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b&bI’m sad to be missing the new exhibition opening at the WW Gallery next Tuesday night, especially after the cheeky preview I got of the show at Broughton & Birnie’s studio in March. Go see it if you can, words can’t do justice to the experience promised.

Broughton & Birnie | BERLIN
The Forger’s Tale: The Quest for Fame and Fortune

22 May – 13 July 2013
Preview 6-9pm Tues 21st May
Also open on Saturday 18th May 12-8pm for EC1/WC1 Galleries Day

Open Weds – Fri 11 – 6pm; Sat 11 – 4pm
WW Gallery, 34/35 Hatton Garden EC1N 8DX

 

WW Gallery is pleased to present Broughton & Birnie’s The Forger’s Tale: The Quest for Fame & Fortune, an immersive installation and exhibition chronicling the tragic events that led to the demise of twentieth century forger Georg Bruni.

Focusing upon the events surrounding the sale of a forged Picasso painting to a Nazi collector, the show takes a detail from the original Forger’s Tale exhibition, about the life and times of Georg Bruni held at the Crypt Gallery in May 2012. Weaving fact and fiction in a richly detailed forgery of their own, Broughton & Birnie play with plausibility and authority in a post-internet world of self-constructed realities and identities.

The Quest for Fame & Fortune presents an experiential narrative, in which the viewer is led through Bruni’s story room by room. From the documentary cinema kiosk, to the Collectors and Regenerate Rooms surveying German art from the Berlin Dada exhibition and the Degenerate Art Show, and finally to the wild and grotesque performance of the Cabaret; the spirit and atmosphere of Bruni’s Berlin is evoked.

Akin to the information overload encountered on the vast data resource of the web, the experience of Bruni’s world overwhelms us. Pandering to an information hungry and status-obsessed society, Broughton & Birnie offer a sprawling maze of information within which the viewer is able to pick up and follow individual threads. But as counterfeiters they have also left a deliberate trail of deceit. Visual clues including familiar faces from reality television and politics, a-historical props and incongruous paraphernalia: all allow the audience to peel back layers of forged historicity.

Within Broughton & Birnie’s retelling of Germany’s social & political upheavals, the astoundingly creative artistic culture, and the legendary nightlife of the short-lived Weimar Republic, we find parallels with contemporary life that make for an unnerving satire. Combining archive material and old photographs with the manipulative processes of new technology Broughton & Birnie capture the spirit of a past era whilst performing a wicked parody of current pop culture and politics: forcing the two worlds to collide in a flagrant deception.

About Broughton & Birnie
Kevin Broughton and Fiona Birnie have been working and exhibiting together since 2001. They are interested in the influence of the media and technology on society – its role in our perception and relationship with the real world. The technique of collage is at the heart of their work providing an essential metaphor and means of expression for the myriad individual constructs of contemporary reality.
Kevin Broughton
1987-90 West Surrey College of Art & Design – B.A Degree in Fine Art Painting
1992-94 Royal College of Art – M.A Degree in Painting
Fiona Birnie
1985-88 Exeter College of Art & Design – B.A Degree in Photography
Both live & work in London (UK)

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Ross Chisholm, Sarah Gillham, Mindy Lee,
Emma Talbot & Sarah Woodfine

ALL THE DEAD DEARS

14 November – 15 December 2012

‘Riddled with ghosts, to lie
Deadlocked with them, taking roots as cradles rock.’
(All the Dead Dears, Sylvia Plath)

WW Gallery is pleased to present All the Dead Dears, an exhibition of drawing, painting, sculpture and print by Ross Chisholm, Sarah Gillham, Mindy Lee, Emma Talbot & Sarah Woodfine. Curated by Mindy Lee and Sarah Gilham, All the Dead Dears is the first in a new programme of exhibitions guest-curated by prominent artist/curator duos, which will continue throughout 2013 at WW Gallery.

A sinister lure lurks at the heart of ‘All the Dead Dears’, reviving what once was into a new and otherworldly state. Sensual desire is twisted and ruptured; this disrupted decadence tips in and out of states of loss, emptiness and longing.

