Saturday, 15 April 2017


Sarah Roberts: Torremolinos-Tableaux-Tongue-Twister (After Sun) & Mark Jackson: Face Is The Closest @ Block 336, 336 Brixton Rd – Brixton

To 6 May: 
Sarah Roberts installation view

Block 336 has room for two substantial shows, but this impressive pair feels like a whole: Sarah Roberts collects surfaces, here from the capital of crass tourism, Torremolinos, and repurposes them into a cult city unified by redness of object and light in the post-beach sunset in which ‘dark closed in on the pinks… amidst the dried renders crumbling’ *. Mark Jackson’s paintings of barely-present faces evade readability through a marble-smooth screen-like effect built from layers of translucent glazes with a hint of psychedelia. They might be just the right insubstantial inhabitants for Roberts’ paradoxically three dimensional world of surfaces.

Mark Jackson: Surfacing, 2016

* from Roberts’ text


Anne Collier, Positive (California), 2016 in 'You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred'

Spring is bursting forth with photography shows, perhaps on the basis that the Photo London (18-21 May at Somerset House) will see the full blossoming. Wolfgang Tillmans at the Tate, 'You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred' at the Zabludowicz Collection, the Deutsche Börse prize show at the Photographers Gallery (which has 4/4 worthy winners), 'Double Take' at Skarstedt  and Christopher Williams at David Zwirner are prominent and impressive manifestations, Saatch's selfie show prominent but (though there are good bits) a mess. Roger Ballen at Hamiltons is also worth mentioning, and here are a couple of other less obvious choices from the bouquet:

Scarlett Hooft Graafland: Discovery  @ Flowers Gallery, 21 Cork St - Central

To 29 April:

Still Life with Camel, 2016 - 120 x 150cm

Flowers is blooming just now, as the gallery has its best painter at Kingsland Road (David Hepher) and an interesting new-to-Britain photographer at Cork Street. Much-travelled Scarlett Hooft Graafland is one of several photographers to have impressed me in the Netherlands*, and her panoramic landscape images of exotic countries with performative sculpture added  cleverly conjoin beauty, humour, a surrealist streak, art references and cultural import.  Take Still Life with Camel, made in the United Emirates: an absurd take on Christo which subsumes what could have been a biblical scene of camel and riders into a joyous mass of pink.  Or Salt Steps: the Incredible Hulk meets Koonsian inflatables as a Bolivian man’s would-be-power is lampooned by his inability to see where he’s going.

Salt Steps, 2004

* You could make a Dutch school to rival the Finish (currently on view at Purdy Hicks) with women dominant: Marleen Sleeuwits, Awoiska van der Molen, Amie Dicke, Sara Bjarland, Melanie Bonajo, Annegret Kellner, Fleur van Dodewaard and Dana Lixenberg would be my other choices...


Elger Esser: Morgenland  @ Parasol unit, Wharf Rd - Hoxton 

Salwa Bahry I (detail), Egypt, 2011. C-print, Diasec, 97 x 124 cm

The key to German Elger Esser’s photographs of conflicted territories which appear ‘too quiet’, in the classic Wayne-spoken formulation of the American Western, is his perfect pitch. That brings just the right degree of implication to modest-sounding proposals: ‘fake an archive of views from Israel / Palestine in 1948’;  ‘make big modern photos of Lebanon and the Nile look like fading postcards’; ‘ask another artist to complement your travelogue with paintings of local orchids’ and, best of all, 'show either side of a border view printed on either side of a sculpturally propped sheet of copper’. 

Installation view with 'One Sky' series centre: Photography by Ben Westoby, Courtesy of Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

Talking of 1948…


Ella Littwitz: No Vestige of a Beginning, No Prospect of an End @ Copperfield Gallery, 6 Copperfield Street - Southwark

Installation view

Ella Littwitz provides an object lesson in how to generate a political and emotional charge from simple-looking means - all relating to the expansion of Israel into Palestine territory. A filigree bronze cast of Dittrichia Viscosa represents the first plant to colonise disrupted territory, its allopathic qualities enriching the metaphor. Traces of the non-native pine refer to its mass introduction as a sign of support for Zionism: every Israeli receives a tree on birth, and you can have a plaque in the forest named for you if you buy enough extra trees - the imperialist narrative is strong enough for Hezbollah to have attacked trees!  A sort of cellular growth of connected unpicked footballs evokes the story of how UN officials collected and returned balls which children in a school close the border had kicked into a minefield in 1948.

