Kim Dorland at BEERS London: Terror Management Theory
1 Sept - 6 Oct 2018
A strong body of work, I thought.. each painting stood alone with a partly hidden story whilst they are bound together with a jigsaw of a narrative. Interestingly decadent use of paint for the controlled format of consistently modest scale canvases. I liked how the work was contemporary using traditional methods but that didn’t feel laboured: it seemed natural for the artist and nothing to shout about, though it was done really well.
BEERS London photograph
Double Fantasy - Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
Liverpool Museum - 18 May 2018 to 22 April 2019
Walking away from this show I chatted with my friend about the strong message of peace that Yoko and John share. We pondered how that seems naive in the present day - are we more desensitised and disempowered? We concluded it makes total sense to be working towards peace now, to feel shame for that is the shame.
Wandering around this exhibition - which was much better than I expected it to be - I found myself thinking about the divide between who is a musician and who is a punter in the West. I’ve often found it liberating when this invisible wall is removed and society behaves as though it is natural for everyone to make music.
The strongest I ever felt this was in Beirut, singing until sunrise. Anyone could grab a guitar, a drum, a water container, use their voice and go for it. The line between performer and audience was often blurred. I read somewhere recently that Quincy Jones advocated everyone should have music in their life alongside the main thing they are doing, as it is so valuable and core to human expression.
It was good to see videos of Yoko Ono's band in this show, though conceptual art is clearly her strength.
There was a new piece in the hallway, which was wall papered with world maps in black and white. Visitors were encouraged to colour in the maps where they felt peace should be in the world. Simple, powerful, beautiful - as her work so often is. This reminded me of when I was an art student in Liverpool (a bit ago), referencing Yoko Ono's work and discussing with a tutor - Ralph - how her artwork is actually really interesting but overshadowed by The Beatles - she was so hated! Nice that seems to be turning around now.
A few years ago the Serpentine Gallery in London gave her a show that was fairly encompassing... though I don't remember all that much about it. That was for her artwork, whereas this one is about the lives of John and Yoko with some of their work woven into that.
The Liverpool Museum website has a thorough description of the current exhibition here: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/exhibitions/double-fantasy/
Francesca Woodman / Egon Schiele
Tate Liverpool, on until 23rd September 2018
The photography of Francesca Woodman who disappears into her landscapes, shown alongside Egon Schiele’s paintings and drawings was a surprising and thought provoking one... It was great to see so much of Schiele's work in one place, what a strong character and incredible painter! I didn't realise how controversial his work was until this; apparently he was in endless trouble for his direct portraits of nudes.
The struggle Woodman had making a living as a photographer was evident in her work, she often appeared only half alive. A photographer (Laura Heart) I shared a studio with around a decade ago, first introduced me to Woodman's work, knowing I'd be interested in her blending into the landscape. We talked about her attempt to break into fashion photography but it didn't happen for her. In the exhibition this was mentioned followed by how she threw herself from a building after a funding application failed. One of my friends was surprised by this considering how well she was doing. I argued that though she was doing well for that field it probably didn't feel like it - cold studios, isolated work and uncertainly of where her next payment would come from combined with the personal nature of her photography would be tough at the best of times. She used herself in the work, partly because her own body was there - highly accessible to her; so I imagine rejections of her work would also feel like a rejection of herself. Her self-portraits depicted her as fragile and young, yet before her time. I sensed broken hearts had put this collection together.
Both artists made emotion laden portraits that would have shocked many, but their short life-spans really bound the shows together. Egon Schiele (1890-1918) died in the Spanish flu epidemic. Under the wing of Gustav Klimt, his art had become highly visible and recognisable at a rapid pace.
A House For Essex, Grayson Perry
I'm reliably told the House For Essex was met with animosity amongst Wrabness locals who strive to keep the place unchanged and pass down the nearby beach huts through generations. Apparently Perry bought the land with rights to develop and made this house with FAT architects, then filled it with his artwork (though I didn’t see inside). You can rent it on airb&b, it books well in advance.
