SPLENDIFEROUS! – AN INTERVIEW WITH VILLAIN

There seems to be a recurring theme of me being always in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, while I duly attend all sort of tedious and lacklustre shows, I missed out on the opening night of Villain’s solo show ‘Fantabuloso’ at the Atom Gallery in Hackney. I got to see his works only the morning after, when Super Fu*@!ng Gay caught my attention on my daily slog to work. Given the historical lack of diversity in superhero comics, I was surprised to see how many of them…

GOOD GRIEF! A CONVERSATION WITH PAINTER HELEN LEE

Throughout history the universal themes of mortality and death have been explored by artists from every possible angle: the dead and the dying, a brush with death, its inevitability, the aftermath of a violent act, the tragic loss of a loved one and resurrections aplenty. Even the reasons behind each work are equally disparate. For some it is a way of coping with grief, others are mostly interested in keeping memories alive or recording historical evidence. For Helen Lee it was, and still is, a matter of discovery. The artist…

PINK IN PECKHAM

If Frantz Fanon were to write his 1952 book ‘Black Skin, White Mask’ today, a chance encounter with two contemporary works of art would probably result in a different title. Not only do Pink Devil by Heath Kane and Afro-Glitch by Kamile Ofoeme feature strikingly similar visuals – a candy pink mask – but, rather unsurprisingly, I came across them both in Peckham. Besides being the go-to place for one of London’s most dynamic art scenes, it’s also where Simon Whybray created his bubblegum staircase installation for Bold Tendencies. I…

NORDIC BAUHAUS MEETS RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE: AN INTERVIEW WITH TUOMAS KORKALO

DRAMAATTINEN SOMMITELMA - TUOMAS KORKALO

AS: Tell me a little bit more about your involvement with the Oranki Art Environmental Park in Pello. TK: The Oranki Art Park project was conceived in 2001 with four friends. One of them owns the plot of land occupied by the park. Since we already spent a lot of time there in summer, we thought it would be a good idea to invite a few friends over and work at some site-specific art installations. At the time this was just an occasion to get together, enjoy each other’s company…

YOU & ME: ROBERTO CAMBI

YOU&ME - ROBERTO CAMBI, 2018

Why don’t we like changes? We don’t just resist making them, we resist being changed. The constant shift to adapt to different times and new circumstances is a vital process not just in our development as individuals, but also in the complex nature of human relationships. Yet most of the times it is fiercely opposed. And what is supposed to be a nurturing environment becomes a stifling one. YOU & ME is a double sided piece. Hanging from the ceiling at eye level, it is an invitation to peep through the…

A BLACK CLOUD ON THE HORIZON

SEVEN DEMONS - ROBERTO CAMBI, 2017

In Comrades of Time, Boris Groys writes: ‘We are familiar with the critique of presence, especially as formulated by Jacques Derrida, who has shown—convincingly enough—that the present is originally corrupted by past and future, that there is always absence at the heart of presence, and that history, including art history, cannot be interpreted, to use Derrida’s expression, as a procession of presences’. Roberto Cambi has shown an unwavering fascination with time and temporality throughout his career. His large scale installations might have roots in the past, but they are decidedly…

BOOM FOR REAL: JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

BOOM FOR REAL - JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

The Barbican is currently hosting the first comprehensive exhibition of works by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Together with Grayson Perry’s ‘The most popular art exhibition ever!’ at the Serpentine Gallery, BOOM FOR REAL left a deep impression on me. I was blown away. Whilst I found it moving, nostalgic and melancholic, some of my friends were more taken by the underlining racial tension, social criticism and pointy sarcasm. It is not difficult to understand why, though it is not immediately apparent. Licensing the images of his works to many popular…

ZANELE MUHOLI AT THE STEDELIJK

JULILE I - ZANELE MUHOLI, 2016

Zanele Muholi’s works at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam belong to three different ongoing series: ‘Faces and Phases’, ‘Brave Beauties’ and ‘Hail the Dark Lioness – Somnyama Ngonyama’. Dedicated to a friend who died of HIV related complications, “Faces and Phases’ is a visual record of black lesbians and transgender people in her home country of South Africa, a project she started in 2006. Though South Africa legalised same sex marriage in the same year, it remains a country plagued by discrimination and extreme violence against sexual minorities. A place where…

JOACHIM KOESTER: IN THE FACE OF OVERWHELMING FORCES

JOACHIM KOESTER - THE PLACE OF DEAD ROADS, 2013

Our senses collect information and process it as iconic memory for visual, echoic memory for aural and haptic memory for touch. Some of it makes it into our short and long term memory. But do the sensory receptors retain any data in the long term? Does our muscular system store information about every movement we do? The Camden Arts Centre is hosting ‘In the Face of Overwhelming Forces‘, a multimedia immersive collection of Joachim Koester‘s works spanning the last twelve years of his career. In ‘The Place of Dead Roads‘ four performers…

TELLER ON MAPPLETHORPE

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE - SELF PORTRAIT, 1973

On my way to this exhibition, I was reading that a new book – “Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury” – is about to be published. It will contain never seen before images of the singer, shared by those closest to him. Had he not died of AIDS related complications, Freddie Mercury would have been seventy years old this year. Robert Mapplethorpe too. Despite them frequenting the same clubs – The Saint in the East Village and Mineshaft in the Meatpacking district to name a…