Gallery run 13th April

Like last week, this Gallery-Run-write-up has been reduced to the individual photo captions, shown further down the page, in order to make room for a temporary project called Plus 1 that now follows. Guests join me, hopefully, on a gallery run and will share ideas. Alas there are still no takers, though admittedly I still haven’t really asked anyone else yet, beyond the hopeful invitations shown last week. This week’s article features something entirely different, though still comprising a sort of plus 1, whilst also verging on the confessional! For two months I learnt the names of artists associated with London-Frieze-exhibiting galleries, from lists of paper whilst out jogging being careful not to run into lampposts or pedestrians. Each list could be hand-held and studied. Some even show the effects of rain or of being stuffed into a pocket. Along with a two word summary of something that each artist did, the process helped to create a stack of memory boxes that follows the sequence of the numbered lists shown in the photograph below. The memory boxes automatically bring forth the next in the stack, provided they are cycled through in recall about once every fortnight. The boxes also bring with them an essence of each artist, since they have gradually filled up with experiences of gallery visits. Memory is a strange thing and this sequential recall is probably born through the need to piece together consecutive events in time, something the philosopher David Hume considered to be the rather unphilosophical survival function that shapes the human brain.

listsThe Lists Cycle. Gallery Runner lists in the foreground.

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Pablo Bronstein of Herald Street Gallery with a film that crosses the glam game show format with some of the grand narratives of Greek mythology.

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Bernard Cohen at Flowers Gallery.

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Elizabeth Murray of Pace Gallery showing at Victoria Miro with what looks like biological imagery on the shaped canvas.

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Joan Mitchell at Victoria Miro in a group show.

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Carlos Garaicoa at Parasol Unit with reconstructions of tiled Cuban adverts, albeit with a few alterations.

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Fab boat in Camden.

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Ryan Gander of Lisson Gallery with carved shapes from an important mathematical blueprint. Meanwhile the black pile of sand steadily grows during the show from a thin stream of sand falling out of a hole in the ceiling.

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Pedro Reyes of Lisson Gallery with a room full of sculpture and wall tableaux forming a complete system of ideas, some executed and some pending.

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Ian Cheng of Pilar Corrias showing at Serpentine Galleries. We see what appears to be a simple animation but gradually learn that the creature is living in real time and using a sort of AI to try things out and get used to its rather unusual body.

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Gallery run 5th April

To start the Plus1 series, several invites have been made and sent out to people in the art world. This is perhaps the fantasy aspect of this project but sets out some of the key markers that define what Gallery Runner is about. This week features two of the best invites sent out. Alas, for the reader expecting a co-runner already, there are no takers yet. Fingers crossed on this one. Cards went to amongst others, Hans Ulrich Obrist of The Serpentine Gallery and Victoria Siddall of Frieze, featuring on the front covers the best Gallery Runner images acquired from the various shows they staged.

HansSerpentine Gallery, best of.

VictoriaFrieze, best of.

The images from my solo run are shown below and were harvested from a run up to Hackney along the Regent’s Canal. Here Hales Gallery featured and then slightly west, Beers UK. Then we see two artists at BlainSouthern. Michael Werner features on the western flank of the run close to Hyde Park, whilst the run due south brings us to Corvi Mora and Greengrassi. The respective photos of the eight artists showing at these galleries are shown below along with the various captions that have already been used on Instagram.

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Sebastiaan Bremer of Hales Gallery with altered photographs modified through the application of minute drops of paint on the surfaces.

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Daniel Jensen at Beers London with sculptures made from simple everyday materials.

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Mark Posey at Beers London with delicate paintings of still-lifes.

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Wim Wenders of Blain Southern with a selection of his many Polaroids taken during his film-making.

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Gabriella Boyd at Blain Southern with slightly surreal paintings.

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A.R.Penck of Michael Werner with colourful paintings from the 1980’s when the artist had finally crossed from East Germany to the west.

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Government building near Westminster actually looking rather good in the afternoon sun today.

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Myra Greene at Corvi Mora with small photographic portraits that use pigment on glass, a process used 150 years ago and a hint too at the important freedoms won for slaves in the US by Lincoln at the same historic period.

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David Musgrave of Greengrassi with illusionistic paintings of peeling paint.

