‘Fake Rothko Sold To The DeSoles’, 2016, Elizabeth Williams

‘Fake Rothko Sold To The DeSoles’, 2016, Elizabeth Williams

 

Ellen Cantor at Wattis

Ellen Cantor at Wattis

 

Vincenzo Simone “Wonder (Seven pools)” at Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Rome

Vincenzo Simone “Wonder (Seven pools)” at Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Rome

 

Shows: Saul Leiter

Shows: Saul Leiter

 

Shows: Saul Leiter

Shows: Saul Leiter

 

Critic’s Guide: London

Critic’s Guide: London

As evidenced by ‘Art into Society’ at the nearby Institute of Contemporary Arts, we’ve recently experienced an intense period of ‘rediscovery’ of near-history. But as the curators of ‘The Sun Went In, The Fire Went Out’ explain, there’s nothing to rediscover here; these artists never stopped making work. In fact, the inadequacy of what limited vocabulary is available to discuss these works advances a conscious resistance to historicism. What it does reveal, however, reflecting the melancholy strains of the exhibition’s title, is the degree to which the context for producing and displaying art today in London has changed.

Critic’s Guide: London

John Dee, Perfect arte of navigation, 1577. Courtesy © Royal College of Physicians

2. ‘Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee’, Royal College of Physicians
18 January – 29 July

It’s a universal, angst-inducing story: you’re entrusted to look after something but then that thing breaks, dies, or is stolen. Occultist, polymath and supposed inspiration for both Dr. Faustus and Shakespeare’s Prospero, John Dee never really seemed clear about what happened to his library – in the 1580s, among the largest private collections in the country – after he returned from travelling in eastern and central Europe. According to Dee, his brother-in-law Nicholas Fromond ‘unduly sold it presently upon my departure, or caused it to be carried away’.

Of the once 3,000-strong collection, 100 works found their way to the Royal College of Physicians, which forms the basis of this beguiling exhibition of Dee curiosa, including paintings, objects and a newly commissioned film by contemporary artist Jeremy Millar, A Constellation for John Dee.

Méric Casaubon’s text detailing Dee’s conversations with angels, A true & faithful relation of what passed for many years between Dr. John Dee and some spirits, proved popular when it was published in 1659. However, allegations by the author that Dee was unwittingly channelling evil spirits contributed to an enduring perception of him as a fanatic. A large 19th century painting, on loan from the Wellcome Library, testifies to this: in it, Dee performs an experiment before Elizabeth I; at some point a circle of skulls surrounding the apparatus was painted out.

See this exhibition for Dee, but prepare to marvel, too, at Denys Lasdun’s exquisite brutalist design for the college, its weird collection of ceremonial garments and surgeonalia, and medicinal garden.

Critic’s Guide: London

Exhibition Curators and Artists (back row, left to right: Klaus Staeck, Dieter Hacker, Gerhard Steidl, Christos Joachimedes, Video Cameraman, Siegrid Hacker, Martin Scutt. Front row left to right: KP Brehmer, Caroline Tisdall, Joseph Beuys, Michael Ruetz, Norman Rosenthal), taken in front of Dieter Hacker’s Produktiongalerie after the Colloquium, Berlin, 1974. Courtesy ICA, London

3. ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art, Seven German Artists’, Institute of Contemporary Arts
19 January – 6 March

The modest display of documents, photographs and objects included in this archival presentation of ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art’, an exhibition staged at the ICA in 1974, has been loaned, in the main, from its original co-curator Normal Rosenthal and Martin Stutt, a technician who assisted with the install and then remained for the duration as a translator. Little of it belongs to the ICA itself, although for some time now current director Gregor Muir has been purchasing material relating to the institution’s history, which turns 70 this year. But the implications of ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art’ are wider reaching than how an institution understands itself: we love this stuff because, as a friend wryly put it, it reminds us of a time when the ICA felt vital.

Britain had recently joined the European Community and working with the Berlin-based writer and curator Christos M. Joachimides, Rosenthal assembled a group of politically engaged West German artists, including Joseph Beuys, KP Brehmer, Hans Haacke and Gustav Metzger. It was an engagement that stemmed, according to the original press release, ‘from the Frankfurt School of Philosophers (Adorno, Bloch, Horkheimer, etc.), whose work [was] attracting increasing attention in this country’.

Modelled in part on the 1973 exhibition ‘Kunst im politischen Kampf’ (‘Art in the Political Struggle’) at Kunstverein Hannover, from the earliest stages of its planning ‘Art into Society’ adopted a dialogical approach, with a three day-long colloquia of curators and artists at Dieter Hacker’s studio. For the first week of the exhibition itself the artists remained present in the space; on day two over 600 people attended a group discussion. In fact, aside from two short trips to Northern Ireland, Beuys remained in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition, talking with visitors and sketching diagrams onto hundreds of blackboards that were scattered across the floor. Metzger removed himself from the exhibition altogether. Haacke contributed the controversial Manet-PROJEKT ’74 (1971), ten panels revealing the provenance of Manet’s Bunch of Asparagus (1880), which was presented to the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in 1968. The work revealed the affiliations with the Nazi party of the work’s owner, patron and Deutsche bank chairman Hermann Josef Abs. It’s a fascinating reconstruction of a period of art strikes, dialogical models and institutional critique, modes that would characterize critical art practice for decades to follow.

