Hany Armanious: Untitled (Snake Oil), 1997-2019
at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Everyday glasses form the moulds into which Australia’s 2011 Venice representative pours a ‘hot melt’ of synthetic resin which he calls ‘snake oil’ – ‘a substance with no real medicinal value sold as a remedy for all diseases’. I guess ownership wouldn’t improve your health, but you can contemplate an alluring interplay between plinth glasses and their internal casts, with the stem acting as transition point between shapes which look intriguingly different when inversion, substance and colour are added.
Nil Yalter: tour de babel / tour de beauborg, 1979 at Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna.
Nil Yalter has the best institutional show currently up in Cologne, her retrospective the Ludwig Museum. That has many intricate installations inhabiting the positions of the disadvantaged: this is simpler. It depicts her - as is common among young artists - waiting in the Pompidou Centre's restaurant to help make ends meet. But she serves up just the museum's escalator logo... and what can a brand sustain?
Carlos Garaicoa: Puzzle Columnas, 2018 at Galeria Continua San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, Havana
In one of those simple ideas one is surprised not to have seen before, the Cuban artist takes a photograph of an abandoned building. That appears in ghostly mode at the back of a puzzle which he has made from the same image, leaving it incomplete to presage the building’s ongoing decay along with any metaphorical echoes.
The all-green painting which is not what it seems
Naufas Ramirez-Figuera: Scales, Variation #4, Nephrit Jade, 2016 at Sies + Hoke, Dusseldorf
I didn’t think it likely that Naufas Ramirez-Figuera, a Guatemalan known for his performances, had suddenly turned to straightforward abstraction - and so it proved. This isn’t the painting it seemed from outside the stand, but a carving of jade. The aim – in a set which also includes gold and obsidian – is to call attention to the valuable materials plundered by the invading Spaniards to such an extent that their traditional use in native South American rituals was prevented.