Gallery run 29th March

Today I visit Stuart Shave’s two galleries using a route suitable for joggers and cyclists and then a further batch of galleries in the West End ideal for the urban pedestrian.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel gives access to the Isle of Dogs and by running round the perimeter of the City Farm on its raised walkway, the farm itself appearing to sit in what was once a major reservoir, the jogger quickly accesses the great docks once owned by the East India company. From here the Regent’s Canal is reached via the Limehouse Basin and this provides the cyclist or keen jogger with the route to Stuart Shave’s gallery near Victoria Park. Eva Rothschild is showing sculptures on both floors of this very large space and has organised the works to harmonise with it. Using the next stretch of the canal to access Wharf Road, the longer range gallery visitor can get to the second Stuart Shave gallery, located just off Old Street. Here, Ricky Swallow has produced intricate, coloured, bronze sculptures that occupy the entire space with their presence, despite having small physical dimensions.

Frith Street, about four streets west of Charing Cross Road, is a good place for the urban pedestrian to join the trek. Frith Street Gallery is showing a small group show that includes Jessica Warboys, who has created some great canvases using the sea as a fluid medium to move pigments around and to deposit additional silt-like particles of matter onto their surfaces. They have a delicate appearance with rhythmic patterns that makes them look as though they were actually being viewed through water. Using a road just north of Old Compton Street as a parallel access to Regent’s Street, Liberty comes into sight and marks the beginning of Kingly Street and this in turn leads to Sadie Coles HQ. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd has a deeply gothic theme that the viewer would enjoy, though they must beat the 7th April end date. Finally a dog-leg at the bottom of the street leads to Upper John Street and Golden Square. Marian Goodman has been showing some great works by Thomas Struth, Cristina Iglesias and Giuseppe Penone, but this was a last-day visit and not therefore, a show that can be visited now on this route.

Finally Frith Street’s other gallery sits alongside the square itself in the peaceful enclave just off Piccadilly. Photographs are presented of the brickwork inside tunnels where water of another kind, when taken in contrast to Warboys’ sea works, has created extensive marks, deposits and stains on the victorian architecture. Carry on down now along Lower Regent Street, or parallel to it which is what happened today, and Trafalgar Square comes into sight. Michael Rakowitz has a majestic sculpture on view on the square’s fourth plinth.

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Eva Rothschild of Stuart Shave with various sculptural objects carefully presented in the space.

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Ricky Swallow of Stuart Shave with cast bronze objects based on incidental interior features.

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Jessica Warboys at Frith Street Gallery with images made by immersing pigmented canvases in the sea.

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Marvin Gaye Chetwynd of Sadie Coles HQ with gothic imagery based on bats and theatre props presented against flat photo backdrops.

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Thomas Struth of Marian Goodman with a photo of physics objects that would make one’s hair stand on end.

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Cristina Iglesias of Marian Goodman with a hard looking cage-like structure which on closer inspection is delicate and made of a granular substance that actually smells quite nice.

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Giuseppe Penone of Marian Goodman with a characteristic adaptation of a natural object.

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John Riddy of Frith Street Gallery with photo images of stained brickworks made during a stroll through South London.

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The fourth plinth has arrived. Michael Rakowitz has built a replacement for the original stone treasure recently destroyed, out of tin cans.

Gallery run 23rd March

This week’s run accesses Hollybush Gardens, via Brick Lane and The Regent’s Canal. From here it progresses west to the hub of galleries near St James’ Park and Regent’s Street. The first stretch, like last week, is too far to walk though well worth the journey. The remaining hub is very accessible to the pedestrian and offers a nice selection of current work.

A classic stop-off point on Brick Lane is Beigel Bake where apple strudel costs just 80p. With a refuelling stop of choice items the longer-range London traveller can weave up some backstreets past Hoxton Overground station whilst maintaining a course parallel to Kingsland Road before they reach The Regent’s Canal. Go west for a few miles until the various gas frames at Kings Cross come into view and then switch south heading down Gray’s Inn Road. Hollybush Gardens is situated in a low-lying segment of Farringdon and on show is Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid. The viewer will see a room full of painting extending onto additional objects propped upright on the floor, objects whose original utility is immediately recognisable.

