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…

FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE: LA SAUTERELLE

LA SAUTERELLE - FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE, 1970

A few pieces have caught my attention at this year’s Masterpiece at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, but only one stole my heart in a flash. Or, more aptly, in a flutter. ‘The Grasshopper’ (La Sauterelle) by François-Xavier Lalanne is a striking Sèvres porcelain, steel and brass bar created by the artist in Paris in 1970. The influence of surrealism, art nouveau, modernism and more than hint of baroque can all be found in this eye-catching work of art. But it is the nostalgic journey back in time to a childhood…

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2016

JEAN - JEAN PAUL TIBBLES, 2015

An annual event to get excited about is the prestigious BP Portrait Award. Arguably the most important portrait competition in the world, based at the National Portrait Gallery, London. It is currently on tour and residing at Firstsite, Colchester, UK. Putting aside the politics of the sponsor, which is not without its protests, the competition produces incredible work. This is unsurprising with the high number of entries from an unrestricted geography. 2017 saw 2,580 entries from 87 countries resulting in talent, diversity and energy. The sum of these adjectives add…

TEN QUESTIONS TO … WENDY BAILEY

RED LADY - WENDY BAILEY

AS: Wendy, when we were first introduced, you were working in PR, could you please give me a brief summary of your career? WB: When I was 16, I ran away from my all girls convent school, the Ursuline Grammar School in Brentwood. I changed out of my school uniform in the High Street toilets and into jeans and jumper. I studied Drama Performance – because I wanted to be an actor. I also took Art – for theatre design and because I loved it. My first job was as…

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…

NOBUYOSHI ARAKI: ARAKI AMORE

In the wake of the tradition of ‘shunga’, a 1600s sexually explicit version of ukiyo-e, the 76 year old photographer has long been recognised for his works exploring the underbelly of Japanese society. His focus is firmly centred on the great fault line between public and private, proper and inappropriate, sleazy and respectable. The blurred distinction between art and porn has caused more than a headache to the artist and various curators and museums whenever his pieces have been exhibited in the West. Whilst in the past he has found himself criticised broadly for…

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: THICK TIME

UNTITLED (BICYCLE WHEEL II) - WILLIAM KENTRIDGE, 2012

From the moment you step into ‘Thick Time‘ by South African artist William Kentridge, it is easy to understand why this new exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery holds such broad appeal. It is bold, dramatic, visionary and nostalgic, making art accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. The many children present seem to love it. The common denominators of the six large scale installations are themes incorporated in most of his works: time, space and history. The mesmerising whirlwind of theatrical compositions manages not to lose sight of the details whilst upscaling the spectacle. ‘The Refusal…

ANTONY GORMLEY: OBJECT

ANTONY GORMLEY - FALL 1999

‘Fall 1999’ is a collection of drawings somehow reminiscent of Antony Gormley’s ‘New York’ series of 1997-1998. Though the urban landscape has been stripped away and there is just one lonely figure per piece, they too revisit the interaction between human body and void. ‘Object 1999’ is a cast-iron sculpture of the artist’s body suspended from the ceiling of the Main Hall, a first for the National Portrait Gallery, eerily overseeing the flow of visitors on the escalator to the second floor. It can be seen from many angles within the gallery, reminding us to…

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…

EVOCA1: THROUGH THE PERILS OF OUR YOUTH

EVOCA1 - BOYS WILL BE GIRLS

Based in southern Florida, where he moved aged eleven, Evoca1 is a painter, designer, street artist and activist. His works reflect his artistic sensibility, but also his sense of social responsibility and commitment to the local community. The name itself is a play on words: the Spanish for the verb to evoke fits well with his intentions of seeking the viewer’s emotional connection and response to his art. He founded the project “Sketches for Mankind” to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless community in Miami and to fund the purchase of food…