ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Juliette Losq and Stuart Sandford at James Freeman Gallery, SaiakuNana at Saiakunana Gallery, Rune Christensen at Kristin Hjellegjerde, Shino Yanai at Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, Victoria V Nunley at Moosey and an Exhibition of Contemporary Welsh Art at London Welsh Centre…

A shot from SaiakuNana’s rather excellent exhibition/residency happening right now on East London’s Redchurch Street

Five more art things. five art things, five more art things happening somewhere around right now or any moment now. Five art shows to check out in the coming days. 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, these five recommendations come 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 recommended things coming up soon that we think you might find as interesting as we do.

Five art things happening now and coming up in the next few days in no particular order, just five art things happening around about now

Rune Christensen

1: Rune Christensen –  Wanderlust  at Kristin Hjellegjerde London Wandsworth – 11th Feb until 19th Mar 2022 – “Crowds of people and mythic creatures appear clustered on the canvas in richly patterned clothes washed in cool hues of purple and blue with warm touches of luminous orange”.

“These are the works of Danish artist Rune Christensen whose compositions are inspired by his travels around the globe, melding different cultures, histories and narratives to create a powerful sense of vitality. Wanderlust, his first solo exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, is as much a celebration of the beauty and diversity of our world as it is an expression of longing.

‘The feeling of wanderlust has haunted me my whole life,’ says Christensen. ‘I have a restless desire to move, experience and learn, and although I’ve spent many years travelling across the globe, I’ve never been able to completely satisfy that hunger.’ Whilst the artist is now, for the most part, based in Denmark, painting enables him to connect to his memories of travelling while also imagining new worlds. Part of this process involves embracing a spontaneous approach to image-making. Christensen rarely plans his compositions, and although he might refer to photographs that he’s either taken or collected, these are used more for atmospheric inspiration. ‘I paint my thoughts, things I’ve seen, read or listened to, textures and smells,  interactions between people,’ he says. As a result, each of his paintings incorporates a vast array of references to different cultures, fashions and beliefs which are unified by the artist’s distinct graphical style and controlled colour palette.

Interestingly, almost all of the images are framed by a patterned border that creates an illustrative quality and adds to the otherworldly atmosphere. For example, one painting depicts a giant two-headed snake wrapped around what looks like a two-headed hyena. Both animals are baring their teeth as if poised for attack and while they are precisely rendered in the artist’s signature style, there is a huge amount of power contained within their bodies. Meanwhile, visible brushstrokes in the blue background create a sense of movement and depth – it’s as if the creatures are tumbling through the night-sky or the depths of the ocean. In this sense, the border around the edge of the canvas serves to both contain the dynamism and elevate the image to an almost spiritual status.

This approach to image-making is partly influenced by the artist’s background in graffiti, but also reflects the influence of religious artworks on Christensen’s practice. ‘I visited many churches on my travels and always found myself drawn to the classical paintings, which often lacked perspective, meaning that the images were close to the surface of the canvas, like a carpet of information,’ he says. The same could be said for some of the artist’s own paintings, especially those which depict crowds of people. While Christensen uses bold, contrasting lines to delineate the patterns of their clothes and faces, the figures appear tightly overlapping to the point of merging into one another. This creates an odd impression of translucency that lends the figures a spectral presence. The figures’ blank, unseeing gaze is often directed at the viewer while their cheeks are tinged with orange as if they are glowing from within. In these works, the artist captures the intense, disorientating experience of walking through a foreign city or market, when your senses are overwhelmed, but also a feeling of distance and loss. The pervading colour palette of cool tones –  purple, green and blue – contributes to the melancholic atmosphere, but also serves to create a kind of liminal space – somewhere between night and day, past and present – that resonates with the notion of wanderlust and restlessness.