I read this on wikipedia: It is known as "Julie’s House" or "A House for Essex", in homage to the "single mums in Dagenham, hairdressers in Colchester, and the landscape and history of Essex"
Outsider artists typically have decorated their homes and turned them into works of art, including filling them with their own art pieces. The house of someone who hoards can take on a similar aesthetic as their objects are often organised in collections. Perry seems to allude to being part of this scene though clearly isn’t, working (with) and performing for the art industry - quite opposite behaviour to that of outsider artists and people who hoard, which is most often kept hidden.
Migrant Mother: Florence Owens Thompson and her children,
pea pickers’ camp, California (Barbican.org.uk)
‘A double bill of exhibitions featuring pioneering documentary photographer and visual activist, Dorothea Lange, and award-winning contemporary photographer, Vanessa Kinship.’
‘Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing retrospective of American photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965). Barbican Art Gallery, 22nd June to 2nd September 2018
The first room mildly irritated me - beautiful photographs taken in Dorothea Lange's San Francisco studio, often of her pals. I’m tired of wealth and contacts determining what culture is and giving the well positioned a place in history.
The second room shared Lange's wake up call, with street photography during the Great Depression which was followed by more and more and more rooms and rooms of committed photography mainly depicting economic refugees. Portraits that were so personal, close and natural it was hard to imagine how they could have been taken on her camera of the day.
Lange's most famous image of a woman living in a tent with her children at the roadside 'Migrant Mother', was exhibited in a small room with a series of this family. Lange was quoted as saying it was a collaboration that felt quite equal, for the woman seemed to know the images would help her. This seemed a bit much, standing in the Barbican galleries in a solo show of this photographer’s work across years, countries, continents… my friend remarked it was unlikely she’d stayed in the tent, when I mentioned my gripe.
It got me thinking about the often difficult relationship between the subjects’ of journalism and a journalist's output. There are of course many in the field of foreign correspondence who help raise awareness and give everything to bring truth to the surface; though sadly it can appear they are the minority. Many visible in the industry have been known to work with people who are already suffering and 'done to', then produce images and stories that have a different slant or purpose to that which was alluded to in forming the alliance.
Further to this, ethics regarding the methods used can be questionable. Disclosing stories of suffering can be re-traumatising even in the most private and safe of environments, but often civilians still living in traumatic and unsafe circumstances tell their stories without any safeguarding or support system in place. In the case of the Yazidi women and girls in recent years it seemed there was as much voyeurism at play as attempts to help them - with unnecessarily detailed reports of rape and sexual slavery; the subjects of these stories even being further endangered by their anonymity not being sufficiently protected.
That hard to tread line between exploitative and responsible journalism, is also slimmed right down by opportunity - by what people choose to read.
The information in this exhibition included who was commissioning Lange on her photography assignments, there were a few mentioned, though The Farm Security Administration seemed primary. This was helpful to know, though her incredible focus and consistency in style and content did have a more self-initiated feel to it - a labour of love. I guessed that she already had her basic needs met and the commissions embellished this rather than sustained her. It’s notable she is described here as a founder of documentary photography rather than an early photojournalist.
One room fairly mid-way in housed powerful and moving documentation of the Japanese Americans being deported after the attack on Pearl Harbour - enabled by an assignment from the War Relocation Authority to document the relocation (or incarceration) of the Japanese diaspora. Lange was against the treatment of these communities and used her photography as a critical tool: as this was not what she was asked to do the work remained largely unseen. It was so sad to view the faces of children with parcel labels hanging around their necks, who might not even speak any Japanese. Apparently many pictures were missing where she had photographed the deportees draped in stripes of light that made them appear as though they were in prison. My friend pondered the scale of World War II - this huge expulsion of American citizens with Japanese descent being a little known part of it. I found it impossible to ignore how easily people can be pitted against each other, when with limited resources and political provocation or propaganda.