Critic’s Guide: London

Julie Born Schwarz, The Invisible Voice, 2016, HD video. Courtesy the artist and Union Pacific; photograph: Oskar Proctor

4. Julie Born Schwarz, ‘The Invisible Voice’, Union Pacific
22 January – 27 February

Julie Born Schwarz’s exhibition ‘The Invisible Voice’, installed across Union Pacific’s street and basement floors, is a proxy for the separation between a theatre’s gloaming front-of-house and the pitch dark that engulfs the auditorium before the performance commences.

A tatty fin de siècle glamour characterizes the former: marbled books lent by The Court Theatre, Denmark, are lit by a pendulous bronze chandelier from Schwarz’s ‘archive’, an object she spent a childhood beneath at her grandmother’s dinner table.

The descent into the auditorium, soundtracked by Louise Alenius’s pensive composition of pizzicato violin over fragile droning pedal notes, brings into visibility Schwarz’s invisible subject: theatre prompters, the ordinarily unseen mnemonics mediating between the actor and the audience.

Foregrounded by the ethno-poetic video installation that lends the exhibition its name, the stories of these prompters – their voices heard, their bodies never seen – expound a professional yet deeply humane ethics of dependency. Reflecting on empathy, inattention and states of readiness, the prompters become a universal figure for the encounter between self and others, human and non-human, in the performance of life. ‘He depended on my every word,’ one prompter explains, and suddenly the film becomes a profound meditation on love.

Critic’s Guide: London

Peter Lanyon, Glide Path, 1964, oil and plastic on canvas, 1.5 × 1.2 m. Courtesy the Courtauld, London, and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

5. ‘Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’, The Courtauld Gallery
15 October 2015 – 17 January 2016

One only really feels bemused by those early-millennial artists who sought to blur fact and fiction when one’s beliefs about them are revealed to be incorrect. This was the first shock of the recently closed ‘Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’ exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery: some years ago, as she introduced the poet W.S. Graham’s plaintive paean to Lanyon, ‘The Thermal Stair’ (1970), on BBC Radio 4, I’m sure I heard Tacita Dean say that the painter-glider flew out to sea one day never to return. Cornwall’s own proto-Bas Jan Ader, I’d imagined him, not as Graham does, soaring ‘Over Lanyon Quoit and the circling stones standing / High on the moor over Gurnard’s Head’, but out there over the Atlantic forevermore.

It’s interesting how I know more about that story than the triage of paintings Lanyon made between 1959, when he began gliding, and 1964, when he died of complications in hospital as the result of a botched landing. A glider’s-eye-view revitalized his painterly language. The early paintings are denser, the line between land and sea discernible through whorling colour currents. Weather systems were for Lanyon what musicality was for earlier continental abstract painters. The exhibition’s final pared-back painting is thrillingly austere, a refinement that seems to depart from land altogether. Except he never did; among the paintings on display at the Courtauld are messy assemblages of studio off-cuts, dust and shit, the lowly surplus of labour and poignant reminders of terrestrially.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

6. Rana Hamadeh, ‘The Sleepwalkers’, The Showroom
27 January – 19 March

Last year, Lebanese artist Rana Hamadeh’s installation ‘The Fugitive Image’ was one of four solo presentations at Nottingham Contemporary collectively titled ‘Alien Encounters’ (Danai Anesiadou, another to contribute, is currently showing a version of her work at Wilkinson gallery). There, The Sleepwalkers (2014–16) was installed as a film-in-progress alongside the same set, props and models that were used during its production in the on-site studio; at The Showroom these effects are condensed, oriented around the forceful presence of the finished video work.

Shot in two acts and counter-intuitively finishing with the prologue, Hamadeh’s vaudevillian production re-stages and re-scripts an American journalist’s account of the confessions of Raya and Sakina, the first females to be sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1921. Part of a gang who murdered prostitutes, the pair were repeatedly cast in films as feminine monstrosities, symptomatic of the rising feminization and moral decline under British colonial rule, just prior to the country’s independence in 1922.

According to the journalist’s account, a whirling dervish sent into the sisters’ cell elicited their confession by inducing a psychedelic state and periodically dropping evidence at their feet – an affective state Hamadeh’s film seeks to produce in the viewer. With the various props, which embody and articulate an entangled vocabulary of colonialism elaborated upon in corresponding wall texts, we’re left feeling the complexity of these women’s histories, beyond any spectacular simplifications.

The final instalment of Jonathan P. Watts’s ‘Critic’s Guide’ will be available tomorrow.

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Connecting Intentionality: The Beginning of Blights Out

Connecting Intentionality: The Beginning of Blights Out

 

After Effect

After Effect

 

2016 exhibition preview

2016 exhibition preview

 

Flow Series: Encounters, conversations and meals presented with Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Flow Series: Encounters, conversations and meals presented with Fundació Antoni Tàpies

 

The Asymmetry of Maps

The Asymmetry of Maps

 

KAYA at Deborah Schamoni

KAYA at Deborah Schamoni

 

FEATURED ARTIST: Inna Babaeva, Brightly Lit, 2015. Wall lamps,…

FEATURED ARTIST: Inna Babaeva, Brightly Lit, 2015. Wall lamps,…

 

Critic’s Guide: London

Critic’s Guide: London

Méric Casaubon’s text detailing Dee’s conversations with angels, A true & faithful relation of what passed for many years between Dr. John Dee and some spirits, proved popular when it was published in 1659. However, allegations by the author that Dee was unwittingly channelling evil spirits contributed to an enduring perception of him as a fanatic. A large 19th century painting, on loan from the Wellcome Library, testifies to this: in it, Dee performs an experiment before Elizabeth I; at some point a circle of skulls surrounding the apparatus was painted out.