Also included in the exhibition are two smaller scale paintings of vases filled with colourful, blooming flowers. These works directly reference the tradition of still life painting, with the fallen single petal in each painting serving as a poetic memento mori – a reminder of the fragility of life. Although these paintings stand-apart from the more dynamic, crowded compositions, vases or pots are, in fact, a recurring motif in Christensen’s work, reflecting on history and his own approach to art-making. ‘Humans first created pots as a way of storing food and water, enabling us to move away from hunting and gathering,’ he says. ‘In a similar way, painting acts as a vessel for my experiences and a release.’ In this sense,Christensen’s paintings are not simply works of nostalgia or romanticism, they are expressions of a freedom found in creativity”.

Kristin Hjellegjerde London Wandsworth is at533 Old York Road, London, SW18 1TG. The gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am until 6pm, entry is free.

Shino Yanai – I hear your breath in 4/4

2: Shino Yanai – I hear your breath in 4/4 at Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix –  11th Feb until 24th Mar 2022 – Now this does look and sound interesting, although we prefer things in 7/8 around here –  “Yanai creates installations of videos, photography and sound, often her performance as the subject of the installations, recorded with various media. For the upcoming exhibition, The basement gallery serves as a venue for the audience to vicariously experience the hypnotic performance that rolled out at the Tokyo Biennale in the summer of 2021 by way of video and audio, while new prints, audio and video works at the ground floor gallery may help us peek into the artist’s vast scope of interests from where the young artist sources the concepts.

Yanai presents us unique perspective of the world through her practice, which increasingly incorporates the sound aspect of life, whether it is music, environmental audio or general noise, while examining and reconstructing the lived experience or performance with conscious attention to the physicality of body. Her practice reminds us of how a place, either present or past, is inseparably linked to sound and her sound always has the bodily, or physical resonance. In the main video work ‘Well Temperament’ created with a sound artist Ken Ikeda, the artist’s own breath during her run at and around the centre of London sets the audio base throughout the duration of the video, at 4/4, a musical time signature for four beats per measure. The everlasting, steady beat of footsteps blends in with environmental noise and other elements that are also recorded while running, almost to an intoxicating effect.

The performance took place at the open arcade gallery of Yushima Confucius Mausoleum in Tokyo. With the backdrop of the minimalistic, esoteric decor darkened with drapes that lets in sunlight ever so slightly as they gently floats along with the summer breeze, Yanai’s performance is a spontaneous, living attempt, to reconcile the half-dream and the reality, searching to harmonise the beat that is generated by her own run, and her breathing while walking along the gallery of the by-gone era monument. At the ground floor gallery, new prints and other works will shed light on the artist’s take on new ways to conceive the world, created during the the periods when pandemic-related various restrictions on life were imposed. A performance evening will take place on Thursday 3rd March, detail to be announced later.

Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix  is at 19 Goulston St, London, E1 7TP. The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, 11am until 6pm, entry is free.

Victoria V Nunley – Rootin’ – Tootin’ Sour – Bootin’ at Moosey

3: Victoria V Nunley – Rootin’ – Tootin’ Sour – Bootin’ at Moosey London – Moosey London sat they “are delighted to announce the first solo exhibition of US based artist Victoria Nunley” Good to see Moosay doing things in a perminant London home as well as thei r homelands of Norwich. “Victoria V Nunley was born and raised in New Jersey. She actually can’t remember time before she knew she wanted to be an artist. In fact, she drew a horse when she was just two and a half years old “and honestly, it was pretty good”. She earned her BA from Brandeis University in 2014, and went on to earn her MFA from Boston University in 2018. She landed on the tone of her paintings while enrolled in Brandeis University’s post- baccalaureate program. She was in the middle of making probably a hundred bad paintings in a row when one of her professors remarked that one of them was hilarious; it wasn’t meant to be funny, of course, she was trying to be a serious painter and serious painters are supposed to make serious paintings about serious things. But with that one comment, she realised that she had been fighting against her own sensibilities — namely her own sense of humour. She had mistaken what it actually meant to be serious about painting..