Drawing on personal memories, rituals, invented mythologies and historical icons, each artist references and retells the past. As these moments are invoked an uneasy tension and a jarring sense of the ‘out of time’ sets in.

Time is spliced together, compressing different moments into hybrid narratives which fuse and cyclically loop. These narratives are trapped in flux where they are continually evolving, unravelling, pulling apart, lacerating, breaking or dissolving. As tension mounts things appear to move out of all control.

The mundane or accidental take on increasing significance and theatricality. Public and private personae become interchangeable, exposing a psychological release which is consumed and reabsorbed.

The opulence of surface and subject tempts the viewer further into the world of All the Dead Dears. Yet the beauty of seduction and the temptation of desires in turn unveil awkwardness, violence, horror and the macabre. Trapped between attraction and repulsion in a compressed present, the viewer is horribly compelled to indulge.

Ross Chisholm appears courtesy of IBID Projects, Sarah Woodfine appears courtesy of Danielle Arnaud.

Exhibition curated by Sarah Gillham & Mindy Lee

I recently went to see Christ Ofili’s exhibition at Victoria Miro with an East London Fawcett art tour. I had fun writing a review for the CAN Journal.

I am about to do something which will either seem quite clever or very foolish: I’m going to compare Chris Ofili to Pablo Picasso.

If you look closely enough the parallels are there.  Take for instance, Chris Ofili‘s 90s obsession with embellishing his paintings with elephant dung, and compare it with Picasso’s own comment that the pigeon  droppings which decorated the paintings stored in the atelier of an apartment on Rue de la Boetie created “an interesting unpremeditated effect.”

But animal shit is really the least of their connections.

 

The comparison struck me at Ofili’s current show at Victoria Miro, to take and to give which brings together “a substantial suite of paintings and works on paper” inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses and produced as part of a collaboration with the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House. Here I thought of Picasso’s collaboration with the Ballet Russes on Parade and Le Train Bleu which led to incredible cubist costumes and sets, his marriage to dancer, Olga Khoklova, and a series of of Picasso’s own etchings and illustrations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Comparisons should strive to be generative rather than merely indicative. In this case it generates a picture of where Ofili is at in his career and what significance this might hold from an art historical perspective. Ofili’s 2010 Tate Britain show proved that the YBA and former Turner Prize winner had spent a good long time maturing in the heat of Trinidad and had emerged from night-time jungle walks a painter with a future as well as a past, the works on show at Victoria Miro show Ofili confidently settling into this future.

to take and to give is a beautiful show, both energetic and lyrical, exploratory and decisive. The real opera d’art is off stage and out of focus in a now past exhibition at the National Gallery, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, and yet like many of Picasso’s studies, Ofili’s experiments and working studies are independently captivating.

Inspired by Ovid’s story of Diana & Actaeon and dancers from the Royal Opera House, Ofili’s collaboration has sparked frenzied work and an exciting new corpus for fans to devour. While the Hound‘s heads, with their puppet like photo-collaging, and the viciously surreal Nymphs, all communicate the wildness of a cannibalisitc myth, the cut paper portraits of Diana and Actaeon suggest all the elegance of the ballet’s performance of this.

There is an absolute sense of Ofili’s confidence in his line, a line which follows the speed and strength of movement and transforms it into the telling of myth. Study for Ovid-Desire, luxuriously patterned and framed, negotiates the feeling and submission to desire in the direction of line alone. There is a style to these drawings which now feels fully developed and completely Ofili’s own.

When the studies work up to colour they take on the grandness of the ballet. The smaller works in watercolour, charcoal and pastel are patchworks of the incredible colour palette Ofili developed in Trinidad, and they bring the strength of a single artist’s mythos to bear on an all-pervasive story. It is to take and to give of course, the giant acrylic on canvas, which is the centrepiece of the show; a mountain of writhing coloured female flesh and an offering to the gods.

to take and to give will be at Victoria Miro until the 10 November

My love for Ofili goes back a long way to bad quality images on Google printed out for sketchbook studies. If you’re interested in hearing me wax lyrical about Ofili some more here’s an old post from an old blog about his Tate Britain show.

