Much like stepping into a waking nightmare, Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child features gargantuan spiders, coffin-like vitrines, and decapitated figures copulating right before your eyes. This truly exceptional exhibition brings together over ninety works from the last two decades of the storied artist’s life.
A prolific creator, Bourgeois worked tirelessly into her old age toiling with needle and thread through her psychic scars. The works on show explore motherhood, Bourgeois’ self-proclaimed abusive relationship with her father and his scarring affair with her nanny. Over multiple floors, a Freudian biography emerges with images of sex, loss, anxiety, and longing formed from household textiles.
The unsung hero of the exhibition is the needle itself; the conduit through which Bourgeois channelled her emotions and innermost thoughts to create these triumphant works. In her own words, the needle holds a “magic power…to repair the damage” and offer “a claim to forgiveness.”
This exhibition of installations and sculptures by Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi is an unmissable treat for lovers of immersive environments and excellent Instagram opportunities. His striking installations transform the gallery space of White Cube, Bermondsey, creating organic environments from manmade materials such as clouds of paper and waterfalls of stainless steel.
Noguchi understood nature in an expanded sense: “the nature of trees and grass is one thing…but there are many degrees of nature. Concrete can be nature. Interstellar spaces are also nature. There is human nature.” This exhibition collapses the boundary between man-made and natural materials entirely, whilst creating an atmosphere of serene beauty as an antidote to busy city life.
White Cube Bermondsey 144 – 152 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ Free Entry Opening Hours: Tue – Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 12pm – 6pm
Spanning two floors and seven gallery spaces, this enormous exhibition at Goldsmiths CCA features weird and wonderful proposals by forty-seven artists for a new British monument. The show opens space for re-imagining public statues and their meanings; a necessary exercise considering recent cultural milestones such as the upsurge of the Black Lives Matter Movement, the divisive transition to Brexit, and political fallout from the global pandemic.
Testament sees artists step into the role of urban planners, governments, and local councils to question what is at stake in the erection of a monument and what histories, stories, or ideologies these often-overlooked objects champion and preserve. Monuments are metaphorically torn down, and celebratory, critical, thought-provoking, and sometimes silly pieces are erected in their place.
Goldsmiths CCA St James’, New Cross, London, SE14 6AD Free Entry Opening Hours: Wed – Sun 12pm – 6pm
Canadian born, London-based artist Allison Katz’s exhibition at Camden Art Centre is hard to pin down. It is decisively unorthodox, and with the painterly style spanning so many genres and disciplines, at first glance one might think it is a group show. Yet, the work is subtly unified by witty wordplay and a consistently coy, ironic humour. Indeed, much of Katz’s artistic narrative centres around autobiography, questions of identity and the spaces between language and understanding. She often playfully draws on allusions, wordplay and double entendre revolving around her own name.
A definite highlight is the final room of the exhibition which features freestanding walls organised in a chevron formation with paintings inside mouths embellishing the front, and carefully rendered cabbages on the back – yes, it’s as oddly delightful as it sounds.
Camden Art Centre Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG Free Entry, Booking Required Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 11am – 6pm, Thu 11am – 9pm
This breakthrough exhibition by Korean artist Sujin Lee includes twenty paintings through which the artist builds a surreal, female-only world.
Rendered in the ‘Superflat’ style of Murakami and Nara, the cartoonish girls in each painting are dressed in matching, trendy outfits and frequently seen holding hands or are pressed cheek to cheek as if about to snap a picture. Intimate moments of female youth – such as trimming each other’s hair or getting ready for bed at a sleepover – are monumentalised in these pastel works which celebrate notions of sisterhood drawing largely from Lee’s own experiences with her best gal pals.
Bringing together the private collections of two art world favourites, Alexander Petalas and Russell Tovey, this exhibition presents a unique opportunity to see some amazing works which are not ordinarily available for public consumption.
ThePerimeter founder Alexander Petalas has been buying art since his late twenties. In 2018 he opened this gallery to host exhibitions revolving around his collection. Russell Tovey, meanwhile, is known for his work as an actor and co-hosts the accessible and informative podcast Talk Art with gallerist Robert Diament. The pieces on show highlight common themes and dialogues that run through these individuals’ collections, offering an insight into the landscape of contemporary art buying.