A good place for the more sedate traveller to join the trek is at Duke Street St James, where Thomas Dane and White Cube are both located. They are presenting respectively, art formerly linked to Brazilian Street art, in the case of Jose Damescano, and art using refrigeration units to produce a glistening white frost, in the case of Pier Paola Calzolari. A lovely little show further on at Mazzoleni Gallery on Albemarle Street is also well worth a visit.

David Zwirner on Grafton Street has the pick of the day in my opinion, hosting Andrzej Wroblewski, a Polish artist who oozes Eastern Block charm. His Chauffeur series features drivers with their back turned to the viewer. A Gauguinesque blaze of colour near the driver’s head appears to demarcate that area of the vehicle window where the subject’s own psyche has intervened into this external world. Down Hay Hill lies Berkeley Street and Simon Lee Gallery. Two great shows are on here featuring Roy Newell’s tiny abstracts and Micelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror images. Finally, though this show is no longer on, Sophie Von Hellermann has been exhibiting some lovely loose paintings at Pilar Corrias. Formally of Vilma Gold, which shut last Autumn, the artist has found a good replacement with this gallery on Eastcastle Street.

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Lubaina Himid of Hollybush Gardens with a painted piano lid.

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Jose Damasceno of Thomas Dane Gallery with a small intervention on the eyes of Brazilian money-prints.

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Pier Paola Calzolari at White Cube who uses refrigeration units in his sculptures to produce pure whites.

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Mel Bochner at Mazzoleni Gallery.

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Andrzej Wroblewski at David Zwirner with an image from his Chauffeur series.

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Roy Newell at Simon Lee Gallery with meticulously worked miniature paintings.

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Michelangelo Pistoletto of Simon Lee Gallery with shelving images on his characteristic mirror backgrounds.

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Jean Dubuffet at Timothy Taylor with one his familiar cellular-based sculptures.

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Sophie Von Hellermann of Pilar Corrias with colourful paintings from the imagination.

Gallery run 16th March

The write-up this week will describe the connecting route between Matt’s Gallery in Bermonsey, Kate MacGarry’s gallery near Brick Lane and finally a cluster of galleries in the West End, the latter beginning with Herald Street’s new space near the British Museum in Holborn. This first section, described above, is only suitable for cyclists and joggers since it covers about 10 miles but it is well worth the effort with a lovely section through Southwark Park and along the River Thames. A second section, beginning near the British Museum, the location of Herald Street’s new gallery, comprises an excellent group of shows all within walking distance of each other and these will be described in paragraph three.

The day starts then with a jog to Matt’s new gallery space to see Mandy Ure’s curious abstract paintings. The gallery is doing a sequence of short one week shows and with this fast turnover has quite an itinerary lined up. The space is small but the artist list for future shows is impressive including Ben Rivers who has previously exhibited at Kate MacGarry. Southwark Park is a gem in Bermondsey and its immediate access at the far end onto The River creates a great, green corridor until Tower Bridge, allowing some poetic license for the building site near the bridge. A jog up Brick Lane then brings us to Kate MacGarry, previously mentioned, and Laura Gannon has a lovely show of ripped canvases covered in metallic paint. Gentle and poetic is my immediate impression.

The route to Holborn is not particularly interesting or worthy of comment but the show at Herald Street is strong consisting mainly of sculptural objects. Here would be a good place for the gallery walker to join the route as they would have a treat in store for them with this second section. To continue on this stage, take the first route west. Old Compton Street followed by Brewer Street is good and then by wending past Lower John Street and across Regent’s Street you will have access to Sprovieri on Heddon Street. Tucked away amongst restaurants, look for number 23 and the crew will invite you up to the first floor to see Francesco Arena’s thought provoking works based on the theme of time. Just round the corner we would then reach a hub of three gallery spaces on Savile Row. Take note of the two at Hauser and Wirth. There is a painting bonanza with interesting themes of recycling in the case of Matthew Day Jackson and social equality for Lorna Simpson. Hers are fantastic images with thin washes of vivid blues to create a sublime spectacle of glaciers. Across the road we see Ordovas gallery and the London Painters show that mirrors the current show at Tate Britain, with great works by Freud, Bacon and Kossoff.

Finally by walking, or jogging, across the dog leg that leads to St George’s Street, you would come to Victoria Miro and see the works of Jules de Balincourt. His are paintings from the imagination and are extremely beautiful. Along with Leon Kossoff at Ordovas, he has the most likes on this week’s Instagram post.

