Gallery run 7th February

The Regent’s Canal highway describes a sort of subjective experience of running on the towpath between Hackney and Regent’s Park. Though not particularly fast in the physical sense the towpath seems quick in a kind of existential sense, namely that with several galleries dotted along its route a sensation of speed is produced by the sheer lack of things that need to be done or thought about during the journey. A few glances at boats, the occasional meandering daydream is all that separates one gallery on the canal from the next. Suddenly the finger is on the buzzer awaiting entry to Victoria Miro Gallery. Jorge Pardo, who is of Cuban American extraction and now living in Mexico, is showing wall-mounted structures that resemble beautifully coloured screens. They are painted, but not in a traditional sense, for the colour emerges from an interaction of minute speckles of paint which have either been created from abrasions into a surface of many layers or, and this seems the case here, have in fact been created completely intentionally by a programmed computer and application device. A thin hair’s-breadth groove around each speckle provides the clue that the speckles themselves have been applied with deliberate intent. On a larger scale, that is on the scale of the entire objects, we see rhythmic patterns running right across their surfaces. Waves and flow lines appear as the eye scans the intricately cut plastic and fibrous sheets. For the lamps this experience is enhanced further by the presence of the interior light source which provides a strong contrast between material and void. In addition this light source promotes a change of geometry in the object. Rather than being planar, as was the case with the wall mounted works, these lamp-like objects are radial. Intricately cut sheets of coloured plexi-glass fan out from the centre, like an elaborate array of coloured cooling fins, conveying their subtle glows to the object’s fragmented surface.

Back on the canal highway, Regent’s Park soon offers a route south to the West End. At Simon Lee Gallery, there is a display of the late works by Hans Hartung. Accompanying this display is a film that shows the artist in a wheel chair, since he is an old man, spraying and flicking paint across large expanses of canvas. Known for his gestural abstraction, the artist is now using a prosthetic device comprising a stick wand and spray nozzle. In the gallery we see the result and how the artist succeeds in his express intention of mimicking the forces of nature. Partly these forces reside within the paint itself causing the drops to cling to one another or else suddenly break free as though they were a shower of ejecting particles, but there is a deeper connection to nature too, manifest most clearly when the work has taken on more complex forms such as a spiral motif in one outstanding example. Here it is as though the artist has attuned himself to the various rhythms that define the universe itself allowing him to represent the more complex forces that create the various spinning and oscillating systems around us.

With Corvi Mora and Greengrassi galleries pairing up this month, several artists are on display in the main viewing space and it requires careful checking of the paperwork to determine which gallery is associated with which artist. Tatsuo Ikeda who as it turns out is with Greengrassi, though in previous years has also exhibited with the blue-chip giant Gagosian, has produced surreal drawings of figures sporting various limbs for locomotion, as well as prosthetic cones. The artwork is very proficient, which allows us not only to enjoy the images, but also to engage with the various distortions of nature without rejecting them on the grounds of incredulity. The images are therefore accepted on account of their near photographic-like appearance. As a passing observation it seems that the two dominant features of these works, namely their Surrealism and their Realism of execution, turn out to be unlikely bedfellows, despite the apparent contradiction of these two terms.

Jorge Pardo at Victoria Miro with laser cut plastic in exotic lamps that nevertheless look very traditional.

Pablo Bronstein of Herald Street Gallery showing drawings at RIBA of pseudo-Georgian architecture.

Matt Saunders of Marian Goodman Gallery.

Hans Hartung at Simon Lee Gallery with paintings from late in his career made using spray nozzles and paint-covered olive branches that he could manipulate from his wheelchair.

Estate near Greengrassi and Corv iMora galleries looking resplendent against a blue sky this afternoon.

Tatsuo Ikeda at Greengrassi group show for Condo 2018.

Kye Christensen Knowles at Corvi Mora and Greengrassi group show as part of Condo 2018.