The exhibition draws its title, My Reflection of You, from a painting by Ana Benaroya which welcomes visitors into the space. The piece depicts two figures that almost seem to be mirror images of one another, setting the scene for an exhibition that places two exceptional private collections into the conversation.
The Perimeter 20 Brownlow Mews, London, WC1N 2LE Free Entry, Booking Required Opening Hours: Tues – Sat 11am – 4pm
Marking the third instalment of collaborative projects by Danny Fox and Kingsley Ifill, this show is a quirky visual travelogue documenting an eight-day road trip across the length of the British Isles and back again.
Featuring a series of fifty collaborative works on paper which bring together photography by Ifill and painting by Fox, as well as large-scale multi-media works, the artists present an exploration into the cross-section of the rural and urban fabrics which make up Britain today.
In traditional road trip style, the show has a ramshackle feel of detritus gathered along the journey; Fox even used truck stop nail varnish as paint. Yet overall, it offers a complex view of evolving Britain from the days of pagan paradise to the current post-industrial collapse.
Hannah Barry Gallery 4 Holly Grove, Peckham, London, SE15 5DF Free Entry Opening Hours: Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm
First Light is a surreal and dreamlike two-person exhibition of paintings by Lewis Brander and Sonya Derviz. Having graduated in 2018 from Goldsmiths and the Slade School of Fine Art respectively, this exhibition captures two emerging painters as they begin to establish themselves post-pandemic.
Exploring sentimentality, Brander’s paintings capture fleeting moments as if seen for just a second, before disappearing out of view. They avoid engaging with a direct narrative, yet recall symbolism and tropes seen many times before, such as crumbling Greek colonnades or lounging lovers.
Derviz meanwhile presents large-scale, absurdist portraits which are incredibly intriguing, yet harbour a consistent creeping essence. Beardy faces peer beyond the darkness with knowing, sidelong glances, offering a contrast to Brander’s much warmer, optimistic tones. Derviz draws the faces from found imagery, which she meticulously collects and archives. Seen together, the works by these two painters feel like different interpretations of the trickery played by memory when dispersing images to the mind’s eye.
At their newly opened HQ in Hackney, this exhibition by Guts Gallery introduces us to the work of Swedish painter Julia De Ruvo. The show explores her desire to find a place for herself as a self-taught artist.
Through painting, she examines the longing for connection and collaboration alongside contrasting aims of independence and self-reliance. Using the analogy of the relationship between humans and domestic animals, she presents a vision of isolation versus companionship. Her works draw attention to the way our pets provide us with infinite comfort and diligently follow us through our daily lives, all whilst remaining unpredictable, even ferocious at times.
A further connection is drawn between the artist as an animal, hidden away in the studio and working late into the night. The colours used are reminiscent of dusk, lending the images an unsettling quality that suggests a weariness when relating to both the animals pictured and the artist herself…. even though she promises she doesn’t bite.
Guts Gallery HQ Unit 2 Sidings House, 10 Andre Street, Hackney, London, E8 2AA Opening Hours: Tue – Sat 11am – 6pm
This new exhibition of paintings by Sam King, organised by Brushes with Greatness, explores subjectivity in the digital age through captivating, hyperrealist paintings.
The new series on display, which King began during the pandemic, expresses the realities of a digitally mediated existence. The paintings combine chiaroscuro techniques with sheen fades and fragmentation of the figure, appearing almost digitally rendered in their precision. The disjointed figures featured within the frames are reminiscent of the way in which sci-fi theorises techno bodies that visit the corporeal populous from the distant future.
At the heart of the exhibition is an inherent contrast; an appreciation for the utopian potentials of new technologies coalesced with an awareness of its potential dystopian impacts such as social isolation and late-capitalistic acceleration.
Netil House 107A Netil House, 1 Westgate St, London, E8 3RL Opening House: Mon – Sun 9am – 6pm
Art writer, curator and public relations specialist, focussed on platforming emerging talent across the visual culture sector. When not walking my dog in rainy East London parks, I can be found on my sofa writing articles for Bricks Magazine, FAD magazine, Art Plugged and Off the Block Magazine.
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