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Susie Hamilton & Inguna Gremzde
Vacant Lots

10 October – 10 November 2012
PV Tues 9 October 2012, 6 – 9pm

Open Weds – Fri 11 – 6pm; Sat 11 – 4pm
WW Gallery, 34/35 Hatton Garden EC1N 8DX

‘Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.’

Preludes, T S Eliot

The WW Gallery is pleased to present Vacant Lots, an exhibition of paintings by Susie Hamilton and Inguna Gremzde. While Hamilton and Gremzde reference the tradition of figurative landscapes and portraits, the psychological charge and setting of their work is a phenomenon of the contemporary world. The vacant lots of their paintings are the metropolitan deserts of Asda, Iceland, Lidl and Tesco, the modern supermarket.

Like the extension of blank concrete airport runways or the multiplication of identikit skyscrapers, office blocks and housing developments, the continual expansion of supermarkets leads to a paradoxical paralysis of choice. Hamilton and Gremzde reflect upon the soulless non-places and waste lands of our consumer super-cities, presenting a bleak vision charged with melancholy.

Susie Hamilton’s Women Shoppers shuffle through the freezer aisles: solitary, obese and elderly. Inguna Gremzde’s paintings on plastic lids are both intimate miniatures and mass-produced portraits of a single figure moving through the non-narrative of a shopping trip. The subjects of both Hamilton and Gremzde become anonymous consumers in a tribe of vacant shoppers as they are processed by supermarkets through a wilderness of discounts, reductions and special offers.

This exploration of supermarket psychology is fuelled by a social paranoia which stretches beyond the depressing monotony of the weekly shop. The chaos and anarchy which is caused by the order of J G Ballard’s forty-storey High Rise packed with a ‘glut of conveniences’, seems to lurk behind the sterile aisles. Barry Schwartz describes this ‘paradox of choice’: “There is vastly too much choice in the modern world and we are paying an enormous price for it. It makes us feel helpless, mentally paralysed and profoundly dissatisfied.”(1)

At odds with the insistent visceral assault of supermarket crowds, bright colours, stark strip-lighting, the relentless pop drone and piped smells, the works in Vacant Lots carry a sense of the dystopia masked by this artificial superstore environment.

Opening during Frieze Week Vacant Lots will offer a counterpoint to the art fair. With its temporary white walls and neatly divided cubicles Frieze offers another type of consumerist waste-land, an art superstore for convenience purchases.

(1) The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz

Susie Hamilton studied painting at St Martin’s School of Art, and Byam Shaw School of Art and studied English Literature at Birkbeck College, London University. Since 1996 she has shown with Paul Stolper, London, where she has had eight solo exhibitions. Other solo shows include Postmodernism and Spirit, University of Central Lancashire, Preston (2002); Paradise Alone, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull (2002) and St Edmund Hall, Oxford (2003); Paintings and Monoprints, Galleri Trafo, Oslo (2007); World of Light, Triumph Gallery, Moscow (2008); Black Sun, Studio Hugo Opdal, Flo, Norway (2009); Mutilates and A New Heaven and a New Earth, St Giles’, Cripplegate, London (2001, 2011). Group shows include The Mostyn Open, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno (1993); The Whitechapel Open, Whitechapel Gallery, London (1994, 1998); Ikon Touring, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2000); Presence, St Paul’s Cathedral, London (2002); John Moores 23, The Walker, Liverpool (2004); Strictly Painting III, Voges + Partner, Frankfurt (2005); The Summer Exhibition, The Royal Academy, London (2004, 2009); National Open Art Competition, Chichester; In the Flesh, Paul Stolper Gallery, London; Afternoon Tea, WW Gallery at The Venice Biennale (2011); The Threadneedle Prize (Mall Galleries, London), Bite: Artists Making Prints (Mall Galleries), The Jerwood Drawing Prize (Jerwood Space, London) and RE OPEN: The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (Bankside Gallery,London) in 2012. Her work is in numerous public and private collections including Murderme UK, Deutsche Bank, The Economist, THS Partners, Bernard Jacobson Collection, The Groucho Club and The Methodist Art Collection. She lives and works in East London.