John Lindell at Corvi Mora for Condo 2018.

Sable E Smith at Greengrassi and Corvi Mora group show as part of Condo 2018.


Gallery run 9th November

After a run through St James’ park and spotting a black swan, which in 1738 was used as an example by philosopher David Hume of an inconceivable event of such rarity that it might as well be compared to the Earth no longer orbiting the sun, today’s run continues northwards to the first gallery of the day. The galleries themselves are subject to similar laws of induction that aroused the attention of Hume, whereby oft repeated events start to seem almost necessary in the future, and in this vein, today’s planning takes into account that it would be almost inconceivable that White Cube gallery and Marian Goodman should not open at 10am, Sadie Coles HQ and Thomas Dane galleries would not open at 11am and Mother’s Tank Station would not open at 12 noon, though in the case of the latter there is slightly less inductive certainly of this owing to the status of the gallery as a relative newcomer.

With an itinerary set out, then, for the arrival at each gallery shortly after their respective opening times, the run is under way. First stop is White Cube. Haim Steinbeck has made elaborate shelves that look almost like triangular plinths. He has then arranged objects on them and in many cases even embedded the objects into smaller triangular plinths that nestle into the larger ones, fitting snuggly due to their precision of craftsmanship. The press release claims that these resting and embedded objects evoke nebulous associations reminiscent of how words function in a sentence. As a witty addition to this worthy aim, the current show uses surfboard fins in a variety of different coloured plastics. They have been flipped over whence they resemble the fins of sharks, the bane of any surfer, and function as a cipher for the commodified terror that has permeated our popular culture with films like Jaws. Elsewhere and with the clock confidently past 10am Marian Goodman gallery is hosting Hiroshi Sugimoto. This artist has photographed movie theatres and music halls incorporating a white projector screen as both focal point and also sole light source. Appearing as brightly lit, white rectangles these screens have in fact acquired the illusion of being white through the conjunction of the flickering forms of an actual movie and the long exposure of the artist’s photograph.

As the clock strikes 12 noon, Mother’s Tank station seems to be strangely elusive. The SatNav dot is directly above my location and then a glance upwards reveals the viaduct that straddles Farringdon road and which defines the upper level of the City’s geography at this point upon which Mother’s Tankstation is also situated. Yuri Pattison has excavated into the fixtures and fittings of the gallery’s temporary space and created small cavities. A square ceiling panel is casually pushed to one side whilst on the floor, tiny traces of carpet adhesive accompany the occasional excavations downwards. Circuit boards and computer screens populate this strange part-hidden world and on these circuit boards, which are fully functioning, software creates migrating crowds of tiny figures which interact with each other and even, as the gallery assistant tells us, commit a few murders.

Finally, at Whitechapel Gallery a small show of previously stored artworks is enjoying a rare exposure to the public. Michael Borreman’s hoodie portrait is stunning whilst Jim Lambie’s red and and silver bags is equally impressive . It is assembled, one assumes, into some sort of soul, since the secondary theme of this show is portraiture. Lambie’s piece actually evokes the feeling that it has been seen before which either means that this is the case or, more impressively perhaps, that it hasn’t been seen before, since this after all is the remit of the show, and that instead it has acquired its sense of familiarity by actually tapping into some sort of fundamental truth which simply makes it seem familiar.

Black swan and white swan in St. James’ Park.

Haim Steinbach of White Cube with wall mounted arrangements of objects that create associations like sentences.

Hiroshi Sugimoto at Marian Goodman Gallery with photos of old cinemas. The artist has used long exposures whilst a film plays in the cinema he is photographing, causing the cinema screen to appear white.

Thomas Schutte of Frith Street Gallery with glass busts blown in the Murano workshops of Venice.

Catherine Opie of Thomas Dane Gallery with intimate photographic portraits.

Yuri Pattison of Mother’s Tank Station with computer screen imbedded in the gallery ceiling which is showing crowds of small figures. These are generated by a computer programme and can be observed acting in certain ways and with certain objectives.

