Viewing articles from 2020/01

Various locations, Singapore

Singapore Bienniale

Dennis Tan, Many Waters to Cross, 2019.

The beautiful vistas of rivers conjure a fantasy of a communal globalised world. As we watch the swirling river waters, the narration recalls that the Mekong became a dividing line of partition, as family members risked their lives to cross the river to escape to Thailand from the communist regime change of 1975. Piers Masterson reviews the Singapore Biennale, reflecting on highlights from this large, multi-sited and politically charged display.

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Galeria Le Guern, Katowicka 25, 03-932 Warszawa, Poland

Alicja Gaskon: Dividing Lines

Dividing Lines, installation

Inspired by her recent trip to the North Korean border, Warsaw-based artist Alicja Gaskon presents ‘Dividing Lines’: a physical and conceptual representation of the most prominent boundaries through history. From North Korea to the Berlin Wall, and more recently, Trump’s wall, Gaskon’s inquiry accentuates the absence of ethical consideration within the rationale of national preservation. Review by Elaine Y.J Zheng

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Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, 5-9 Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Tai Shani: Tragodía

Tai Shani, Tragodia, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Photograph by Kasia Kaminska

Blue is the first thing that greets you at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. An inviting blue covers the gallery’s exterior windows, providing privacy to those inside. Beyond the blue, as it does on the visible spectrum of light, lies violet. This warm shade of lavender wraps itself around the internal walls and dominates the gallery floor via a large and continuous sculpture in the same hue. Beyond violet on the visible spectrum lies ultraviolet, the invisible, the mystical. In Tai Shani’s ‘Tragodía’ this movement through colour is represented by a virtual reality play which requires special eyewear to view. Review by Aidan Kelly Murphy

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Ikon, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS

ZouZou Group: – door open –

ZouZou Group, St Petersberg Station, still from – door open –, 2019

‘– door open –’ (2014-2019) is a new video artwork of a long standing and ongoing dialogue between two artists, one in Damascus, the other based in England. Toward the end of the twenty-five minute video the English voice-over talks through the technical difficulties the artists encountered over the course of the project. For the safety of the Syrian artist their communications were carried through the ether “by proxy”. Review by Betsy Porritt

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Focal Point Gallery, Elmer Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1NB

David Blandy: The World After

The World After, David Blandy, 2019, installation view.

How many times can the world end? If the current abundance of post-apocalyptic fiction is anything to go by, too many times. Coming out of this crowded field of contemporary art and popular culture is David Blandy’s exhibition ‘The World After’ at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea. The show takes as its subject Canvey Wick on Canvey Island, Essex, the site of a partially built oil refinery that was abandoned after the oil crisis in 1973. A case study in regeneration, the Wick is now a 93.2 hectare nature reserve, and one of the most important areas in Britain for endangered invertebrates. For over a year, Blandy has worked with local gaming communities in Southend to write a fictional future for this site, resulting in a film, an installation and a Dungeons and Dragons-esque role-playing game. Review by Kirsty White

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Frans Hals Museum, Groot Heiligland 62; Haarlem, Netherlands

Marianna Simnett: My Broken Animal

The Needle and the Larynx (video still)

I must treat everything as a given. As such, it seems necessary to accept that Marianna Simnett’s exhibition at the Frans Hals Museum feels like two distinct shows packaged into one on purpose. In taking this rupture seriously, the question would then be, why? What does the two-in-one form do here? With the first body comprised of two works from 2016 and the second of four from 2019, a separation along the lines of the chronological is a start. Review by Isabelle Sully

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Museum of Cycladic Art, Neofitou Douka 4, Athens 106 74, Greece

Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses, Presented by NEON

Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses, Installation view copyright Panos Kokkinias Courtesy NEON

I’ve never seen Lynda Benglis’s work look more relevant than scattered around an opulent Neo-Classical mansion in the shadow of the Acropolis. The Stathatos Mansion is a slave to taste and style, determinedly emulating the great villas of the past, and Benglis’s sculpture is its total opposite. It’s bold, it’s bombastic, even vulgar at times, and unlike Neo-Classicism, never conventional, not even for a second. Review by William Summerfield

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David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London W1S 4EZ

Jockum Nordström: The Anchor Hits the Sand

Installation views of Jockum Nordström: The Anchor Hits the Sand at David Zwirner London, 22 November 2019 - 19 December 2019.

David Zwirner recently featured ‘The Anchor Hits the Sand’, a solo exhibition by Swedish artist Jockum Nordström. Upon entrance, visitors encounter a collection of Nordström’s watercolour collages. The motifs that comprise the works illustrate Nordström’s imaginative spirit and oeuvre. Each composition is peculiar and ambiguous, characterised by various scenes, with figures who seemingly have no apparent relation to one another. Review by Sheena Carrington

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Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024, United States

Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence

How Sweet the Day After This and That, Deep Sleep Is Truly Welcomed

It’s a testament to the strength of the show that it not only introduces us to Pittman’s incredible range, but gives us enough depth to familiarise us with his recurring motifs and hallmarks, allowing us to find a thread through the galleries. Review by Deborah Krieger

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