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Risk & Experimentation in Video Art: Project 35, Gertrude Contemporary, Fitzroy, Australia.

Text by Emily Bour

Melbourne’s icy months present the perfect occasion to nestle in the dark and spend some quality time with Project 35. The new travelling exhibition is a video show, selected by 35 international curators, set up by the Independent Curators International (ICI) to celebrate their 35th Anniversary. ICI is a New York-based organisation, and as the name suggests, they are committed to promoting an international network for curators, having set up over 116 travelling exhibitions in 23 countries.

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TEST Presents…The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Town Hall Hotel, London.

Text by Emily Sack

TEST Presents… provides Londoners with a different take on an art event. The online fashion, photography, and film magazine provides monthly screenings of films. The TEST team invites a local artist to select a film to share with the audience that has been influential in some way to their career, aesthetic or philosophy, and for the second event this summer, artist Julie Verhoeven selected The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972). Verhoeven, after struggling to find an adequate term to describe how the film influenced her life, stated the film leaves her emotionally drained although it is a “super duper movie.”

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Literary Art: Covergence, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast.

Text by Angela Darby

Literature has long been an essential driving force behind many contemporary visual artists’ practice. The exhibition Convergence at Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast seeks to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between the two. Curators Chista-Maria Lerm Hayes, a lecturer at The University of Ulster and Peter Richards, Director of The GT Gallery have set out to ‘dispel the Modernist myth that artists needed to serve writers, that they were feeding the tribute industry, or lacked in rigour.’ Their strong selection of international and regional artists effectively supports the exhibition’s objectives.

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Three-Dimensional Bibliography: The Book on Books on Artists’ Books, Bloomberg Space, London.

Text by Lara Cory

Arnaud Desjardin is a French-born, London artist and author of catalogue: The Everyday Press (2011) and Business as Usual (2010). He is also the founder of The Everyday Press, publishing the work of visual artists as printed matter since 2007. Desjardin’s latest installation The Book on Books on Artists’ Books is showing in The Bloomberg Space as Comma 38, and nears the end of the gallery’s current series of exhibitions called Comma.

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Performative Landscapes: Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences, ACMI, Melbourne.

Text by Emily Bour

Arriving at Shaun Gladwell’s Stereo Sequences exhibition, currently showing at the Australian Center for the Moving Image in Melbourne (ACMI), one is greeted at the top of the stairs by the large-scale video work Pataphysical Man (2005). The image of the shirtless, helmet-wearing man spinning gracefully from the ceiling is, of course, upside down, but the cumulative effect is hypnotic. Such is the appetiser for the works that await visitors below.

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Multi Sensory Experiences: InTransit Festival, 22-31 July, London.

Text by Nathan Breeze

Built in 1962 by the Architects Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners, The Commonwealth Institute, characterised by a distinctive parabolic copper roof, became a prominent centre of education comprising of permanent exhibitions, a dedicated library and played host to special events. Forty years later, as popularity waned and its funding was cut, the Institute closed with the collection disbanded across various other cultural organisations.

Scratch-and-Sniff: Celebrating the 2011 Vice Photo Issue

This July, VICE has surpassed itself. As the self-proclaimed coolest magazine in the world, Volume 18 Number 7 is a visually stunning compendium of photography by Terry Richardson, Richard Kern, Mick Rock, Martin Parr, Peter Sutherland, Jim Mangan, Jennifer Osborne, Danielle Levitt and many more.

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1986 Chernobyl: Jane and Louise Wilson, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.

Jane and Louise Wilson were born in Newcastle and currently live and work in London. Using film, photography and sculpture, the Wilsons have created a series of internationally acclaimed, highly theatrical and atmospheric installations that investigate the darker side of human experience. They first began working together in 1989 and have since been fascinated by institutional architecture and the power of the unconscious mind, creating a body of work which probes collective anxieties and phobias, arouses unwanted memories and reveals things which are usually repressed.

Urban Pagan – Kid Acne: Kill Your Darlings, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.

