Matthew Bourne’s haunting new production at Sadler’s Wells is a gothic romance; a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder. Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty sees the choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.
A new exhibition by James Capper, whose extraordinary sculptures can walk, swim and climb mountains, opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 5 January 2013. Featuring three large-scale walking sculptures in the landscape and models, drawings and films in the Bothy Gallery, this project is a timely showcase of the artist’s career to date and shows the evolution of his practice and fascinating exploration of the potential and aesthetics of the machine.
Occupying a liminal space between nature, science and art, Kate MccGwire’s sculptures are both ominous and sensuous. Made from masses of delicate feathers, they are “impossible creatures”, spilling from gallery walls, or crouching in dimly lit vitrines. Unlike the carefully preserved animals we see in museums, MccGwire’s creatures are faceless and ultimately abstract. Often asphyxiated by scientific clamps, they bend into and onto themselves – revealing the delicate imbalance between nature and science on epistemological and emotional levels.
Howard Greenberg Gallery presents its worldwide representation of Joel Meyerowitz, whose first solo show with the gallery, 50 Years of Photographs, is a full survey of the artist’s career in two parts: November 2–December 1, 2012, and December 7, 2012–January 5, 2013. One of the foremost photographers working today, Joel Meyerowitz is renowned for his crucial role in the establishment of colour photography as a fine art. His work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.
Once again the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition, having begun its nationwide tour in Liverpool, has come to rest at one of its regular stops, the ICA London. For those unfamiliar with the New Contemporaries premise, the exhibition contains a small selection (29 selected from over 1,200) of this year’s crop of British art school graduates, picked by a panel of previous New Contemporaries. From Jackson Sprague’s astonishing Crystacal plaster sculpture, white and tiered on a pink, spiralled, cylindrical base, like a grandiloquent wedding cake (untitled, 2011), to Freya Douglas’s Elysian watercolour, They Visited Twice (2012), and Simon Senn’s Meadowlands Zone 1 (2010) in which a dynamic twenty-second documentary sequence set in Soweto is unveiled as fabrication, the works at this year’s New Contemporaries do not disappoint in breadth or ambition.
This January, the recipients of the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards, Ed Atkins and Naheed Raza, premiere their ambitious new commissions at Jerwood Visual Arts (JVA), Jerwood Space, London. Presented as the second part of the exhibition Tomorrow Never Knows, the new works will be on show from 16 January until 24 February 2013.
Triumphantly harbouring the works of Beat Streuli’s latest exhibition New Street, Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery has been transformed into an ensemble of diverted perception and indirect human observation. Streuli uses both floors in the gallery and the tower room to allow the viewer to become both provocateur and voyeur of the variety of works on display. Streuli’s output spans photography, projected images and video. These detached mediums can sometimes sit rather unnvervingly, due to the lack of direct contact with the characters in the work, alluding to an ethical issue of privacy and display without consent. But at the same time the pieces mesmerize and perplex through their minimal and clinical white interior.
Mark and Kristen Sink present a new body of work at the Robin Rice Gallery on 16 January until 24 February. Only their second photography exhibition, their intriguing images blur faces, sharpen eyes and crinkle petals in subjects that appear to have fallen out of a Victorian-era fairytale. In order to create works with a bold vintage effect, the husband and wife utilised one of the oldest techniques in photographic history: the collodion wet plate process. This is a laborious method where the error of the human hand renders each piece a unique expression of beauty.
Possibly proof of Japan’s miraculous determination following WWII, the exhibition Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde at MoMA demonstrates a manifold of approaches to making artworks in Japan’s post-war period. A show of elusive paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and videos, the broad selection embodies radical dissent, new political visions, and revelations (though not always convincing), all of which result from an artist community’s attempt to reestablish itself in a westernized world. Though the show is a little packed, it is demonstrative of the multifarious works made during this period. While the show spans a rather small amount of time – just fifteen years – it has a rapid rate of growth, somewhat astonishing as one strolls through the space. One of the most visible progressions in Japan’s art-world would have to be their increasing proclivity towards the fantastic. As time moves on for them, the art gets weirder and more immersed in fantasy. This could be looked at in several different ways, but to say that it is a direct response to a moment of intense destruction followed by a patriarchal rebuilding by the USA does not seem to be too far off point.
Running until 5 January Jane Edden’s Ornithomorph is built upon the artist’s fascination with the way animals are collected, classified and catalogued. She has adopted a scientific system of labelling and nomenclature. Featuring within the exhibition is Flying Jackets, which investigates our attitudes towards nature and the desire behind consuming natural materials. Each jacket is just the size of a humming bird and is created from hundreds of tiny feathers to produce a series that inhabits a hybrid space between avian and human. Linking back to the human attraction to natural materials, Edden also inspects the tribal, sacred use of feathers that is internationally recognised.
The point was made fairly clearly that absurdities and banalities from the mundane were given centre stage in the artwork of David Shrigley at the preview night. When he addressed the assembled audience of devotees and art students at Bradford 1 Gallery, it proved that such phenomena, when elevated in this way, are recorded with an imperfect, naïve sort of economy. This intended imperfection and naivety of style is achieved with the use of heavy outlines and deliberately crude execution in his drawings. The way in which he explained his methods was deadpan and illustrated with the use of a slideshow highlighting humorous situations in which he had found himself in his own life. In delivering this information to the audience in this oblique yet slightly blunt way he added a personal touch to, and compounded, the unique angle from which the everyday is observed, as imparted by the work. Most of the work currently exhibited at Bradford 1 Gallery is drawn in pen. However, there are a healthy number of colour monoprints also on display.
In line with the current season, FACT Liverpool presents: Winter Sparks. Running until 24 February, this interactive programme of works is literally electric. Visitors can expect to experience a personal light and sound show with electric sparks, interact with the charges from Tesla coils and explore the mysteries of the Wilberforce pendulum, which is all work from four emerging international artists, showcasing in the UK for the first time.