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.

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Gallery run 17th May

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Ian Cheng of Pilar Corrias at Serpentine Gallery with animated figures that follow their own wills created by AI programming.

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Hermann Nitsch at Massimo De Carlo with paintings inspired by controversial performances by the artist, involving public dissections of bulls and other animals intertwined with religious themes.

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Sarah Cain at Timothy Taylor with great abstract paintings.

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Markus Lupertz of Michael Werner with a series of tent paintings he made in the 60’s from catalogue photos.

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Newly decorated phone box outside Lisson Gallery.

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Mary Corse at Lisson Gallery with highly reflective paintings that use micro glass beads familiar from road signs.

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Richard Long of Lisson Gallery with a flint circle.

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A radiant glow from a government building no less.

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Dieter Roth at Rob Tufnell with a piece referencing the Daily Mirror newspaper.

Gallery run 23rd March

A classic stop-off point is Brick Lane, at Beigel Bake to be more precise, where apple strudel costs just 80p. From here I move on from some of the galleries in the east of London towards the west end and on the way encounter Hollybush Gardens in Farringdon. On show is Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid. The room is full of wall paintings extending onto some additional objects propped upright on the floor. It is fascinating that the original utility of these painted objects, such as piano lid, is still immediately recognisable.

Jogging west past Holborn, the Mayfair galleries are finally reached. David Zwirner on Grafton Street is 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.

Then doubling back slightly, for a reason I can no longer remember since this is a slightly stripped down and edited re-write, 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 3rd November

Bright sunshine is taking the chill out of the air this morning. The sun is behind me making the jog out west along the River Thames towards Wandsworth particularly radiant. Several bridges intersect this stretch of river before one arrives at the Wandsworth recycling centre, a first base on this run and site of an excellent bacon sandwich van. The owner has been trading since before dawn, she says, despite the hour gained from changing clocks. The recycling centre itself seemingly provides much of the business as visibility tops file down the narrow pavement before placing their breakfast orders. With bacon sandwich in hand the first photo opportunity of the day presents itself, a beautifully packed wall of recycled plastic, with the sun’s rays making the different colours sparkle like jewels.

Across the river, the Serpentine Galleries are showing an upcoming American artist called Wade Guyton. He specialises in digital imaging and printing processes but adds a painterly twist by incorporating drips and dislocations into their forms with a joyful array of “mistakes”. These are either accidental or intentionally orchestrated, but either way are very effective in upsetting the order of the original image. In the other gallery Torbjorn Rodland has produced uncanny photographs that incorporate familiar objects such as shoes, food and figures. All of these compositions have been disturbed in some way. A man appears to have thrust his legs in front of his head, with the consensus being that he has performed some extreme yoga pose. But then there is the realisation that what seemed like legs are actually arms, since the performer has had shoes placed on his hands, and his head merely nestles slightly uncomfortably behind one of his arms.

The short run through Hyde Park then leads to Upper Brook Street where Michael Werner is showing Enrico David, a sculptor who was at St Martin’s College at the same time as myself. On this account there is added interest for me. The white sculpted figures with their strange and ornate metal attachments, provide a powerful spectacle to the viewer but also remind me of the artist’s distinctive style clearly evident as a student at college. At Timothy Taylor gallery, a few streets away in Carlos Place, Alex Katz is showing paintings of woodland alongside sculpted portraits and drawings. The woodland paintings, in particular, reveal the artist’s vitality as paint streaks across the canvas in broad strokes. Whole tree trunks are rendered in single swipes while additional twigs are depicted with the same economy as the trunks and appear to twitch like the whiskers of a living animal.

As the sun comes round to the south in the early afternoon there are just three remaining stops to complete, but surprises will await at each of these. At Sadie Coles HQ there is a group show of Eastern, non-European artists. Of this interesting selection, Xu Qu, who is normally represented by Almine Rech gallery, has produced a striking garland of video cameras, which are all threaded onto a thick steel cable. Then round the corner at Pilar Corrias, Rirkrit Tiravanija has filmed the making of a feast cooked in ritual fashion on a giant, cast iron stove. Though traditional in its design, the welding and cast iron of the stove reveal that this object was in fact specially made for the occasion and furthermore that the utilitarian knobs and handles are all scaled up from a smaller original design. They are now barely practical in their new setting and as such take on the mantle of art object. Lastly, and as our finale for the day, Alison Jacques gallery is showing Sheila Hicks’ fantastic, woven, wool pieces. Some of these intricate structures have been mounted on a canvas support, further challenging the viewer’s preconceptions that a difference exists between craft object and artwork.

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Wandsworth Recycling Centre.

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Wade Guyton at Serpentine Gallery with ink jet accidents and images that have a painting quality to them including this illusory effect of depth.

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Torbjorn Rodland at Serpentine Gallery. The shoes create the illusion of a strange contorting posture at first.

