Paul Carey-Kent former Editor at large for Art World Magazine has a look at twelve of the best art exhibitions in London. With Frieze NY, The Venice Biennale and Art Basel just around the corner, London still holds its ground as an international centre for excellence.
|Georgina Starr: Two Bubbles|
|Untitled (Musclemen series)|
Lisa Yuskavage @ greengrassi, 1a Kempsford Rd – Kennington
To 15 June: www.greengrassi.com
To 8 June: www.mariastenfors.com
To 25 May:www.mummeryschnelle.com
|River and Roads|
Five of Carol Rhodes’ poised and painterly examinations of the effect of distance on our perception of landscape are complemented by the drawings which she uses in their production; and by three images which her gallerist Andrew Mummery has chosen as linked to her practice. Those include a Luigi Ghirri photograph and an Indian miniature, picking up both on the inspiration Rhodes drew from her Bengal childhood. The unusually dark painting above was based on a drawing made in India (but not of it – Rhodes does not picture literal places). The three part show amounts to a portrait of sorts, and I started to wonder whether the prevalence of roads in the paintings was a punning self-reference…This, incidentally, is in Andrew Mummery’s new space, which is Carl Freedman’s old space: you should also pop over the road to Carl Freedman’s new space, in which Ivan Seal successfully takes the creamily seductive ambiguities of his would-be–still-lives to a larger scale.
Luigi Ghirri: Vintage Prints @ Austin Desmond, Pied Bull Yard,68/69 Great Russell St – Bloomsbury
3 May – 18 June: www.austindesmond.com
|Modena, 1972 (Series: da Colazione sull’erba)|
The increasingly highly-regarded Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943–92) was in the last and will be in the next Venice Biennale for the quiet series in which he slyly comments on how people – even though typically out of frame – interact with their environments. As a 1970’s pioneer of the use of colour in art photography he has emerged as something like the European equivalent of William Eggleston. The discovery of curious equivalences between palms, decorative birds and missing paving stones above is typical of his quietly deadpan observation, as is the delicate questioning of what is real and what is represented. This beautiful show presents 16 of the small format 1970’s prints for which Ghirri became known plus five photographs from the 1980’s, when he made more landscape-oriented work with a larger format camera.
Miles Thurlow: Variable Foot @ Kunstraum, 15a Cremer St – Hoxton
To 25 May: www.kunstraum.org.uk
|All the Gods|
I lose track of how many artists have cast objects in resin to achieve a double-take of some sort – and yet Miles Thurlow achieves new effects in a site-specific show in what was formerly Limoncello’s space (Limoncello – do keep up! – is now where the Russian Club used to be). ‘All the Gods’ (one of three sculptures in a show which solidifies the momentary) casts monumental blocks of polystyrene to three effects: challenging the gallery by taking up the maximum possible mock monumental space; drawing attention to painterly aspects of blobs, ripples and leakage; and reversing (yet imitating) Fischli & Weiss’s deceptively light versions of reality made from polyurethane – Thurlow’s two blocks weigh an unreal 150 kg each.
Patrick Heron: Studies for a Portrait of T. S. Eliot in Room 32, National Portrait Gallery
|Study for a portrait of T. S. Eliot, 1947–8|
Quite apart from the fascinating retrospective of Man Ray’s portrait photographs (to 27 May) the NPG often has interesting new displays. If you share my view that Patrick Heron’s work was at its most interesting in the late 40s when he was on the brink of his signature style, then the display of preparatory paintings and drawings which preceded his well-known portrait of TS Eliot is well worth catching. The approaches range from relatively straight to cubist to imitation still life (Heron recalls registering Eliot’s ‘faint surprise’ at hearing his head likened to a coffee-pot) – and you can catch Heron’s version of himself in room 31.
Oscar Murillo: Dinner at the members club? Yes! i’ll have a black americano first pls
@ Carlos/Ishikawa, Unit 4, 88 Mile End Road – Whitechapel
|Pre-scuffed installation view – the copper looks quite different now…|
To 31 May: www.mayorgallery.com
Gil J Wolman: ‘Untitled (Réflexions réflexions)’, 1966
Gil J Wolman (1929-95) was a co-founder with Guy Dubord’s Letterist International in the 1950s: he was involved in any number of radical art actions, but was excluded before it mutated into the Situationist International (see http://www.macba.cat/PDFs/acquaviva_eng.pdf for an account of his life and work). From 1963 he developed the technique of ‘Scotch Art’, for which he applied strips of Sellotape to magazines, lifted away images and texts, and then applied them onto canvas. That resulted in distinctive collages shot through with the chance omissions caused by the process. Here Wolman is neatly paired with better-known French contemporary Jacques Villiglé, who exploits the ripping off of layered posters in what is in some ways a reverse of Wolman’s procedure of applying the torn-away elements.
A Brief History of Spots, Stripes and Holes @ Carlson Gallery, 55 South Audley St – Mayfair
To 15 June: www.carlsongallery.co.uk
|One of the Buren windows at Louis Vuitton|