"More poetry than instruction", "More instruction than poetry", chalk on Blackboard, 70 x 70 x 2 cm each

Nathalie Djurberg& amp; Hans Berg @ Lisson Gallery, 27 Bell Street – Edgeware Rd

Still from Worship, 2016

Nathalie Djerberg and her musical mood-darkening collaborator Hans Berg have tended to prefer experiment to formula in recent years, with patchy results. But here they return to what they’re known for, with three short and transgressive claymation films. If you want a goat suckling a tiger, an aubergine car and frankfurter motorbike, turds growing up lively, a moon which moons (buttocks added for the purpose), a doughnut drinking tea, love made to a banana and a well-hung matador applying his best estocada to sponge cake, then these short films are for you.  It’s hard not be jealous of such a playfully perverse subconscious.
Still from Delights of an Undirected Mind, 2016


Maria Lassnig: A Painting Survey 1950-2007 @ Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row - Central

To 29 April:

Self-portrait with speech bubble, 2006 - Oil on canvas,  200 x 150 cm 

Following her shows at the Serpentine (2008) and Tate Liverpool (2016), it’s not exactly a secret that Maria Lassnig (1919-2014) was one of the best painters of the last 50 years, but this estate-driven show reinforces the point with examples not previously seen in Britain. It clarifies her geographically-driven phases rather well: from early Viennese experiments in hard-edged abstraction to more expressionist abstracts leading up to her move to Paris in 1961, where she developed her ‘body-aware’ style of figuration. Relatively realistic works followed as she found herself a painter reacting against the prevalent conceptual use of media in New York (1968-80). She returned to Vienna in 1980 to become, at 60, the nation’s first female professor of art. Self-portrait with Speech Bubble is typical of Lassnig's late, great flowering, showing her concern with the directly sensing parts of the body – no need, it seems here, for a brain.

Girl with Wine Glass, 1971 - oil on canvas, 178 x 127cm


Richard Mosse: Incoming @ Curve Gallery, The Barbican 

Still from Incoming, 2016

Richard Mosse made a big splash at the 2013 Venice Biennale with his film of the ongoing war in the Congo. He shot it with discontinued reconnaissance infrared film which turned much of the battle scenery pink, so infecting the scenes with a surprising look which also carried political resonance. Can he replicate that kind of impact? It seems so: The Curve features film footage centering on refugees movements and still images of the associated camp infrastructure. Both are taken with a thermal camera which can distinguish people at a distance of 30 km and, as such, is classified as a weapon for export purposes. Again, the aesthetic is beautiful and distinct. Seeing thermally removes racial differences but emphasises mortality. Even though Mosse doesn’t really exploit the unusual dimensions of the Curve, his name can be added to the list of artists who – out of 27 high quality commissions - have excelled there over the last decade: Richard Wilson, Clemens von Wedermeyer, Robert Kusmirowski, Celeste Boursier-Mougenout, Song Dong and Random International.

Hellinikon Olympic Arena, 2016, digital c-print on metallic paper


 Architecture as Metaphor @ Griffin Gallery, 21 Evesham St - Latimer Rd

Evy Jokhova: Installation view of Puddle, 2011 - film with mirror

There are several good reasons to visit the Griffin Gallery. Free coffee; the sculpture, paintings and drawings exploring ‘architecture as metaphor’ have been chosen astutely; Phyllida Barlow, just ahead of her Venice appearance, links a typical sculptural pile to a spot-on stream of consciousness about getting lost in The Barbican (we’ve all been there if we’ve been there); Peter Newell Price pulls off the improbable project of making a rose window out of graphite. Yet the main reason for attendance could well be the film works by Gary Stevens, Evy Jokhova, Jemima Burrill and Lucy Gunning.