The show ended on a softer note in Ireland, which seemed to interest her less. It really was the Dust Bowl images that stuck with me - and the Japanese children pledging allegiance to the American flag, wondering what on earth was going on and having to just go.
Vanessa Kinship didn’t do too well being upstairs from this show. The strength, consistency and depth of Langes collection shining even brighter and making Kinship seem quite whimsical, with curation that didn’t so much nod toward high end art but rather screamed and pointed. Minimal labels on Lange's work told you who, where and what. The presentation of Kinship's photography asserted the viewers take what they will from the no label images, which felt a bit easy for both artist and viewer. There was an interesting room of portraits from Georgia, which would stand alone well; though they felt like a flicker of light after the roaring fire below.
I could probably do with seeing the Kinship show on a different day. Actually I definitely could, aiming to enjoy the diversity of her practice and resist the urge to be disparaging of it. It's too easy to dismiss contemporary practitioners... though equally important not to be overly influenced by framing.
The Dorothea Lange collection of images were all (as far as I remember) silver gelatin prints and this could be a camera she used (for Migrant Mother): Graflex Super D - lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/Graflex%20Series%20D/
The Barbican's say: barbican.org.uk/our-story/press-room/dorothea-lange-politics-of-seeing
Giorgio Griffa A Continuous Becoming 26 January - 8 April 2018
These were very pared down forms, using line, lettering and numbers on raw canvas, linen and other such materials. One was really shimmery, as you moved your eyes, the white wall showed through the loosely woven yarn appearing like the desert horizon wibbling in the heat. The work was fresh, attractive and sat well in the airy gallery spaces, starkly white yet warm, perhaps due to the wooden flooring. It was a bright day, with sunlight blazing through the windows also giving these works a lift.
It seemed the core of much art was being described as this painter's practice. Questions around the nature of existence and life itself, the paintings can never be complete, we are all temporary. They also had some visual similarities to musical scores that were played next door…
Mini Oramics, live graphic scores: Sarah Angliss, James Bulley, Shiva Feshareki, Tom Richards. Camden Art Centre 24th Feb 2018 1pm: Mini Oramics is a musical instrument that plays drawings. It was designed by Daphne Oram, who made a larger version that you can visit in the science museum. Tom Richards built the one that she never did and here invited three other composers to play it. Very enjoyable indeed.
On the Camden Art Centre website Griffa has a play list via spotify to go with his show: camdenartscentre.org/whats-on/view/griffa
Ordering the Cosmos
Charles Ogilvie and Daniel Crow
(Visited 30th Jan 2018)
A collaboration between C. Ogilvie and D. Crow over seven years brings Crow’s expertise in the world of Physics together with Ogilvie’s unique artistry in very varied media, scientific know-how and insight into outsider scientists. I’d not heard of outsider scientists before, though I have a longstanding interest in outsider artists. Many outsider artists have created universes in their homes, and alternative realities through visual art. These artists tend to be untrained and prolific.
Outsider scientists create their own scientific theories - again without the background of logic and learned methodology. Ogilvie has written a Phd on the subject and Crow receives emails on a weekly basis from people he never met before letting him know their discoveries. Apparently he can tell it’s an outsider scientist - or nonsense - when you can’t argue with it. Scientific theories can be argued and tested but the dreams from this alternative domain are impossible to challenge. Trump flashed across my mind (not actually flashed though sadly now I’ve pointed that out he has - eugh) and political / religious ideologies, along with other related extremes.
A collection of works from this collaboration are currently on display in a gallery run by Stowe Arts, Buckingham. Ogilvie has been making pots with the rigour of a true outsider artist over the last year and has become very proficient at it. 50 of his recent glazed pieces are assembled, with numbers that mean something I cannot decipher.
Despite knowing this artist for a number of years and talking about work together I never really understood what he does, only gleaning occasional nuggets of insight, the odd surprise and Aha! moment. Brexit means Brexit means Brexit. I attended their artists talk and found I still didn’t really know but had a more pronounced and condensed version of the previous experience from both artists / scientists. I did learn something, though I couldn’t say what.
