25 minute video in wall-mounted monitor
Leah Capaldi: 'Peplos', 2010 in ‘Young Gods’ @ CHARLIE SMITH London, 336 Old Street - Hoxton
To 7 Aug: www.charliesmithlondon.com
This is definitely a performance sculpture. Leah Capaldi plays off the frequent use of life-like mannequins in recent art to present a woman – who turns out to be real – crouched beneath two fur coats with just the very vulnerable-looking nape of her neck exposed: a sort of trompe l’oeil in reverse. Homelessness, execution and primitive ritual come to mind in this power-play, as well as the classical reference of the title: the peplos was a sleeveless garment worn in ancient Greece. The work comes from Capaldi’s RCA degree show, which also featured more visceral versions of the person as sculpture. Here it’s the highlight of an interesting survey of new graduates’ work – though following the opening you will have to bring your imagination to just the coats on the floor, ready for 'action'. Two models took turns of an hour each to lie flat with one leg dangled on a bench / beam / shelf / barrier, playing with subject as body as object as art. Spectators were left to decide whether to step – transgressively? – over the obstruction. Another context, the Imperial War Museum for example, might have triggered the more traumatic aspects of a body on the ground. As it was, the roles of viewer, participant and actor entered a quieter feedback loop with Steinbach’s presentation – and one you could see in seconds and think about later…
Oona Grimes: still from u.e u. , 2018 - 9.28 min. iPhone film.Oona Grimes is a lover of film who has typically absorbed that into other media – the clown drawings are an example. That changed recently in the series of shorts which she shows on iPads. In the six films of ‘Hail the New Etruscan’, Oona re-enacts reinvents
Jemima Burrill: still from 'The New Model', 2013 - film, 7.51 mins
'The New Model' might be described as a feminist parody via the car industry - combining the stereotypical male fixation on having the latest marque, with the hopes of a woman seeking to escape a conventional role. Burrill herself emerges from a car boot with scarlet lipstick, pinafore and rubber gloves, ready to be given a thorough cleansing-come-makeover in a car wash. Cue the slapstick of her being vacuumed, hosed and dried until she emerges clean and natural, smiling in the sunshine of a fresh start without the lipstick, pinafore and gloves. It doesn't last. The carwash attendant reapplies the lipstick and replaces the pinafore and gloves: the 'new model' is ready to return to the boot. That might also, says Jemima, be read as questioning the worth of the torture that woman put themselves though to feel younger. Her performance on 31 January will also home in on inappropriate norms: as Megaphone Woman she'll tackle how women get to speak less and get interrupted more than men.
Paul Carey-Kent on a Ridiculously Good Show at Elephant West
Still from Andy Holden: Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape, 2011-17
Andy Holden's hour-long animation is the centrepiece of the film evening on 14 Jan. Holden himself is the avatar who takes us through over 400 illustrative clips, drawing persuasive and witty analogies from a dizzying range of references – from cave painting to Futurism to Slavoj Žižek to quantum mechanics – to show how the apparently ridiculous rules followed in the golden age of cartoons can apply to us now. By way of a flavour, Law I states that ‘any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation’. That leads Holden to observe that ‘capitalism as a whole operates with nothing below it’ – and, as the 2009 collapse of the banking system showed, was ‘oblivious till it looked down’.
42 Age 41 Environment 40 Self-care 39 Food 38 Masculinity 37 Birth 36 Luxury
This Mess We're In
What's the role of the artist in dealing with what we're doing to the environment? They might evoke the consequences subtly, like Hannah Maybank, or call direct attention to the issues - as have John Akomfrah with memorable scope over six channels of video, and Simon Faithfull in an appropriately futuristic setting. In doing so, they might use recycled materials, as in Evan Holloway's re-purposing of spent batteries, or reduce their own carbon footprint: Peter Matthews make a good start on that by dispensing with the energy impacts of a studio in favour of living in the open with his work. As for possible solutions, Anna Reivilä and Laure Prouvost's pseudo-proposals call attention to their inadequacies to date rather than coming up with practical answers. That last might be too big an ask, but it's fair to say that any answer is bound to require an interface between the technical and the natural: something which Bettina von Armin has been exploring for many years. That heading, by the way, is from PJ Harvey: 'And I have seen / The sunrise / Over the river / The freeway / Reminding / Of this mess we're in'.
Evan Holloway: Figure Form with Batteries, 2014
Coutesy of the artist and Xavier Hufkens
150 x 140. Oil, acrylic, enamel, pencil, oil stick, pen, earth, clay, found objects and thread on canvases from the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico and the Atlantic coast of Cornwall, England. Private Collection - Mexico. Courtesy the artist.