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Mandy Ure at Matt’s Gallery with small abstracts.

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Laura Gannon at Kate MacGarry with cut canvases painted with metallic pigments.

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Michael Dean of Herald Street.

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Amalia Pica of Herald Street showing a small cluster of castings of shell-like objects.

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Francesco Arena of Sprovieri Gallery with a performance stool. It can only be sat on by someone whose age is 33, the difference in age between artist and father. A death will cause this interval to change and that will impede on the required age for the stool-performer.

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Matthew Day Jackson of Hauser and Wirth with recreations of Dutch still life paintings made with DIY materials.

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Leon Kossoff at Ordovas.

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Lorna Simpson at Hauser and Wirth with delicate washes on screenprinted and newspaper images.

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Jules de Balincourt of Victoria Miro with vividly coloured landscapes populated by crowds of small figures.

Gallery run 9th March

The day begins with a jog up to White Cube Gallery in Mason’s Yard. Minjung Kim has used traditional Korean craft techniques to lay down layers of ultra-thin mulberry tree paper into rhythmic compositions. The paper has many uses outside of art in the artist’s native country including as window panes, due to its strength even in thin layers allowing light to diffuse between the various natural fibres. Downstairs, the artworks are vividly coloured. The paper has been dyed and applied in layers, with each piece burnt along one edge in a ritualistic gesture by the artist, one that we are told is accompanied by the smell of incense and a discipline of complete silence. The overall effect on the artworks is to create textured regions of intense colour reminiscent of flowers and natural vegetation.

In Sprueth and Magers just across Piccadilly, Anthony McCall is displaying a light installation. His use of a smoke-like mist in these light-works, allows the experience to be a 3D one rather than just the conveyance of an image from one flat medium, a digital Jpeg in a projector, to a screen on the far wall. Yes, the screen is still present as the final destination for the image, but the light wends its way through wisps of smoke, like in those cigarette-friendly cinemas of one’s youth, catching the little eddies of particles on the way, creating straight shimmering beams of light across the room. The image itself is simple enough, a single line that is curved into an ellipse, sometimes perfectly rounded, sometimes dislocated into a stepped join between end and beginning, but the transition between the two is captivating as the digital projector slowly cycles from the one to the other.

At Grosvenor Hill a few hundred metres further on, is the Gagosian Gallery. A burst of applause echoes from within the furthest room. Glenn Brown had given me a great tutorial twenty years ago and he is instantly recognisable as the same chap. With his address to a group of visitors in the background and my own sketchy knowledge of some of his main artistic concerns gleaned during that generous four hour tutorial, the work on display takes on an extra depth. The painting is ultra flat as many of us would be familiar with, whilst the waxy trails of paint from the historical canon he explores, are simulated with intricate brushwork. These labour intensive works used to net the artist just a couple of pounds an hour, a fact which he presented as a footnote to the precarious business of being an artist, during the aforementioned tutorial. It was interesting to hear from this address that whilst the paintings are still labour intensive, twenty years later, the intricate sketching style of some of the accompanying drawings is actually very quick to execute. Here, expertise of his medium appears to have allowed the artist to bend some of those time constraints of the beautiful painted works, and create an image that takes on the same rapid fluidity as those very lines he has imitated.

A second major gallery sits just round the corner and is the home of Almine Rech. Gunther Forg has several large photographs on display of variously imposing buildings. These are neo-classical in style and each is emblazoned with a title depicting the particular institution it houses. Whilst the titles such as GEOLOGIA and MUSICA are true to the original photographs, rendered in various block capitals in concrete or metal, and sitting above the grand entranceways, they nevertheless form a more extended and general index of knowledge, one which is familiar to us from library shelves and TV documentaries. Meanwhile, the buildings have a grand scale themselves, both in their photographic representation and in their actual physical size. Presented together along one wall, the images appear monumental and we get that rare sense of an illusionistic space that is actually bigger than the expansive gallery it has been presented in.

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Minjung Kim at White Cube who makes images from thin layers of mulberry tree paper.

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Tonico Lemos Auad of Stephen Friedman.

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Bjarne Melgaard of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with recently finished work that fills the room with an aroma of linseed oil and paint from their drying surfaces.

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Sturtevant at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac.

