ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Esther Janssen at Unit London, Up For Grabs at APT Gallery, Gemma Holzer and Phoebe Stringer’s Secret Lab, Andrew J Millar at Nelly Duff, Rupert Goldsworthy and Nicholas Moore at Stash, Touch at Gallery 46…

Touch at Gallery 46

Where were who or what? Still still poking at things like we did here last week? Same stuff, different day (or week or year)/ We already said all this, we almost certainly do need to (or maybe don’t need to do?) do that five art things thing again don’t we? We probably should? Just a bit more of that glue that holds the who or what together. The art of repetition? Where were we? No one ever reads the editorial at the top, we could say anything here. We are kind of still repeating ourselves whilst under stress, did you even notice the repeating? Do you just cut to the chase every single time?. And well, we could do it again, we could? We could? We really could? Shall we? Who reads this? What is this Five Art Things thing? We said all this last week didn’t we? And the week before, and so five art things…

So five art things, five more art things happening somewhere around right now, or coming up any moment now, five art shows to check out in the coming days . Hey, I know we said it last time but we will try to do it most weeks and now we appear to be coming out of lockdown (or maybe going back in again?), and yes this admittedly rather fractured Five Art Things feature was and 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 recommendations come, as we already said up there, with no claims that they 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 and not a selfie of any of us hanging out at the damn show next to a piece of art either…

And yes we did say this last week, but did we really see a group of artists crowing about a show they’re doing at the News International building down by the Shard?! The News building! The Sun, Murdoch?! Really! Is there no shame? Aren’t we artists obliged to give a shit?

Before anything else, while we’re rrhinking about which gallery opening we’re going to tonight, which street were’re going to stand on laughing and drimking beer and think about fellow artists in other places, we’ll just post this image. “Young women artists at The Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan, a small arts centre in Kabul, in 2018”

“Young women artists at The Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan, a small arts centre in Kabul, in 2018”

In no partivular order here come the the latest five (or maybe six or seven) recommended art things…

1: Esther Janssen, Silence at Unit London, from 7th Sept until 4th Oct 2021 – The works that comprise Esther Janssen’s first solo exhibition with Unit London, Silence, are never populated by people. Instead, they present quietly familiar suburban neighbourhoods, inhabited by standardised sets of houses, sharply cut conifers and uniform bodies of reflective water.

Esther Janssen

“By emptying these spaces of any human presence and reducing our familiar environments to these common elements, Janssen presents an apparent universal ideal. However, the perfection of these natural environments steadily becomes unsettling. On closer inspection, this unoccupied, yet highly cultivated, world reveals an underlying sense of unease, urging viewers to wonder what is truly taking place or what is about to happen. The intricacies of Janssen’s artistic process have been triggered by key autobiographical moments. The highly personal origin of these artworks is perhaps at odds with the impersonal or universal feel of the environments that Janssen creates. Yet, it is this use of the non-specific that allows viewers to identify with these spaces, possibly recognising elements of their own hometowns. At the same time, however, the non-specific feel of these works gives way to an overriding, almost alienating, sense of ambiguity. The foundation for these eerily silent environments is rooted in Janssen’s experiences when staying with her father in his hometown of Genoelselderen, a tiny residential village in Belgium devoid of any commerce. Janssen would routinely tour the village, studying the serial lots where residents had built their own private paradises, all characterised by tarmac driveways, smooth front lawns and rows of symmetrical hedges. The small varieties within this single theme started to capture her attention. Despite the ostensible mundanity, the artist progressively noticed with a degree of alarm that the hedges and fence lines were made entirely from plastic. Here, it would appear that paradise had become maintenance-free”.

Unit London is at 3 Hanover Square, Mayfair, London, W1S 1HD

Andrew J Millar

2: Andrew J Millar, Over Sleeping Eyes at Nelly Duff, 2nd to 7th December – “Shimmy down to Columbia Road this September to revel and celebrate the grand opening of the first exhibition of our Autumn show programme” so says Nelly, “Folkstone based artist Andrew J Millar is kicking off September with a stunning show of never before seen limited editions and original pieces at Nelly Duff. A kaleidoscopic vision of textures and colours that debut an exciting progression in Millar’s journey with polaroid manipulation. ‘Over Sleeping Eyes’ is Millar’s look into the inbetween, the space between slumber and waking where colours bleed into each other and faces swirl in never ending fantastical ways. Embrace the escape, and follow each of Millar’s portrait characters on their own journey’s through their reveries, you never know where you might end up… Opening Thursday 2nd September at our Columbia Road gallery, come one, come all and make merry” Opening night is Thursday 2nd September, 6pm until 8.30pm and then until 7th September.

