Paul Carey-Kent curates his choices of London art exhibitions for June 2016. His rolling ten recommended contemporary art shows are all on view now.
Menso 2016 - acrylic & oil on canvas and bronze 48 × 38 cm
Tomma Abts @ Greengrassi, 1a Kempsford Road – Kennington
2006 Turner Prize winner Tomma Abts has made a move parallel with Beveridge’s part-powder painting of the found object. She’s known, of course, for meticulously unplanned and purely additive face-sized paintings, resulting in illusionistic yet inconsistently rendered patterns and shadows, the history of making which builds up surface textures. Abts has previously cast some of these in bronze or aluminium so preserving just the sculptural raising of the paint. All that is enjoyably present here, but so is a new hybrid: Menso is part-canvas, part-bronze.
Opke 2015 - acrylic & oil on canvas, 48 × 38 cm
Christodoulos Panayiotou; ‘False Form’ @ Rodeo, 123 Charing Cross Road – Tottenham Court
To 19 June: http://rodeo-gallery.com Untitled, pendant. Actinolite pseudomorph after diopside,18ct yellow gold
Christodoulos Panayiotou (well-received as Cyprus’ representative in Venice last year) presents an unorthodox theatrical examination of transformation and iconography. There are four components: a painting which applies traditional icon-painting techniques to – perversely - an abstraction; a dozen jewellery-as-sculpture pieces which you can ask to be shown, present for their status as pseudomorphs*; a walk to the British Museum 600 meters away, in the course of which there is plenty of transformation and iconography to be seen; and, when you get there, the designated last work in the show, the earliest known depiction of the restoration of images in Byzantium after a period of inconoclasm. All of which plays with the possibility of the staging upstaging the work…
* a mineral having the outward appearance of another mineral that it has replaced by chemical action.
Triumph of the Orthodoxy (c.1400, Marmara Region) in the British Museum _________________________
Jeff Koons: Now @ Newport TSreet Gallery, Newport Street – Vauxhall
'Play Doh', 1994-2014
Damien Hirst, in his more than impressive new space, provides a punchily presented and much less predictable overview of Koons than I’d expected: hoovers and basketballs present and welcome, but also early inflatables to tee up the later stainless steel blown-up big ‘can’t-believe-it’s-not-vinyl’ ones; a bigger balloon ‘celebration’ than has been shown in London before; giant eggs as well as Jeff’s own sperm on Illona’s face; the 27 aluminium casts which make up the monstrous child’s play of ‘Play Doh’…
Three Ball 50/50 Tank (Spalding Dr JK Silver series), 1995
Gabriele Beveridge: Eternity Anyways @ Chewday’s, 139 Lambeth Walk – Vauxhall
Dead Skin Living, 2016 [detail] chrome, hand-blown glass
You’d be a bit daft - if taking in the Koons - not to drop in on Chewday’s, just 100 yards south. Gabriele Beveridge’s best-known stream of work, rephotographing hairdresser’s demo photos with variable fade, takes the window. Inside is an all-encompassing installation which has transformed the former clothes shop using… reconfigured clothes shop fittings, titivated by blown glass hung on clothes hanging fitments and the powder-coating of selected elements. The effect is more painterly than sculptural, in a way which suggest that the personal leaks through whatever the setting.
Clouds (I), 2016 found shop panels, powder-coated shop panels, uprights, pegs, hand-blown glass
Unseen: London Paris New York at Ben Uri Gallery, 108A Boundary Road - St John's Wood
Rasha Kahil: Anatomy of a Scandal @ Art First Projects, 21 Eastcastle St – Fitzrovia
Dorothy Bohm: Paris, 1955 Following on from the jamboree of Photo London, there are many photography shows to see, from large and pretty patchy (Barbican, V&A, Parasol Unit, Photographer’s Gallery) to twenty-odd small shows, several of which are rather well-formed; the second instalment of White Rainbow’s survey of Shigeo Anzai’s evocative documentation of artists at work or in performance; Dafydd Jones’ witty account of the upper classes at Art Bermondsey Project Space; Ori Gersht’s beautifully pitched reflections, inversions and layerings of Buddhist gardens at Ben Brown; and ‘Unseen: London, Paris, New York’ at the Ben Uri Gallery, which visits the three cities in the thirties, fifties and sixties respectively through atmospheric outsider views by the little-known but engaging trio of Jewish outsiders to the relevant city: Wolf Suschitzky, Dorothy Bohm and Neil Libbert. This curation by Katy Barron acts as a lower key, more place-oriented take on Martin Parr's much bigger exploration of related themes at the Barbican.
