Archives for posts with tag: Video Art

Carla Busuttil_6Carla Busuttil @ Josh Lilley

Notions of identity play heavily on Carla Busuttil’s work. Her paintings are portraits of a society that none of us know but we can all probably relate to in one way or another. The characters appropriate costumes and emblems of structure and order, liberating them from their original context. There is a whiff of irony, the canvases look as if they had been dragged backwards through a Vintage shop in Shoreditch.

Carla Busuttil_4An innocent escapism runs through the show. A cast of characters created entirely in the mind, obsessively so. Normally only a child would have the stamina of imagination to create such an expansive fantasy world. But Carla continually re visits it, as if the paintings offer a surrogate family or imaginary gang of friends for the artist.

Carla Busuttil_5Carla Busuttil_1I’m not a massive fan of the canvases. “Bad Painting” can at times be liberating and joyous for the soul but I yearned for a little more craft. I was much more impressed with the film work that was produced in collaboration with Thomas Voelker and the Static Hand. Here we saw characters from Busuttil’s repertoire take on a 3 dimensional forms – coldly and repetitively ripping up newspapers into tiny pieces, as if wiping history, all set to a moody and industrial soundtrack. It was Ace.

Carla Busuttil_2Busuttil should release her creations from the walls and give them space to play around more often.  She needs to capture her imaginary world on film more, perhaps even creating her own “Cremaster Cycle”.

Only then will we get a sense of the true depths of her imagination.

Runs til 4th October

http://joshlilleygallery.com

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

Rana Begum @ Bischoff/Weiss

1 A particularly welcoming transatlantic gallery assistant greeted me upon arrival at Bischoff/Weiss. An invitation to talk me through the work was politely declined by this typically reserved english art lover, but the sentiment was most appreciated. Galleries have always been slightly intimidating places, but here and on subsequent visits this day, i met lots of friendly people. London’s art scene is becoming really approachable; it may be that art isn’t selling as well – a little extra sales patter is required. But i like it. A world away from a Gagosian experience, that’s for sure.

3 Rana Begum had come to my attention recently, she’s been getting plenty of press. A visit to the gallery afforded me a first view of her work in the flesh. I have to say i really liked it. Her slick minimal constructions might seem at first glance cold and lacking personality, but being in their presence made them much more spiritual. Gallery light reflected from the multicoloured, angled facets of each work, producing gradients of glowing hues across the gallery wall. It seems as if they are illuminated from behind, in a Flavin style construction, but  there are no extra lights involved. As you circumnavigate each piece, reflected light and colour evolve, dependent on your position in front of the sculpture. So in a way the work encourages the viewer to have a number of different viewpoints.

2 I do have one reservation. There is a heavy reliance on the white gallery wall. What happens when collectors who don’t have a white cube take a piece home, will it lose it it’s magic?

4 Get out there and spend a bit of time with Rana’s sculptures if you want to properly appreciate them. What seems to be simply abstract, reveals after a bit of quality time, a complexity that cannot be understood by viewing a flat image of the work.

They’re about till next Saturday, so get down there sharpish.

http://www.bischoffweiss.com/

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

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.

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

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.

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.