Review by Rosa Abbott
The Irish Museum of Modern Art is celebrating its 20th anniversary with Twenty – an exhibition drawing upon its existing collections to showcase the works of 20 of the most exciting contemporary artists it has acquired pieces from. The artists selected are linked predominantly by matter of circumstance, and not so much by aesthetic. All are Irish, or have a special relationship with Ireland (though many live abroad). All are around about twice the age of the twenty-year-old IMMA, and are on the cusp of establishing a solid international reputation. But beyond these three binding factors, the emphasis is on diversity, and so Twenty becomes a theme-less exhibition made up of various media, the only agenda being that of the institution itself: to celebrate the art that is being produced right now.
2011 sees the unveiling of a major new public artwork by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed for the historic Scotsman Steps. Commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery, Work No.1059 is an impressive feat – 104 steps leading from the Scotsman Hotel on North Bridge to Waverley Station and The Fruitmarket Gallery on Market Street, each step clad in a different colour of marble.
Review by Isabella Andronos
A decadent feast appears in the space at Artereal Gallery; a table set with goblets and candlesticks among abundant seafood, fruit and wine. Rococo style pillars topped with urns spilling fruit, an enormous chandelier and five detailed frames also occupy the space. These are sculptural works made by Ken and Julia Yonetani, each comprised entirely of salt. The works explore a contemporary interpretation of a traditional theme in painting, the still life, taking this idea into the third dimension.
Words by Carla MacKinnon
Early Sunday afternoon in Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, and a packed room is being addressed by the University’s Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. Following a screening of Memento the professor is explaining, in a thick Italian accent, the relationship of memory to the brain. Several hours later, a cinema full of awed cinephiles sit reeling from the impact of Bela Tarr’s Turin Horse. The film is very long, impossibly slow and deeply moving, confronting the audience with boredom and beauty by turns. When the legendary Hungarian director shuffles to the front of the stage he is greeted with rapturous applause. Charmingly gracious and grave, Tarr is generous with his audience, discussing his thoughts on cinema and the reasons why the film will be his swansong. Under normal circumstances these two events in such quick succession would leave me speechless for days, but mere hours later I am sitting in yet another cinema to watch The Last Circus, a crowd-pleasing, blood-spattered Spanish thriller centred on machete-brandishing circus clowns. This year’s Edinburgh Film Festival poster bears the slogan ‘something for everyone’, and it has to be said that it delivers on its promise.
Review by Katerina Valdivia Bruch
Initiated by the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, the exhibition Based in Berlin caused some controversy before its opening on 7 June, 2011. The mayor’s decision to hold a Leistungsschau junger Kunst aus Berlin (Showcase Exhibition of Young Berlin Art) so close to elections in Berlin firstly raised a few eyebrows. Other contentious issues included the long-standing calls from art practitioners for a permanent Kunsthalle in the city and the selection of the curatorial team. More than 2,300 people signed a petition letter to the mayor asking for a revision of the project. Nevertheless, the opening was a huge success overall, with hordes of art lovers, curators, art critics, artists and other art practitioners waiting in line to enter the main venue at Atelierhaus Monbijou, temporarily in use before its demolition.
Review by Jareh Das
Tracey Emin’s extensive solo presentation at London’s Hayward Gallery is an exhibition which may conjure some scepticism. Emin is an artist infamous for her sexual provocation and YBA status and at times this is with little consideration made for her diverse and expansive oeuvre. Born in Croydon, Emin’s is synonymous with the seaside town of Margate due to her continual reference to her childhood and teenage years, in the town which arguably gave her so much, but at the same time took away so much from the young artist.
Review by David Levesley
‘What we can and must reinstate is the primacy of the imagination’ said Dalwood, a sculptor who’s impressive credentials do not seem to match up to the quiet arrival of the new exhibit of his work at the Mead Gallery; considered one of the leading post-war British sculptors after his work was displayed at the Venice Biennale in 1962 and winner of the John Moore’s price twice in 1959, since his death in 1976 Dalwood seems to have faded partially from public consciousness. Yet his art has the strange, ethereal ability to tap into the mind and remind the viewer, the ‘layman’ as he liked to say, of something one can not quite remember but seems oddly familiar. There is something of the prehistoric, of the antique, and of the elemental about Dalwood’s sculptures gathered together for this exhibition which feel like artefacts from an archaeological dig. The exhibit of his work at the Mead Gallery at Warwick Arts Centre comprises a selection of Dalwood’s many metal creations, which display fantastical but architecturally sturdy landscapes. There is the air of an avant-garde set designer about much of what he does; sparse landscapes of columns and strange shapes protruding from slick, reflective metal surfaces.
Review by Amelia Groom
In 1942 André Breton staged an exhibition in New York at the Whitelaw Reid Mansion called First Papers of Surrealism, the title referring to the immigration forms the exiled European Surrealists had been forced to complete upon arrival in the US. Having by this time ostensibly given up art for chess, Marcel Duchamp acted as art director, designing the catalogue and the exhibition space where paintings were conventionally hung in partitions, but access to them was hindered by the elaborate webs of string that were constructed around them, and by the young children he arranged to be playing ball games in the room.
The Aesthetica Creative Works Competition is open for entries! Now in its fourth year, the competition is dedicated to celebrating and championing creative talent across the disciplines and welcomes entries from artists working in any medium including sculpture, textiles, photography, ceramics, digital art and more, as well as poetry and short fiction.
Review by Sarah Richter, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.
The current exhibition at Freud Museum in London is by German video artist Marcel Odenbach. Included in the exhibition are a video and a large-scale paper collage of Sigmund Freud’s original couch. Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces of furniture known the world over, Odenbach has used the couch as the focal point of his exhibition. An artist who deals with the history of humanity through photographs, he rifles through the pictorial documentation and then employs them in a way that is artistic, painterly and subtly moving. This examination of society through art and photos creates an interesting juxtaposition which in the instance of Freud’s chair, a simple object that is in reality and in life imbued with an intense meaning which is highlighted by the presence of the photographs composing them. Built upon the foundation of Europe, Oldenbach consistently examines the brutality of humanity as it actual happened in relation to the romantic imagery we often paint of Europe. Humanity is cruel and he examines it through something that brings everyone together and possesses innate beauty: a painting.
Review by Alex Gibson
The building was beautiful and it was light. The rooms are impeccably restored so that visiting the Raven Row gallery would be worth it, irrespective of an exhibition. The gallery is based on Artillery Lane, a street that could easily be missed unless you know where to find it, just off to the right halfway down Bishopsgate. Upon entry, it’s easy to overlook the labyrinth of rooms the place holds, as it takes a little exploration to realise there were other doors to open. Gone with the Wind is an exhibition that has been eagerly anticipated. What is so suddenly evident is how sparse the space feels. It’s performance after all, so the fact that the theme was bringing together three of the most influential pioneers of sound art meant you have quickly realise the immateriality is just as, if not more, important than the presence of any objects.
Review by Angela Darby
Belfast‘s reputation is one of a fractured city in which city planning was curtailed or defined by social unrest. However, over the past 10 years it has become a giant construction site, its skyline is littered with cranes and scaffolding, like many other developing international cities. Parts of the city have been cordoned off and hidden behind partitions under the pretext of regeneration and gentrification. We have learnt not to expect anything spectacular as the unveiling only uncovers another unwelcome, homogenous and uninspiring edifice. In Sterile Environment, Catalyst Arts approaches this subject in a challenging and distinctive manner. The exhibition’s theme questions: ‘What is the city becoming? Are we protecting heritage adequately?’