Ad Minoliti at Project Native Informant with an installation of painted wall and two inkjet reproduced images.

Jim Lambie of Sadie Coles HQ at Whitechapel Gallery.

Michael Borremans of David Zwirner with a typical hidden face painting, at Whitechapel Gallery.

Gallery run 14th September

The day starts with a diversion to Clapham Junction. My partner is on a business trip abroad and has forgotten her phone. Having made the rendezvous and said a second farewell, it is only a short distance to Chelsea College. The college is located near Tate Britain and is hosting an MA fine art student show, the last of the season. Two painters on display are of particular note. Naoya Inose has produced fantastical landscapes incorporating architectural structures with enormous walls, bathed in the glow of a low sun which has simultaneously illuminated vast ranges of clouds. In contrast Mikolaos Panagiotopoulos has created a much more intimate space populated with variously wrought figures that are lifelike though suggesting in places a more cartoon-like idiom.

Next door the Tate has a grand retrospective of Rachel Whiteread and although it is a pay show, a large display has been installed in the Duveen Galleries, the enormous central space reserved primarily for sculpture. The pastel lozenges, which the sculptor has cast from coloured resin, bare the imprints of legs and chair bottoms and suggest that these are solid embodiments of the empty spaces beneath seats. A moment of reflection on the nature of chairs follows before noticing too, the glow of light that is trapped and preserved in the resin forms, the source being the sun of course, which is wending its way round the skylights above the gallery.

Close by in this central space, Lynda Benglis has produced what looks like a pile of molten metal cast into a generic corner. This pile finds its particular fit amongst the London stone of Tate Britain flanked by occasional classical columns.

Then it is a short jog through St James’ Park to Pace Gallery where Jean Debuffet’s late collage works are on display from a private collection. They demonstrate a striking use of juxtaposition as hundreds of drawings appear to have sought each other out as though by a natural force and collected into several perfectly ordered groups. Each framed cluster is rich in narrative through its varied fragments, but yet is unified through similarities of colour, theme and other parameters far too subtle to even put into words.

Finally at Sadie Coles HQ, TJ Wilcox has produced three films using an interview style done with great sensitivity. The restauranteur Fergus Henderson describes the joys of food with engaging anecdotes and slowly one becomes aware too, through the direct and honest replies, about the interviewee’s illness and treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Though the speech is sometimes hard to follow, necessitating subtitles, the interview is full of life. I stand there for a full twenty minutes simply enjoying the story, the images and the slow revelation of someone’s fascinating life.

Naoya Inose at Chelsea MA Fine Art, with great landscapes.

Mikolaos Panagiotopoulos at Chelsea MA Fine Art with elegantly combined images of figures.

Rachel Whiteread of Gagosian Gallery on show at Tate Britain.

Lynda Benglis of Thomas Dane Gallery with a piece on show at Tate Britain.

Michael Fullerton of Carl Freedman Gallery with a portrait of John Peel in Tate Britain.

Jean Dubuffet at Pace London with images built up from drawings collages onto the canvas.

Lucy McKenzie and Paulina Olowska with a striking piece up for auction.

Danh Vo of Marian Goodman Gallery with a piece up for auction.

TJ Wilcox at Sadie Coles HQ interviewing charismatic restaurateur Fergus Henderson. There was too much salt in a friend’s batch of cucumber soup.


Gallery run 29th June

Today is the RCA degree show in Wandsworth and with a midday opening time, the run will start slightly later and will incorporate a zigzag to the bacon sandwich van parked outside Wandsworth’s recycling depot. The woman frying the bacon is quite chatty and says she has been up working since 6am, whilst in turn I tell her I have come along the Thames from Peckham on a gallery run.