See this exhibition for Dee, but prepare to marvel, too, at Denys Lasdun’s exquisite brutalist design for the college, its weird collection of ceremonial garments and surgeonalia, and medicinal garden.

Critic’s Guide: London

Exhibition Curators and Artists (back row, left to right: Klaus Staeck, Dieter Hacker, Gerhard Steidl, Christos Joachimedes, Video Cameraman, Siegrid Hacker, Martin Scutt. Front row left to right: KP Brehmer, Caroline Tisdall, Joseph Beuys, Michael Ruetz, Norman Rosenthal), taken in front of Dieter Hacker’s Produktiongalerie after the Colloquium, Berlin, 1974. Courtesy ICA, London

2. ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art, Seven German Artists’, Institute of Contemporary Arts
19 January – 6 March

The modest display of documents, photographs and objects included in this archival presentation of ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art’, an exhibition staged at the ICA in 1974, has been loaned, in the main, from its original co-curator Normal Rosenthal and Martin Stutt, a technician who assisted with the install and then remained for the duration as a translator. Little of it belongs to the ICA itself, although for some time now current director Gregor Muir has been purchasing material relating to the institution’s history, which turns 70 this year. But the implications of ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art’ are wider reaching than how an institution understands itself: we love this stuff because, as a friend wryly put it, it reminds us of a time when the ICA felt vital.

Britain had recently joined the European Community and working with the Berlin-based writer and curator Christos M. Joachimides, Rosenthal assembled a group of politically engaged West German artists, including Joseph Beuys, KP Brehmer, Hans Haacke and Gustav Metzger. It was an engagement that stemmed, according to the original press release, ‘from the Frankfurt School of Philosophers (Adorno, Bloch, Horkheimer, etc.), whose work [was] attracting increasing attention in this country’.

Modelled in part on the 1973 exhibition ‘Kunst im politischen Kampf’ (‘Art in the Political Struggle’) at Kunstverein Hannover, from the earliest stages of its planning ‘Art into Society’ adopted a dialogical approach, with a three day-long colloquia of curators and artists at Dieter Hacker’s studio. For the first week of the exhibition itself the artists remained present in the space; on day two over 600 people attended a group discussion. In fact, aside from two short trips to Northern Ireland, Beuys remained in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition, talking with visitors and sketching diagrams onto hundreds of blackboards that were scattered across the floor. Metzger removed himself from the exhibition altogether. Haacke contributed the controversial Manet-PROJEKT ’74 (1971), ten panels revealing the provenance of Manet’s Bunch of Asparagus (1880), which was presented to the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in 1968. The work revealed the affiliations with the Nazi party of the work’s owner, patron and Deutsche bank chairman Hermann Josef Abs. It’s a fascinating reconstruction of a period of art strikes, dialogical models and institutional critique, modes that would characterize critical art practice for decades to follow.

Critic’s Guide: London

Julie Born Schwarz, The Invisible Voice, 2016, HD video

3. Julie Born Schwarz, ‘The Invisible Voice’, Union Pacific
22 January – 27 February

Julie Born Schwarz’s exhibition ‘The Invisible Voice’, installed across Union Pacific’s street and basement floors, is a proxy for the separation between a theatre’s gloaming front-of-house and the pitch dark that engulfs the auditorium before the performance commences.

A tatty fin de siècle glamour characterizes the former: marbled books lent by The Court Theatre, Denmark, are lit by a pendulous bronze chandelier from Schwarz’s ‘archive’, an object she spent a childhood beneath at her grandmother’s dinner table.

The descent into the auditorium, soundtracked by Louise Alenius’s pensive composition of pizzicato violin over fragile droning pedal notes, brings into visibility Schwarz’s invisible subject: theatre prompters, the ordinarily unseen mnemonics mediating between the actor and the audience.

Foregrounded by the ethno-poetic video installation that lends the exhibition its name, the stories of these prompters – their voices heard, their bodies never seen – expound a professional yet deeply humane ethics of dependency. Reflecting on empathy, inattention and states of readiness, the prompters become a universal figure for the encounter between self and others, human and non-human, in the performance of life. ‘He depended on my every word,’ one prompter explains, and suddenly the film becomes a profound meditation on love.

Critic’s Guide: London

Peter Lanyon, Glide Path, 1964, oil and plastic on canvas, 1.5 × 1.2 m. Courtesy the Courtauld, London, and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

4. ‘Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’, The Courtauld Gallery
15 October 2015 – 17 January 2016

One only really feels bemused by those early-millennial artists who sought to blur fact and fiction when one’s beliefs about them are revealed to be incorrect. This was the first shock of the recently closed ‘Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’ exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery: some years ago, as she introduced the poet W.S. Graham’s plaintive paean to Lanyon, ‘The Thermal Stair’ (1970), on BBC Radio 4, I’m sure I heard Tacita Dean say that the painter-glider flew out to sea one day never to return. Cornwall’s own proto-Bas Jan Ader, I’d imagined him, not as Graham does, soaring ‘Over Lanyon Quoit and the circling stones standing / High on the moor over Gurnard’s Head’, but out there over the Atlantic forevermore.

