“You’re an opinionated big mouthed f**k” said someone in an annoying green hat at a gallery the other day, he is probably right although he wasn’t being that friendly about it, that’s thing you see, having an opinion when it comes to art is not a popular thing, Having an opinion can get you banned, having an opinion can result in locked door not being opened, even when you’re opinion is a positive one. And what is it with gallery doors Anyway? Why are so many locked during open hours? And why are the people who eventually come and open them so damn unfriendly? Went to a gallery last Saturday afternoon, door was locked, no one answering, four people stood outside, they gave up and walked away in the end, I finally got an answer. None of this has anything to do with any of this week’s recommendations (although it might have something to do with last week’s), Doors? Green hats, opinions, just letting off some steam. Talking of stream and locked doors and no signs, did go and explore Condo 2020 over the first weekend of said multi-gallery event a couple of Sunday’s back, it was rather underwhelming, we did get asked why we didn’t cover it, well really the policy here is to only really cover things when there’s something positive to say, when there’s something that excites us, and yes we do get excited about art rather a lot, art goes excite, however not everything we see is worth covering, not everything is exciting, sometimes things can feel distinctly average or underwhelming or dare we so far up themselves that it angers, and yes anger is an energy, and sentences never end and art can sometimes be a load of old pony, aloof rubbish, pony and trap. Actually the show down at the bottom of a now very sadly deathly Vyner Street at Modern Art that was their part of this year’s Condo wasn’t bad, we really should put up a word and an image or two from that one, but really the Sunday spent exploring the opening weekend of Condo 2020 did feel something like a Sunday mostly wasted. And yes we know this week is London art fair week, but hey, soulless cattle markets are, on the whole, not for us opinionated big mouthed fuggs…
Five more art things then, five upcoming art things to check out this coming week. Hey, have you noticed we;re being quite good at keeping to the weekly schedule so far this year? And like we said last time, we will try to do it most weeks, and yes this admittedly rather fractured Five Art Things feature is intended to be a regular, almost certainly weekly, or something like something near weekly thing – an almost weekly round up of recommended art events. Five shows, exhibitions or things we rather think might be worth checking out. Mostly London things for that is where we currently operate and explore, and like we said last time (and the time before), these five recommendation come with no claims that these are “the best five” or the “Top Five”, we’re not one of those annoying art websites that ignore most things whilst claiming to be covering everything and proclaiming this or that to be the “top seven things” or the “best things this weekend”., no, this is simply a regular list of five or so art things coming up soon that we think you might find as interesting as we do, five art things coming in in the next few days in no particular order….
1: Christine Rebet, Time Levitation at Parasol Unit – Opening night, Wednesday 22nd January – Now this one we are particularly excited about, “Parasol unit presents French artist Christine Rebet’s first UK solo exhibition comprising six hand-drawn animated films that address the traumas of personal and collective histories, illusion and the destruction of our shared history and environment”. Hand-drawn animation is always something to behold don’t you think?
“Parasol Unit presents as the final exhibition in its current London space, works by French artist Christine Rebet. This, her first UK solo show, will occupy two floors of the gallery and comprise six hand-drawn animated films that address the traumas of personal and collective histories, illusion and the destruction of our shared history and environment.
Drawing is at the heart of Rebet’s practice, which she often develops into animated films, sculpture, installations or performance art. With a background in theatre design, Rebet presents her hand-drawn animations within immersive environments and sculptural props. Working with the traditional techniques of early animation she explores the unconscious and creates tales that are both anti-heroic and satirical. Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Parasol unit, the Christine Rebet exhibition is accompanied by a tailored programme of related educational events” .
Parasol Unit, for this one last time, is still to be found at 14 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW. The show runs from Jan 23rd until March 26th.
2: France-Lise McGurn – Percussia at Simon Lee Gallery – from January 24th – “Simon Lee Gallery is proud to announce Percussia a solo exhibition of new work by Glasgow-based artist France-Lise McGurn”.
