The artists in ‘Parade’ are woven together with common threads of narrative and socially engaged themes. In vivid colours and an assortment of textures, the exhibition boasts multi-sensory appeal. Review by Sara Makari-Aghdam
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.
‘– 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
‘Incursions, Departures’ presents two audio essays by Justin Barton and the late Mark Fisher. Fisher remains one of our most influential thinkers; surprisingly, this event marks the first opportunity to listen to these works together. Review by William Rees
‘Chips and Egg’ quotes a classic piece of British cinema,’ Shirley Valentine’. The film tells the story of a Liverpool housewife breaking out of her world of domestic cliché to embark on a spontaneous Greek holiday and find love and adventure only to end up in another set of clichés. This is precisely the self-digesting system of cultural production that’s light-heartedly recognised by this exhibition. The success of ‘Chips and Egg’ lies in highlighting the beauty and sincerity in seemingly futile repetition for the sake of care, survival, indulgence and art. Review by Sonja Teszler
Smile. Chances are you’re on camera. ‘Now You See Me: Visualising the Surveillance State’ provides an incisive exploration of the ubiquity of surveillance technologies; referencing strategies of observation and power from the 18th century and illustrating their intensified application in our modern world. Underpinning the exhibition, curated by Ashley Lumb with assistance by Kate Matthews, is a structuring dichotomy of visibility and invisibility, with the influence of the Panopticon – an architectural fixture designed by Jeremey Bentham in 1785 for use in prisons – looming large over the history of modern surveillance. Review by Daniel Pateman
For ‘Jerwood Collaborate!’ Jerwood Arts commissioned four emerging and early career collectives and collaborative practitioners, Array, Languid Hands, Shy Bairns and Keiken + George Jasper Stone, enabling the groups to create new work and build on their existing practices. The variety in the practices exhibited demonstrate the different modes and outcomes of working together, encompassing everything from protest banners and marches, zine making and friendship quizzes and video and CGI work. Review by Emily Hale
‘you feel me_’ opened on 31st October 2019―a fitting day on which to interrogate all things systemic and speculative. For one thing it was Halloween, and for another, it was the day on which the UK had been billed to leave the European Union. The press material for FACT’s new group show knowingly invites its viewers to “feel the future and imagine a world without division”, and interrogate power structures both literal and more abstract. Review by Lucy Holt
The space below 180 The Strand feels labyrinthine and immersive – shuffling through the exhibition, there is no real sense of where anything is in relation to anything else. The works occur sequentially, with no overlap between worlds and no deviation from this path. A varied approach to texture, sound, and scent add to the feeling of discrete worlds, as does the lighting, with rooms ranging from almost totally dark or U.V. for Chen’s photographs to the stark, blindingly white light as in Huanca’s installation, or the blue neon strip lighting that extends from the virtual reality of the screen into the space itself in Lek’s work. Review by Katie McCain
The figure of the twin is one that resonates with the history of Coventry, one of the first cities to form an international partnership, first twinning with Volgograd 75 years ago. The Biennial draws on this theme, showing work from artists based in several of these twinned cities, alongside recent graduates from the area, and both local and international artists. Besides exploring international relations in the current political moment, themes of the Anthropocene, nature and technology, pairing artistic practice and academic research and acts of repetition emerge throughout the exhibitions. Review by Emily Hale
The group painting exhibition ‘The World Without Us’ is based on the book by Professor Eugene Thacker at The New School, New York, called: ‘In the Dust of This Planet’. The nihilist book is a meditation on the meaning of life, or rather re-imagines a world where life has no purpose. A world plagued by catastrophe, suffering, threats of war and extinction — this isn’t a world of fairy-tales and happy endings but daily horrors created by man’s destructive nature and incessant consumption. Review by Sara Makari-Aghdam
Taking its point of departure and title from Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ (1490-1510), the current exhibition at Gropius Bau brings together the wide-ranging work of twenty international artists. The state of the garden serves as a microcosmic starting point, from which expansive ideas and wider dialogues emerge about colonialism, systems of sharing, borders and structures of thought. With contributing artists including Yayoi Kusama, Pipilotti Rist, Hicham Berrada and more, the exhibition moves from the paradisiacal to the provocative, the reflective to the revolutionary, and shifts between global and individual lenses. Review by Eva Szwarc
The title of the pavilion is ‘History Has Failed Us But No Matter’, curated by Hyunjim Kim, and nods to a struggle against the social and geopolitical framework that a person is born into, yet simultaneously, understanding yourself in relation to this framework. Kim has worked with three female artists; a first in the pavilion's history. Together the artists, Hwayeon Nam, siren eun young jung and Jane Jin Kaise, challenge ideas related to tradition and the canon of gender, mediating on the emancipatory potential of tradition (opposed to tradition being a barrier) for East Asian women. Review by Laura O’Leary
This is the third year of Jerwood Staging Series, a curatorial project that creates events of work that includes film, installation, performance, and discussion. This year’s four artists are diverse in their interests and work: Onyeka Igwe, a London artist and filmmaker absorbed in the archive, place, and the body; Essex-based Rebecca Moss, whose work plays with slapstick and absurdism; multi-disciplinary artist and sculptor AJ Stockwell; and Birmingham-based curator and researcher Seán Elder. Harriet Smith Hughes reviews two of the Series’ events.