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Anthony McCall at Sprueth Magers with slowly moving light projections, which uses a smoke-like substance in addition to a screen, to capture the image. The public are encouraged to move through the space and disrupt the image.

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Bosco Sodi of Blain Southern with a piece at Philips.

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Glenn Brown of Gagosian showing paintings where the brush marks of oil paint are simulated with a flat almost photographic surface.

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Gunther Forg of Almine Rech.

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Sculptures on Grosvenor Hill.

Gallery run 4th March

This has been the week of the big freeze. Whilst it’s been possible to run in the snow, the prospect of having to then shake off the snowflakes upon ringing a gallery buzzer, has been enough for me to delay these visits to this Sunday. First stop is Tate Modern where a stack of materials including red buckets and wooden pallets occupies an almost perfect cube of gallery space. This work is by Tony Cragg and represents the early development of an artist who would go on to create his familiar idiomatic style of layered figures with beautifully smooth machine-worked surfaces.

The Barbican lies due north, over the Millennium footbridge, past St Paul’s Cathedral and across the raised walkway that takes one from the old city walls near the Museum of London to the unassuming doorway on level 2. The banality of the Barbican’s entranceway offers a sort of parallel to the concrete facades outside, confirming the utopian ideal that culture itself should provide the colour and nuances that these physical surfaces lack. This is not an unreasonable or untenable position to take. Frequent visits are nearly always rewarded by the work on show and today is no exception. Yto Barrada, an artist represented internationally by Pace Gallery, has echoed some of the utopian concerns of the hosting site, by depicting another ambitious building project in Agadir, where the greatest architects of the 50’s laid down their smooth lines against the backdrop of a city ruined by civil war. To capture this unique moment in history, the artist has juxtaposed simple wall drawings of the various radical buildings against items of furniture made from more traditional North African weaving techniques.

Maureen Paley is the only commercial gallery I would go on to visit today, since it offers the gracious distinction of being open on a Sunday whilst also exhibiting one of my favourite artists, Kaye Donachie. The paintings are primarily of women and this indeed is one of the show’s themes, to recreate the lost history of which these women were an important part, and in this sense the paintings offer an alternative view of reality. The dissolving forms that loosely depict these figures offer a kind of critique of this failed history, a history that has not managed to grow or take root, by showing instead not a photographic likeness but rather a likeness that seems to have been fashioned from chance events. A nose with distinct outline takes on the additional burden of sporting a giant brush mark, one that has obliterated its curved form, yet somehow this addition works and the facial feature seems strengthened rather than undermined by it.

Finally at Chisenhale Gallery we have dentistry raised to the level of art. This is not because the golden tooth that would be inserted into the artist’s mouth is particularly beautiful nor is it anything to do with recent developments of artworks taking on the narratives of prosthetics or plastic surgery. No, this dental procedure comes as a rather beautiful gesture by the artist, Lydia Ourahmane, who had the tooth inserted as a delicate and empathetic response to her own grandfather. He had in fact extracted all his own teeth in a decisive gesture against the then ruling French government. As a native to north Africa, he was at odds with their presence in his country. Then faced with the impossible position of being required to fight for them, he decided to render himself unfit for service by taking the drastic action described. This story is revealed in the gallery through the body of the artist, his grand daughter. An X ray depicts her own mouth before having the tooth inserted, whilst next to it mounted on the wall is a little nugget of gold, a second identical gold tooth in fact, since the artist had actually had two made, which offer a sort of tableaux vivant of these various events of fifty years ago.

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During the big freeze, on the day of the hoped-for gallery run. It was too cold.

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Tony Cragg at Tate Modern.

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Wheat objects woven together by Ana Lupas. This was based on a traditional Romanian practice.

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Yto Barrada of Pace Gallery showing at the Barbican Curve with drawings of the modernist buildings in Agadir set against traditional woven chairs and lampshades.

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Kaye Donachie of Maureen Paley.

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Lydia Ourahmane at Chisenhale Gallery has produced a historical artwork. The gold tooth is a copy of the one the artist had inserted in remembrance of her grandfather who had extracted his own as part of his resistance to French rule.

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Regent’s Canal after the big freeze.

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Flavie Audi and Samantha Lee with large projections of iPad screens and an accompanying dancer at Specisl Projects on Decima Street.

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Adam Linder choreographed dance at South London Gallery.