London Frieze Week: The Lowdown
Stuart Middleton, Allstar Provider Honesty (2018). Coloured pencil on paper. 64 x 88.5 x 2.5 cm. © Stuart Middleton. Courtesy the artist and Carlos/Ishikawa, London.
Located in Regent's Park, Frieze London has expanded to focus on historical works in recent years, with the introduction of Frieze Masters in 2012, further reinforcing London's position as a leading art destination. Beyond this year's edition (4–7 October 2018), a range of unmissable exhibitions are taking place across London in both commercial and non-commercial art spaces. Here's a selection of what to see in the city.
Alison Jacques Gallery, Orwell House, 16–18 Berners St, W1T 3LN
27 September–21 December 2018
Alison Jacques Gallery's upcoming solo exhibition of works by the late American feminist artist, Hannah Wilke will span three decades of the artist's works, created between the 1960s and 80s. The exhibition is conceived with The Hannah Wilke Collection and Archive, Los Angeles and presents for the first time since the artist's death, never-before-seen canvas paintings, works on paper and her more familiar performance photographs and sculptures. A standout work on display is S.O.S. Starification Object Series #4 (Mastication Box), an assemblage created in 1975 by placing chewed gum sculpted into vaginal forms on 16 sheets of rice paper. The work is derived from her iconic S.O.S. Starification Object Series (1974–1979), for which the artist is photographed in various cinematic poses with chewing gum shaped like female genitalia placed upon her body, a metaphor 'for the American woman—chew her up, get what you want out of her, throw her out and pop in a new piece,' Wilke once stated.
Eliseo Mattiacci: Roma
Richard Saltoun Gallery, 41 Dover St, W1S 4NS
3 October–10 November 2018
For Italian artist Eliseo Mattiacci's first UK solo exhibition, one of the artist's most important sculptural works, Roma (1981) will take over all three rooms of Richard Saltoun Gallery. The sculptural installation consists of 58 moulded aluminium volutes that draw on the artist's encounters with these ubiquitous elements of Baroque architecture in Rome, which the artist has removed from their original context, distorting their original function through exaggerated sculptural proportions. Mattiacci moved to Rome in 1964, where he became associated with the locale's prevalent artistic movements of the time, such as Arte Povera, which emphasised the use of everyday, 'throwaway' materials. Mattiacci has, however, consistently rejected specific labels, developing his own approach to sculpture to examine and explore humanity's relationship with the universe.
Julie Mehretu: SEXTANT
White Cube Mason's Yard, 25–26 Mason's Yard, SW1Y 6BU
21 September–3 November 2018
Julie Mehretu's latest exhibition SEXTANT at White Cube Mason's Yard features new large-scale paintings and etchings that emphasise the artist's emotive gestural style. Mehretu has for several years created monumental paintings defined by a dense layering of imagery and mark-making, which disrupt the neat categorisations of drawing and painting. These new works are a departure from earlier works which focused on cartography and architectural drawing, turning instead to the immediacy of contemporary socio-political and environmental events as their starting point, ranging from key events including clashes during Catalonia's fight for independence, to the current Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the USA and catastrophic wildfires in California.
Maggie Lee: Music Videos
Arcadia Missa, First Floor, 14–16 Brewer St, W1F 0SG
9 September–27 October 2018
Maggie Lee's exhibition, Music Videos brings two TV sculptures to Arcadia Missa that show actual music videos for songs chosen by the rising US artist who has in recent years garnered a following for her diaristic works, namely Mommy (2015)—a video that draws on archival material of Lee's late mother, Ping, whilst simultaneously capturing the artist's own coming of age. Lee describes her practice as 'a collage she applies to different media,' thus allowing a fluid process with experimental outcomes. For her London show, visuals are scored to Galcher Lustwerk's song 'Template' and Miho Hatori's track '19 years old'—which she created under her new band/project, 'New Optimism'—each played on repeat.
Neil Gall: The Least We Could Do Is Wave To Each Other
domobaal, 3 John St, WC1N 2ES
21 September–27 October 2018
Neil Gall's The Least We Could Do Is Wave To Each Other is the artist's second solo exhibition at domobaal gallery and showcases abstract paintings, drawings and sculptures that form a body of work indicative of the ongoing dialogue between his practice and studio. The exhibition is a continuation of two institutional shows by the artist this year: Covers and Counterfeits at The Metropolitan Arts Centre in Belfast (4 May–29 July 2018) and The Studio: Cover Versions (21 February–2 September 2018) at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. At the Henry Moore Institute, Gall transformed an archive of The Studio magazines from the 1940s and 50s that he was sent by his former high school art teacher, Ruth Lough, into new collage works. At domobaal, an edited selection of Gall's 'Cover Versions' will be shown alongside a new body of work: the 'Back Covers', which incorporate studio materials, detritus and ephemera.