Hopefully there will be more opportunities to see this work and learn about the theory and questions behind it that baffle, intrigue, entertain and that matter.
The excursion out to this show was all of those things too, it is in a very fancy place. Arriving at dusk with a near full moon was a surreal experience, trudging about in the mud taking in the stunning views and then exploring this body of work that seemed to explain everything and nothing at once.
Images from C. Ogilvie, more info. here: charlesogilvie.co.uk/portfolio_page/ordering-the-cosmos/
This entry was originally shared between 2009 and 2011 on my website lee-simmons.com, which had a blog mainly with reviews included. I changed that a while ago and this page re-surfaced this morning for some reason. Blast from the past! I've pasted the text below (no pics yet) and taken the prompt to update.
Thought of the Day Clapham North tube station 2011 ongoing project
The station staff clubbed together to buy a noticeboard and every day they write a quote of their choice upon it. They also took it upon themselves to add flowers to the station, though were told hanging baskets would be too much.
In the mornings I always stop and read the days quote no matter how rushed I might feel. One day I stopped and asked how the board came to be there and to show my appreciation, hence this post. Apparently some other stations around London have also started doing this, though temporary staff are becoming more common meaning the quote might then go unchanged – leading to commuters complaining!
Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious in Everyday Life - unravelled by the voices of leading psychoanalysts.
The exhibition features a wealth of artefacts from collections at the Science Museum, the Wellcome Library and the Freud Museum, and artworks inspired by psychoanalytical ideas by leading artists Arnold Dreyblatt, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Kosuth, Grayson Perry,Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Carlo Zanni, Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, Kristian de la Riva, Amelie von Harrach and Damian Le Sueur. ‘
There is a review on the Guardian website that seems very self consciously factual but is followed by some annoying opinionated comments, no surprise, other than a lively discussion between two readers calling themselves antimuzak1 and CrewsControl about evidence. This was pretty good not least as a source for evidence links thanks to antimuzak1 whom ended with:
‘A last question:
Are politicians effective? How would we know?
Are social workers effective? How would we measure this?
Are organizational consultants effective? How do we measure this?
Are astronomers effective? on what basis?
Are mothers effective? We know if they are.
Perhaps these questions illustrate the problems in defining “effectiveness” in the human sciences.’
DOUGIE’S WAR – Rodge Glass (writing) and Dave Turbitt (images)
This work is stunning. The visuals are top notch and well paced really taking you with Dougie in his return to life in Glasgow after military service in Afghanistan. The writing of Rodge Glass works with, not alongside, or as well as the images – as the images do with the written story. The two are seamless; I’m glad to read it directly not as a translated version (which there should definitely be in the future!). It has a place alongside Maus, Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir to name a few key works that deal with conflict and oppression through this visual story format.
The subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is in the pubic consciousness now but still understanding is low. This book is not shy whilst it is sensitive and true to the subject – an accessible insight potentially helping add to the growing awareness of suffering in this area from those attacked, in proximity to conflict AND attacking/defending.
And whilst on the Graphic Novel/ Comics subject…
HYPERCOMICS: THE SHAPES OF COMICS TO COME
Adam Dant, Daniel Merlin, Goodbrey, Dave Mckean & Warren Pleece, curated by Paul Gravett!
12/08/10-26/09/10 Pumphouse Gallery, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
Here you got to walk around IN COMICS!
Indeed; where go next?
“And so, in the end, which one are you?”
“Well, I’m one of them”
>start walking up the stairs…< “and which one are you?”
Hear your own footsteps clonk clonk clonk clonk
I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them….
And back down for another look around Dave Mckeans installation.
Read it a different way… A murder? Draped scarlet over scarlet branches masked with horns a body…
This part of the show was quite dense and I found something new with each glance. The whole building was a maze of ideas but this element grabbed me the most – I really like this guys visuals anyway… so it was a real treat to visit large scale. Also extra enjoyable was the installation in the boat shelter covered with spiders webs (by the end), but far from aged. See Ellen Linder’s blog here as she was a part of this and has something to say about it.