Nelly Duff is at 156 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG, check the website for opening times

Gemma Holzer & Phoebe Stringer: Secret Lab

2: Gemma Holzer & Phoebe Stringer: Secret Lab at  Bermondsey Project Space, 7th to 11th September  – Secret lab is a show made by artists Gemma Holzer and Phoebe Stringer. Verging on installation, the works are curated to simulate the experience of wandering into a hidden fantasy laboratory.

“The eerie colours, mutated creatures, and empty spaces reflected in the show are designed to give the viewer the experience of clinical awe at what could possibly be in process. Both artists utilise avatars to convey a sense of self in their work; the characters are vessels meant to be related to. The creatures await their viewers, presented as they would be found in a scientist’s work shop. The space within the gallery is transformed into the cold environment of a laboratory in the midst of experimentation. Hung in isolation and suspended in mutation. The viewer is encouraged to experience the work as if they’ve come across a science fiction setting. The reflecting eerie colours illuminate something in transition, something meant to be hidden”.

GEMMA HOLZER – My work in Secret Lab is about feeling alone and disconnected. Within the pieces, there is a sense of time standing still. The works mirror my feelings of being suspended in a state of uncertainty. The series depicts little alien creatures floating in lava lamps. The imagery of the lava lamp harkens back to my childhood. It is a period in my life that I draw much inspiration from. During darker times, I tap into memories of a life that was carefree and safe. The creatures floating in the lava lamps are a representation of me. They act as online avatars in make-believe virtual worlds. Through them, I consider issues around being human in today’s age. Their isolated condition reveals experiences of communicative deterioration and resulting separation during recent times. These little alien test subjects are kept safe in their capsules; secluded from one another. They can see each other, but they can never touch. They just float in their own little worlds. Suspended in Isolation.

PHOEBE STRINGER – After the turbulent and insular year of 2020 the internet became a space of refuge for many, a digital holiday with a secret language. As somebody already deeply immersed in internet culture, I found the once quiet space filled with new users and new approaches to memes that felt like the start of a new era. The rediscovery of old forum boards and old memes being resurfaced by a whole new generation lead me to imagine how old temples and ancient areas of worship must feel when being surrounded by archaeologists and tourists, which lead me to further question how we handle digital space. When the ancient Egyptian god KEK was ironically being re-worshipped in 2016 by edgy internet users, was that in some way like an archaeological find, even if it was purely digital? The work made for secret lab was made in response to some of these imagined spaces, the rediscovery of ancient gods and temples being rewritten for a digital age.

Bermondsey Project Space is at 183-185 Bermondsey Street, (adjacent to White Cube Bermondsey), London, SE1 3UW

Rupert Goldsworthy and Nicholas Moore

3: Rupert Goldsworthy and Nicholas Moore, Re-Verse Polari-ty – Stash Gallery presents “Re-Verse Polari-ty” a two-person exhibition featuring new works by artists Rupert Goldsworthy and Nicholas Moore. The show runs from September 2nd to the 25th. The private view will be on Thursday September 2nd from 6-11pm.

Nicholas Moore and Rupert Goldsworthy met in 2018 at a birthday party in downtown New York. They became friends and found they had a shared interest in their work in using popular signage, rock music ephemera, and imagery drawn from old commercial print advertising.  Although their subject matter begins at a similar place, the art they make varies in the handling of materials and intent.  The title of the show “Re-Verse Polari-ty” is a nod to the secret gay slang language of the 1960s and its deliberate reversal of spelling (e.g. riah= hair spelt backwards) for further ironic and dissonant resonance.

Moore’s work has a playful aesthetic.  It often includes details drawn from his youth such as toys or kitschy flowers surrounding votive objects. These, combined with the texts (often song lyrics) evoke a sense of the passing of time and a yearning to recapture a lost innocence. Although there is undoubtedly joy abundant in the work, there is also an underlying sense of melancholy.