Sci-art sculptor, Conrad Shawcross returns to Victoria Miro with an exhibition of new 'Fracture' sculptures and two mechanical works. Shawcross' approach is informed heavily by science and his sculptures explore principles of physics, geometry and philosophy. This exhibition signals a major development for Shawcross with a new mechanical work, Slow Fold Inside a Corner (2018) on display in the corner of the gallery space, which slowly folds onto itself to create an ever-changing and fragmented view of the gallery and the other works on view. At King's Cross, Shawcross' Paradigm (2016), one of the tallest public sculptures in London, is permanently installed in front of The Francis Crick Institute.
For her first exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, Los Angeles-based artist, Martine Syms brings her critically acclaimed multidisciplinary practice combining conceptual approaches, humour and social commentary to London. Grand Calme (named after French Yogi Tea) reflects on Syms's use of multiple art forms spanning video, performance, installation, text and furniture design—to address ideas of identity, the power of gesture, gender and race. Syms uses multiple approaches as an interwoven technique and narrative to interrogate representations of blackness, its relationship to feminism and radical traditions. Her exhibition in London continues a lineage of referencing and incorporating theoretical models of performed or imposed identities, gestures, and assumptions relating to gender and racial inequalities. Central to this exhibition is the installation Mythiccbeing (2018) which follows the journey of a digital avatar created by Syms who continually divides into multiple selves.
Zina Saro-Wiwa: The Turquoise Meat Inside
Tiwani Contemporary, 16 Little Portland St, W1W 8BP
13 September–27 October 2018
Zina Saro-Wiwa is known for her role as a broadcaster and is the daughter of the late influential Nigerian activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa who fought peacefully for the environmental and human rights of his fellow Ogoni people, who continue to be subjected to the effects of oil extraction by multinationals on their indigenous land in the Niger Delta. As a visual artist, Saro-Wiwa works mostly in moving image, performance and photography to comment on past and present histories of the Niger Delta, presenting an alternative perspective to the familiar 'disaster narrative' the region has become known for internationally. The Turquoise Meat Inside, on view at Tiwani Contemporary, is Saro-Wiwa's first solo exhibition in Europe. Central to this show is a five-channel video installation filmed primarily by drone titled, Karikpo Pipeline (2015) that captures masked performers on Ogoni land, which bears visible oil extraction infrastructure hidden within the lush green landscape. Saro-Wiwa's art-activist practice is concerned with place and power, which she explores via emotional geographies traversing time and space.
Dorota Jurczak & Walter Keeler: Flora
Corvi-Mora, 1A Kempsford Rd, SE11 4NU
28 September–3 November 2018
Corvi-Mora brings together painter, Dorota Jurczak and ceramicist, Walter Keeler for the exhibition Flora, allowing connections to be made between the works of two very different artists. Jurczak draws inspiration from the worlds of the mythological and the folkloric in a graphic manner reminiscent of styles prevalent in the Eastern bloc in the 1970s. Keeler, on the other hand, is a celebrated British potter known for his vivid glazed pottery works that often have an otherworldly appearance but remain functional.
Jessica Vaughn: Exit Strategy
Emalin, Unit 4, Huntingdon Estate, Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6JU
21 September–27 October 2018
With the exhibition Exit Strategy at Emalin, conceptual artist Jessica Vaughn continues her ongoing investigations into architectural structures, labour and aesthetics that reinforce economic and racial segregation among US populations. Exit Strategy is a new installation of sculptures and printed material realised from paperwork, office materials and furniture found in bureaucratic forms of architecture (civic and governmental buildings). Workspaces provide a starting point for identifying elements that reproduce experiences of segregation, and by closely looking at work self-help guides, human resource manuals, US government Affirmative Action reports, and histories of office architecture, Vaughn seek to addresses ways minority bodies are expected to perform, comply and participate in US working environments.
Stuart Middleton: Improvers
Carlos/Ishikawa, 4, 88 Mile End Rd, E1 4UN
20 September–27 October 2018
For his second exhibition with Carlos/Ishikawa titled Improvers, Stuart Middleton presents three new polychromatic drawings and a large mural based on his visit to a county fair this summer. The drawings are all rendered smoothly in coloured pencil from photographs documenting cattle being shown to a panel of judges with their attention drawn away from the viewer as their handlers twist and turn their heads to present their best side. Middleton captures a certain level of absurdity in animal shows and the pageantry involved contrasted with the inevitable violence that the animals are subjected to in their becoming food products for consumption. The mural, spread across two walls of the gallery depicts a pair of HGVs carrying logs. Like the cattle drawings, the mural is rendered smooth, clean and sanitised. Improvers takes its title from the colloquial term for the experimental livestock breeders of the 18th century, but today it is a word for the relentless drive for self-betterment and progress at the expense of all else, in this case, commenting on the meat industry.
