London is a great city for art! Paul Carey-Kent regularly produces some of the best recommendations for London Art Exhibitions on a rolling basis. He currently writes freelance for a number of magazines including Art Monthly, Frieze, artcritical, Photomonitor, Border Crossings and World of Interiors.
Minjung Kim: Phasing @ Patrick Heide, 11 Church Street – Marylebone
To 25 Feb: http://patrickheide.com
If it’s ‘always the quiet ones’, then Korean Minjung Kim is the least noisy of pyromaniacs. She’s best known for her beautiful collages of red or black ink-washed rice paper which she delicately singes to make irregular edges, then overlays to form mountains. These are complemented at Patrick Heide by new streams of work, most strikingly the musical parallels of her ‘Phase’ series, in which a front sheet in which holes are burned through is set on top of an inked back sheet to form near-repeated forms, and the rhythm of the whole is a function of the extent of repetition and the subtlety of the variations. You have to look very closely to understand – or believe – how these are made. Korean abstraction is very much in fashion*, and though Minjung isn’t ‘Dansaekhwa’, she should be part of the efflorescence.
Phasing (16-069), 2016 – Mixed media on mulberry Hanji paper, 74,5 x 65 cm
* See eg Park Seo-bo at White Cube now, or recent London solos of Yun Hyong-keun (Simon Lee), Lee Ufan (Pace) and Cho Yong-Ik (Oliver Malingue)
Adam Hennessey: Smile @ New Art Projects, 6D Sheep Lane – Cambridge Heath
To 4 March: http://newartprojects.com/contact/
Sheep Murder, 2016 – 155 x 110cm
Young painter Adam Hennessey describes his work as ‘squishing large things into small spaces’. That’s true of many of the wittily ebullient acrylics on show here – several smiley faces jostle to be sunniest, and birds struggle to fit in their framing. But there’s no squishing required to get these 25 canvases into Fred Mann’s expansive new space. Indeed, there’s enough capacity to hold a room back for small works on paper to be painted ready for a closing event on 4 March. Hennessey has a particular affinity with fingers and sheep: the former appear directly several times , though the ‘Finger Alphabet’ merely points to an anagram caused by alphabetical order; a characterfully distinguished herd of the latter seem to have been shot – if only, perhaps, with paint – before they can enjoy the lushest grass you ever didn’t really see, it was just a picture in Sheep Lane.
Alphabet Finger, 2016 x 110cm
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva: An Intimate Gaze @ Danielle Arnaud, 123 Kennington Rd – Kennington
To 11 Feb: www.daniellearnaud.com
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Gill’s Slits 2011 – skate bones, metal, perspex box 45 x 45 x 50 cm
Paul Nash: Flight of the Magnolia, 1944 (from Tate Britain show to 5 March)
It’s an old gambit to generate beauty from an abject or repulsive material. All the same, Anglo-Macedonian artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva’s use of animal materials is striking: she’s best known for immersively delicate installations using waste products from the meat industry. Here, a domestic environment suits a transcendental drawing made from a cow’s guts, bovine intestines blown up to form vulnerable sculptures, and four sheep testicles configured as rather attractive purses. The most radical form, though, is probably Gill’s Slits, made by simply alligator-clipping together the wing-like skeletons of several skates. This inside-to-outside move yields flyaway fish with a floral feel. I was somewhat reminded of Paul Nash’s ‘Flight of the Magnolia’ 1944, which you can see in the excellent survey at Tate Britain.
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Lady’s Purse, 2011 – sheep testicle purse lined with silk, antique frame and chain, mounted in perspex box
I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper @ the Griffin Gallery, 21 Evesham St – Latimer Road *
To 24 Feb: www.griffingallery.co.uk
Stephane Graff: Untitled (Courbet / Fontana), 2015
Catherine Loewe’s exhibition is easy to enjoy: she picks nine artists who have appropriated the art of the past and lets us explore their different methods and aims. Diptychs by Stephane Graff wittily line up iconic works with mismatched texts from what seem to be auction catalogues, pricking the bubble of artistic identity which Gavin Turk undermines by taking on that of others, here through his British styling of Warhol as the silk screener of white transit van crashes (there’s more of that at the Newport Street Gallery) ; Marielle Neudecker and Gordon Cheung both deconstruct the Vanitas still life in painterly non-paintings, the former as plastic, the latter as digital glitches; and Glenn Brown seems to reveal the atomic under-life of old masters in his re-imaginings on the cusp of painting and drawing.
* worth being away also interesting shows in Griffin’s rear windows and at nearby Unit 1 Gallery
Glenn Brown: Hinckley Point, 2016 – Indian ink and acrylic on panel, diptych – Each 60 x 50 cm
Florian Roithmayr: ir re par sur @ Bloomberg Space, 50 Finsbury Square – Moorgate (to 18 March: https://www.bloombergspace.com)
Sarah Pichkostner: Kay calls me all the time, in other words, fly me to the moon @ Josh Lilley, 44 – 46 Riding House Street – Fitzrovia (joshlilleygallery.com)
Installation detail: Sarah Pichkostner
Good sculpture often emerges from letting the material have its way, giving the – somewhat misleading – impression that the artist didn’t have to do much. London-based German Florian Roithmayr plays airily located, elongated U-shaped hangings (cast in plaster from card originals) against more bodily forms. Roithmayr spread clay on paper on the Bloomberg floor, waited six weeks for it to dry and, as the shrinking caused by the 30% which is water evaporated, curl up. Then he raised up his appealingly casual population of forms… Austrian sculptor Sarah Pichkostner’s first London solo show is a subtle grower. The title comes from an audio piece smuggled into a foam sculpture which whispers urgently yet tantalisingly close to inaudible. A little like Roithmayr, she lets silver nitrate act from inside to ensilver glass tubes, and also coaxes coloured light into doing its stuff variously: in the sculptures, shown on the sculptures, glowing from behind a wall – and is used to yellow a narrow back-of-wall space at Josh Lilley, which she uses better than anyone since Analia Saban in 2009. Is this, perhaps, what sculpture would be like on the moon?