Kill Your Darlings is Kid Acne’s (b.1978) first solo exhibition in Sheffield, where he has lived and works for the last 15 years. Kid Acne has exhibited widely, both in the UK and internationally, including StolenSpace, London, Iguapop, Barcelona, Spain, Myymälä 2, Helsinki, Finland, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Western Australia, and Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York, USA. His latest exhibition, opening at Millennium Gallery on the 21 July, Kill Your Darlings will feature work from throughout Kid Acne’s career alongside a series of new commissions.

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Call for Entries: Aesthetica Creative Works Competition

The Aesthetica Creative Works Competition is open for entries! With categories for artwork, poetry and short fiction, the Creative Works Competition provides a great opportunity for artists and writers from a range of disciplines to showcase their work to a wider audience and nurture their reputations on an international scale.

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Heather Ross: Constants in Practice, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.

Review by Colin Herd

In July 2010, the painter Heather Ross (b.1983) won the Alastair Salvesen Travel Scholarship, a funding opportunity aimed at young artists who have recently made the transition from studying in college to working as an artist. The award enabled Ross to embark on a three-month study/research trip, visiting many contrasting locations in Japan, including Tokyo, Hakone, Kamakura, Beppu, Hiroshima and Kyoto. The work she produced resulting from the trip currently forms a small but densely-packed exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy.

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Challenging Perception: René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle, Tate Liverpool.

Review by Kenn Taylor

The imagery of Belgian surrealist René Magritte has long become a part of popular culture. More importantly than that though, he can be said to be one of the artists who has had the most profound effect on how we perceive the world, his pioneering vision in painting expanding our capacity for what could be visually possible. This large retrospective at Tate Liverpool, the biggest in the UK since the 1980s, takes a thematic approach, split into sections that look at Magritte’s key preoccupations and the compositional and conceptual devices he used throughout his work.

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Once Upon a Time: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Video, Guggenheim Museum Berlin.

Review by Katerina Valdivia Bruch

The Guggenheim Museum Berlin presents in Once Upon a Time: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Video, six artists from its collection that address possible or fictional realities through video. Reading the title, one might think that fairytales or myths will be the topic of the exhibition. Instead, the videos are critical reflections about society using a symbolic narrative.

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Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978-2010, Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Review by Paul Hardman

There is a moment in the film that accompanies the Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978-2010 exhibition, when the artist seems momentarily irritated with the interviewer. The subject of the influence of his former tutors, Bernd and Hilla Becher, has come up, and it is apparent that the comparison of their work to his is something that Struth has become a little tired of.

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Inverting Preconceptions of Materials, Ideas and Craft: Jerwood Makers Open, JVA, London.

Review by Kara Magid, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond, The American International University in London.

Jerwood Makers Open is a new open-submission initiative designed to support and showcase emerging artists working in the applied arts. This annual exhibition series offers significant bursaries to four makers to create new works, which are then exhibited as part of the Jerwood Visual Arts programme. This year, the exhibition features four very different artists; Farah Bandookwala, Emmanuel Boos, Heike Brachlow, and Keith Harrison.

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My Hands are Tied: You Seem The Same Always, The Common Guild, Glasgow

Review by Alistair Q

Vince Lombardi, the 1960s American Football coach once said “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand,” and a very apt quote it is for marking the successes of the subtly original show running at the Common Guild this summer until 30 July. The exhibition is a large group show of 6 internationally recognised artists and is both a serious and at times humorous inquiry into that most invaluable of appendages: the hand. It marks the various conceptual forms the hand can take within art, having been the tool to make the tools throughout human evolution, the hand can seem comical for all it’s bendy cartoonish wriggling as well as marking itself as a powerful symbol in the form of propaganda posters for protest and upheaval. With all these concepts in mind the show itself investigates primarily with the former, the ways in which hands (specifically artists hands) have investigated this most useful prehensile.

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Sibylle Bergemann: The Poetry of Polaroids: C/O Berlin.

