Cell Graffiti Show

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Show open Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Tension fine art.
135 Maple Road, SE20

Cell Graffiti is my new solo show at Tension Fine Art. Visiting the London Galleries as a jogger helps give an objectivity to the shows, I feel, as you are grinding out those last few miles and reflecting on the art in a state of ego-less exhaustion. So here I should try to be similarly objective about my own show if only through mentioning how the gallery owner and curator, Ken Turner encouraged me to stretch beyond the comfort zone with this installation.

Much of the following review, then, focuses on this experience. Our remit, Ken says, is to take risks and question what art is and what art can be. Hence it was the ping-pong ball theme that caught Ken’s interest and one that I was happy to explore further, encouraged by our shared interests in drawing and unusual media.

Ostensibly the show is ultra traditional since it focuses on themes that reach back to the Italian Renaissance, namely anatomy and humanism. Cell Graffiti is a metaphor for the sort of complex machinery that cells actually produce within themselves and which we simply call proteins. 500 years after Leonardo, then, anatomy has become microscopy whilst humanism, a belief that shared genetic heritage can unite animals, humans and yeasts alike.

Whether one agrees with these sentiments is a matter of personal judgement, but I’ve certainly never expressed them with a walk-through artwork before. Ken reminded me when doubt crept in that I had to be ambitious. Thus the ping-pong ball cell membrane has rightly ended up in the doorway to the gallery feeling the stresses and strains of constant use. No easy option was taken here of just sticking it onto a wall with a price tag.

Though the work is for sale, the main emphasis is to allow the artists freedom to experiment. So, as a postscript to this review, when the current show by myself comes down and the next installation goes up we will see scaffolding, mattresses and builder’s tresses I believe! Tension will not only be accommodating this next round of drilling and madcap ideas, but true to its name, will be actively encouraging it!
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Gallery run 22/2/19

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Tracey Emin at The White Cube Bermondsey until 9th March. Work entitled Another Goodbye in the show A Fortnight of Ashes.

This show focuses on the powerful feelings evoked by love, sex, death and loss. In this piece, located in a room Tracey has renamed the Ashes Room, is a remembrance of the artist’s dead mother.

Remembrance and memory are the themes of this show and the power that they hold over us are clearly visible here. For Tracey, the memorabilia of her past are displayed in glass vitrines, rather like the sealed vessels of Prousts Remembrance of Things Past that hold the long forgotten memories of past habits and routines shared with loved ones. Just as Proust’s vessels burst open when triggered with a sensation often of smell or taste, it looks like these glass vitrines too have been smashed apart and plied their powerful subject matter upon the work in the show.

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Staging Jackson Pollock at The Whitechapel Gallery until 24th March. Not so much about the American artist himself as rather a narrative of two intertwining events. Firstly, the display and eventual purchase of a beautiful painting called number 9, Summertime, by the Tate Gallery and secondly the ground breaking exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery back in 1958, of Jackson Pollock’s works, where this painting was originally displayed on a bespoke wall by modernist architect Trevor Dannat. The wall ran right through the middle of the gallery and epitomised the brutalist architecture of the day. Alongside all this archive material is the real thing. Number 9 has been lent back to the Whitechapel for this show and it is still looking resplendent.

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Woskerski mural near BrickLane.

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Hyon Gyon at Parasol Unit, until 31st March. Work entitled We Were Ugly.

This enormous work running the length of the gallery is composed of 17 styro-foam blocks in the traditional builder’s dimensions of 4 feet wide by 8 feet high. Here the similarities to the building trade comes to an end, however. The bright painted surfaces have been burnt with a soldering iron revealing the blue granular layer that comprises the region behind the picture surface. Paint fuses into this nether world and offers a comparison to the artist’s own psyche, we are told.

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Me in front of my works Life In A Cell and Psychic Space exploring the hidden realities in nature and science.
This is my base in Peckham, Ideas Lab and the start point for each #galleryrunner event.

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John Korner at Victoria Miro until 23rd March. Work entitled Apples as Architecture, 2019 in the show Life in a Box.

For John Korner, apples are a mini-theme and one that I both recognise and love. Previous apple works are Apple Bombs and Running Along Apples. This mini-collection of apple works also offers a clue as to why this show should seem to be all about dynamism, with its running figures, sports track and climbing-frame bar where you receive free alcohol shots on a Friday afternoon, yet its title Life in a Box should simultaneously seem so static. The apples in Korner’s paintings are not strictly still, but pulse across the picture surface leaving behind their glowing after-images. Thus grids and boxes as exemplified by these vibrant apples are therefore only temporary states. Everything is ultimately dynamic and changing.

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Peter Joseph at Lisson Gallery, until 2nd March. Work entitled Dark Blue, Mushroom, Light Blues, Greens and Yellow 2016

These enigmatic works give little away on an intellectual level but nevertheless show the acute aesthetic sensitivity of a 90 year old artist at the top of his game.

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Liu Xiaodong at Lisson Gallery, until 2nd March. Work entitled Weight of Insomnia (Beijing) 2016, in the show Weight of Insomnia.