Exhibition link: http://www.pumphousegallery.org.uk/exhibitions/currentexhibition
Fields Factories and Workshops; Simon Yuill
07/08/10-18/09/10 Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow G2 3JD
This exhibition included a lot of video work and no frills whilst beautifully presented books, as a usable installation. The books were case studies of communities to be referenced with wider society in mind. I was particularly struck by the small population of one of the Scottish islands clubbing together and buying the land they resided on. It was work that seemed to be calling for a wider audience than the art world might provide, despite this being a very accessible and friendly gallery space, which is free to visit.
Outside of the exhibition a series of published books for further reading were available for use without sale.
Link to the CCA website/show and some case studies here.
Ode to the Appliance, Tom Richards
16/07/10– 02/08/10 The Pigeon Wing, Guild House Rollins Street, London SE15 1EP
This was fun, it’s always good to go to Tom’s shows and gigs as they are always brilliantly executed – technological genius I reckon; whilst tongue in cheek in the best possible way. My sssssssshh badge has been well worn and used following his opening event! It’s refreshing to go to exhibitions and events that are committed but also don’t take themselves too seriously… malfunctioning machines aint gonna to save the world but they can make a fantastical racket and put our brand new throw-aways to shame!
I WANT ONE! I WANT A BLEEPING THING!!!
(Am sure it will help.)
The gallery space was a web of noising sculptures, health and safety wiring thrown to the wind as leads dangled and wiggled up, down and around and lights winked and blinked at me (and me alone). The performance was well worth catching whilst yay/nay, as sounds made me want to dance but no-one else was, as it was a gallery and they weren’t drunk enough yet; so I didn’t either. This wasn’t as frustrating as it could have been for I was safe in the knowledge I can dance like mad at his next dj set… Exhibition link: www.thepigeonwing.co.uk/tom-richards.
Unofficial Meetings 1, 2 & 3 at Sanford Housing Cooperative, London SE14 13, 18 & 19th June 2010
Discussion groups around a proposal to have Art and Culture Officers at Sanford Housing Cooperative, resulted in an agreement for an open community arts network instead. Notes and sound files from these meetings/discussions are available on request: email Sanford at email@example.com.
Pro>Cypher – A Hip-Hop discussion
Rivington Place Gallery, Sunday, 06 June 2010 19:30
Went to this after street parties celebrating the opening of a new train line that connects New Cross and Dalston – at last! North >< South. Live bands on the streets and swing dance in the station – also worth doing!
Was a great debate, many similar concerns to visual artists, though probably more to the point.
Was funny having been in that same bar for the opening of ‘Whose Map Is It? new mapping by artists’ – with Iniva, earlier in the week, which was also pretty good but a very different crowd and free drinks. I was glad that the Hip-Hop debate was self-organised by the artists and not a gallery.
At her balcony; Mohamad Hafeda
Slade Research Center, UCL, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB
6th / 7th May – more to come no doubt.
‘The exhibit explores two female residents living in the same neighbourhood, and their different and contradictory readings of current urban elements, practices and memory events, that could be both actual and/or mythical. The project accesses the neighbourhood from their balconies. It employs photography as a medium of documentation and a device for measuring the limits – geographical and emotional – between the two women, their interior settings, and the elements around them. The limit, the blind spot, in one’s realm is revealed in that of the other. The work reveals hidden spatial practices of confrontation and threat, particular to the current political-sectarian conflict in Beirut, as well as strategies of claiming urban space by its different users-controllers.’
