Archives for posts with tag: installation

New Contemporaries @ ICA

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Popped into this exhibition last weekend to have a nose around at some young guns, particularly at George Little who i’ve been keeping my eye on for a while. Unfortunately they had excluded his large canvas from the London edition of the show so was left with just a small painting and an installation to enjoy.

There was some excitement on my behalf though as i spotted none other than Mr Saatchi lurking in the bookshop. He looked a bit shifty, like he was going to lift something. You’ve got to give Charles his dues – he’s not an ivory tower sort of collector, he likes to get down and dirty with the students.

This iteration of New Contemporaries felt like a “light ” version of the Liverpool show. I guess the space in the ICA is limited, but i felt like i wasn’t quite getting the whole picture, especially after having a look at the catalogue. So in no particular order my highlights from the exhibition, which are mostly all painters:

Tara Tingleff   ( http://www.tyratingleff.net ) – header image is also hers.

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Anita Delaney  ( http://www.anitadelaney.net  – This photo shamelessly stolen from http://curatorcharlie.blogspot.co.uk/ )

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Emanuel Rohss ( http://www.emanuelrohss.com )

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George Little ( http://www.georgelittle.co.uk )

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Max Ruf ( http://www.maxruf.com )

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This exhibition is now finished but you can always check their website.

http://www.newcontemporaries.org.uk

Duncan aged 40 @ Skylight Studios

This former graffiti writer continues to progress into conceptual territory without giving up what he loves; making a mark. “Margate” the title of his latest exhibition explores the place that was once a Londoner’s favourite holiday destination, but after decades of neglect is now undergoing regeneration as a cultural and artistic hub.

I made the effort to visit this show on the east coast only to be greeted on arrival with a downpour of such magnitude it broke my umbrella. But my pilgrimage was richly rewarded. I discovered another strong collection of work from this passionate and convivial artist, who very kindly took the time to talk me through the work. Duncan continues to travel on his nomadic journey, acting as a conduit to the culture and history of each place he visits, via his multi media practice which includes performance, video, sculpture, printmaking and photography.

Setting up the exhibition was a video work. The artist had spent the day as a tourist, dressed top to toe in his trademark idiosyncratic, bootleg Ralph Lauren clothing (Shorts and t-shirt this time, but lucky for him it was sunny that day).

Like any visitor to the Margate beach who ends up using the local chalk to write their name on the surrounding walls, Duncan did the same, But a lot bigger. A series of photographs on aluminium and installations charted his use of sea water, chalk and a garden rake to produce 40 meter sand tags and chalk murals bearing his name. These monoliths were always meant to be transient and disappeared as quickly as they arrived due to the effect of the tide, sun and rain.

“Cats and Dogs”, took it’s title from from the weather based colloquialism. (Particularly apt considering my earlier soaking) It was a collection of homemade animal portraits collected from charity shops in the surrounding areas. I noticed one of the feline portraits was committed to paper in 1964. It was touching to see long deceased animals staring back at me from the gallery wall, I for one was happy they had found a new home.

Continuing his theme of printmaking with local delicacies Duncan presented “Bag of Chips” and “Donuts” , two unique portraits of these ritualistic objects. What lived a short life as a high carb high fat snack, became immortalised as an intellectual endeavour. What’s really interesting was the way the substances in the food (sugar on the donuts, oil on the chips) reacted with the inks to create a signature effect of their own.

I think the artist has captured the true spirit of Margate. On first view the work may seem a flippant, ironic take on the common man, but in reality it’s insightful, touching and just a little bit life affirming. With the cultural developments in the area, like the Turner Contemporary and growing artist community, the exhibition sums up the transgressive nature of the locality; documenting where it came from, and helping cement where it’s going.

Don’t visit this exhibition it’s finished.

The Russian Art Show @ Calvert 22

Any authorities reading this will be pleased to know that this exhibition featured no civil disobedience, no governmental insults, or even any vague subversion. (well perhaps a little bit). Calvert 22 presented an immaculately behaved set of artworks from the Russian equivalent of the Turner Prize. Out of everything it was the video artists that did it for me:

Victor Alimpev’s work  Whose is exhalation?  featured a group of choral singers of all shapes and sizes humming in unison whilst one of their number held their breath.

When an individual could no longer hold their breath, the groups humming stopped. Each member of the group took a turn holding their breath. The film at 15 minutes long was beautifully directed and had an amazing tension between the glowing warmth of the choral humming and the ordeal the individual was going through trying to avoid breathing.

Taus Makhacheva presented the work “let me be part of a narrative” To quote the press release “the film is about the intimate human drama of defeats and difficulty amidst the medals and cups” 

The section i watched captured the local (or perhaps even national) sport of dog fighting, and the issues of etiquette, hierarchy and honour within the pastime. It also featured some of the dogs on their day off looking very cute, which sold it to me. (i’m a sucker for a waggy tail).

Overall, the impression of Russian art i will take away from this exhibition was thus: Intelligent. Well presented. Well executed. A bit tame. But thats understandable, as no one wants to end up like Pussy Riot.