Jemima Burrill: stills from Cleaner, 2004


Love Peace and Happiness: Kiera Bennett, George Little, Phil Root, Anthony Banks, Nicholas Johnson, Gwennan Thomas, Nick Jensen, Fiona Curran and Jackson Sprague
@ Menier Gallery, 51 Southwark Street - London Bridge

To 22 April: /
Fiona Curran relaxes in her installation Pale Horizon, 2013
The cavernous Menier gallery -  a good charitable cause ('Paintings in Hospitals') but also a space for hire with dodgy shows likely to result - has shifted its model by inviting Kristian Day to bring together a nap hand of nine painters who all bring a savvy joi de vivre to a dialogue between decorative embellishment and serious intent. Among many pleasures is a cheeky hang which gets away with installing groups of separate works on top of each other. Fiona Curran, who shows a new stream of single works made with combined canvases, emerges as the widest ranging: she also wrote the press release, and her enticing installation is the main sculptural work. That contains ostrich feathers, encouraging us to notice that what we read as clouds in her paintings are actually the bodies of ostriches, in a neat reversal of our established tendency to see animals in clouds.
Fiona Curran: Body of an Ostrich, 2017 (diptych, 91 x 93cm



Aleksander Hardashnakov: You Turn On Me @ Union Pacific. 17 Goulston Street – Aldgate

Installation view with 'Find Your Own!', 'Pregnant Barbie', Stalker' and 'Painting for Liliana'

Toronto artist Aleksander Hardashnakov is an arch avoider of the signature style, but there’s a dark humour to quite a few of the 21 canvases which ring Union Pacific’s space cheek by jowl. He says ‘everything is inspiring’, and they channel all sorts of templates from Georgia O’Keefe to Kasimir Malevich. Hands meace, Barbie is pregnant, keychains cause stress… The circle of works is reflected in a charity collection style sculptural contraption in which coins run around hypnotically before disappearing down its black hole… to land on the floor. So much for the show’s economics, you can retrieve your money. Hardashnakov would like to make this as a public sculpture open to vortex-addicted skateboarders. I’d like to see that: the next 4th plinth vacancy is in 2022…

Black hole, tip jar, wishing well (proposal for public sculpture), 2017


Rhys Coren: Whistle Bump Super Strut, 270-276 Kingsland Rd - Haggerston

A slow (intro), 2017 - spray paint, acrylic and pencil on board

‘Two painting shows in a row!?’, I teased Dave Hoyland, ‘Are you selling out?’ ‘Luckily’, he says, ‘yes’ – which must be welcome after Seventeen’s ill-fated New York venture. And it’s easy to see why Rhys Coren’s funky abstractions, originally scheduled for the US, are popular. But there’s quite a lot to them, too: they’re not straight paintings but combinations of laser-cut wood like intricate puzzles; the colours are muted yet lively in combination; they’re replete with complicating effects like blurred areas, drop shadows and surfaces treated to resemble patio paving; each has a snappy title and these are joined up to turn the press release into a poem... Dance the dance, dancing feet / Red-faced with embarrassment / Cheeky, cheeky. Naughty, sneaky / Shame on you (if you can’t dance, too)...

All My Beautiful Evil is Melting, 2017 - spray paint, acrylic and pencil on board


Gordon Cheung: Unknown Knowns @ Edel Assanti, 74a Newman Street - Fitzrovia

Turkey Carpet (after Francesco Fieravino,1650-1680 ), 2017, giclée on canvas, 128 x 136cm
Gordon Cheung is known for apocalyptically coloured paintings which play against the collaged backdrop of stock listings as a charged way of exploring capitalism and its cyclic discontents. These, have become increasingly baroque, as in the tulips in which pre-sculpted paint forms fully modelled petals. Now two new series play off that practice. Grand panoramas use sand to irritate the surface as they subvert Chinese painting traditions by showing 21st century realities. And digital prints on canvas run with the computerisation of stock listings and the distortions of the market, by allowing a programme glitch to disrupt the data files of their image sources to bewitching effect. These, even when you know they’re the only flat works in the show, often look remarkably textured.