See Top Photo
Yet perhaps Rasha Kahil’s is the most unusual. The Beirut-born photographer and art director (of the Evening Standard's magazine) presented ‘In Your Home’ a series of nude self-portraits taken covertly in friends' houses which I commended here, in 2011-12. Only two years later did a TV mention lead to a blizzard of publicity ranging from condemnation to messages of support (some, it’s true, somewhat creepy) to offers of work as a pornographic actress. Kahil appropriates the original programme and email streams, and riffs on the now-censored versions of the original series so that one show generates the next to demonstrate, exploit and counter the power of social media.
This is a Voice @ the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road – Euston
Marcus Coates: stills from 'Dawn Chorus'
After a rather successful venture into monographic presentations, the Wellcome Collection has returned to its primary mix of art and artifacts linked to body and mind in medical science. ‘This is a Voice’ is the best such show yet: it teems with fascinating and obscure byways from voice disguisers to hunter-gatherer music to an ammoniaphone, though simply the chance to see and hear Becket’s ‘Not I’, Marcus Coates’ ‘Dawn Chorus’ multi-screen presentation of birdsong impressions, Laurie Anderson’s ‘Oh Superman’, and Ted Kotcheff’s film-length phone call ‘The Human Voice’ would be plenty of reason to visit. Moreover, the rotating element in the less impressive second show ‘States of Mind’ is (to 24 July) Kerry Tribe’s affecting 20 minute film study of ‘H.M.’, a man whose memories were blank from 1953 until 20 seconds before the present when he was filmed 50 years later.
Kerry Tribe: still from 'M.B.', which plays on two screens with a twenty second gap
Lisa Milroy: Out of Hand @ Laure Genillard, 2 Hanway Place – Tottenham Court Road
Handbag, 2014, mixed media. approx 90 x 100 x 25cm. (FXP Photography, London)
Lisa Milroy takes over the whole gallery-flat at Laure Genillard as art blends wittily into fashion and lifestyle to question their boundaries. There are stops at all of the Slade Head of Painting’s distinctive modes: a painting of shoes serried animatedly on off-white harks back to the 1990’s; figures evoke the Japanese influences which followed; then there are reversible paintings, one of them doubling as a handbag; woven paintings, some with bags fronting them up; dress ‘n’ painting combos, one with a bedspread thrown in; lipsticks aplenty in the loo; and Lisa’s own range of hand-painted dresses.
The Lisa Milroy collection of Hand-painted Dresses _________________________Alberto Giacometti & Yves Klein: In Search of the Absolute @ Gagosian Gallery, To 11 June: www.gagosian.com
Installation view (photo Mike Bruce)
Gagosian’s best London show since Serra in 2014, and the best yet in the airy new central space, has three components. First, 25 works by Giacometti – top notch, but less surprising than the National Portrait Gallery and Luxembourg & Dayan’s recent focus shows. Second, 30 works by Yves Klein, which do indeed form a dazzling and unpredictable overview. There are, for example, ‘dynamic’ Athropometries which obtain very different results from naked women as blue paintbrushes than do the more often-seen ‘static’ versions, and also a fire version. The third component is the idea of combining the two, which also works brilliantly, pinpointing the existential angst and human traces in Klein’s fire and action paintings and the conceptual purity of Giacometti’s etiolations.
Yves Klein: Peinture de feu sans titre (F 80), 1961
Scorched cardboard on panel, 175 × 90 cm