At the degree show, two adjacent rooms stand out as exceptional containing respectively the work of MA sculpture student Rosie Reed and MA painting student Feline Minne. The work by the the sculptor has a sense of abandon to it. A stack of pots and brushes are covered in paint whilst alongside stand three towers containing yet more paint-covered pots. They resemble those organic chimneys found above termite nests to provide ventilation for the colony. Clearly there are formal principles behind the work but there is also a sort of mimesis that one finds sometimes in art whereby the very thing that gives rise to anxiety, namely dirty brushes and pots, is thrust into the artwork itself and becomes its subject. Meanwhile the paintings in the adjacent room maintain this sense of freedom using loosely applied paint which somehow has a chunkiness to it despite its application in thin drippy layers.

Further east along the Thames, having doubled back almost the entire route, is Cabinet gallery set amongst its fantastic location of Vauxhall zoo. Inside, the artworks of Gillian Carnegie are no less alive than the goats that are roaming outside. The paintings somehow retain one vital ingredient that is lost to the poorer pretenders of her craft of still life. This ingredient is time, and not just the time of execution which looks considerable, but rather the time embodied in hundreds of fleeting glimpses captured in the single image. Much of this is down to her treatment of light which marks each glimpse with its own stamp of authenticity.

Further into town, another captivating painter is showing at Sadie Coles HQ in Davies Street. I analyse how Nicola Tyson has skilfully blown up her original sketches to produce vibrant large-scale images which maintain the freshness of the absent original. This is partly achieved by brushwork that applies blocks of colour in single swipes thereby exhibiting a constant element of risk. For me on the other hand, tiredness is starting to kick in now. My legs still hurt slightly from the mammoth run last week. Nevertheless I get myself across Regent’s Street to the little oasis of Golden Square where Marian Goodman Gallery is displaying two major artists, one established from the 60’s and the other relatively new.

Downstairs Giovanni Anselmo, the established practitioner of art povera, has secured marble blocks on to the wall. Unlike the blocks on the floor which have been cut beautifully by a band saw and then worked on further with a drill, these appear to be hewn much more crudely and naturally. Upstairs, the artist Adrian Villar Rojas has created a stunning sculpture. It is basically the legs of the famous statue of David set in a fantastic marble-floored auditorium but containing on its plinth along with the well known tree stump that supports David’s right leg, two playfully rendered kittens that appear to be kissing. Photos secured and art feasted upon, it is time now to head off home.

Invader on Lambeth High Street.

Rosie Reed at RCA Graduate Exhibition with painted brushes pots and objects.

Feline Minne at RCA Graduate Exhibition with great paintings.

Gillian Carnegie of Cabinet Gallery with beautifully depicted flowers and leaves.

Ryuji Tanaka at Simon Lee Gallery. The paintings have a powerful material quality.

Nicola Tyson of Sadie Coles HQ with beautifully vibrant paintings.

Gabriel Kuri of Sadie Coles HQ has created an installation incorporating these standard steel cubes. Each has circular inserts containing different small objects. Here, money.

Giovanni Anselmo of Marian Goodman Gallery with dramatically positioned rocks.

Adrian Villar Rojas of Marian Goodman Gallery with the bottom part of David and some kissing kittens.


Gallery run 28th April

Peckham to Chalk Farm.

Having finished coffee and porridge, I can’t delay the run any further. I complete the toe stretches, grab a half beaker of water and set off towards London Bridge. I am outside Damian Hirst’s gallery on Newport Street where I have just returned an unexpected phone call, spotted as I had pulled the phone camera out of a sock I use to keep it wedged in my pocket, and then go in. Ashley Bickerton is showing assemblages that carry a strong flavour of tropical islands with sharks, coconuts hung in small clumps and diving gear that point back to their origins whilst catching the eye with bright flecks of colour. In addition wall mounted silver rock tableaux adorn the gallery walls.
Ashley Bickerton at Newport Street Gallery with assemblages and vivid sea based objects.