This was part of a wider show: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/urbanlab/en2/index.php?page=3.1.1
‘Cities Methodologies 2010 presents recent innovations in urban methods from current researchers at UCL. Through the juxtaposition of installations, films, maps, models, objects, performances, photographs, poems, talks, texts, walks, websites and workshops, visitors will encounter a diverse array of cities and urban conditions – from literature in London, to flyovers in Mumbai, from movement and spatial organisation in Jeddah, to fear in New York City, and housing in Lisbon seen through cinema. The exhibition and events programme promise a unique experience for urban practitioners, researchers, and others interested in contemporary cities. They will provide insights into emerging and experimental methods in the urban field, looking right across the full spectrum of disciplines in which the city is predominant, including distinctive perspectives and interdisciplinary collaborations from the built environment, the arts and humanities and the social and historical sciences.’
Artangel Interaction’s new commission ‘Smother’.
WEDNESDAY 5 & THURSDAY 6 MAY 6-8pm feedback preview – the exhibition is 13th May – 5th June 2010
‘Developed through an intensive collaborative process over the past year Smother occupies the unexpected frame of 101 Kings Cross Road.
Smother is an evolving piece, ever changing and developing through new levels of input and collaboration.
Developed by artist Sarah Cole with Coram Young Parents Project and composer Jules Maxwell, Smother shows us a glimpse of a world where young parents navigate their own adulthood amidst the complexities of raising a child.’
The preview involved being collected by a young mother and invited to her house. This was tall and thin on Kings Cross Road with a great view and interesting architecture, yet incredibly claustrophobic. Actresses hung out in the house involving you in their routines. Installations embedded throughout the property raised questions and heightened emotions: by the end I felt dazed and sick yet could not reason why.
Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin and Paula Rego, The Foundling Museum, London
The above link is to a review of an exhibition at Coram’s Museum www.coram.org.uk. I like the idea but am not sure how well the pieces work in the museum – to have them integrated – or not. Good additional reason to visit the impressive and thought provoking permanent collection / exhibition though. And I think Tracey Emin has done some sensitive outdoor work, bit more with it than usual. Turner are opening a new commission of hers in Margate at the end of the month as well which looks promising:
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot The Barbican, The Curve gallery 27 February 2010 – 23 May 2010, Free
Birds flying about, landing on drums, cymbals, guitars all wired up and making their own music. Visitors to the space encouraging this movement as well as being moved about themselves by it. Lots of complaints of cruelty to animals of course, though the birds are happy as Larry, even nesting in there. You can see a clip of them here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Kz8Nxb-Bg
It’s worth a visit, fun, lovely idea; being The Barbican really well presented etc. but – somehow a bit thin considering what a strong idea it is. I stayed in there for much less time than I expected to.
Storm Thorgerson, ‘Right But Wrong’ Extended album art of StormStudios and Hipgnosis at Idea Generation Gallery 2nd April – 2nd May 2010, Free
Loads of work related to album covers that includes land art, performance, sculpture… coming from the visual artists and the musicians. Thoughtful and visually stunning. This show is really enjoyable.
Erik Rydeman has been working away on this DEATHGAME free game lately – www.deathgame.org along with other interested geeks. I mean, coders…
It was previously based in Sweden but now has made an international launch so it will be interesting to see how it takes off over here.
What I like about it, is that this game takes place in real space – you track down other players in real space and time and bomb them with apples etc. Erik has been killed when having a quiet meal with friends before – someone ran in and shot him with a banana! Apparently the players become quite obsessed for the duration of each game – always on guard when walking down the street, in a bar…
It’s great that they are getting out and about anyway. Apparently after killing another player, relationships have sprouted offline too… real friends! That breathe and smell and things! I’m looking forward to the introductory video that will be online soon and explains more, and to the next round when more players can join.
Am going to his birthday drinks in a minute, I think there are 3 game designers birthdays sharing the party, so am hoping they don’t all talk in code. I don’t know geek speak
Art by Offenders at The Royal Festival Hall (spirit level) a free exhibition from the 2009 Koestler awards. Some really interesting and poignant stuff. I actually dreamed of the new media work that night, a labyrinth of blue light and 2D cardboard moving people. It’s on until 6th Dec 2009
Talking to Strangers, Sophie Calle at Whitechapel Art Gallery: socially engaged art that is unquestionably high quality and successful. Entertains you whilst making you think. And it’s beautiful.
