper’ are widely defined in this riot of getting on for three hundred works over three levels of the beautifully-appointed Kings Place, but no matter: from Gaudier-Brezeska to Moore to Andre to  Hirst the two galleries have combined to provide a fascinating demonstration of the uses to which drawing can be put. Everyone will have their own plums, but if William Tucker’s writhingly geological all-over nudes, Don Brown’s cheekily meditative pastel belly button and Eduardo Chillida’s career-anticipating collages from 1953 aren’t among yours, I might want to know why…

Lindsay Seers: Nowhere Less Now at The Tin Tabernacle, 12-16 Cambridge Av - Kilburn

To 21 Oct: booking required via

Lindsay Seers’ outlandish, theatrically staged truth-come-stories make compelling art somewhat against the odds out of crazy self-absorption. She’s tracked the history of a 19th century great great uncle who sailed to Zanzibar, and now sets that project in a tin church of the sort exported to the colonies: not only does one survive in Kilburn  – though built as temporary in 1863 – it also contains naval history. Plenty more feeds into a half hour two screen projection under an upturned ship: heterochromia, Masonic uniforms, baobab graffiti, a future without photographs... Confusing, but unmissable for its striking interplay of location and content as well as a powerful sense of how memory affects personal identity.
Andrew Brischler: Last Chance for Romance

TIME, after TIME @ The Ronchini Gallery, 22 Dering St - Mayfair

The curatorial premise here is that young American abstraction pretty much carries on from the key 50’s-60’s concerns of arte povera. It makes sense, though possibly no more so than if applied to Blain  Southern’s also-interesting show next door. Nor is it hard to cite more recent parallels: Albert Oehlen rather than Schifano for David Mramor’s mashed abstractions, more Joe Bradley than Dorazio in the scruffy studio-worn surfaces over which Andrew Brischler  paints a geometry of psychedelic minimalism using magic markers….  But the Italian classics are good to see; the new work - whatever its antecedents - feels fresh; and the mix hangs together so well I was surprised to find there were 60 paintings.

Noémie Goudal: Haven Her Body Was @ Edel Assanti, 

13th Sept - 14th Oct:
Young London-based French photographer Noémie Goudal has a striking way of combining the actual and the imagined by insinuating an artificial or photographic  landscape into the site she photographs: a polystyrene iceberg, a jungle in a warehouse, a cliff in a vault. We’re torn between the illusion and its evident artifice in a way which parallels Thomas Demand’s take on the world.  Her latest series, 'Haven Her Body Was', implies the presence of unseen subjects caught between the immediate and the mediated, the wild and the civilised in secluded landscapes such as islands, grottoes or shelters.

Images courtesy of relevant galleries and artists + Theirry Bal (da Cunha) + Ian Cox (Artists Anonymous). Bonus points to anyone who notices the transition from Keats to Milton in the void titles...

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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.