Archives for posts with tag: Culture

Red Mansion Art Prize @ Royal Academy

Last thursday i popped into the private view of the Red Mansion Art Prize.

The prize is awarded to one artist from each of the leading art schools. Each artists is invited to spend some time in Beijing and then exhibit some work that is influenced by the visit.

The place was packed when I arrived. Lots of graduates. Four out of the eight artists exhibited video art, which was hard to enjoy, due to the level of noise (students) and inadequate headphones. The one video piece i did see and enjoy i found out had actually been produced by a chinese artist and was being “presented” by the artist involved. (does that count?)

I did get a chance to have a chat with the artist Alexander Ball. He’s a fantastic painter who had taken the residence as an opportunity to explore some new print based avenues in his practice. I’m really looking forward to seeing more from him. (work from him is first image)

Got a few photos, but as ever staff are always hot on the cameras. Annoying.

Yelena Popova is another painter i’d keep an eye on. She was in the New sensations exhibition last year. She produces beautifully ghostlike abstract images with the subtlest dyes, onto untreated linen.

Open till the 26th of April if you’re based central.

Jeremy Deller @ The Hayward Gallery

Jeremy Deller has made me fall in love with community art. Normally the phrase would make me run a mile. I’d imagine blue rinse brigade sculpture workshops. But through the eyes of JD even forced creativity can be beautiful.

I’ll admit ignorance. Until recently i thought Jeremy Deller was a crime writer. I didn’t know he had won the Turner prize. I had no idea of the sort of art he produced. What turned me onto him was a BBC2 documentary on the eve of his current show. It covered the man and his seminal works. What i saw opened my eyes. I made a date in my diary to go to see it in the flesh.

This Saturday i turned up at 10am on the dot to make sure i was the first person in the gallery. This tactic paid off. The first room of the exhibition was a re-creation of his first ever exhibition, set up in his parents house whilst they were on holiday. As no one else was around it felt like i had a fairly intimate insight into the artists formative years, especially as i was able to sit on his toilet (trousers up obviously). You could see the embryonics of his future achievement on the walls.

To cut a long story short. The rest of the work was incredible. Deller facilitates and curates the human spirit. It’s conceptual art, but with substance, weighted to the gallery floor with the ballast of reality. I’m going to be straight with you. I was, on a couple of occasions, close to tears. Tears of joy.

I have trouble expressing how i feel when i see Deller’s work. When i try to describe it i have all this emotion inside my chest me trying bust through my ribs. I cant get it out quick enough. I try to post rationalise my feelings, but just start spouting empty rhetoric. It’s indescribable. It’s burning wonderment at how incredible life can be. It’s like stumbling across a beautiful sunset whilst on your way to the off licence, stopped dead in your tracks, rushing on the knowledge you were able to experience it.

Often art is designed to remind you of your insignificance. Deller is much more optimistic. An artist that is able to capture and distill the human spirit in their work. He reminds the individual how wonderful they are and that their life can mean something. Deller plants himself firmly on the park bench of life and keeps his eyes peeled. He encourages you to do the same. Thats what makes him a fantastic artist, and in my eyes one of the most significant conceptualists ever.

If I haven’t made it clear to you by now. I really, really, really enjoyed this exhibition.

Please i implore you, go and see it.

Ends 13th May.

Toby Boundy @ David David

Toby Boundy is a new painter doing the rounds (i think he’s new?). I caught his recent exhibition at David David, a shop on Earlham street that has a gallery space underneath. By the looks of it they are planning to run regular exhibitions there. His paintings are semi abstract semi figurative. Human forms are obscured behind layers of pattern and colour. Mysterious canvases that seem to create a story in the mind of the viewer.

For the first exhibition of a new painter i thought these were pretty good. The dream like nature of some of the paintings really appealed to me and I liked the very minimal reductionist line based works that he produced. It’s hard to be confident with very little.

It will be interesting to see what he does next, and how his style progresses.

Katie Paterson @ Haunch of Venison

Haunch of Venison is owned by a major auction house. So if an artist is picked up by them you can be pretty sure they will be around for a while. Good news for Katie Paterson then, who has a solo exhibition at the Eastcastle street venue.

When i read the press release from her 100 Suns exhibition, i was reminded of some suspect advertising awards entries:

If anyone reading this works in advertising they will be familiar with the term “scam” whereby an agency creates fictitious work, or produces work that was never commissioned or paid for by the client. All for the sole reason of entering awards and making the agency look really creative. Pretty much everyone does it.

Anyway these are excerpts from the HOV press release about Katie’s Work:

(1) As the World Turns (2010)

Adapted record player, vinyl record of Vivaldi’s four seasons

An adapted record player that rotates in synchronisation with the earth ( one revolution per 24 hours) playing Vivaldi’s four seasons. If performed from beginning to end the record would play for four years. The movement is so slow it isn’t visible to the naked eye, yet the player is turning imperceptibility.

(3) Black firework for dark skies (2010)

Firework remains, wooden display box

A single black firework set off under dark skies, in an unannounced location. It’s charred remains are now all that exists.

(6) Dying Star Doorbel (2008)

Sensor, loudspeaker

The sound of a dying star, a tiny hum close to a middle C, played every time a visitor opens a door.

I’m sure Katie’s creative intentions are genuine, and i can understand the emotionally uplifting nature of the ideas. But when you read stuff like this, and there is little craft to back it up, it does make you wonder if you are being taken on an interstellar wild goose chase.

To sum up. The ambition of Hirst spliced with the astronomical sexiness of Professor Brian Cox.

One for the conceptualists definitely.

Sarah Dwyer @ Josh Lilley

I’m not getting paid to cover Josh Lilley Exhibitions, it’s just that the gallery is in Fitzrovia and i love  walking the back streets north of Tottenham Court road. I often imagine myself in the post war years, wandering into a pub to find Francis Bacon and Quentin crisp discussing the merits of the british political system over a sherry.

Moving swiftly on.

Sarah Dwyers paintings are dynamic and spontaneous.  You do get a sense that she’s lets it all out on the canvas, but not in a violent grand action, more like gracefully poetic meandering way. Perhaps even with her eyes closed.

I especially like the textural intimacy. Different materials cohabiting harmoniously, in a ramshackle manner, within the confines of a canvas. The only straight lines are the frame edges.

I do have some reservations. There is little immediate impact or dynamism within the canvases. With a short attention span i find myself walking away quickly from each one. They are the sort of paintings you need to spend time with, or even live with. If you did i’m sure it would slowly draw you in and envelop you into it’s cosy world of ethereal abstraction.

Linda Aloysius @ Madder 139

I visited the ever accommodating Debbie Carslaw at Madder 139 last weekend to check this exhibition out. Her gallery is situated in Whitecross street, located in the area between Old Street, Farringdon and Barbican. It had a lovely villagey feel, with lots of families and locals around. Inside the gallery Linda Alysois was showing a collection of semi-figurative sculptures that are linked to notions of female identity.

 The sculptures brought an immediate smile to my face. Their anthropomorphic forms and various titles based on slang used to describe women, gave each piece a distinct character and life of its own. What really made them special was that they had been constructed from reclaimed materials. Things that were supporting structures, seats, or walkways in a previous life (that had supported, offered comfort or been walked on) had been reincarnated into role that was metaphorically similar, in that they were representing a human condition and not a structural one.

At first glance you might think these sculptures were made to deliver the artistic equivalent of a one-liner but spend some time with them and you will discover a depth that touches on universal themes we can all relate to, be it woman or man. That’s what makes great art.

till 28th april