Installation detail: Florian Roithmayr
Mudhook @ Tintype – 107 Essex Road – Islington plus three shows curated by me at Union and the House of St Barnabas…
To 18 Feb (Tintype and Union) / 5 July (House of St Barnabas)
Emma Cousin: Inpatient, 2016 – 120 x 100cm
Separate entries might be a little excessive, but naturally I believe that 14 of the best artists currently on show in London are in three shows I’ve curated: a wider view of Alice Anderson than her well-known copper wire bindings (see http://paulsartworld.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/alice-anderson-post-digital-11-nov-2016_4.html for details); nine abstract painters showing how various distinctive processes enable them to playoff chance and control to aesthetically transcendent effect and my four favourite young figurative painters, creating a room full of character and presence (http://paulsartworld.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/the-other-side.html). What’s more, Emma Cousin, one of the four, also features in a lively two-hander at Tintype. She’s paired with Milly Peck, whose scribble-like sculptural versions of everyday forms enter into a lively to-and-fro with Cousin’s leg play.
Alice Anderson: Cut Out Pieces from Repetitive Gestures, 2016
Room and Condo (Bridget Donahue) @ Sadie Coles, 62 Kingly St – Oxford Circus
To 18 February – www.sadiecoles.com
Heidi Bucher: Herrenzimmer (1977-79)
The admirable ‘Condo’ initiative, in its second year, sees 36 foreign galleries guesting in 15 London spaces, to generally lively effect. Some mix things up between host and guests, but my two favourites – Sadie Coles and Rodeo – are among those which juxtapose a separate host show with a guest solo. AT the former, Bridget Donahue presents Martine Syms, which is interesting, but the prime draw remains the outstanding group show Room, which brings together a wonderful combination of female artists reimagining domestic space. For example photographic work by Francesca Woodman, Nan Goldin, Joanna Piotrowska and Penny Slinger, and several room reconstructions in the gallery, including a smoking shed by Sarah Lucas; Heidi Bucher’s latex imprints of the walls of her father’s study; and a black room full of Klara Lidén’s teenage angst, the door into which is made harder to open by a hanging axe.
Penny Slinger: No Return (An Exorcism), 1977 Collage 33 x 48cm
Franziska Lantz: expanding arid zones & Haris Epaminonda: Vol. XX @ RODEO, 123 Charing Cross Road – Tottenham Court Road
To 11 Feb: www.rodeo-gallery.com
Franziska Lantz: detail of expanding arid zones
Rodeo’s Condo share presents two installations representing found elements to transformative effect. Downstairs we can move on from the injustice of Michael Dean not winning the Turner Prize to admire an installation by his Swiss-German wife Franziska Lantz. Both are represented in Berlin by Supportico Lopez: here Lantz has trawled the Thames for detritus which she cleans with contemplative obsession, then hangs to form a shamanistic whole room installation featuring a surprisingly high proportion of camouflage wear. It’s complemented by her soundtrack – cluing us into a wider practice which includes regular broadcasts for Resonance FM. Upstairs are what might be termed ‘overlages’, by Berlin-based Cypriot Haris Epaminonda – collages in which the top layer (black and white images of ikebana flower arrangements) almost completely covers the lower layer (would-be-colour of Egyptian art). It’s mainly the captions, referring to pharaohs, which remain to complicate our interpretation of the bouquets.
Irina Korina: Destined to be Happy @ GRAD, 3-4a Little Portland Street – Fitzrovia
To 28 Feb: www.grad-london.com
Russian artist Irina Korina, who trained as a set designer, is known for her theatrical installations made out of commonplace materials. Here she presents whimsical soft sculptures of black and white emoticon characters – a human meteorite, a fireperson, a teardrop smoking a cigarette. They’re set in a hostile forest environment which didn’t prove so easy to source as one might expect. When the show was put up in early December, dead Christmas trees were so rare that she had to have twenty healthy specimens torched. Now, it fits the calendar: too much drunk over the festive season, you come round and it’s Trump. So if blasted joy is your thing, you’ll like the heavily ironic ‘Destined to be Happy’ – the more so as each of the six sculptural stations comes with its own atmospheric soundtrack generated out of aural bric-a-brac by Sergey Kasich.
Mai-Thu Perret: Zone @ Simon Lee, 12 Berkeley St – Central
To 4 Feb: www.simonleegallery.com
Installation view with Zone, 2016
Genevan artist Mai-Thu Perret has made her name since 1999 through by mapping an imagined women-only would-be-utopian desert community through the writings and artworks attributed to them. Typically they tweak traditional crafts – ceramic, tapestry, wickerwork – towards a constructivist aesthetic which carries an incipient feminism. Zone sees things get darker: it cites a novel about a tribe of lesbian warriors; a faceless armed figure stands guard; inside is a ceramic fountain in the form of a mortuary slab, its tube more suggestive of ritual or abuse than of pleasure. But the total effect is ambiguous: the water babbles pleasantly and the wall-based works package their art historical references attractively, though not quite as perfectly as their systems seem at first to imply…
Be fearful and alert, as if peering into an abyss, as if treading onto thin ice, 2016 – glazed ceramic
Images courtesy/copyright the relevant artists and galleries