YNDI HALDA AT OSLO, LONDON, APRIL 1ST 2016
Ignoring the stage with their feet planted firmly on the floor, support act Ladies Of The Lake introduced the night with the friendly and harmonious singing of folk. Cheeky songs reminded me of playground rhymes, except they blended too gently to be as light hearted as the lyrics would lead you to expect.
Big blasts of electronic beats followed from one man band on a mission LTO. Not acknowledging the crowd, he seemed to be enjoying what he was doing - HIS work. With serious reminders of other musicians, it felt possible to guess some of what he might listen to. I particularly enjoyed it when he produced a trumpet, blasted that and looped it back round to his electric drum. I am curious to hear what he does next. His set reminded me of painters who make an abstract mess, onlookers might think they could do it - but they aren’t - the person doing it is the person doing it. Taking risks and making sacrifices to do his / her thing, then doing it some more.
Following this Yndi Halda lined up at the front of the stage. Grasping musical instruments and gazing at the result of their sold out gig stood James Vella - vocals, guitar, Phil Self - keyboard, vocals, guitar, Daniel Neal - mad sad and definitely not bad violin, Oliver Newton - drums, vocals, Simon Hampshire - bass guitar, vocals, and Jack Lambert - guitar.
Beginning with a pleasurably loud post rock long song, they introduced instrumentals from their new album ‘Under Summer’, released in March of 2016. The crowd seemed to recognise waves created by the band with cohesion and energy; crescendos were hard not to jump about to.
Dash and Blast from ‘Enjoy Eternal Bliss’, their only other release (eight years ago) was the second song we were treated to. I was transported to an empty beach, sunlight reflecting on the sand lighting a bright path out to sea. If I opened my eyes I was surrounded by people in this gig again, which was a bit of a culture shock, hence I recalled advice from a fisherman “don’t be afraid of what you can’t see” and kept my eyes closed for the rest of the song.
The new tunes were also melodic, melancholic strings, guitar and sympathetic drums, that throw out space for reflection whilst repeatedly hauling one back into the present. Generous vocals limited the extent my own story played, encouraging joining what the musicians were sharing with their attentive audience. Mild elation arose when the band dropped the pleasantries and completely went for it - the music was really alive and so were we.
The gig was brought to a gentle close with the band all playing tone chimes. Once again lined up at the front of the stage, they seemed to enjoy the handbells, readying us for the end, for now.
Mark Wallinger's show ID at Hauser & Wirth provides an inviting art jaunt. A hospitable rundown of ego, id and superego included on the information sheet paves the route for witnessing Wallinger's references of these Freudian theories in his artworks.
This show came across as more slick than previous socialist leaning works I’ve experienced of his, though there are political tones woven throughout the sculptural and digital works.
The first piece you encounter on entering the South gallery, is a mirror way above head height, which relates Scotland Yard to the superego - a controlling, punitive voice repressesing desire and action.
In the North gallery large scale paintings related to the id employ black acrylic paint on a pristine white canvas, which doesn’t quite fit the Freudian pleasure principle theory as I would translate it. In referencing this classic relationship of id to life force and sex drive, you might expect more colour and mess, but these large scale paintings can act as polished references to action painting (eg. Pollock), the work representing physical movements and reach of the artist. Yves Klein’s body prints also came to mind, though I think his dragging naked paint splattered models across the canvas might be more directly id. Some examples of this work of Klein’s is currently included in Tate Moderns ‘Performing for the Camera’ exhibition, open until 12 June - worth a visit.
Apparently Wallinger got quite addicted to making the paintings whilst in analysis himself, not sure where I got that from, think I read it somewhere.
An emerging Devonshire artist now based in New York also came to mind when looking at this, Rachel Garrard. She makes works affected by her movements across canvases and symmetry.
ID is open until 7th May 2016 at Hauser & Wirth, Saville Row, London