JAVIER MARÍN: CORPUS

EN BLANCO - JAVIER MARÍN, 2015

Since the first time I saw the works of the Mexican sculptor Javier Marin in Milan – roughly 10 years ago at the Rotonda of via Besana, in the square of Palazzo Reale and at Piazza della Scala – I have been surprised by the monumentality and expressive power of his work. I have been lucky to see other works of his dotted around the world and despite the use of different materials, dimensions and subjects, each time my attention has been drawn to them like metal to a magnet.…

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…

TURNER PRIZE: 2016

ANTHEA HAMILTON: LICHEN! LIBIDO! CHASTITY!

Whilst it might be true that the Turner Prize has become one of the best-known and most-talked about prizes in the visual arts world, we could argue that notorious would be a more befitting adjective to describe it. Since its inception in 1984, it has been awarded to one artist out of four shortlisted, allegedly in recognition of an outstanding exhibition or body of work in the preceding year. They are mostly conspicuous rather than exceptionally good. ANTHEA HAMILTON: LICHEN! LIBIDO! CHASTITY! In a room covered by brick wallpaper, like the…

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE AND DOROTHEA TANNING

GREY LINES WITH BLACK, BLUE AND YELLOW -GEORGIA O'KEEFFE, 1923

It just so happens that I had a very clear idea of what to expect from these exhibitions and I was proven wrong twice in the space of an afternoon. In a sort of misplaced and rather contemptible botanical association of mine, I decided to combine a visit to ‘Georgia O’Keeffe‘ at Tate Modern with ‘Dorothea Tanning: Flower Paintings‘ at the Alison Jacques Gallery. Had there been a retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe in London, I would have added it to the marathon just to annoy the art purists out there. Despite spending a…

HELSINKI NOIR – A CRIME TO SOLVE

Helsinki Noir

Visitors aren’t just invited to view, but inhabit the places of ’Helsinki Noir’ at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki. Set against the backdrop of the Finnish capital in the 1930s, the narrative of the exhibition opens with a crime scene. The body of a young woman in a short dress and silk stockings is found floating in the sea just off Kaivopuisto park. You’d be forgiven for thinking you have just stepped into the set of an elaborate episode of David Suchet’s Poirot. What happened to the woman…

JEFF KOONS: NOW

PLAY-DOH - JEFF KOONS, 1994 - 2014

The sound of knives being sharpened reverberated well before ’Jeff Koons: Now’ opened at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in London. The combination of two big names that some really love, but most love to hate, has attracted less than positive reviews, mostly by default. The marriage, however, promised to be a happy one. The two do not only share the ability of dividing the opinions of critics and public alike, but are amongst an elite of contemporary artists who have sold works for millions. They publicly profess admiration for…

THE LONELY CITY – ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF BEING ALONE

THE LONELY CITY - OLIVIA LAING

A for Art or possibly Autobiography? Psychology or Politics and Ideas? The Lonely City could legitimately sit on any one of these shelves. Working in a bookshop reinforces the importance of filing and the need to know where stock is, and more tantalizingly, understanding which position will tempt a browser. Part memoir and part artists’ biography, The Lonely City was written by native Brit Olivia Laing as a reaction to finding herself suddenly and unexpectedly living alone in New York. Her loneliness drove her to finding solace in the realm of visual art. Experienced by millions, but not widely…

PLAYING TO THE GALLERY – GRAYSON PERRY

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry’s Playing to the Gallery is his short guide to visiting a gallery, looking at art and asking questions we are too embarrassed to ask. It reads like a conversation, rather than an essay, which enables Perry to turn childlike questions into something more philosophical, appealing to my enquiring mind. The title is dual purpose as the word ‘Playing’ demonstrates his belief that art should be seen and enjoyed by a wide and non-exclusive audience but it also toys with the idea of modern exhibitors needing to ‘play the…