It’s interesting how I know more about that story than the triage of paintings Lanyon made between 1959, when he began gliding, and 1964, when he died of complications in hospital as the result of a botched landing. A glider’s-eye-view revitalized his painterly language. The early paintings are denser, the line between land and sea discernible through whorling colour currents. Weather systems were for Lanyon what musicality was for earlier continental abstract painters. The exhibition’s final pared-back painting is thrillingly austere, a refinement that seems to depart from land altogether. Except he never did; among the paintings on display at the Courtauld are messy assemblages of studio off-cuts, dust and shit, the lowly surplus of labour and poignant reminders of terrestrially.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

5. Rana Hamadeh, ‘The Sleepwalkers’, The Showroom
27 January – 19 March

Last year, Lebanese artist Rana Hamadeh’s installation ‘The Fugitive Image’ was one of four solo presentations at Nottingham Contemporary collectively titled ‘Alien Encounters’ (Danai Anesiadou, another to contribute, is currently showing a version of her work at Wilkinson gallery). There, The Sleepwalkers (2014–16) was installed as a film-in-progress alongside the same set, props and models that were used during its production in the on-site studio; at The Showroom these effects are condensed, oriented around the forceful presence of the finished video work.

Shot in two acts and counter-intuitively finishing with the prologue, Hamadeh’s vaudevillian production re-stages and re-scripts an American journalist’s account of the confessions of Raya and Sakina, the first females to be sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1921. Part of a gang who murdered prostitutes, the pair were repeatedly cast in films as feminine monstrosities, symptomatic of the rising feminization and moral decline under British colonial rule, just prior to the country’s independence in 1922.

According to the journalist’s account, a whirling dervish sent into the sisters’ cell elicited their confession by inducing a psychedelic state and periodically dropping evidence at their feet – an affective state Hamadeh’s film seeks to produce in the viewer. With the various props, which embody and articulate an entangled vocabulary of colonialism elaborated upon in corresponding wall texts, we’re left feeling the complexity of these women’s histories, beyond any spectacular simplifications.

Part six of Jonathan P. Watts’s ‘Critic’s Guide’ will be up tomorrow.

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Culture Digest

Culture Digest

2. Jean-Luc Godard Season
BFI Southbank, London, UK
28 January – 14 March

Fun as it will be to return to Anna Karina in Bande A Parté (1964), dashing through the Louvre once more like a love-struck Roadrunner, let’s not only celebrate Jean-Luc Godard’s hits from the 1960s. Many remain awkwardly resistant to the works that come after those New Wave favourites, even though most are bewildering wonders. Watch Passion (1982), Germany Year 90 Nine Zero (1990) or In Praise of Love (2001): you can see the old master’s project grow more radiant and complicated by the minute. (Few directors have thought so acutely about painting, too.)

Culture Digest

Jean-Luc Godard, Bande A Parté, 1964. Courtesy British Film Institute

Frame by luminous frame, Hail Mary (1985) seems to me his most beautiful work. Channelling her inner Antonin Artaud, the film’s adolescent heroine (played by Myriem Roussel) declares, ‘God’s a creep! God’s a vampire!’ She’s a sylphlike basketball player in a Swiss idyll who discovers she’s inexplicably pregnant and thus inaugurates an awestruck retelling of the immaculate conception. Met with baroque outrage from the Catholic Church upon its release, its so-called ‘profane’ contents are spacey teens in their bedrooms and the ravishing landscapes beyond, each captured with such tenderness that Wolfgang Tillmans could be the cinematographer. Red roses glow in lush grass, afternoon light glitters on water, a fried sun nestles in a skein of dark branches and Marie wanders around in a dream ‘80s wardrobe followed by drowsy woodland animals. Far from shocking, Hail Mary feels like a brave, all-too-rare attempt to regain innocence when looking at the body, nature and everything else, as if virginity – ‘knowing only the shadow of love’ – was really a transcendent way of seeing the world.

Culture Digest

3. Matmos, Ultimate Care II, 2016

So unruly, so crammed with surprises is Matmos’s discography at this juncture that their tenth album could never have been anything but a wild treat. They’ve previously brought us pipes undulating like Elizabethan Whack-A-Moles on ‘Zealous Order of Candied Knights’ (2003), the skittering galaxy of samples that constitute ‘Last Delicious Cigarette’ (1999) and that moment in ‘Very Large Green Triangles’ (2013) where the man in the middle of a specially arranged telepathy experiment fell into a slurred call-and-response chorus with his own multitrack doppelgängers.

Consisting of a single track, Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey, 2016) orbits around another outlandish conceptual strategy as it finds Baltimore-based Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt – plus a sprawling cast of collaborators – transforming sounds generated by the eponymous Whirlpool washing machine into their own musical funhouse. Swirling around in the album’s dense 38 minutes are beats sprung from the metronomic pop-and-lock mechanism on the machine’s door, percussion that sounds like a poltergeist run amok (much of Matmos’ energy comes from being funny and scary), plus hi-def squelches, shimmers and chilly drones. The peak comes when a rush of funky scrubbing slowly spin cycles into some groovy distorted elephant trumpets beamed straight from Jon Hassell’s Dream Theory in Malaya (1981).

