Gallery run 18th August

Gallery visits by @juliansharplesart, jogging via canals and parks. 9 pics. This week, Samara Scott Battersea Park and clockwise.

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Su Xiaobai at White Cube. Size about 5’x5′ Depth about 6″

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Samara Scott of The Sunday Painter at Pleasure Garden Fountains in Battersea Park. The show called Developer uses fabrics deployed in characteristic casual, meaningful and evocative manner.

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Jiang Zhi at White Cube. Remember these screen blips from 90’s computer technology?

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Thrush Holmes at Beers London using neon and loose brushwork.

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Daniel Sinsel at Sadie Coles HQ with more exploration of surface and illusion.

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Jeff Koons at Gagosian Gallery with a blow-up stainless steel piece complete with two valves.

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Break step!

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Jean Michel Basquiat at Gagosian Gallery.

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Straight on from the bridge shown adjacent.

Sculpture in the City 2016, 12th August

Some artworks take time to absorb fully their significance and this was the case with Michael Lyons sculpture, Centaurus. As a consequence of this, the present gallery run, entitled Sculpture in the City 2016, is described on two separate time scales, the day itself and a few days later from whence I was able to cast my gaze across the City whilst on a separate run and at a greater distance. The inspiration for a critique of this sort was also inspired by the writer Marcel Proust who used the changing distance of a spectator to reveal different truths about an object under mental scrutiny.

Close up, Sculpture in the City is a trail that extends south from the building formerly known as the NatWest tower, and for those who are interested in its design, it displays in its vertical section the logo of the bank. Doubling back at Leadenhall market, one soon arrives at the grand plaza of the Leadenhall Cheesegrater, and then further back one arrives at the plaza of the St Mary’s Axe Gherkin. This doubling back at Leadenhall gives the sculpture trail an overall V shape with the Cheesegrater near the tip.

It was this constellation of three buildings I would see from afar as I jogged round the long curving banks of the Thames a few days later. They formed a slowly rotating compass which would constantly pick out due south thanks to the illumination of a rather vivid red sunset reflecting off the Cheesgrater’s long sloping facade. Thanks also to Michael Lyons sculpture, it would inspire me on my return home to write the present account of the sculpture trail mindful of the fact that some artworks give a delayed reaction to the understanding of their truths.

On the day, Michael Lyon’s sculpture appeared sited on ground level in a plaza close to these iconic buildings. It had a roughly worked steel form and stone plinth and what looked like a gestural curve applied to a horizontal steel bar as a head and which sat atop a thick tapered pole in reference to a neck. It had a presence a bit like a sentinel and its name Centaurus suggested it was distracted by a point or constellation in the southern sky, despite the bright midday sun temporarily obscuring any poetic reference to the stars. Then comes the moment referred to at the beginning of this account, of realisation. The sculpture was actually in alignment with the paving slabs of the plaza and this in turn through the vision of architects, extended to an overall south facing aspect for all the buildings in that little region of the city. Thus from afar I would be looking at London’s Compass as the three buildings of the trail formed a V shaped constellation brought to life by the glowing tip of the foremost building, the Cheesegrater, a compass which would be there in perpetuity for any city visitor henceforth to help them pick out due south and thus guide them on their way.

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Centaurus by Michael Lyons. The sculpture faces due south, as do the surrounding buildings, in fact, and is the inspiration for this week’s blog, the London Compass.

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Gavin Turk in Sculpture In The City

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Huma Bhabha of Stephen Friedman in Sculpture In The City.

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William Kentridge of Marian Goodman gallery. The artist has produced a composite portrait of a poverty stricken figure selling coals.

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Sarah Lucas of Sadie Coles HQ in Sculpture In The City.

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Ugo Rondinone of Sadie Coles HQ in Sculpture In The City.

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Lukas Duwenhogger at Raven Row. Exotic symbol-laden paintings.

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Giuseppe Penone in Sculpture In The City. Bronze tree with smooth boulders.

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Brick Lane activity.

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Anthony Caro of Gagosian in Sculpture In The City. Made from additions to a sea floatation tank.

The Line Sculpture Trail, 4th August

With the galleries on summer holiday, I decided to check out The Line sculpture trail. On the web guide it appears as a stepped graphic, a bit like a ladder, incorporating the letters THE LINE into its design. Its inexorable progress north along The Meridian is augmented midway by a couple of stops on the DLR. This avoids the mouth of the River Lee with its tight bows through industrial estates close to the Thames.

An Oyster card is useful. A first batch of sculptures is accompanied by a surprisingly exciting ride across the Thames on the Emirates cable car. From here I am directed to the DLR, but with my own requirement to do a gallery run, I make my way by foot through the industrial estates rejoining The Line where the Lee has become navigable.

At this stretch of the river one arrives at a sculpture by Damien Hirst, a painted bronze about the size and shape of a camper van. Small blue and red circles are visible in pairs on its surface and in slight relief. They represent blood vessels in cross section. Other vessels are apparent too and in colours that somehow describe their function; sweat glands, hairs and shunts that cool the skin all with the clarity of a medical text book illustration.

The bronze mass mimics a few cubic millimetres of skin, yet has a lusciousness that one might imagine seeing were a serving to be made of a large chunk of trifle after an already hearty meal! The layers are stepped on the upper surface and are articulated in bright colours straying from the anatomical rigour bestowed upon the underlying bronze form with its many fine details. Black hairs sit on top, and here the analogy with trifle must end, curved as though caught by a delicate breeze drawn off the surface of the nearby river. Having taken the photos I leave in search of a DNA spiral made of shopping trolleys.

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Emirates Air Line which forms a vital link crossing the Thames for The Line sculpture trail.

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Opposite larger than life bronze contemporary figure with its own smart phone by Thomas J Price on The Line sculpture trail.

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Carsten Holler of Gagosian joins his spiral tube slide to the spiral tower of Anish Kapoor of Lisson Gallery.

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Antony Gormley of White Cube showing Quantum Cloud on The Line sculpture trail.

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Richard Wilson RA produced Slice of Reality, the title being visible on a life ring on board. The Line sculpture trail.

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Sterling Ruby of Spruth and Magers and Gagosian produced this angular canon-like form. He paid particular attention to the spray paint whose code is displayed in welded lettering on the base. The Line sculpture trail.

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Damien Hirst of White Cube on The Line sculpture trail. The painted bronze sculpture imitates a few cubic millimetres of skin.

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Gary Hume of David Zwirner gallery with brass leg-like forms on The Line sculpture trail.

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Abigail Fallis on The Line sculpture trail. Shopping trolleys imitate structural molecules in a DNA spiral. The poppies were growing round the concrete base.