“Nicholas Moore’s art is surprising, lucid, fussy, symbolistic, and sincere. At times impulsive, sometimes reactive, British native Moore manages all of the above by letting his instincts guide him.”  D Dominick Lombardi, Huffington Post

Rupert Goldsworthy became known in the mid-Nineties for organizing artist-run gallery projects first in Berlin and then in Chelsea, New York. Goldsworthy’s paintings and installations address taboos (political and emotional) using post-Pop methodology. His concerns include the Cold War, gay social history and the iconography of Seventies counterculture.

Holland Cotter, art critic for The New York Times, writes of Goldsworthy’s work: “Sharp, dark, hard to pin down but definitely there. Names of suicidal rock stars, student radicals, celebrity drugs, Black Panthers, gay clubs and aged movie queens with sad, twilight histories bounce off each other and interconnect like fragments of overheard conversations. And while the textual melange – blasts from the past plus cultural arcana – makes fun ‘reading’, it also has a distinctive moral texture.”

Stash Gallery is at Vour O-Reenees, down in The Crypt, 30 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB. Down there under the big church.

Keeping the future safe, Nicholas Moore

4: Up For Grabs at APT Gallery, Deptford –  an experimental research project that builds upon previous collaborations between artists Jonathan McCree and Bruce Ingram, dancer Jonathan Goddard and designer Joe Walkling.

Playful and spontaneous, UP FOR GRABS will work with the unfixed and unpredictable outcomes offered up via collaborative exchanges between artist and audience. Research centres on the idea that we are never separate from that which we observe. We constantly negotiate and construct our experiences by being in and part of the world. By moving within the world we allow the world to move within us. By entwining the elements of dance, painting, sculpture and audience we hope to explore how each is indexed within the other. Each element exists within a reciprocal set of relationships; drawing as a choreographed gesture, performance as material form. 

APT Gallery (Art in Perpetuity Trust) is at Harold Wharf, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London, SE8 4SA (just down the hill from the ever beautiful Bird’s Nest). The show runs from 2nd Sept until 12th Sept 2021

UpFor Grabs.

5: Conrad Armstrong, Born Againat Stour Gallery – A multi-disciplinary artist & activist questions the effects of gentrification and class relations on the urban soul and the bare survivance of community in modern days. Adopting a reflexive stand, Armstrong examines his artistic practice and his mark on the world in his solo show ominously titled BORN AGAIN.  Armstrong has developed a unique artistic practice, abandoning the traditional canvas for a radical material process that involves layers of paint and plastic melted together with fire, but is also constantly experimenting with new formats and mediums.  The show will mark the official opening of the newly acquired Stour Gallery at Haggerston Studios on 258 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4DG. The show runs from 2nd Sept until 29th Sept 2021m opening night, 2nd Sept 5pm until 10pm. Let’s hope ter born again Stour Space don’t mess us artists around like they did over on Fish Island, good to see them back up and running again

And yes, you are right, we deatured this last time, it opens tomorrow though, worth a reminder here –

Touch at Gallery 46, a group show presented by ISKAI Art and curated by Stephanie Seungmin Kim The “private view” is on Thursday 2nd September, 6pm until 10pm (with a percussionist performance by James Larter). Th show then runs from 3rd until 9th September (with a late night opening on the Friday and Saturday until 9pm). “The exhibition brings back ‘touch’ which has been tabooed and sterilised recently with the pandemic. While our touch has been scrutinised and recorded, touch-screen devices became windows for human interaction. Some people were in touch with nature, finding respite from the sudden halting of normal life, some had to suffer in the proximity of others and some were alone, devoid of touch. The exhibition began with thoughts of revitalising the joie de vivre, much needed after repeated lockdowns, but it inevitably brought the memory of our recent loss and heightened perception. The exhibition will present celebrated work from Axel Void, Cosimo Sturniolo, Dongwuk Heo, Hanuk Jung, Hayoung Kim, Jihyun Yu, João Villas, Joon Choi, Koh Sang Woo, Kristina Chan, Ligyung, Mimi Joung, Sangyong Lee, Vakki and Zoë Marden

Gallery 46 is found at 46 Ashfield Street, London E1. The show ends on Sautuday 21st August, there is a late opening that night, more detsils via the gallery website

Touch at Gallery 46

2 thoughts on “ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Esther Janssen at Unit London, Up For Grabs at APT Gallery, Gemma Holzer and Phoebe Stringer’s Secret Lab, Andrew J Millar at Nelly Duff, Rupert Goldsworthy and Nicholas Moore at Stash, Touch at Gallery 46…

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