Top 6 August
Dear August, thank you for the unexpected findings, a new art project space in Cambridge and the plant pot I bought the very last day of summer. If interested, I chose my favourites from 11 visited exhibitions. Hope that upcoming month will bring new inspiring material. And this time, see my August favourites below.
Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946, Finland)
Helene Schjerfbeck (20 Jul – 27 Oct 2019) @Royal Academy of Arts, London
Always on a scholarship, often abroad, studying works of the great master’s, Helene Schjerfbeck combined the inspiration to her own style with gloomy and dimmed colour pallet. The exhibition at RA celebrates her sensitive portraits revealing the process of aging, with the full course of the physical and psychological changes. However, my eye was attracted to the couple standing awkwardly, facing each other. The man painted in a suit from behind, hands politely crossed, and the lady in light blue dress with unclear expression on her face, slightly raised arm. A conversation can’t be heard, but it is in the air. And flat areas of melancholic, muted, pale colours with pink, violet and orange accents make me admire the scene.
Set of Photographies, 1979
Dora Maurer (b.1937, Hungary)
Dora Maurer (until 5 Jul 2020) @Tate Modern, London
Graphic designer, teacher, abstract artist. Shapes, colours, repetition. Performance, photography, paintings. Few key words to describe this Hungarian artist who is keen on playing, experimentations and collaborations. Seven Twists reminded me of Cornelia Parker’s photographs exhibited in Summer Exhibition 2019 at Royal Academy of Arts, and this print comes from 2013. An idea works well, either in Hungary or the UK.
Installation of 54 defunct brass band instruments which have been squashed flat and hung from wires, 2001
Cornelia Parker (b.1956, UK)
Permanent collection @V&A museum
Speaking of Cornelia Parker, her sight-specific work at the Victoria and Albert Museum explores the relationship of silence and noise, upper/lower class, death and resurrection. Just imagine the way this work was made. Am I the only one to sense violence from this piece?
See an interesting interview with the artist here.
Leadership and Separation
Kira Freije (b.1985, UK)
The Garden (6 Jul – 18 Sep 2019) @Royal Academy of Arts, London
I have this question perpetually spinning in my mind – what the minimum is you could show that people would still be able to catch an idea. How much of simplicity can you make that others would be able to distinguish a shape. What to remove? What to keep? And if you were about to create a sculpture of a couple? ‘Leadership and Separation’, body and soul, reluctance and readiness – all these are coded within several strips of steel, aluminium faces and some fabric. Do you need anything else to catch the idea?
24 Claygate Sunday Morning
Mono screenprint, oil paint, drawing, 2018
Motion Sickness & Friends (23 Aug – 2 Sep 2019) @Motion Sickness Project Space, Lion Yard, Cambridge
I am always curious to discover the way creative people keep a track of everyday experience. Almost photographical incredible open paintings by Stuart Pearson Wright and humorous prints by Wuon-Gean Ho were the best examples so far.
Arabella Hilfiker’s works are now added to my list of the diary examples. Everyday life in an ordinary neighbourhood. Happiness and misery. Are those youngsters smoking? Is there frustration that another one hasn’t received a message? Look – they are having fun playing the guitar. This kind of diary takes beyond the frames and allows us to develop the narrative ourselves, even if we only are the strangers to the scene.
J. M. Basquiat (1960-1988, US)
Summer exhibition (21 Jul - 4 Sep) @Maddox Gallery, Maddox street, London
Wandering around London you can always expect to be pleasantly surprised by the artworks displayed in the galleries. Also, you can expect to be disturbed.
The contrast between the current RA display (Felix Valloton’s neatly painted domestic scenes and Helene Schjerfbeck’s sensitive portraits) and the Summer Exhibition at Maddox Gallery was striking. Rules were forgotten in Basquiat’s screenprint (it looked that it was the last of five printer’s proofs). Anatomical diagrams, childish scribbling, allusions to African-American pop culture, stick figures are there to shine the anarchy and freedom from societies’ perceptions.