Peter Matthews takes plein air painting to extremes as he works alongside oceans, seeking to capture his experiences of the sublime. He lives with his large spreads of unprimed canvas, carrying them on his back - they double up as sun screen, roof or hammock. He lets the sea wash over them, attaches objects found on the shore, and is as likely to use sticks and stones as brushes to apply the paint. No wonder Matthews covers a lot of territory: 'Ek' Balam' was made partly on the Pacific coast of México and partly on the Cornish Atlantic coast - hence the two sections sewn together - and is is named after an archaeological site where the Mayan way of using glyphs and signs inspired him.
100 x 72 cm / Edition of 5, 42 x 301 cm / Edition of 5
Bettina von Arnim: Sunny With Cloudy Intervals, 2017. Oil on canvas, 120 x 120 cm. Courtesy of Bettina von Arnim and PPC Philipp Pflug Contemporary, Frankfurt.
Shana Moulton: Every Angle is an Angel, 2016
Still from high-definition digital video, 6:19 min.
Edition of 3+2AP
Archival pigment print, 65 x 80 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Johannes Faber, Vienna
Photograph with oil on canvas painting, courtesy the artist.
It is important to ‘say yes’ to your own self-care, recognising it as a priority. Perhaps art can contribute. Clare Price makes rapid gestural paintings scaled to her body, and often adds to their performative aspect by photographing herself remotely as she strikes dance-like poses in front of the works. That suggests an autobiographical angle, confirmed by the photographs’ original publication on a private Instagram account alongside hashtags indicating emotional states: '#needs', for example, '#fragile'. As suggested in the title above, Price sees the process - which has become part of her publicly exhibited practice – as having had ‘a healing quality from experiences of trauma and oppression, a reclaiming of the self in safe spaces, both physical and online’.
American painter Will Cotton satirises indulgence in his world of ill-chosen food, with landscapes made of candy and models parading their sweetness. That fitted singer Katy Perry’s aesthetic, and she asked him to collaborate on the video for her single ‘California Gurls'. Not only did he do that, making some kind of reality of his fantasy world, he then used the video as a source to make paintings of how his own paintings came to life. That circularity stands in nicely for how hard it can be to escape the cycle of our unhealthy desires...
Mai-Thu Perret: Abnormally vivid, 2019
Broughton & Birnie: Meat Garden, 2015
London-based Kevin Broughton and Fiona Birnie collaborate in a wide-ranging practice. Their garden of processed meat, part of a series which dreams up an alternative America, wittily emphasises how unnatural the suburban can be. It also blurs the line between animal and plant life. If sausages grew like this, I guess everyone would be vegetarian. Let's hope they'd contain less saturated fat than the orthodox version.
101 x 101cm, Oil on linen 2015, copyright Broughton & Birnie
Taking sport as a traditional arena for the assertion of masculine values, maximum bragging rights come with the lifting of a trophy. But the phallic triumphalism of that act is undermined by the French multi-media artist Jean-Baptiste Ganne’s ‘Détumescences’, in which the winners' cups have been tellingly melted. Maybe there's something in there about the rise of women's sport as well as the wilting of male pride.
Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians, and artists, as well as strangers from the streets of Marrakech, often wearing clothes designed by the artist. These colorful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography and pop art, as well as the studio photography of African artist Malick Sidibe, in an intelligent commentary on the influences of tradition in the interpretations of high and low branding and the effects of global capitalism.
The term dandy – referring to a man who pays particular attention to his style and appearance – was first coined in the Victorian era, and has been used to describe the tweed suits, frilled blouses and crafted moustaches of Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde and Salvador Dalí.
This exhibition explores its specific iteration among the African diaspora, for whom dandyism is problematic – the willed flamboyance is in total contrast to conventional constructions of black masculinity. Here it is seen as a form of personal politics; more than sharp dressing it defies the notion that there is one monolithic definition of black manhood.
Erez Israeli: Madonna of the Flowers (2018)
Young Israeli artist Erez Israeli takes on all forms of oppression, exclusion and occlusions of memory. His blooming self-portrait cheekily cites Jean Genet's identification with those excluded from mainstream society in his book 'Madonna of the Flowers'. Israeli's head as still life might be seen as act of self-marginalisation by embracing flowers beyond the masculine norm, beyond even Frida Kahlo's assertive use of the floral fascinator in her self-portraits.
November 1 – December 15, 2018
Madani's work posits a world where primal desires are unrestrained by convenient norms. Her works are subsumed by light that points both outward and inward, at human instinct and upended social ritual. Paintings can be grotesque, violent, tender, obscene, and hilarious.
For this exhibition, Madani presents new paintings and animation works. In two large corner paintings, men point handheld projectors at the wall, screens flashing in the distance. Behind the wall, short films combine live imagery with painted animations. In one of them, a group of men struggle to prevent themselves from being crushed by a giant pink penis that has fallen from the sky. In another, a man is trapped in a loop of stairs and escalators in a faceless atrium, eventually caught and dismembered by a crowd. This is one step removed, cinematic, there is an audience looking on; there's something natural in it all.