“This is the artist’s debut exhibition with the gallery and the first in London since Sleepless, her 2019 solo exhibition at Tate Britain. The artist will present new paintings, works on paper and site-specific wall paintings across both gallery floors. The exhibition coincides with a major site-specific commission by the artist on view at Tramway in Glasgow. Subsequently, McGurn will also be participating in Glasgow International in April. The atmospheric practice of France-Lise McGurn transports the viewer from the public realm of the gallery and into the most personal quarters of the artist’s life: her studio, her bedroom, her mind and musings. McGurn’s figurative practice delivers a wholly immersive experience, launching the viewer into a three-dimensional world of the intimate and relatable. The sensual and physical nature of the works on display here are echoed in the exhibition’s title Percussia. A derivative of the word percussion or its Latin origin percussio, the title suggests power and strength while simultaneously alludes to the lyrical femininity of her figures that move rhythmically through the space bringing harmony to the exhibition”.
Simon Lee Gallery is found at, 12 Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8DT. The show runs from January 24th until Feb 22nd.
3: Jah Wobble – Towerblocks and Sunsets at Stash Gallery, Vout-O-Reenee’s – “Known better as a musician John Wardle (jah Wobble) has always been painting. As he starts a new tour with his first gig at The Jazz Café Camden The Stash will be showing a selection of his obsessions, tower blocks and sunsets. ”
“Over the past four decades, Jah Wobble has ploughed his own furrow as a solo artist, as well as becoming a well-respected session musician, with a genuine passion for Eastern and Global music. He has worked with a diverse range of musicians, including Baaba Maal, Bjork, Primal Scream, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor, Julianne Regan, Dolores O’Riordan, Holgat Czukay, U2’s The Edge, and Chaka Demus & Pliers. The man born John Wardle began his musical journey when he met John Lydon and Sid Vicious in 1973. It was Vicious who not only nicknamed John ‘Jah Wobble’ after a drunken binge but also loaned him his first bass guitar. Lydon asked JW to join Public Image Limited (aka PiL) in 1978. Wardle’s distinctive ‘low end’ bass became the backbone of PiL’s pioneering sound. After its follow-up, the exploratory yet sinister soundscapes of ‘Metal Box’, Wardle became disillusioned by politics within the band and their reluctance to play live. He eventually split from PiL in mid-1980 and embarked on a prolific solo career. Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart released their debut album in 1990 and received a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 1991 for the ‘Rising above bedlam’ album. After the acclaimed ‘Take me to God’ album in 1994 the band split and Jah Wobble launched his own 30 Hertz record label which has subsequently released more than 30 albums. His latest album with The Invaders is ‘Ocean Blue Waves’, released in March 2020”.
And right here, right now, as much as we love his music, his paintings are what we’re concerned with. Jah Wobble’s Towerblocks and Sunsets can be viewed at Stash Gallery from Wednesday 22nd January until Saturday 15th February
Stash Gallery and Vout-O-Reenee’s are found underneath the church at 30 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB
4: Memory and Landscape (BALTICA) at V.23 – A group show at The Old Biscuit Factory, opening night Thursday January 23rd – “We are a group of artists with personal connections with the Baltic and inspired by the sea, memory and landscape. We exhibit in London and tour throughout the Baltic countries and beyond, pursuing experimental and traditional arts in diverse media” so says the spokesperson who sent in the info, okay, so that’s really not telling us too much but the show does feature an artist or two that we rather like (and one who’s made it clear she doesn’t like us much but hey), rather curious about this one, and we do like the sound of that mixtape, wonder if it might be found on-line? Artist involved then – Jüri Arrak, Silja Manninen, Mandy Prowse, Riitta Hakkarainen, Veronica Shimanovskaya with Natalia Spigina, Triinu Soikmets, Meriliis Rinne, Jude Cowan Montague, Cassandra Mahoney, Natalia Jezova , Ann Grim, Gzillion Artist, Anne Isaksson. “Ahto Külvet of Psühhoteek (Tartu, Estonia) is creating an original mixtape for the bar of Estonian fairytale and folk music, Soviet-era sounds and Baltic voices”. And we’re also promised some “special guest performances”, I assume that’s on the opening night? V.23 – The Old Biscuit Factory is found at 100 Clements Road, London, SE16 4DG
5: Dorothea Tanning, Worlds in Collision at Alison Jacques Gallery – Opening night, Thursday 23rd Jan – “Alison Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce the solo exhibition ‘Dorothea Tanning: Worlds in Collision’. The exhibition features a rarely displayed body of late work dating from 1981 to 1989, which is being shown together for the first time in the United Kingdom. It includes large scale works on paper in media as varied as graphite, charcoal, crayon, watercolour, gouache, and collage, many of which focus on imagery of the bicycle which preoccupied Tanning at this time””.