Onwards now northwards across St James park where I dodge the selfies on the bridge and up Berkeley Street to Almine Rech. Here Japanese composer Ryoji Ikeda has created grids from the miniaturised digits of irrational numbers. The subsequent jpeg seems burdened by the weight of information of these numbers, whilst the surface of the artwork itself with the digits shrunk down to the size of dots, appears like a sort of black and white texture resembling the two-tone fabrics used to cover loudspeakers in the 70’s. Extraordinary work.
Ryoji Ikeda at Almine Rech Gallery with artworks based on irrational numbers, that although simple in essence, require an infinite number of digits to represent them.

Along Maddox Street eastwards now towards Golden Square. Annette Messager is showing giant safety pins made in black chunky material hung from the ceiling of Marian Goodman Gallery. Other objects on a similar scale create a Lilliputian haberdashery. Elsewhere 50 prohibitions are displayed ironically opposite a 51st that prohibits prohibitions.
Annette Messager of Marian Goodman Gallery with pictures of prohibitions.

Sol Le Witt with a surprising installation upstairs in Marian Goodman Gallery.

Then across the square to Frith Street Gallery and I see a gallery worker come towards me. I give a polite hello but am aware of the slightly unusual interaction and then with glance round I see why, as I instantly recognise the tall slim frame of Cornelia Parker as she works the camera. It is her opening day and she has to pose for two photographers. I dutifully point my iPhone in the other direction concentrating on her artworks. She is showing video films of revellers in New York who have dressed in horror garb for a festival, but have expanded the remit to include Donald Trump wigs personifying the general anxiety of their class.
Cornelia Parker of Frith Street Gallery with video work of street revellers in New York shortly before last year’s controversial election.

Nearby I see work at Pilar Corrias, one of my favourite galleries in the area, before heading north to Chalk Farm and the large classical facade of the Zabludowicz Collection.
Urban Zellweger at Pilar Corrias.

A group of photographers are showing and like a trainspotter I relish the chance to catch the first Jeff Wall artwork in over a year. A light box illuminates a shabby river going into a tunnel and I am struck by its unkempt beauty like some of the canals I run along.
Jeff Wall with a beautiful/ shabby river at the Zabludowicz Collection.

Sara Cwynar at Zabludowicz Collection with photos of plastic based structures.

Then it is the long run south and today with time pressing I opt for the shortest route through London’s busy streets.
Conrad Shawcross at the Crick Institute.


Gallery run 2nd March

West End to Thames to London Bridge.

Gerhard Richter of Marian Goodman Gallery with parallel lines printed on a grand scale.

Niele Toroni of Marian Goodman Gallery.

Maria Lassnig of Hauser and Wirth with human figures that display their inner sense of being.

Ibrahim Mahama at White Cube with materials used in trade but displayed on epic scale.

Alice Theobald of Pilar Corrias Gallery with film for 3D specs. Good film and installation.

Josiah McElheny of White Cube with a reimagining of Modernism and the different paths it could have taken. 3 separate installations.

John Bock of Sadie Coles HQ with a film and props based on the American Western.


Ian McKeever of Matt’s Gallery with photo painting juxtapositions in deconstructed space.


Gallery run 13th January

Saatchi Gallery to London Bridge along Thames.

David Salle of Maureen Paley Gallery showing at Saatchi Gallery.

Josef Albers at David Zwirner with works on theme of both this shape and the famous layered squares.

John Baldessari at Marian Goodman Gallery with images from Hollywood and Miro plus text.

Dexter Dalwood of Simon Lee Gallery showing at Saatchi Gallery.

Austin Emery led this participatory stone carving project with residents of the estate.

Annette Messager at Marian Goodman Gallery in a group show upstairs.

Bjarne Melgaard at Saatchi Gallery.

Sigmar Polke at Michael Werner with a series of pour paintings.

Ansel Krut of Stuart Shave Modern Art showing at Saatchi Gallery.