Inguna Gremzde studied at the Art Academy of Latvia and completed her MA in Fine Art at the Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London, where she was selected by the WW Gallery as an Axis MAstar. She was the recipient of an Honourable Mention at the Turgut Pura Prize and had a recent solo show at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, NY, USA, 2012 Crossroads. She will be included in the upcoming exhibition for the Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, and showing in What a Wonderful World, Plato Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey. Group shows include 2012 Magnitude 7, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati; Turgut Pura Prize, Izmir Art and Sculpture Museum, Izmir, Turkey; Upcycle, Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Athens, USA; 6th International Arte Laguna Prize, Arsenale, Venice, Italy; Postcard Show, Surface Gallery, Nottingham; International Painting NYC, Jeffrey Leder Gallery, NY, USA; CoCA’S 2011 Annual Exhibition, Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, USA; 2011 Salon Art Prize, Matt Roberts Art, London; Cork Street Open Exhibition, London; Summer Salon, Islington Arts Factory, London; Futura Bold/Futura Oblique, The Nunnery, London; and Politics and Power, LCC, London



Curated by Debra Wilson & Chiara Williams
For more information please contact Francesca Brooks at francesca.a.brooks@gmail.com

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I have been spending some of my September days at the WW Gallery with Ayuko Sugiura’s exhibition, Second Skin. In this curio of surreal icons there is a cathedral made from silicon which hangs from the greenhouse windows like a web of light. It’s meditative, as a cathedral should be, but somehow the perspective is slightly skewed.

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I recently joined the East London Fawcett to help out with press. I’ve already gone along to lots of brilliant events including an art tour of some commercial galleries in West London led by artist Rose Gibbs.

A highlight was Sarah Lucas’ project space at Sadie Coles, SituationWhite Hole with Rohan Wealleans glittered with hanging light bulbs, tipped-up toilets and vajazzle. It stood out in stark contrast to the rough monuments and phallic giants of Thomas Houseago at Hauser & Wirth in The Mess I’m Looking For.

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I have returned to the Tate Tanks as often as possible to make the most of the excitement before the 15 week programme comes to an end. I also enjoy any excuse to head to Bankside, my favourite London ‘tourist’ spot with the dome of St Pauls, Millennium bridge in the light, the gaping rush of the Thames.

The other week I saw Haegue Yang’s performance sculptures, Dress Vehicles limply rattling around the industrial cave. It was the perfect example of when participatory art fails to convince anyone to participate.

When somebody tried to get in the ‘vehicle’ they were promptly told that only the invigilators were allowed to do that, but they were hesitant, giggly and a little shy about the whole thing. In a moment of absolute awkwardness one of them, a Polish woman, took to the microphone to sing a folk song very badly. Luckily she was interrupted by somebody with musical talent taking to the unoccupied drum kit. It was at least, good for a laugh.

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On Thursday I interviewed Alex Lewis and Edward Wallace about their exhibition Static Dynamic at Copenhagen Place. The next day, after getting lost in Mile End, I went to see the exhibition. Copenhagen Place is an odd little project space which seems to be hidden at the back of a commune of creatives. There were about 20 toothbrushes in the bathroom and there was a beautiful cat. I don’t want to give too much away because the interview will be up on roves and roams soon.

This is a copy of an article I originally wrote for the Hackney Citizen on the film-inspired exhibition, Still.

As the cold weather creeps upon us the Hackney Picturehouse and the Transition Gallery will be collaborating with the perfect antidote to the autumn gloom. Still, an exhibition inspired by ‘the moving magic of film’ and the ‘new reality’ which emerges when we halt this movement, will be taking place across the two venues from the 7 to the 30 September.

Mix art and film and you have the perfect visual comfort food. The relationship between these two mediums is entirely one of indulgence; a film director playing with the luxuries of light and the full spectrum of sensory effects comes closer to producing a work of art than a slick Hollywood blockbuster, and, as we find in Still, artists using film as inspiration find themselves falling prey to a consumptive obsessiveness, a hyperbolic fanaticism.