Culture Digest

Photograph: John Sisk

As an experience of the secret world within an appliance, Ultimate Care II is seriously trippy. But it’s also a bracing homage to the wizardry of various bygone musique-concréte pioneers, and that’s before you even begin to consider how it might make you rethink the supposed banalities of good housekeeping (haven’t we all zoned out to the soothing roar of the faithful washing machine before?) or dwell on the subtextual resonances of being flooded with these sounds at a time of environmental catastrophe and drought. There are multiple dimensions it can send you to, all the while supplying riotous proof that music can be charmed from the unlikeliest of sources and any object, however humdrum or homely, shaped into what Jimi Hendrix wisely called a ‘kinky machine’.

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CONDO: a collaborative exhibition by 24 galleries over 8 London spaces

CONDO: a collaborative exhibition by 24 galleries over 8 London spaces

 

Picture Piece: Rude Statues

Picture Piece: Rude Statues

 

Group Show at Kunsthalle Zurich

Group Show at Kunsthalle Zurich

 

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs “EURASIA” at Fotomuseum Winterthur

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs “EURASIA” at Fotomuseum Winterthur

 

Fan Mail: Eva Voutsaki

Fan Mail: Eva Voutsaki

 

Shows: Dale Frank

Shows: Dale Frank

 

2016 exhibition program

2016 exhibition program

 

Monster Roster

Monster Roster

 

AL and AL: Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse

AL and AL: Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse

 

Two new exhibitions

Two new exhibitions

 

Grayson Perry: Hold Your Beliefs Lightly

Grayson Perry: Hold Your Beliefs Lightly

 

Thoughts on Museum of Contemporary Craft dissolution

Thoughts on Museum of Contemporary Craft dissolution

 

Martin Wong at P.P.O.W

Martin Wong at P.P.O.W

 

First Thursday Picks February 2016

First Thursday Picks February 2016

 

ON VIEW @ SculptureCenter The Eccentrics, January 24 – April 4,…

ON VIEW @ SculptureCenter The Eccentrics, January 24 – April 4,…

 

Sarah Kaufman’s quiet arcadian photos of Devil’s Pool, closing tomorrow at Allen’s Lane

Sarah Kaufman’s quiet arcadian photos of Devil’s Pool, closing tomorrow at Allen’s Lane

 

Daniel Steegmann and Adriano Costa at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo

Daniel Steegmann and Adriano Costa at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo

 

Ken Kagami at Misako & Rosen

Ken Kagami at Misako & Rosen

 

“Repellent Fence / Valla Repelente”

“Repellent Fence / Valla Repelente”

 

Cathy Wilkes at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach

Cathy Wilkes at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach

 

Shows: Nari Ward

Shows: Nari Ward

 

James Hoff: Bricking at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans

James Hoff: Bricking at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans

 

Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video: highlights

Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video: highlights

 

Swedish artist/composer Christine Ödlund transforms Magasin III into a laboratory in Aether & Einstein

Swedish artist/composer Christine Ödlund transforms Magasin III into a laboratory in Aether & Einstein

 

Call for projects for 2017

Call for projects for 2017

 

Anawana Halob

Anawana Halob

 

Hans Schabus

Hans Schabus

 

2016 call for nominations

2016 call for nominations

 

Magnhild Øen Nordahl

Magnhild Øen Nordahl

 

New Issue, New Editor, New Book!

New Issue, New Editor, New Book!

 

Leo Gabin at Peres Projects

Leo Gabin at Peres Projects

 

WHAT’S ON: Leah Guadagnoli, Addison Assassin, January 8-February…

WHAT’S ON: Leah Guadagnoli, Addison Assassin, January 8-February…

 

Critic’s Guide: London

Critic’s Guide: London

The descent into the auditorium, soundtracked by Louise Alenius’s pensive composition of pizzicato violin over fragile droning pedal notes, brings into visibility Schwarz’s invisible subject: theatre prompters, the ordinarily unseen mnemonics mediating between the actor and the audience.

Foregrounded by the ethno-poetic video installation that lends the exhibition its name, the stories of these prompters – their voices heard, their bodies never seen – expound a professional yet deeply humane ethics of dependency. Reflecting on empathy, inattention and states of readiness, the prompters become a universal figure for the encounter between self and others, human and non-human, in the performance of life. ‘He depended on my every word,’ one prompter explains, and suddenly the film becomes a profound meditation on love.

Critic’s Guide: London

Peter Lanyon, Glide Path, 1964, oil and plastic on canvas, 1.5 × 1.2 m. Courtesy the Courtauld, London, and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

2. ‘Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’, The Courtauld Gallery
15 October 2015 – 17 January 2016

One only really feels bemused by those early-millennial artists who sought to blur fact and fiction when one’s beliefs about them are revealed to be incorrect. This was the first shock of the recently closed ‘Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’ exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery: some years ago, as she introduced the poet W.S. Graham’s plaintive paean to Lanyon, ‘The Thermal Stair’ (1970), on BBC Radio 4, I’m sure I heard Tacita Dean say that the painter-glider flew out to sea one day never to return. Cornwall’s own proto-Bas Jan Ader, I’d imagined him, not as Graham does, soaring ‘Over Lanyon Quoit and the circling stones standing / High on the moor over Gurnard’s Head’, but out there over the Atlantic forevermore.