A Thousand Plateaus, 2016 -  financial newspaper, inkjet, acrylic and sand on linen, 200 x 450cm triptych
Saad Qureshi: time | memory | landscape @ Gazelli Art House, 39 Dover St - Central

To 16 April:

Beyond Mental Boundaries, 2016-17 - brick dust, charcoal, ink, 160 x 210cm
As the show title spells out, perhaps a little too didactically,  Saad Qureshi’s two new streams of work combine time, memory and landscape. The results might be called mindscapes: big vistas made with charcoal applied to the sumptuous surface of brick dust create memories of nature in the classic material of the manmade; and smaller views burnt into paper with a soldering iron suggest how places may be seared into the memory. Both those resonant uses of material took effort: it wasn’t a simple matter for Qureshi to find a supplier willing to crush their bricks to powder for him; and the six works on paper are the survivors from 37, most of which caught a little too much fire!

Scorched lines - S1, 2016 - burnt paper, 57 x 70cm

Kazuo Shiraga @ Lévy Gorvy, 22 Old Bond St - Central

Chikisei Sesuisho,  1960  -  Oil on canvas, 130 x 193 cm

I take little notice of the market, but it’s hard not to be aware that the price of a good Shiraga has increased tenfold in the ten years since the leading Gutaï member (1924-2008) last showed solo in London. And these are good examples, especially the three from the ‘Margin series’, named for outlaw characters in the Chinese saga of bandits revelling against the emperor – just as Shiraga rebelled against convention by sliding across and swirling around the paint (actually applied by his wife) into place with his feet as he swung across the canvas. What started as a provocative action in 1954 generated a stream of supra-residual results combining violence, dance and meditation. Shiraga went on producing them until his death, undeflected by being a Buddhist priest from 1971.

Mid-fifties action....

Sebastian Stöhrer @ Carl Freedman Gallery, 29 Charlotte Road - Shoreditch

To 11 March:

Frankfurt-based Sebastian Stöhrer sets up a striking array of anthropomorphic ceramics which yet retain some vestigial potential for functionality. Maybe it’s a forest of forms, as Stöhrer includes wooden legs and even a collar of fungus on one of his folkloric figures. Up close, the alchemical glaze colours and witty inventions of form make this an engaging contribution to the recent resurgence of clay in art.Here's a would-be-jug with tongue and balls:


Rebecca Meanley: ‘The inexplicable moments of painting’ @ Cadogan Contemporary, 87 Old Brompton Rd – South Kensington

To 4 March:

Untitled (ochre-magenta), 2016 - oil on canvas, 145cm x 145cm

It’s an old twist: ‘actually that’s not an abstract painting’, you say, ‘but a highly realistic  representation of an abstract painting’. Just so, in a way, Rebecca Meanley’s 16-strong 2016 set of 1.45m square canvasses all start by depicting the rag she used to wipe away paint from the last one in the cycle, and then diverge into the wet-into-wet realm of intuitive colour and gesture. ‘Oh but they are beautiful!’ you will say, which is hard to deny, but it’s the intensity of exploration which gives them the backbone without which beauty can be mush.

The artist in and largely with Caribbean Blue, I reckon


Mark Woods: ‘A Return to Old Certainties’ and Lee Maelzer: ‘Losing Up For Made Time’ @ Lubomirov / Angus-Hughes, 26 Lower Clapton Rd – Hackney

A glimpse into Mark Woods' installation

Here’s a fine contrasting double show. Upstairs Mark Woods makes a spectacular presentation of a decade’s production of glamorously kitted out sculpture-jewel-toys serried in the drawers of superbly carpentered cabinets and reflected in the spinning mirrors of an impressive peephole kaleidoscope installation. Woods’ objects transcend function, but would fit in with sex being sold as a religion: the old certainties of commerce, desire and god are artificialised, and in the middle sits a gleaming black heart. The hemmed-in basement space, dark at the building’s heart, also holds many works, but these are a tributary of Lee Maelzer’s practice: intensely atmospheric small photographs and collages, often with painted interventions, which feed into her paintings – which are often of dimly lit interiors. 

Lee Maelzer: Birthday Cake, 2013, altered photograph,
19 x 15 cm

Luiz Zerbini @ Stephen Friedman Gallery, 25-28 Old Burlington St – Central

Cabec? a d'Agua, 2016, Acrylic on linen, 240 x 240cm

It’s a measure of how tough it is for artists that few from Max Wigram's roster have been picked up by other London galleries  – as Luiz Zerbiini  has - since Max Wigram’s precipitate closure in 2015.  The Brazilian  works across abstraction and representation separately but simultaneously, and it’s obvious how the streams of painting influence each other: the patterns of Rio’s  reality are exaggerated, the abstracts suggested perceptual hazing of the world. A similar to and fro operates in his unusual and historically resonant collages of found slides. Plus, in a new development, Zerbini has started to apply obsessive pencil workings to some canvases, and the low key  pseudo-metallic look of that has also started to spread into his whole practice.