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Enrico David of Michael Werner.

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Alex Katz of Timothy Taylor with intense images applied in thin washes of paint.

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Xu Qu at Sadie Coles HQ with a giant video camera garland on metal cable.

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Rirkrit Tiravanija of Pilar Corrias with a cast over-sized stove and enlarged saucepans which were used to prepare a feast.

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Sheila Hicks of Alison Jacques Gallery with fabric structures attached to a standard canvas.

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Katharina Grosse at South London Gallery with spray paint that looks like draped fabrics.

Opening RA Summer Show 5th June

Royal Academy Summer Show 2017 Varnishing Day

Varnishing day was traditionally an occasion when exhibiting artists could make last minute changes to their artworks before the show formally opened to the public. Now in the 21st century there is absolutely no touching of the artworks and instead it is a celebratory occasion. We can look around the crowded hall and see colleagues that we have encountered along artistic careers, perhaps often entirely different from the steep gradients to success that characterise the more illustrious exhibitors. I meet up with a friend from our studios in Peckham as she accompanies an older chap who she says seems to know almost everyone. He is one of the Academicians and greets me with a handshake before sharing some of the back story of the hanging. Of course it is fascinating and also a thrill to imagine my own piece woven into this narrative.

First impressions of each of the exhibition rooms is familiarity, thanks to some of the works on display. I see Yinka Shonibare’s beautiful sculpture with recognisable use of a globe for a head. And later I see the artist himself. With a sense of gratitude for being picked, I thank him for a tutorial he once gave me at Goldsmiths 20 years ago and he graciously acknowledges this. In another room are artworks by international megastars from the art world curated by Fiona Rae. George Condo’s and Anselm Keifer’s stand out. By these works is a lifting platform, though soon to be put away, highlighting the sense of fluidity of the hang and, indeed, a few pictures are still going up elsewhere.

I spend the next hour seeking out artworks to photograph with a phone camera and there is a sense of excitement each time I encounter a new piece familiar from previous trips to the commercial galleries featured in this blog. I see Tomoaki Suzuki’s beautifully hewn wood figures, shown previously around the floor of Corvi Mora gallery and elsewhere artworks by Gilbert and George and Conrad Shawcross are instantly recognisable. The accompanying artworks by the anonymous public are enhanced by these staples, though in turn they offer something precious and individual in exchange.

It is this reciprocal relationship that adds charm to the show, since any visitor knows that every anonymous artwork, including my own, is not only a physical product of an artist’s enduring spirit but also, perhaps, a rare moment for that artist to find a public audience as they follow their individual and unpredictable journey.

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Julian Sharples, me, at Summer Exhibition 2017 Royal Academy of Arts Varnishing Day. Psychic Space.

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Sean Scully of Timothy Taylor at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

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Fiona Rae of Timothy Taylor at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 in the room she created.

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Anselm Keifer of White Cube at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

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George Condo at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017.

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Gilbert and George of White Cube at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

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Rose Wiley at Summer Exhibition 2017 Royal Academy of Arts Varnishing Day.

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Mark Wallinger of Hauser and Wirth at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

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Ana Mendieta of Alison Jacques Gallery used gunpowder in her small landscape artwork. From a trip earlier in the week, but stunning and wanted to post it.

Gallery run 31st March

Tate to Tate zigzag.

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Ged Quinn at Phillips.

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Sylvie Fleury at Phillips with a gold plated tyre fountain.

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Eddie Martinez of Timothy Taylor with vivid gestural images.

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Cerith Wyn Evans at Tate Britain.

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Agnes Martin at Tate Modern.

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Irma Blank of Alison Jacques Gallery with heavily worked pen lines giving an all over blue.

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Christopher Williams at David Zwirner with an installation about photography. There are X-rays of cameras and wall partitions on wheels with a worn utilitarian feel. I am sure I could smell a whiff of film developer too!

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Knut Henrik Henriksen of Hollybush Gardens with an installation using pebbledash and accents of gold paint.

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Theaster Gates of White Cube with an artwork in Tate Modern. The vertical lines are fire hoses.

Gallery run 16th February

Battersea, then east along the Thames.

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Stephen Sutcliffe at Simon Lee Gallery. This artist has also exhibited with Rob Tufnell.

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Vauxhall City Farm in the heart of London.

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John McCracken of Almine Rech Gallery with early plastic sculptures.

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Sonia Boyce at ICA, with multi screen installations of choreographed sound and movement.

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Jana Euler at Cabinet Gallery with images of objects that have somehow had their edges moved to the middle.

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Antoni Tapies of Timothy Taylor. Late works.

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Sherrie Levine of Simon Lee Gallery with cartoon imagery in artist made frame.

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DeWain Valentine of Almine Rech Gallery with translucent plastic sculptures in a group show.

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Dennis Oppenheim at Simon Lee Gallery with a video installation.