It’s interesting how I know more about that story than the triage of paintings Lanyon made between 1959, when he began gliding, and 1964, when he died of complications in hospital as the result of a botched landing. A glider’s-eye-view revitalized his painterly language. The early paintings are denser, the line between land and sea discernible through whorling colour currents. Weather systems were for Lanyon what musicality was for earlier continental abstract painters. The exhibition’s final pared-back painting is thrillingly austere, a refinement that seems to depart from land altogether. Except he never did; among the paintings on display at the Courtauld are messy assemblages of studio off-cuts, dust and shit, the lowly surplus of labour and poignant reminders of terrestrially.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

3. Rana Hamadeh, ‘The Sleepwalkers’, The Showroom
27 January – 19 March

Last year, Lebanese artist Rana Hamadeh’s installation ‘The Fugitive Image’ was one of four solo presentations at Nottingham Contemporary collectively titled ‘Alien Encounters’ (Danai Anesiadou, another to contribute, is currently showing a version of her work at Wilkinson gallery). There, The Sleepwalkers (2014–16) was installed as a film-in-progress alongside the same set, props and models that were used during its production in the on-site studio; at The Showroom these effects are condensed, oriented around the forceful presence of the finished video work.

Shot in two acts and counter-intuitively finishing with the prologue, Hamadeh’s vaudevillian production re-stages and re-scripts an American journalist’s account of the confessions of Raya and Sakina, the first females to be sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1921. Part of a gang who murdered prostitutes, the pair were repeatedly cast in films as feminine monstrosities, symptomatic of the rising feminization and moral decline under British colonial rule, just prior to the country’s independence in 1922.

According to the journalist’s account, a whirling dervish sent into the sisters’ cell elicited their confession by inducing a psychedelic state and periodically dropping evidence at their feet – an affective state Hamadeh’s film seeks to produce in the viewer. With the various props, which embody and articulate an entangled vocabulary of colonialism elaborated upon in corresponding wall texts, we’re left feeling the complexity of these women’s histories, beyond any spectacular simplifications.

Critic’s Guide: London

Exhibition poster, ICA, 1974. Photography © Tate, London. 2015

4. ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art, Seven German Artists’, Institute of Contemporary Arts
19 January – 6 March

The modest display of documents, photographs and objects included in this archival presentation of ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art’, an exhibition staged at the ICA in 1974, has been loaned, in the main, from its original co-curator Normal Rosenthal and Martin Stutt, a technician who assisted with the install and then remained for the duration as a translator. Little of it belongs to the ICA itself, although for some time now current director Gregor Muir has been purchasing material relating to the institution’s history, which turns 70 this year. But the implications of ‘Art Into Society, Society Into Art’ are wider reaching than how an institution understands itself: we love this stuff because, as a friend wryly put it, it reminds us of a time when the ICA felt vital.

Critic’s Guide: London

Colloquium held at Dieter Hacker’s Studio (left to right: Gerhard Steidl, Dieter Hacker, Klaus Staeck, Caroline Tisdall, Joseph Beuys, Christos Joachimides, Norman Rosenthal, KP Brehmer), Berlin, 26-27 April 1974. Courtesy ICA, London

Britain had recently joined the European Community and working with the Berlin-based writer and curator Christos M. Joachimides, Rosenthal assembled a group of politically engaged West German artists, including Joseph Beuys, KP Brehmer, Hans Haacke and Gustav Metzger. It was an engagement that stemmed, according to the original press release, ‘from the Frankfurt School of Philosophers (Adorno, Bloch, Horkheimer, etc.), whose work [was] attracting increasing attention in this country’.

Critic’s Guide: London

Exhibition Curators and Artists (back row, left to right: Klaus Staeck, Dieter Hacker, Gerhard Steidl, Christos Joachimedes, Video Cameraman, Siegrid Hacker, Martin Scutt. Front row left to right: KP Brehmer, Caroline Tisdall, Joseph Beuys, Michael Ruetz, Norman Rosenthal), taken in front of Dieter Hacker’s Produktiongalerie after the Colloquium, Berlin, 1974. Courtesy ICA, London

Modelled in part on the 1973 exhibition ‘Kunst im politischen Kampf’ (‘Art in the Political Struggle’) at Kunstverein Hannover, from the earliest stages of its planning ‘Art into Society’ adopted a dialogical approach, with a three day-long colloquia of curators and artists at Dieter Hacker’s studio. For the first week of the exhibition itself the artists remained present in the space; on day two over 600 people attended a group discussion. In fact, aside from two short trips to Northern Ireland, Beuys remained in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition, talking with visitors and sketching diagrams onto hundreds of blackboards that were scattered across the floor. Metzger removed himself from the exhibition altogether. Haacke contributed the controversial Manet-PROJEKT ’74 (1971), ten panels revealing the provenance of Manet’s Bunch of Asparagus (1880), which was presented to the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in 1968. The work revealed the affiliations with the Nazi party of the work’s owner, patron and Deutsche bank chairman Hermann Josef Abs. It’s a fascinating reconstruction of a period of art strikes, dialogical models and institutional critique, modes that would characterize critical art practice for decades to follow.

Part five of Jonathan P. Watts’s ‘Critic’s Guide’ will be up tomorrow.

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Critic’s Guide: London

Critic’s Guide: London

The descent into the auditorium, soundtracked by Louise Alenius’s pensive composition of pizzicato violin over fragile droning pedal notes, brings into visibility Schwarz’s invisible subject: theatre prompters, the ordinarily unseen mnemonics mediating between the actor and the audience.