Quadrado Novo, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 220 x 160cm

Adam Hennessey: Smile @ New Art Projects, 6D Sheep Lane - Cambridge Heath

Sheep Murder, 2016 - 155 x 110cm

Young painter Adam Hennessey describes his work as ‘squishing large things into small spaces’. That’s true of many of the wittily ebullient acrylics on show here – several smiley faces jostle to be sunniest, and birds struggle to fit in their framing. But there’s no squishing required to get these 25 canvases into Fred Mann's expansive new space. Indeed, there’s enough capacity to hold a room back for small works on paper to be painted ready for a closing event on 4 March. Hennessey has a particular affinity with fingers and sheep: the former appear directly several times , though the ‘Finger Alphabet’ merely points to an anagram caused by alphabetical order; a characterfully distinguished herd of the latter seem to have been shot – if only, perhaps, with paint –  before they can enjoy the lushest grass you ever didn’t really see, it was just a picture in Sheep Lane.

Alphabet Finger, 2016 x 110cm


 Three shows curated by me...  Ears for the Eyes (to 4 March at Transition Gallery) / Show Us Your Process / The Other Side (both to July at House of St Barnabas - contact to visit)

Emma Cousin: Falling on Deaf Ears

Separate entries might be a little excessive, but naturally I believe that 23 of the best artists currently on show in London are in three shows I’ve curated: ten plus accompanying magazine in the eccentric Ears for the Eyes at Transition see; thirteen across two shows at House of St Barnabas: abstract painters showing how various distinctive processes enable them to play off chance and control to aesthetically transcendent effect( ; and my four favourite young figurative painters, creating a room full of character and presence ( 



Adam Dix: The Collectors

Installation detail: Sarah Pichkostner

Florian Roithmayr: ir re par sur @ Bloomberg Space, 50 Finsbury Square - Moorgate (to 18 March:

Sarah Pichkostner: Kay calls me all the time in other words fly me to the moon @ Josh Lilley, 44 – 46 Riding House Street - Fitzrovia (
Good sculpture often emerges from letting the material have its way, giving the – somewhat misleading – impression that the artist didn’t have to do much. London-based German Florian Roithmayr plays airily located, elongated U-shaped hangings (cast in plaster from card originals) against more bodily forms. Roithmayr spread clay on paper on the Bloomberg floor, waited six weeks for it to dry and, as the shrinking caused by the 30% which is water evaporated, curl up. Then he raised up his appealingly casual population of forms... Austrian sculptor Sarah Pichkostner’s first London solo show is a subtle grower. The title comes from an audio piece smuggled into a foam sculpture which whispers urgently yet tantalisingy close to inaudibly. A little like Roithmayr, she lets silver nitrate act from inside to ensilver glass tubes, and also coaxes coloured light into doing its stuff variously: in the sculptures, shone on the sculptures, glowing from behind a wall – and is used to yellow a narrow back-of-wall space at Josh Lilley, which she uses better than anyone since Analia Saban in 2009. Is this, perhaps, what sculpture would be like on the moon?

Installation detail: Florian Roithmayr 


Irina Korina: Destined to be Happy @ GRAD, 3-4a Little Portland Street – Fitzrovia

To 28 Feb:

Russian artist Irina Korina, who trained as a set designer, is known for her theatrical installations made out of commonplace materials. Here she presents whimsical soft sculptures of black and white emoticon characters - a human meteorite, a fire-person, a teardrop smoking a cigarette. They’re set in a hostile forest environment which didn’t prove so easy to source as one might expect. When the show was put up in early December, dead Christmas trees were so rare that she had to have twenty healthy specimens torched. Now, it fits the calendar: too much drunk over the festive season, you come round and it's Trump.  So if blasted joy is your thing, you’ll like the heavily ironic ‘Destined to be Happy’ - the more so as each of the six sculptural stations comes with its own atmospheric soundtrack generated out of aural bric-a-brac by Sergey Kasich.