Runs until 16th September.

www.calvert22.org

Sara Barker @ Modern Art

Sara Barkers’ sculptures hang in the gallery picking up signals. Who knows, they could be transmissions from another planet, or perhaps they are tapping your iphone. Either way they are designed to receive and transmit, and they want you to know they are listening.

The works look incredibly fragile, and take up a lot of space for such a small surface area. They are created from what look like cut up pieces of canvas or board collaged onto metal and wooden structures. They certainly emanate a gracefullness that belies the ramshackle construction. Careful though, one wrong move and the whole lot could come tumbling down. (don’t cough)

The colours and angles are pleasing to the eye, but leave me a little empty in the heart. They are most definitely sober sculptures designed to perform a duty. I think their individual personality and palettes are there to distract you from a more sinister purpose. (I’m still not sure what it is, although it definitely involves communications of some sort)

The modern day equivalent of a portrait with eyes that follow you round the room

Runs till 4th August

http://www.modernartinc.com

BA Art Practice @ Goldsmiths

I though this graduate show deserved a post because a) there was some great work and b) they produced a lovely catalogue of the show and not only that, they gave it away free!

I’d never been to Goldsmiths college before and can now understand why it is such a successful art college. How can you not be inspired when this is the view from your studio window:

So without further ado here are my favourite ten works in no particular order:

Alex-jeronymides-noire : A crazy potato sound system. (how could he know i love crazy potato sound systems?

Pedro Magalhes: Don’t you ever have an urge to call a number written on the street. I do. I’m gonna call this one when i summon the nerve.

Emma Sinclair: Harnessing youtube to make a rather interesting microwave based fireworks display.

Taneisha Kitchen: Bondage taxidermy.

Jolene Farren: Architectural and abstract

Kyungmin Lee (detail): Unusual bubble abstracts

Rose Fooks: The room smelt of cheap perfume. Thats not a title, it did smell.

Dominique Dunand-Clarke: Nelson esque office spaces.

Kat Day: taking you into the virtual world of a dolls house.

Joanna Ng Shuhui: Adding human sound effects to everyday moving inanimate objects, surprisingly enjoyable.

That’s all. Roll on the Postgraduate show.

http://www.gold.ac.uk/

Slade MFA @ UCL

Visited the MFA show at the weekend. Quick post but wanted to share this photo as i thought the dressing of the main building was absolutely incredible, something that wouldn’t look out of place in Venice Bienalle.

Overall the work inside was variable but there were some notable exceptions:

This photographer. I didn’t get a name. Can anyone help?

And the ever impressive Alexander Ball:

Worth a look if you’re in the area. I think you’ve got till Friday.

Song Dong @ Barbican Curve

The Barbican Curve presents a new iteration of Song Dong’s “Waste not” and it’s wonderful. What makes it special is the story behind it’s creation. It’s a monumental collection of over 10’000 objects hoarded by the artists mother throughout her life and subsequently after the death of her husband in 2002 (she herself died in an accident in 2009). The artist, his wife and sister continue to look after the collection and install iterations in galleries worldwide.

It was an piece created to offer focus and therapy to a loved one who lost someone. And now it’s a living growing artwork to signify the artists family, past, present and perhaps future. Song Dong talks about his wish for it to be an ongoing project, one that his children will continue after he has passed away. Curation becomes the subject not the context. It’s a single object with another purpose. Who could imagine that junk could become such a touching group portrait.

Hoarding is a hot subject at the moment. “Britain’s worst hoarders” is making a splash on Ch4, at the same time as this Barbican show. I have my other half to thank for introducing me to the reality TV version but i’m glad i saw it. It allows me to witness how a universal theme can be treated differently within culture.

The High Art version wins. Hands down. (i’m biased obviously). Song Dongs work will live on and touch people. Quick to be forgotten will be Keith the hoarder from Gravesend who refused to chuck out his dead dogs blanket. (although I do feel for him equally).

In the 90’s Emin made the junk filled bed autobiographical. But that was punky and brash. Song Dong has delivered this monumental artwork in a typically Chinese manner; Studious, modest and efficient. It doesn’t scream at you. A little piece of it hooks on to you forever.

I especially enjoyed the middle class tourist  who entered the curve and instantly declared “God! What has art come to!”. One patient gallery assistant proceeded to explain the story behind the work. The lady instantly looked a sheepish. Perhaps in those brief few moments she spent there, she considered her own mortality, and what will be left to remember her. I smirked like the smug arty git i am.

You’ve got till the 12th of June. Get a wiggle on.

Marcus Coates @ Kate MacGarry

Marcus Coates is an eccentric (to say the least) conceptual artist. His work centres around the link between the human and animal world, often refashioning himself in the mindset and image of an animal to become a conduit between the two worlds and to aid communication between the inhabitants of both.

Looking at the work “crucifixes for various amphibians 1973 – 2000”  He appears to have began his artistic career torturing animals rather than channeling their thoughts, but he was only 5 so i’ll let him off. We’ve all tortured a few animals in our time (i remember getting a newt stoned with my mate Piers once).