Foregrounded by the ethno-poetic video installation that lends the exhibition its name, the stories of these prompters – their voices heard, their bodies never seen – expound a professional yet deeply humane ethics of dependency. Reflecting on empathy, inattention and states of readiness, the prompters become a universal figure for the encounter between self and others, human and non-human, in the performance of life. ‘He depended on my every word,’ one prompter explains, and suddenly the film becomes a profound meditation on love.

Critic’s Guide: London

Julie Born Schwarz, ‘The Invisible Voice’, 2016, exhibition view

2. ‘Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’, The Courtauld Gallery
15 October 2015 – 17 January 2016

One only really feels bemused by those early-millennial artists who sought to blur fact and fiction when one’s beliefs about them are revealed to be incorrect. This was the first shock of the recently closed ‘Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings’ exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery: some years ago, as she introduced the poet W.S. Graham’s plaintive paean to Lanyon, ‘The Thermal Stair’ (1970), on BBC Radio 4, I’m sure I heard Tacita Dean say that the painter-glider flew out to sea one day never to return. Cornwall’s own proto-Bas Jan Ader, I’d imagined him, not as Graham does, soaring ‘Over Lanyon Quoit and the circling stones standing / High on the moor over Gurnard’s Head’, but out there over the Atlantic forevermore.

Critic’s Guide: London

Peter Lanyon, Glide Path, 1964, oil and plastic on canvas, 1.5 × 1.2 m. Courtesy the Courtauld, London, and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

It’s interesting how I know more about that story than the triage of paintings Lanyon made between 1959, when he began gliding, and 1964, when he died of complications in hospital as the result of a botched landing. A glider’s-eye-view revitalized his painterly language. The early paintings are denser, the line between land and sea discernible through whorling colour currents. Weather systems were for Lanyon what musicality was for earlier continental abstract painters. The exhibition’s final pared-back painting is thrillingly austere, a refinement that seems to depart from land altogether. Except he never did; among the paintings on display at the Courtauld are messy assemblages of studio off-cuts, dust and shit, the lowly surplus of labour and poignant reminders of terrestrially.

Critic’s Guide: London

Peter Lanyon, Solo Flight, 1960, oil on board, 1.2 × 1.8 m. Courtesy the Courtauld, London, and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

3. Rana Hamadeh, ‘The Sleepwalkers’, The Showroom
27 January – 19 March

Last year, Lebanese artist Rana Hamadeh’s installation ‘The Fugitive Image’ was one of four solo presentations at Nottingham Contemporary collectively titled ‘Alien Encounters’ (Danai Anesiadou, another to contribute, is currently showing a version of her work at Wilkinson gallery). There, The Sleepwalkers (2014–16) was installed as a film-in-progress alongside the same set, props and models that were used during its production in the on-site studio; at The Showroom these effects are condensed, oriented around the forceful presence of the finished video work.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

Shot in two acts and counter-intuitively finishing with the prologue, Hamadeh’s vaudevillian production re-stages and re-scripts an American journalist’s account of the confessions of Raya and Sakina, the first females to be sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1921. Part of a gang who murdered prostitutes, the pair were repeatedly cast in films as feminine monstrosities, symptomatic of the rising feminization and moral decline under British colonial rule, just prior to the country’s independence in 1922.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

According to the journalist’s account, a whirling dervish sent into the sisters’ cell elicited their confession by inducing a psychedelic state and periodically dropping evidence at their feet – an affective state Hamadeh’s film seeks to produce in the viewer. With the various props, which embody and articulate an entangled vocabulary of colonialism elaborated upon in corresponding wall texts, we’re left feeling the complexity of these women’s histories, beyond any spectacular simplifications.

Part four of Jonathan P. Watts’s ‘Critic’s Guide’ will be available on Thursday 4 February.

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Matt Mullican’s “The Meaning of Things”

Matt Mullican’s “The Meaning of Things”

 

Bald Spot Comics

Bald Spot Comics

 

“Stonebreakers” at Young Art

“Stonebreakers” at Young Art

 

Jonas Mekas “All These Images, These Sounds” at APALAZZOGALLERY, Brescia

Jonas Mekas “All These Images, These Sounds” at APALAZZOGALLERY, Brescia

 

Culture Digest

Culture Digest

Frame by luminous frame, Hail Mary (1985) seems to me his most beautiful work. Channelling her inner Antonin Artaud, the film’s adolescent heroine (played by Myriem Roussel) declares, ‘God’s a creep! God’s a vampire!’ She’s a sylphlike basketball player in a Swiss idyll who discovers she’s inexplicably pregnant and thus inaugurates an awestruck retelling of the immaculate conception. Met with baroque outrage from the Catholic Church upon its release, its so-called ‘profane’ contents are spacey teens in their bedrooms and the ravishing landscapes beyond, each captured with such tenderness that Wolfgang Tillmans could be the cinematographer. Red roses glow in lush grass, afternoon light glitters on water, a fried sun nestles in a skein of dark branches and Marie wanders around in a dream ‘80s wardrobe followed by drowsy woodland animals. Far from shocking, Hail Mary feels like a brave, all-too-rare attempt to regain innocence when looking at the body, nature and everything else, as if virginity – ‘knowing only the shadow of love’ – was really a transcendent way of seeing the world.