Review by Katerina Valdivia Bruch

Quoting Susan Sontag in her book On Photography (1977), “All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability“: polaroids are the medium par excellence to enter these doors of privacy and intimacy. This summer, C/O Berlin pays homage to Sibylle Bergemann, one of the most exciting German photographers of the last decade, who died from cancer in November 2010. The solo exhibition Polaroids, presents for the first time 140 polaroids taken by the artist and in them, it reveals part of Bergemann’s private dreams: young girls with red coloured lips starring at the camera, a plastic ballerina turning in front of a mirror, a small rabbit behind a tree, models in romantic costumes or Soviet emblems in a cryptic atmosphere. All these are blurred and dream-like moments of poetic nostalgia, that the photographer caught with her polaroid camera, as a hunter of vanishing moments. Her photographs transport us to timeless spaces, as if the moment could be endless and last forever. The sensitive eye of Sibylle Bergemann captured moments of intimacy, and delicate, symbolic landscapes, such as a man sitting in a tram in East Berlin or a train passing in front of a man somewhere in the streets of Lisbon.

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United by Difference: Michelangelo Pistoletto’s The Mirror of Judgement: Serpentine Gallery, London.

Review by Mallory Nanny, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

The Serpentine Gallery currently boasts an all-encompassing installation by Michelangelo Pistoletto, an artist renowned for his contribution to conceptual art, as well his founding role in the Arte Povera movement. The exhibition, entitled The Mirror of Judgement, incorporates various aspects from earlier works, such as Minus Objects (1966) and Third Paradise (2003-4), into a coherent and spiritual experience based on mathematical precision. The work focuses on our own perceptions of religion and culture, and thus depends on our participation as viewers.

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The Simplicity of Existence: Daisy Boman: Encounter: Halcyon Gallery, New Bond Street.

Review by Sarah Richter, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Daisy Boman’s second exhibition entitled Encounter featured 20 new works from the Tahrisquare series which was inspired by the recent events in Egypt. The defining feature of Boman’s oeuvre of work is the presence of her Bo-Men. All of these small, pocket-sized, faceless figures are hand made of clay by the artist without faces or differentiating identities. But over time, and during the process of creation, each figure acquires different cracks or marks of exposure that lends them uniqueness similar to the burden each person carries. Even within their anonymity, they are unified. All white in colour, there is no distinction between them because in the end, race should not matter and thus the colour is blank. Unified by their anonymity, they are additionally united by their square blockheads. The presence of these square heads further represents that we are each products of the same mould; the one society has deemed we should live in. These figures of Boman’s creation visually represent the binding thread of humanity and ask to be seen for what they are, not who they are, proving that we aren’t as separate as we think we are.

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The Brontës Went to Woolworths – Neil Shawcross: Penguins, The Naughton Gallery, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Review by Angela Darby

The affordable Penguin paperback book, now in its 76th year of production, was originally created to bring literature to the masses, simultaneously crossing all age and class divides. Unlike any other publishing company of it’s time Penguin’s emphasis was on the brand, visually reassuring the reader that their choice was a quality purchase by packaging their books in distinctively designed covers. Neil Shawcross’ exhibition Penguins in The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University, Belfast has been programmed to celebrate the company’s remarkable achievement. The artist has documented and re-interpreted his own private collection of Penguin publications in bright acrylic paint and hand written text, focusing on the classic three, horizontal band design created by Edward Young who also drew the first version of the Penguin logo.

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Sickly Sweet: Caroline McCarthy, Arrangements: Green on Red Gallery, Dublin.

Review by James Merrigan

We could lazily describe Caroline McCarthy’s readymade arrangements as sweet, and stop there, but there is an added dose of the sickly in her current solo show at the Green On Red Gallery, Dublin, which is reminiscent of Pop Art, but more specifically with the American Painter, Wayne Thiebaud (whose pop sensibilities were formed just before the movement began in the 1950s). Thiebaud once said that “Common objects become strangely uncommon when removed from their context and ordinary ways of being seen.” In McCarthy’s drawings and collective object displays there is an accumulation of stuff that add up to a total. An early precursor to this form of representation was the bizarre fruit and vegetable heads of the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, whose work some say was a design of his own mental illness. McCarthy registers peaks and troughs of banality and fantasy through her utilisation of the common or garden household item, that evokes the limp pages of a coffee table home improvement catalogue and the obsessions with home and nesting for ‘thirtysomethings’. There are also moments of nostalgia here in the playful and casual arrangements of objects.

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Seeing Is Believing: Junya Ishigami: Architecture as Air, Curve Gallery, Barbican Art Gallery, London.

