Review of recent gallery visits in London,

 

This weekend I when to see a mix of exhibitions some recent grads, some not yet graduated and some seasoned pros, and to be honest I felt the student artists faired much better on this recent trip.

The first exhibition was only a small one in a gallery that recently moved to east London, due to rising costs, but I must say it’s a good move to a really interesting industrial building.

Benedetta Martini is an emerging artist who is studying at Camberwell College of art. Her work in this exhibition explores meanings within her urban surroundings and the relationships they have with the object and us.

I found her photos really engaging, a mix of colour and black and white of urban built up areas from her surrounding environment, most void of people yet with the trace presence of human interactions and objects. There was a film to watch also but due to technical difficulties on the day we were unable to view this. In the centre of the space was a small sculptural installation, of which the idea was interesting but not fully resolved it was more of a token gesture of a dystopia than utopian ideal, placing several found objects into a small patch of cordoned off sand and soil, with dying grass clods dotted around. Although I really enjoyed the photos I felt the exhibition was lacking in something it need more for me to be fully engaged with the discourse it was trying to tell me.

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Aldia Sayer at the Marsden Woo gallery

Aldia is a recent graduate from the RA and has recently done a residency in Korea. Her work explores language and moments of human thought translated onto and into organic matter. Which she then transforms into solid, folded delicate objects made from bronze, iron and aluminum.

This was a small but extremely engaging exhibition of fragments and film. The small sculptures were organic in texture and style and simply lay or hung to create a presence as though whispered secrets, which were ephemeral and delicate. The films were mesmerizing and calming flowing negatives on transparent glass, like water scattering down a window pain.

 

Boyd & Evens at the Flower gallery

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Boyd & Evans’ characteristic panoramic format incorporates as many as 100 individual photographs, stitched together into wide, highly detailed vistas that appear to offer a heightened sense of reality. Often with subtle spatial distortions, or refined shifts of perspective, their images extend beyond the limits of ordinary vision, in what Tyler Cann has called a “playful exploration of perspective and space” These photos I feel show us more about our relationship with the land than their previous paintings

Presenting this uncanny view of ‘pure’ landscape alongside the attempts made to inhabit and shape it, Boyd & Evans invite the viewer to ponder the various implications of our relationship to the land. Hyper reality within the photos holds the gaze while you contemplate the possibilities of it being a real place in time.

 

Pace London

This was a show that I stumbled on my way to the RA and was pleasantly surprised by the sculptures within. With six contemporary artists (all being previous laureates of the Calder Prize) exploring the impact and in conversation with Alexander Calder and his kinetic art.

Rejecting hierarchies within materials and objects and working within the industrial he invented the “mobile”.

The artists in this show re-contextualises the scale of Calders influence way past his lifetime and his work in kinetics is prevalent in many areas of postmodern art today.

Calder’s approach to materials runs through the work of the artists, evoked in the work of Tara Donovan, who mixes accessible industrial materials into large assemblages to create organic forms. In this work she assembles Slinkys—a child’s toy of, coiled metal, into bright, undulating forms that seem natural in spite of her material’s industrial origins. Tomás Saraceno’s Trace G64 B213 and Cumulus Filaments similarly are inspired by nature, such as clouds and spider webs, to imagine new spatial relationships.

Žilvinas Kempinas reduces sculpture to pure, dynamic forms, using a fan to suspend and animate a looped strip of magnetic tape in Flux. This sense of dynamism echoes Haroon Mirza’s performances, site-specific installations and kinetic sculptures, which complicate the distinctions between noise, sound and music, altering the function and meaning of everyday objects and sociocultural constructs. Haroon’s work Light Work iii gets a space to itself and it needs it, with the sound it creates both intrigues and offends the ears. Darren Bader’s work IOHEfU and two with/and three question the relationship between form and content, much like Rachel Harrison’s Silent Account, which investigates and deconstructs the conditions, attitudes and materials that inform how we understand sculpture.

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