This exhibition at Maureen Paley marks 50 years since Canadian collaborators and conceptual artists, AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal first met in 1968, bringing together works from their early involvement in AIDS activism (1987–1994). Their most famous and recognisable artwork is the appropriation of Robert Indiana's LOVE (1970) sculpture replacing this with the word 'AIDS', used in many paintings, sculptures, postage stamps, posters and magazine covers as a viral and vital message during the crisis. The exhibition comprises both paintings and wallpaper from this series, which still bears resonance today as the fight to eradicate AIDS continues.
MUSEUMS AND ALTERNATIVE SPACES
Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Earwitness Theatre
Chisenhale Gallery, 64 Chisenhale Rd, E3 5QZ
21 September–9 December 2018
Lawrence Abu Hamdan has long been concerned with the politics of bearing witness and the implications of the listener, topics he continues to explore in a new commission titled Earwitness Theatre at Chisenhale Gallery following a 2016 request by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture for him to initiate earwitness interviews with survivors of the Syrian prison of Saydnaya, where over 13 thousand people have been executed since 2011. The interior of Saydnaya is kept dark and prisoners are often blinded, while a rule of absolute silence is imposed within, meaning those incarcerated develop an acute sensitivity to sound. Abu Hamdan amassed earwitness testimonies from survivors to develop an insight into the prison's internal goings on, later developing Saydnaya (the missing 19db) (2017)—a sonic installation emitting detainees' testimonies. The installation is included in the exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, along with Earwitness Inventory—an object-based collection of legal cases.
Gran Fury: Read My Lips
Auto Italia South East, 44 Bonner Rd, E2 9JS
2 October–2 December 2018
A long-overdue survey exhibition and first in the UK for AIDS activist art collective, Grand Fury will open this October at Auto Italia South East with a focus on the group's influential community-centred activism between 1987 and 1995. On the 30-year anniversary of the collective, Read My Lips brings together numerous print works, spanning flyers, leaflets, billboards, posters and videos, used to make visible the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis, as well as governmental indifference to the many marginalised groups affected by the virus. The exhibition highlights the importance and legacy of DIY activism in the face of HIV/AIDS and highlights the ways individuals contributed to policy change to save lives.
From the Inside Out
Drawing Room, 1–27 Rodney Place, SE17 1PP
20 September–11 November 2018
From the Inside Out explores drawing as an expanded field with the works of four female artists: Nilbar Güreş, Marie Jacotey, Athena Papadopoulos and Emma Talbot. Each of these artists use drawing in a variety of ways to address individual concerns pertaining to femininity and identity. Güreş incorporates a performative approach to her drawing practice, which focuses on the image of Muslim women in Europe. Jacotey, on the other hand, takes conversations from her daily life and stories she reads, watches and listens to incorporate them into text-image drawings that resemble comic strips. Talbot depicts a personal narrative through delicate watercolours coupled with handwritten texts, whilst Papadopoulos creates dense and striking collage works concerned with contemporary gender politics and social relationships.
Christian Marclay: The Clock
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG
14 September 2018–20 January 2019
Tate Modern's screening of The Clock by Christian Marclay marks a new opportunity for viewers to be immersed in the 24-hour installation. First shown at the White Cube in 2010, The Clock consists of thousands of spliced film clips showing time as it corresponds in real life. Whilst the installation tests the limits of viewers' ability to sit for its entire duration, making it virtually impossible to fully watch, those who wish to take up the challenge can do so at Tate Modern on 6 October, 3 November and 1 December 2018.
KNOCK KNOCK: Humour in Contemporary Art
South London Gallery, 65–67 Peckham Rd, SE5 8UH
22 September–18 November 2018
South London Gallery's hotly anticipated new Fire Station annexe opens on 22 September with a new group show titled KNOCK KNOCK: Humour in Contemporary Art curated by Director Margot Heller and artist, Ryan Gander. The exhibition explores the way artists across generations use humour as a critical tool in uncertain times and showcases works by more than 30 artists including stars Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas and Ugo Rondinone, alongside younger artists, Danielle Dean, Hardeep Pandhal and Simeon Barclay. Hardeep Pandhal's Konfessions of a Klabautermann (2017) is a standout here, and a remarkable example of how he uses his British, Asian and Sikh heritage to explore the slippery and shifting nature of identity politics today. —[O]