Review by Nathan Breeze

The pioneering American engineer Buckminster Fuller once famously asked the question ‘how much does your building weigh?’ This perhaps marked the moment where architects and engineers first started to consider the environmental impact of their buildings. Nowadays concerns about sustainability both in terms of construction and in the maintenance of buildings are defining the construction industry. Had he posed the question in 1982 to the Architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who after 11 years onsite had just completed the Barbican; a mixed-use concrete jungle (and rightly listed cultural treasure) there would no doubt have been some serious head scratching.

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Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century, Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Review by Karla Evans

Mounting an exhibition that addresses 75 years worth of work and features over 50 photographers is no meagre task. Compliments then are due to the team behind the Royal Academy of Art’s Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century. Taking visitors from 1914 through 1989, the Academy’s first photography exhibition in many, many years will quash any doubts of a staid historical show and presents some of the most provocative images of the century. What seems nigh on impossible to do without filling the Royal Academy’s entire floor-space, the curators manage to do in a coherent and succinct exhibition of two distinct parts. Firstly, presenting a clear, chronological retelling of Hungary’s conflicted history and secondly, how Hungarian photographers translated the century’s technological advances within the medium of photography through their own unique lens’.

BT Northern Ireland Press Photographer of the Year Exhibition 2011, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

Every year The Northern Ireland Press Photographers Association (NIPPA) launches its search for the best photo journalists across Northern Ireland. Through the BT Northern Ireland Press Photographer of the Year competition, the outstanding work of Northern Ireland’s press photographers is duly recognised and rewarded.

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The Secret Garden: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, Designed by Peter Zumthor, Hyde Park, London.

Review by Emily Sack, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Each year the Serpentine Gallery commissions a new architect to design a summer pavilion for Hyde Park. Such architectural stars as Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and last year, Jean Nouvel have graced the site with stunning creations for public enjoyment.

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Emotions for the Advanced: Matters of Life and Death, Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, Salts Mill, Bradford.

Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery specializes in contemporary jewellery, silver and metalsmithing, showcasing diverse collections by over 70 renowned designers and emerging talents from Britain and abroad. Each year, Kath Libbert travels to Schmuck, the definitive jewellery event in Munich where contemporary art jewellers from around the world exhibit their work to an international audience of gallerists and collectors.Kath uses the experience of Schmuck to inspire her annual summer show, meeting jewellers, and identifying themes. This July, Matters of Life and Death opens at Salts Mill, an exhibition that explores the responses of nine international jewellery artists to the proliferation of natural disasters and man-made destruction in our world. We caught up with Kath to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

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Postmodernist Appropriation, Ron English: Skin Deep, Lazarides Gallery, London.

Review by Mallory Nanny, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London

In his first UK exhibition, entitled Skin Deep: Post-Instinctual Afterthoughts on Psychological Portraiture, contemporary artist Ron English bridges the gap between high and low art by incorporating mass produced, low brow imagery into traditional high art subjects. Portraits of historical icons like Marilyn Monroe, Ben Franklin and George Washington coexist with those of pop culture characters, Fred Flintstone and the Hulk in this exhibition. English builds each composition using vintage advertisements and cartoon imagery, some of which are found material that he enhances with paint, while others he illustrates in meticulous detail.

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Re-thinking Notions of Authority and Authenticity: November 22, 1948, Marcel van Eeden, Sprüth Magers, London.

Review by Emily Sack, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Paper and pencil are typically supplies associated with schoolwork like arithmetic or a preliminary phase of an artistic work; however, Dutch artist Marcel van Eeden utilizes the ordinary pencil on sketchbook quality paper to create the pieces in the current exhibition November 22, 1948.

Experiments in Time and Space: Q&A with Jane Won, curator of Catherine Yass, DLWP, Bexhill on Sea.

Catherine Yass Exhibition from De La Warr Pavilion on Vimeo.

Interview by Bethany Rex

Catherine Yass is a leading contemporary photographer and film-maker whose work captures the psychological impact of architectural space. This exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea presents her new and recent work from the last decade. We spoke to curator, Jane Won about the highlights of the exhibition and her experience of working with Yass.