“The works presented were created during the decade following Tanning’s return to New York in 1980 after having lived in France for some thirty years. Many encapsulate the energy of city life she enjoyed in Manhattan, propelled forward by speed and sound. One large scale painting, ‘Pounding Strong’ (1981), embodies Tanning’s reflections on her new life in a city very different from her time living there as a young artist in the 1930s and 40s. In an interview with Carlo McCormick in 1990 she describes the painting’s conception: ‘Looking out the window at these crazy kids careening down Fifth Avenue on roller skates, wearing earphones, and carrying their powerful radios. They are like archangels. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they took to the air.’
In 1988, the artist began working on a series of images in which the form of the bicycle is central. Many of these works were inspired by a bicycle accident Tanning had witnessed near her studio on the Lower East Side. The turbulence of the accident is conveyed in images with titles such as ‘Tangle’ (1989), ‘Reckless’ (1989), ‘Hell Bent’ (1988) and ‘Further Chaos’ (1988). They also embody another critical theme for Tanning throughout her career: the existence of alternative realities and readings that oscillate between multiple states. In the gouache ‘Between Lives’ (1989) one figure pierces the heart of another in its embrace, while in the watercolour from which the exhibition takes its title, ‘Worlds in Collision’ (1988), two youthful figures engulfed by bicycle wheels appear to float in the middle of the frame caught in a moment either of being fatally thrown or dancing in air. Its title also evokes the controversial book by Immanuel Velikovsky, ‘Worlds in Collision’ (1950), which theorised cataclysmic celestial events and their impact on the earth and human history.
While the bicycle wheel can be seen as an established symbol of modernity, Tanning developed a more personal engagement with contemporary technology in her works from this period. In 1988 for works such as ‘Garden with Gardeners’ and ‘Prime Time’, she used a new Xerox machine in her studio to create photocopies of mundane objects like rubber bands, reproductions of her own hand, and sheets with tonal gradations that she then cut, tore, and further manipulated within collage compositions. These images suggest a dialogue about authorship and mass-production in relation to the creative process.
Among the works there is also a selection from Tanning’s ‘Messages’, a series of fourteen large-scale charcoal and pastel works from 1989-90. These drawings explore the motif of the bicycle now juxtaposed with images of primates, and offer Tanning’s meditations on evolution, humankind’s place in the world, and the power of technology and art. As Tanning wrote in 1990: ‘Gorillas pose some questions about who is who on this earth…The gorilla remembers, too, back to the eye of time, when somehow he was left behind, man jumped on a bicycle and sped away and does not now remember…here I am an artist who has promised to bring them together.’
Recent solo exhibitions of Tanning’s work have been mounted by Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2018), Tate, London (2019) and The Menil Collection, Houston (2019). A major monograph on the artist, ‘Dorothea Tanning: Transformations’ by Victoria Carruthers will be published by Lund Humphries in January 2020 with a book launch at Alison Jacques Gallery, dates to follow”.
Alison Jacques Gallery is found at 16-18 Berners Street, London, W1T 3LN. The show runs from 24 January – 21 March 2020