Writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent gives his rolling ten recommended contemporary art shows in London, March 2019. He currently writes freelance including for Art Monthly, Frieze, Elephant, STATE, Photomonitor, Border Crossings and World of Interiors.
Tom Lovelace: Interval at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road to 27 April
In ‘Clock Work’ 2019 a performer’s arm emerges from the wall every now and again to make you notice the clock it adjusts, even when you don’t need to know the time. Part of Tom Lovelace’s ingeniously staged show ‘Interval’, which also turns the floor, velvet covers and the action of the sun into interesting photographic works. I guess it’s the clock’s third hand…
Reinhard Mucha: Full Take at Sprueth Magers to 11 May
An impressive survey of Reinhard Mucha’s production: mostly constructions which look like cut-ups of institutional architecture and office furnishings which sleekly elide aesthetics and power, but also a sculpture of fans, some outstanding text works, and film. The German (born 1950) hasn’t shown much in London, so this is an excellent chance to catch up. Above is Seelze, 2012
Franz West at Tate Modern to 2 June (and elsewhere)
Franz West Tate Modern
An obvious choice, but the new Franz West show is a hoot which captures his spirit. ‘Kollega’ 1988 is one of his papier-mache works, often made from old phone directories and painted casually while he was on the phone. This one looks like a sandwich grinning back bigtime at its consumer. Sarah Lucas covered the crowd control architecture in tape and painted it in Franz colours – here a pink he took from children’s pyjamas – as part of her lively Westian interventions into the presentation. The cinderblock plinth is her, too. Add worthwhile shows at David Zwirner and Omer Tiroche, and the RA’s excellent show by Phyllida Barlow – who I’d say is as close to Franz’s approach as Lucas, and it’s very much time to Go West.
Sarah Pichlkostner: I’d ride on a rock and go take a bite if moon was cookie and Belén Rodríguez: I turn Chilli Red at Josh Lilley Gallery to 30 March
The first double show use of Josh Lilley’s space is a winner: upstairs the cool, lunar, bubble-powered metallic attenuations of Sarah Pichlkostner’s sculptures are disrupted by a soft boomerang form on the floor, covered in a gaudily psychedelic print. Perhaps it’s a portal to downstairs, where Spanish artist Belén Rodríguez (install shot above) shows in the sun-soaked mode of a recent Colombian residency. Everything is 50% abstract, 50% figurative, from curtains which are pools and landscapes to images which are half redacted by stripes to apparently non-figurative paintings which turn out to be of plankton or fruit in close up…
I Will Be Dead at König London to 16 March
The defiantly lively group show ‘I Will Be Dead’ includes Elmgreen & Dragset’s menaced infant scenario ‘Eternity’ 2014/17 (shown), Alicja Kwade’s witty poke at how ephemeral our adult obsessions will prove – ‘Finallyfound (iPad)’ 2018 has been fossilised – and Amalia Pica’s marble, granite and silicone hearing aid ‘In Praise of Listening 8’ 2018, the vastly magnified scale of which put me in mind of those who shout at the aged.
Tom Wesselmann at Almine Rech to 23 March
You wouldn’t instantly link him to abstraction, but that’s how Wesselman started out and he returned to it, inspired by offcuts from his figurative steel drawings, in his last decade. Almine Rech sets out the story superbly with parallel streams of nudes and abstracts. Here’s ‘Three Step II’ 2003.
Linder: Ever Standing Apart From Everything at Modern Art, Helmet Row to 16 March
Linder has a wide-ranging practice, but I can’t remember when I last saw a comprehensive overview of what she’s best known for: college. Here, though, are more than 70 covering five years’ work. They include her characteristic combinations of apparently free women – in the landscape, or in sexual activity – undermined by the imposition of household duties, but also all-male combinations and a new strand of ‘Superautomatism’ (as above) in which chance presses of paint perform the role of obscuring the image of nudes in a creeping censorship which might be ominous were it not so exuberant.
Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears at White Cube Bermondsey to 7 April
Tracey Emin taking a selfie with some of the 50 blown-up selfies in her Insomnia installation. It’s ‘like an early death from within’ she says. For the past four years, she has taken selfies and selected some to blow up with an impressive range of bedwear and a lack of vanity which extends to a couple with a fat lip. This, the freshest part of her vast and effective new show, might be seen as an update on the famous bed.
Grace Weir: Time Tries All Things at the Institute of Physics, Kings Cross to 29 March
Are you a bit hazy on how physicists think about time? Unsure what the alternative is to the block theory of the universe? You will be educated as well as entertained by Grace Weir’s 30-minute film in an impressive new space. Two leading scientists explain while she builds many cunning parallels about what they say into a two-screen installation: the editing styles capture time variously and, for example, we see her photographing (the classic way to freeze time) a World War I memorial stone plaque declaring that time tries the truth of things, it’s remaking by a sculptor, the new version itself, and footage of the bird species which features on it…
Fausto Melotti: Counterpoint at Estorick Collection to 7 April
Not only is Fausto Melotti’s ‘Hanging Garden’ 1970 serenely attractive, there’s no weeding or watering required. From the Estorick’s demonstration that the Italian (1901-1986) is more varied than previous UK showings have suggested. Melotti’s dictum ‘Zero is infinity in reverse’ could be relevant… Moreover, other displays of Boccioni, Marini and Morandi are well worth seeing.
Equilibrium. An idea for Italian sculpture at Mazzoleni Gallery to 5 April
Melotti also features in this cool show of Italian sculpture, much of which looks as if it could lose its balance any time. Here is Remo Salvadori’s ‘Verticale’ 1991, which simply encircles a roll of copper with a cord to provide a tenuous structure on which a tabular flatness, a very large glass and one normal glass (plus the odd unauthorised addition at the opening) are balanced to suggest relationships just about in equilibrium. Is that a heavy drinker paired with a moderate one?
Words: Paul Carey -Kent Images courtesy/copyright the relevant artists and galleries