Nicola Woodham’s video ‘Neon Alone’ is perhaps the best example of the blurring of genre-boundaries between popular film and art. Woodham has taken a single frame from Richard Curtis’ Love Actually and transformed it into a purely aesthetic cypher with its languorous movement through cinematic light, silhouette, shadow and luminescent spotting.  This repeated frame is entirely estranged from its Rom-Com context; it’s lost that warm, all-pervasive Richard Curtis glow.

Although the exhibition does look critically at the relationship between art and film, it is also not afraid of pastiche or parody. Paul Kindersley’s larger than life disembodied heads are a queasily comic tribute to the sticky gore of horror.

In Cathy Lomax’s ‘Film Diary’, in which she paints a single freeze-framed scene from every film she watches, there is no sense of discrimination. Despite being intellectually and theoretically engaged with film in her studies, Lomax is just as likely to be caught borrowing from Twilight as she might from an obscure masterpiece such as Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate.

The exhibition celebrates our cultural immersion in a cinematic reality; stories, dreams, the living out of fantasies which might begin to feel more real than everyday life. Jackie Chettur’s meticulously constructed sets in hotel rooms come to resemble ‘the backdrop to a film we think we may have seen.’

There is a strange sense of de ja vu which strikes the viewer. Scenes and faces borrowed from films seem familiar but often lie somewhere beyond the reach of recognition.

The exhibition is accompanied by a special issue of Transition’s Garageland magazine dedicated to film. Each of the artist’s included in Still have contributed to the issue; Paul Kindersley revels in horror’s lust for blood and ‘schlock tactics’, Alli Sharma wallows in her infatuation with the Kitchen Sink aesthetic of social realism, and Jackie Chettur reveals the secrets behind her hyper-realist film sets.

Garageland 14 is, at heart, a collection of adoring love letters to film. Images framed on glossy white paper are like screens in which we might catch movement or a narrative, its content page reads like rolling credits, interviews run like scripts, a thumbnail strip resembles a storyboard. This issue of the magazine is edited and produced with all the visible traces of film fanaticism.

Still is totally joyful and honest about its passion for film and it’s this which makes it the perfect visual comfort. It’s the exhibition equivalent of the cinema on a rainy afternoon or a large bucket of salted popcorn.

Last night I went to the opening of Crypta: Silent Monologue at the Crypt Gallery in Euston. It was the perfect end to a perfect day (Barbican architecture tour, finally talking with one of the participants of Tino Sehgal’s These Associations, the incredible TWEET ME UP by artist Tracey Moberly in the Tate Tanks and seeing the Tate Modern repopulated by London’s so-called subcultures).

A space as distinctive as the Crypt is a curatorial challenge, but in the case of Crypta these difficulties have been used to frame the works in a way that only highlights their strengths.  Katerina Georgopoulou’s video and print has a sublime ambience, heightened by its setting in this subterranean cave. The mixing of media creates a familiar yet frustratingly distant sci-fi reality, viewing from this perspective we watch a world  which is entirely inaccessible and yet so enchanting.

 

 

 

Kim Gladwin’s installation, complete with perfect business cards, was like something from the depth’s of Alice’s rabbit hole. A  perfect white dress was  hung upside down in an arch like the beginning of a fabulously magical realist story.

Tugce Karapinar’s work caught my attention for its sentimentality; old family photographs under resin and precious diamonds made from memories scattered over a mirror. The diamonds were the most effective, obscuring memories in unidentifiable scraps, bleeding colours or glittering the way nostalgia so often does.

Sandra Robinson’s Humans Born to Mice Parents reminded me of Rachel Kneebone, with more of an overt sense of surreality and less of the sweaty sexual overtones.  Her mice-creatures were beautifully crafted and arranged amongst the dusty debris of the crypt.

 

Marta Molka’s Flight Transformation occupied an incredible space at the back of the Crypt. Here, in the tunnel of the arches with the spotlights casting perfect shadows, these origami sculptures recalled a memory of landing in London from Poland for the first time. They made a beautiful landing strip of light and shadow and told a story which can so rarely be put into words.

 

The exhibtiion is only on until the 29th August, so make sure that you visit http://cryptasilentmonologue.com/.