Mudhook @ Tintype - 107 Essex Road - Islington plus three shows curated by me at Union and the House of St Barnabas...

To 18 Feb (Tintype and Union) / 5 July (House of St Barnabas)

Emma Cousin: Inpatient, 2016 - 120 x 100cm
 Separate entries might be a little excessive, but naturally I believe that 14 of the best artists currently on show in London are in three shows I’ve curated:  a wider view of Alice Anderson than her well-known copper wire bindings (see   for details); nine abstract painters showing how various distinctive processes enable them to play off chance and control to aesthetically transcendent effect( ; and my four favourite young figurative painters, creating a room full of character and presence (  What’s more, Emma Cousin, one of the four, also features in a lively two-hander at Tintype. She’s paired with Milly Peck, whose scribble-like sculptural versions of everyday forms enter into a lively to-and-from with Cousin’s leg play.
Alice Anderson: Cut Out Pieces from Repetitive Gestures,2016

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 Room and Condo (Bridget Donahue) @ Sadie Coles, 62 Kingly St - Oxford Circus

To 18 February -

    Heidi Bucher: Herrenzimmer (1977-79)

The admirable ‘Condo’ initiative, in its second year, sees 36 foreign galleries guesting in 15 London spaces, to generally lively effect. Some mix things up between host and guests, but my two favourites - Sadie Coles and Rodeo – are among those which juxtapose a separate host show with a guest solo. AT the former, Bridget Donahue presents Martine Syms, which is interesting, but the prime draw remains the outstanding group show Room, which brings together a wonderful combination of female artists reimagining domestic space. For example photographic work by Francesca Woodman, Nan Goldin, Joanna Piotrowska and Penny Slinger, and several room reconstructions in the gallery, including a smoking shed by Sarah Lucas; Heidi Bucher’s latex imprints of the walls of her father’s study; and a black room full of Klara Lidén’s teenage angst, the door into which is made harder to open by a hanging axe.

Penny Slinger: 
No Return (An Exorcism), 1977 Collage 33 x 48cm

Marcus Harvey:   Gimme Shelter @ Vigo,  21 Dering Street - Bond Street

To 18 Feb:

The English Cemetery, 2016 and Untitled (Big Galleon), 2016

Marcus Harvey, though he identifies as a painter and is a leading light in the Turps Banana school (Adam Hennessey is one recent student) mixes it up with lots of sculpture, and his paintings are often predominantly photographic or have sculptures appended. This potted version of his recent retrospective at the Jerwood in Hastings – where his nautical themes met the sea – feels timely: his jarring combinations satirise Britain as stuck in ramshackle post-colonial mode, which is one view of our withdrawal from the EU.  By jingo, we used to rule the waves! Hence, perhaps, the cast assemblage which makes up a naked Maggie of the Falklands, the white cliffs of Dover looming with the immersive scale of a Clyfford Still, and the use of cast tropical fruits to form a parody of female fructitude…

Big Girl, 2015, Gimme Shelter, 2016 and War Head, 2016

I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper @ the Griffin Gallery, 21 Evesham St – Latimer Road *

To 24 Feb:

Stephane Graff: Untitled (Courbet / Fontana), 2015

Catherine Loewe’s exhibition is easy to enjoy: she picks nine artists who have appropriated the art of the past, and lets us explore their different methods and aims.  Diptychs by Stephane Graff wittily line up iconic works with mismatched texts from what seem to be auction catalogues, pricking the bubble of artistic identity which Gavin Turk undermines by taking on that of others, here through his British styling of Warhol as the silkscreener of white transit van crashes (there’s more of that at the Newport Street Gallery) ; Marielle Neudecker and Gordon Cheung both deconstruct the Vanitas still life in painterly non-paintings, the former as plastic, the latter as digital glitches; and Glenn Brown seems to reveal the atomic under-life of old masters in his re-imaginings on the cusp of painting and drawing. 