Coates work makes me laugh. I really like his “Self portrait underground (worcestershire)”, pictured top, that really made me chuckle. There is no doubt that if Marcus had experienced a less supportive upbringing he would probably be that strange man who sleeps rough and everyone knows in your local town but crosses the road to avoid. But i bet we all secretly wish we could live a life free of societies self imposed boundaries. And to top it off Coates is getting paid for it. Who’s laughing now?

Don’t go and see this exhibition, it’s finished.

You can always visit this shiny website to find out more:

 www.katemacgarry.com

Sarah Lucas “Situation” @ Sadie Coles

Sarah Lucas is putting on a series of exhibitions in the upper rooms of the New Burlington street gallery. Featuring recent and historical works. She is responding to the environment and the space, hence the title “situation”.

Lucas’s work has been consistent in it’s concept and ability to garner controversy since the 1990’s ; Euphemistic, tactile and emblematic in reference to the body and gender roles. While i was there a precession of well educated yummy mummies passed through dragging their kids with them. A risky manoeuvre in my opinion, far too much explaining to do.

The exhibition transmitted a gentle luridness. It’s sculpture you want to touch, but if you did you might feel a bit guilty afterwards, something akin to a post onanistic indulgence. So i didn’t touch it because one, I didn’t fancy an in gallery libido crash, and two, the gallery assistant was watching.

What made the exhibition exciting for me was the space in which it was hosted. Off the beaten track, it was an intimate, treasure hunt experience. leaving me with a “i’ve found a secret place” feeling.

Lucas’s work still has impact. It’s evident that she continues to influence new artists and the contemporary scene in general.

Runs throughout 2012.

Sarah Lucas @ Sadie Coles

The Catlin Art Prize @ London Newcastle Project Space

More Collectors than ever seem to be happy to take a risk on a young artist . For those looking for something exciting and challenging, emerging artists can offer affordable unique works. (Lets face it, no one really wants editions).

One reason more people are buying “new” is the high cost of established artists driven by the increased demand for contemporary art in general. Another reason is that financial speculators see what happened to Hirst’s values over the last 20 years and want a piece of the action.

There’s also something else i believe thats driving purchase of new work, and it’s down to the rise of online curation. Cool hunting as it’s also known. New art imagery is snapped up and propagated on websites, tumblrs and blogs (look, you’re reading this now). What this does is create is a PR network for artists within the target market that is buying work: 30 something, digital savvy, highly paid, creative professionals. When an young artist is suddenly appearing worldwide, you’re getting some guarantee of “good” and thus more inclined to buy in.

The Catlin Art Prize is a prime example of the cult of the new. A great venue, great curator, great artists and hefty financial support from a sponsor enabling it to happen.  I thought the exhibition was brilliant. A really impressive show any artist would be happy to be a part of, even an established one. I listened to people chatting excitedly at the show, students i think, hoping it was going to be them next year. (and this was two days after the private view) My photos really don’t do justice to the quality of the hanging and the lighting. It was top class.

So if you’re a collector you can thank Art Catlin for making it tougher to find that fantastic new artist before everyone else. And we all know it’s not going to get any easier (or cheaper)

Here are my favourite three artists from the show:

First: Ali Kazim

My vote for best in show went to Kazim. His work is more reserved than a lot of the other artists, but still waters run deep. Kazim demonstrates incredible craft, emotional depth, and multi disciplinary talent. His obtuse self portraits, executed in pigment we’re so technically brilliant it was as if he was laying himself bare for everyone to see. The clincher though was Untitled (heart). A sculpture of gentle magnitude. Executed in human hair it was an beautiful metaphor for the fragility of the human spirit. I expect big things for him.

Second: Max Dovey

I really liked Dovey’s work. The idea of capturing the last day of terrestrial analogue TV resonated with me. All of a sudden I was a kid again, watching older relatives run around like headless chickens attempting to record the entire Live Aid concert, unaware that pretty soon technology would render this practice redundant. Dovey’s cassette collection is more likely to contain Jeremy Kyle and Quick Cash! loan ads, but I think it’s a more profound snapshot of society than anything else.

The Last day of TV is part document, part monument, part personal statement, and probably the best use of increasingly rare VHS tapes, ever. (Although with all conceptual artists I always sort of think they’re having me on, and those tapes are probably all blank, but then who’s going to be able to watch them soon? Dovey’s got us over a barrel). I’ll be watching closely to see if Dovey continues to create engaging executions whilst capturing the zeitgeist. If so, perhaps he’s got something.

Third: Jonny Briggs

Briggs has been getting plenty of shine recently. He’s currently at the Saatchi Gallery and seems to be the artist of the moment. The reason he’s in my top three is his mastery of a wide range of mediums. In the last year i have seen strong video, sculpture and photographic work from him. I don’t know if i connect with it on a personal level (strange, because i like dark work) But his executional skill and mastery of theatre within an image impresses me. A Standout work for me is “Regeneration”


The Catlin Art prize runs until 25th May. Go see it.

http://www.artcatlin.com/

There might not be another show as strong as this till Art Catlin 2013.