In a group of paintings, infants are portrayed innocently discovering their imagination. One child crawls toward a light source with his hand outstretched, projecting a mammoth shadow of himself. Another canvas shows a billboard of a child carving glowing lacunae into a body, multiplying the sun. These base instincts hold a puerile allure, where a lack of inhibition is infantile and callow, but also human and liberating. You find these humans crawling into glowing gas ovens to stick their heads inside, returning to a fetal posture of sincere and relatable ignorance. Exploring from beginning to end.
but excluded from power in favour of the male guest. . In a complex structure of dependent human relations, women are in Kahraman’s art, the house.
They can observe, without being observed, the courtyard from behind the Mashrabiya, the screen that divides two rooms in Kahraman’s installation.
The house is my domain. When you enter you will resign and obey. At least that’s what I have to believe if I were to survive. Indeed you can have the rest but these rooms, these kitchens, these balconies, these toilettes are mine. They are an extension of myself. And within the confines of these walls I will do what I please. I will watch you from above. Through the screens I can see everything you do and you won’t even know that I’m watching. I will laugh when you stumble and I will hear your conversations with others.
An exhibition combining paintings, drawings and new sculptural works.
‘My figures are extensions of my own body blended with the aesthetics of the . “She” actually emerged when I was in Florence, Italy. I went to every single museum, did copies of old master paintings and was engulfed by the technique of that era. “Her” emergence, her white diaphanous flesh, her contrapposto, was an embodiment of someone who was colonised; someone who was taught to believe that European art history was the ultimate ideal. She became an expression of whom I had become as an assimilated woman. I’m now working to give her agency and a voice and as I obsessively repaint her again and again, she becomes part of a collective. I am concerned with the multitude not the self. This is not only my story. It can be the story of more than 5 million people within the Iraqi diaspora or any diaspora.’ – Hayv Kahraman, Glass Magazine, 2016
To depict this figure, Kahraman ‘steals’ techniques from across art history, including European Renaissance painting, Persian miniatures and Japanese woodblock prints. Blurring aesthetics of Western and Middle Eastern cultures, her paintings reveal the complex lived experience of migrants.
The exhibition will combine paintings, drawings and new sculptural works in order to show the breadth of Kahraman’s practice. On the occasion of the exhibition’s opening, Gendering Memories of Iraq will be presented: a performance of a script written by Kahraman that is both personal and part of a collective memory.
Kahraman was shortlisted for the 2018 and 2011 Jameel Prizes at the V&A Museum, and received the ‘Excellence in Cultural Creativity’ award at the Global Thinkers Forum, 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include Silence is Gold, Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles (2018); Acts of Reparation, Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis (2017); Re-Weaving Migrant Inscriptions, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2017); Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha (2016). Recent group exhibitions include Jameel Prize 5, V&A Museum, London (2018); The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); Dreamers Awake, White Cube, London (2017); No Man’s Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2015); June: A Painting Show, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2015).
Kahraman’s solo exhibition will take place alongside the major group show Still I Rise, Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 2 in the Ground Floor Gallery. Her work is currently included in Act 1 of Still I Rise, on view at Nottingham Contemporary until 20 January 2019.
When Are You Born?
Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi - now based in the USA - gives voice to women in the loaded contexts of the harem, the historically male art of calligraphy, and the Orientalist vision of the odalisque. The use of lavish 17-19th century ceremonial textiles further positions women as decorative objects, but the female tradition of henna is used to signal defiance through Essaydi's signature technique of covering her models with writing. The scripts, mysterious in their unreadability, are a poetic stream of consciousness on the artist’s and models’ experiences as women.
Josh Kline: Alternative Facts, 2017 - cheap cellphone, luxury cellphone, hardware, duct tape, and unique customized wooden display
Josh Kline makes upbeat films of possible ideal societies, featuring, for example, racial harmony and a universal basic income. But he conjoins them with installations anatomising the dystopian consequences of increasing inequality, automation putting millions out of work, and an imagined new civil war in the US. 'Alternative Facts' is from a series which crudely tape together 'cheap' and 'luxury' versions of everyday objects like fridges, blenders and laptops with titles such as 'Resentment' and 'Denial' emphasising how they give sculptural form to social divisions.
What can’t be yours if you wave the right plastic? Michael Craig-Martin has an uninfected yet distinctive way of finding beauty in quotidian objects through colours brought to their maximum intensity. This credit card is an extreme example of how, as he puts it, “there’s very little information in these works, the information is in the viewer” - for we can fill in the cultural and social connotations. Craig-Martin’s 2015 Serpentine retrospective ‘Transience’ positioned him as an archaeologist of items now in the past, like VHS tapes and traditional light bulbs. Perhaps, though, his is the future of credit cards: coolly reduced to abstraction, all data invisibly encrypted.
Still / stills (nice to have two to show contrast) from Comodato (2018) – Kow, Berlin. I have reminded Kow, no response so far.