Culture Digest

2. Matmos, Ultimate Care II, 2016

So unruly, so crammed with surprises is Matmos’s discography at this juncture that their tenth album could never have been anything but a wild treat. They’ve previously brought us pipes undulating like Elizabethan Whack-A-Moles on ‘Zealous Order of Candied Knights’ (2003), the skittering galaxy of samples that constitute ‘Last Delicious Cigarette’ (1999) and that moment in ‘Very Large Green Triangles’ (2013) where the man in the middle of a specially arranged telepathy experiment fell into a slurred call-and-response chorus with his own multitrack doppelgängers.

Consisting of a single track, Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey, 2016) orbits around another outlandish conceptual strategy as it finds Baltimore-based Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt – plus a sprawling cast of collaborators – transforming sounds generated by the eponymous Whirlpool washing machine into their own musical funhouse. Swirling around in the album’s dense 38 minutes are beats sprung from the metronomic pop-and-lock mechanism on the machine’s door, percussion that sounds like a poltergeist run amok (much of Matmos’ energy comes from being funny and scary), plus hi-def squelches, shimmers and chilly drones. The peak comes when a rush of funky scrubbing slowly spin cycles into some groovy distorted elephant trumpets beamed straight from Jon Hassell’s Dream Theory in Malaya (1981).

Culture Digest

Photograph: John Sisk

As an experience of the secret world within an appliance, Ultimate Care II is seriously trippy. But it’s also a bracing homage to the wizardry of various bygone musique-concréte pioneers, and that’s before you even begin to consider how it might make you rethink the supposed banalities of good housekeeping (haven’t we all zoned out to the soothing roar of the faithful washing machine before?) or dwell on the subtextual resonances of being flooded with these sounds at a time of environmental catastrophe and drought. There are multiple dimensions it can send you to, all the while supplying riotous proof that music can be charmed from the unlikeliest of sources and any object, however humdrum or homely, shaped into what Jimi Hendrix wisely called a ‘kinky machine’.

Part three of Charlie Fox’s ‘Culture Digest’ features Diane Williams’s Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine , and will be available on Friday 5 February.

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Metahaven: The Sprawl at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Metahaven: The Sprawl at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

 

Anri Sala: Answer Me on view

Anri Sala: Answer Me on view

 

Peter Wächtler: Secrets of a Trumpet at the Renaissance Society

Peter Wächtler: Secrets of a Trumpet at the Renaissance Society

 

Call for proposals for Fellowship Transhistorical Curating

Call for proposals for Fellowship Transhistorical Curating

 

Amie Siegel

Amie Siegel

 

Programme highlights 2016–17

Programme highlights 2016–17

 

Critic’s Guide: London

Critic’s Guide: London

It’s interesting how I know more about that story than the triage of paintings Lanyon made between 1959, when he began gliding, and 1964, when he died of complications in hospital as the result of a botched landing. A glider’s-eye-view revitalized his painterly language. The early paintings are denser, the line between land and sea discernible through whorling colour currents. Weather systems were for Lanyon what musicality was for earlier continental abstract painters. The exhibition’s final pared-back painting is thrillingly austere, a refinement that seems to depart from land altogether. Except he never did; among the paintings on display at the Courtauld are messy assemblages of studio off-cuts, dust and shit, the lowly surplus of labour and poignant reminders of terrestrially.

Critic’s Guide: London

Peter Lanyon, Solo Flight, 1960, oil on board, 1.2 × 1.8 m. Courtesy the Courtauld, London, and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

2. Rana Hamadeh, ‘The Sleepwalkers’, The Showroom
27 January – 19 March

Last year, Lebanese artist Rana Hamadeh’s installation ‘The Fugitive Image’ was one of four solo presentations at Nottingham Contemporary collectively titled ‘Alien Encounters’ (Danai Anesiadou, another to contribute, is currently showing a version of her work at Wilkinson gallery). There, The Sleepwalkers (2014–16) was installed as a film-in-progress alongside the same set, props and models that were used during its production in the on-site studio; at The Showroom these effects are condensed, oriented around the forceful presence of the finished video work.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

Shot in two acts and counter-intuitively finishing with the prologue, Hamadeh’s vaudevillian production re-stages and re-scripts an American journalist’s account of the confessions of Raya and Sakina, the first females to be sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1921. Part of a gang who murdered prostitutes, the pair were repeatedly cast in films as feminine monstrosities, symptomatic of the rising feminization and moral decline under British colonial rule, just prior to the country’s independence in 1922.

Critic’s Guide: London

Rana Hamadeh, The Sleepwalkers, 2016, film stills. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London

According to the journalist’s account, a whirling dervish sent into the sisters’ cell elicited their confession by inducing a psychedelic state and periodically dropping evidence at their feet – an affective state Hamadeh’s film seeks to produce in the viewer. With the various props, which embody and articulate an entangled vocabulary of colonialism elaborated upon in corresponding wall texts, we’re left feeling the complexity of these women’s histories, beyond any spectacular simplifications.

Part three of Jonathan P. Watts’s ‘Critic’s Guide’ will be available on Wednesday 3 February.

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New Deputy Director at Barnes, Temple Media and Film grads movie, Casual Business Photo Collective, Femme Collective, New York Public Library public GIF’s project, plus Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Jury Smith, Talia Greene and mega-heaps of Opportunities

New Deputy Director at Barnes, Temple Media and Film grads movie, Casual Business Photo Collective, Femme Collective, New York Public Library public GIF’s project, plus Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Jury Smith, Talia Greene and mega-heaps of Opportunities