* worth being away also interesting shows in the Griffin's rear windows and at nearby Unit 1 Gallery

Glenn Brown: Hinckley Point, 2016 - Indian ink and acrylic on panel, diptych - Each 60 x 50 cm


Thinking Tantra @ Drawing Room, 8 Rich Estate, 46 Willow Walk – Bermondsey

Installation view with Jean-Luc Moulène (front), Nicola Durvasula, Alexander Gorlizki and Shezad Dawood (back left to right)

This fascinating show starts from anonymous drawings created not as art, but as a technique for expanding knowledge. It moves on to ‘neo-tantric' works which go somewhere else from the tradition, then on to non-tantric artists who admire and are influenced by the tantric works when making abstractions without the same purpose.. Highlights include Alexander Gorlizki’s collaborative work with Indian miniaturists; Tom Chamberlain’s nearly-disappeared / not-quite-here-yet shapes; a painting on vintage textile by Shezad Dawood; Prem Sahib's sexualising of the putative genre; and Richard Tuttle’s perfect match to the spirit of the show. All this exudes inner calm, speaking of which…

Richard Tuttle: Separation (Group 3, Numbers 2, 3 and 4), 2015


Minjung Kim: Phasing @ Patrick Heide, 11 Church Street - Marylebone

Red Mountain (14-059), 2014 - Watercolor on mulberry Hanji paper, 12.5 x 28 cm

If it's 'always the quiet ones', then Korean Minjung Kim is a the least noisy of pyromaniacs. She's best known for her beautiful collages of red or black ink-washed rice paper which she delicately singes to make irregular edges, then overlays to form mountains. These are complemented at Patrick Heide by new streams of work, most strikingly the musical parallels of her 'Phase' series, in which a front sheet in which holes are burned through is set on top of an inked back sheet to form near-repeated forms, and the rhythm of the whole is a function of the extent of repetition and the subtlety of the variations. You have to look very closely to understand - or believe - how these are made. Korean abstraction is very much in fashion*, and though Minjung isn't 'Dansaekhwa', she should be part of the efflorescence. 
Phasing (16-069), 2016 -  Mixed media on mulberry Hanji paper, 74.5 x 65 cm

* See eg Park Seo-bo at White Cube now, or recent London solos of Yun Hyong-keun (Simon Lee), Lee Ufan (Pace) and Cho Yong-Ik (Oliver Malingue)


Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva: An Intimate Gaze @ Danielle Arnaud, 123 Kennington Rd – Kennington

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva  Gill’s Slits  2011 - skate bones, metal, perspex box  45 x 45 x 50 cm


Paul Nash: Flight of the Magnolia, 1944 (from Tate Britain show to 5 March)

It’s an old gambit to generate beauty from abject or repulsive material. All the same, Anglo-Macedonian artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva’s use of animal materials is striking: she’s best known for immersively delicate installations using waste products from the meat industry. Here, a domestic environment suits a transcendental drawing made from a cow’s guts, bovine intestines blown up to form vulnerable sculptures,  and four sheep testicles configured as rather attractive purses. The most radical form, though, is probably Gill’s Slits, made by simply alligator-clipping together the wing-like skeletons of several skates. This inside-to-outside move yields flyaway fish with a floral feel. I was somewhat reminded of Paul Nash’s 'Flight of the Magnolia' 1944, which you can see in the excellent survey at Tate Britain.
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Lady's Purse,  2011 - sheep testicle purse lined with silk, antique frame and chain, mounted in perspex box


Franziska Lantz: expanding arid zones & Haris Epaminonda: Vol. XX @ RODEO, 123 Charing Cross Road – Tottenham Court Road 

Franziska Lantz: detail of  expanding arid zones 

Rodeo’s Condo share presents two installations representing found elements to transformative effect. Downstairs we can move on from the injustice of Michael Dean not winning the Turner Prize to admire an installation by his Swiss-German wife Franziska Lantz. Both are represented in Berlin by Supportico Lopez: here Lantz has trawled the Thames for detritus which she cleans with contemplative obsession, then hangs to form a shamanistic whole room installation featuring a surprisingly high proportion of camouflage wear. It’s complemented by her soundtrack – cluing us in to a wider practice which includes a regular broadcasts for Resonance FM. Upstairs are what might be termed ‘overlages’, by Berlin-based Cypriot Haris Epaminonda – collages in which the top layer (black and white images of ikebana flower arrangements) almost completely covers the lower layer (would-be-colour of Egyptian art). It’s mainly the captions, referring to pharaohs, which remain to complicate our interpretation of the bouquets. 


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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.