In a glass vitrine we see a typed proposal for a kind of painting machine, three in fact, that could work tirelessly for several weeks depicting three different landscapes from digital images captured by CCTV. By a certain good fortune one of these CCTV regions would be outside the artist’s own apartment and is the image shown here.
This and the other two images were a great success in the artist’s native China and the project continued to grow, incorporating iconic squares and public spaces in many other countries. The machines are still painting night and day, and one of them is even on show and at work in the present exhibition, where we see scaffolding, some delicate wires, a kind of makeshift print-head and finally a small laptop displaying the CCTV image providing the electronic subject matter of its current painting of Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square.

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Miroslav Balka at White Cube, until 9th March. Show title, Random Access Memory.

Walls are the theme of many news stories currently and here we have two. They are made of corrugated metal sheet, heated to a temperature of 45 degrees, which apparently is the temperature at which the enzymes within organisms begin to denature and their cells die, but when this temperature is delivered by objects resembling giant radiators, they actually feel lovely to rest against. Random Access Memory, the type used by computers to store data, is the show title that adds a more sinister note to these giant structures straddling the galleries.

Gallery run 21st September

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Mary Webb at Hales Gallery with explorations of colour using rectangles as a recurring motif.

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Heidi Bucher at Parasol Unit with latex castings of interior spaces.

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Bit of a litter problem on Regent Street.

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Martine Syms at Sadie Coles with a wall piece that reads in the clockwise direction around the gallery and creates a stream of consciousness revealing amusing moments of self doubt.

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Kemang Wa Lehulere at Marian Goodman with images and sculpture based on South African strife.

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Bob And Roberta Smith at Royal Academy Of Arts with some large scale works, including these door pieces.

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Harold Ancart at David Zwirner with sublime paintings of glaciers.

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Daniel Richter of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with paintings inspired by figures and abstraction.

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Gary Simmons of Simon Lee with images that suggest the cinema. Names of black actors and their films have undergone a process of partial erasure.

Gallery run 15th September

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J B Blunk at Kate MacGarry with oriental ceramics.

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Kim Dorland at Beers London with images of forests, some figures aware of their impending death and a light-hearted egg motif.

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Richard Aldrich at Herald Street with a loose abstract piece.

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Christina Quarles at Pilar Corrias with abstracted figures in bright patterned landscapes.

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Moshekwa Langa at Blain Southern with great abstract works.

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Conrad Shawcross of Victoria Miro with developments on his tetrahedral motif.

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Urs Fischer at Gagosian. The candle is burning.

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Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) of Michael Werner Gallery with familiar animals that have become symbols.

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Keith Farquhar at Cabinet Gallery with familiar objects transformed for our viewing pleasure.

Gallery run 23rd August

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Tracy Emin of White Cube with a delicate bird on pole sculpture. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Simon Periton of Sadie Coles HQ with a delicate cut-out made from painted metal sheet. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Conrad Shawcross of Victoria Miro Gallery with a labyrinth. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Rachel Feinstein of Gagosian Gallery with a florid sculpture set in Regent’s Park at the Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Virginia Overton of White Cube with fab artwork reminiscent of blue collar fabrication. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Bharti Kher of Hauser And Wirth at Frieze Sculpture Park.

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John Baldessari of Marian Goodman Gallery with a 6’7” penguin. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Kiki Smith has created a figure out of a fairy tale. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Elmgreen And Dragset of Galerie Perrotin at Frieze Sculpture Park.

Gallery run 17th August

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Franz Ackermann of White Cube showing memories as a vortex of bright colours.

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Ellen Altfest of White Cube with an intense depiction in oil paint of fibres in a fabric.

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Eddie Peake at White Cube with a striking image using reflective paint and slogan.

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Sign near Tower Bridge.

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Katja Novitskova at Whitechapel Gallery with an installation that combines mechanical rocking chairs for babies, shown, along with images of cells and capitalism.

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Michael Armitage of White Cube with an image of armed terrorists in a shopping centre.

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Georg Baselitz of White Cube with a delicate image.

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Volker Huller at Timothy Taylor

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Antoni Tapies at Timothy Taylor with the canvas detached from the support and then knotted together.

Gallery run 12th August

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David Annesley lovely colours and forms here kick off the Sculpture In The City trail 2018

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Gabriel Lester in Sculpture In The City with bus stop display units commandeered for art.

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Michail Pirgelis of Sprueth Magers with a section of plane.

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Juliana Cerqueira Leite in Sculpture In The City with an object made from hollowing out, by hand, a clay tube and the making a cast of the resulting cavity.

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Sean Scully with a stack sculpture in Sculpture In The City

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Sarah Lucas of Sadie Coles HQ with a great recreation of a formerly kitsch ornament turned to high out partly due to the surreal aubergines cargo.

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Jean Luc Moulene of Thomas Dane Gallery with an object that looks like a beautiful application of vinyl wrap around a super car.

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Thomas J Price of Hales Gallery with striking heads in Sculpture In The City

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Nancy Rubins of Gagosian with a giant metal casting incorporating familiar shapes.