Moosey‘s London space is at 22-24 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8ED. The show is on now and runs until 6th March, Open Wednesday until Sunday, 11am to 5pm, entry is free

Previous Moosey coverage – ORGAN THING: Yok at Hoxton Arches, It does feel genuinely exciting to walk in and see it all together in front of you…

Juliette Losq and Stuart Sandford – Elysian Fields at James Freeman Gallery

4: Juliette Losq and Stuart Sandford – Elysian Fields at James Freeman Gallery – – An exhibition about the ever-changing relationship between the physical and the digital, explored through the work of two contemporary artists: Juliette Losq and Stuart Sandford

“We are pleased to present ‘Elysian Fields’, an exhibition about the ever-changing relationship between the physical and the digital, explored through the work of two contemporary artists: Juliette Losq and Stuart Sandford.

Juliette Losq’s watercolour paintings depict man-made environments in the process of decline, semi-industrial sites where human occupation has all but departed and nature is regaining control. The intense labour involved in the creation of Juliette’s expansive paintings contrasts with the abandoned subject matter, as if the physical work that once belonged within these structures had found a new role in documenting their change. Juliette’s use of watercolour is unusual in this respect, as the scale and complexity of the works contrasts with the traditional domestic role of the medium. The unexpected is also a theme in the imagery: there is an implicit presence lurking behind the abundance of detail, an unknown future hovering invisible beyond the decay. In this sense Juliette’s paintings are also imaginative theatres where contrasting forces compete: creation versus dereliction; the tangible versus the imaginary; the visually precise versus the undefined. They describe the uncertain moment where humankind is reevaluating its relationship with the physical world before the seemingly limitless possibilities of digital creation.

Stuart Sandford’s sculptures explore the rapidly shifting distinction between the virtual and physical realms by revisiting the Classical tradition of the ideal human form. Stuart finds the contemporary version of the exemplary in the carefully crafted online self-images that serve as subjects for the gay male gaze. He renders these through 3D scanning to create a digital template of the new archetype, to be then made solid in bronze, marble, and basalt using state-of-the-art sculpturing technologies. A life-size figure of Adlocutio, created with the porn star Sean Ford, depicts an alluring male in white lacquered bronze gazing into his phone as if addressing his adoring his many followers. Stuart’s reworking of the classical myth of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its tail, interprets this as a tale of self-love taken to its narcissistic extreme. Stuart’s sculptures present an unashamed examination of how conceptual and sexual attraction overlap and suggest our new idealism is rendered in the digital realm”.

James Freeman Gallery is at 354 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0PD. The show is open now and runs until 5th March, the Gallery is open Monday to Saturday, 11am until 6pm. Entry is free

SaiakuNana at Saiakunana Gallery

5: SaiakuNana at Saiakunana Gallery – More of a residency that an exhibition, SaiakuNana is at her space in Redchurch Street, East London until the summer, we covered her show a few days back – ORGAN THING: SaiakuNana is an artist doing things of her own terms, she’s opened a rather exciting gallery on East London’s Redchurch Street, she’s made a glorious mess in there, we love it! – things are evolving all the time as she adds the walls, the floors, the space and the sound, do go and check it out…

The space, Saiakunana Gallery, is open 1pm until 5pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the Summer. Find it at 30 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London, E2 7DP.

SaiakuNana at Saiakunana Gallery

And well we’re here….

Exhibition of Contemporary Welsh Art at London Welsh Centre – Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th February, 11.00am – 5.00pm on both days. There is an opening night on Friday 18th (6 until 8pm, you need to RSVP to nicola at londonwelsh.org) London Welsh Centre is at 157-163 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8UE – An exhibition of contemporary art featuring artists who are from (or originate from) Wales – “If you’re interested in contemporary Welsh art this exhibition hosted by the London Welsh Centre is a superb opportunity for you to meet the artists, view and purchase some of their work”. Part of Wales Week London – “Wales Week London is the annual showcase of activities and events that celebrate and promote everything that is great about Wales.” and I guess that includes artlists like me who came from Wales… Entry is free, at the moment you are being asked to book a timeslot, more details here

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