Our Arts Editor Luciana Garbarni has her ear to ground with regards to London’s most riveting, intriguing or downright entertaining exhibitions. Here’s what made her cut this week.
1) Liviu Mihai: “Receptor” — Nancy Victor Gallery
Liviu Mihai cities his unremitting fascination with the human being as a source of inspiration for his new body of work this March with Nancy Victor Gallery. Moving beyond the basic anatomical analysis of the human body, “Receptor” sets to explore the psychological and social implications of the contemporary artist as a physical mediator between his audience and his surrounding world. In this sense, it is the artist himself who acts as the receptor to incoming stimuli, undertaking the onus of translating it through his own language via the paintbrush.
Mihai returns to the very core of the human figure in his most primitive state, examining the subconscious connection between the rational being, and his animalistic instincts of response: noting that there is only a slight gap between these two forms.
RECEPTOR by Liviu Mihai runs from Monday 9th March to Friday 13 March 2015, 10am – 6pm
Nancy Victor Gallery
6 Charlotte Place
2) Jack Milroy: “A Natural World” — Art First
Art First gathers the new installation and sculptural works of conceptual artist Jack Milroy, for whom the idea and the concept have been always constant force in all artworks. However, Milroy distinguishes himself from many conceptual artists of the contemporary generation through his pursuit of resolution: for him, the plain statement of an idea is insufficient to merit the title “artwork.”
With Jack you never get anything less than that resolution. Yet some- times the simplicity and directness of the presentation, in the raw material that Jack has always cannibalised for his work–torn-up reproductions of an Ingres portrait, deconstructed postage stamps, worn-out paint- brushes– can be disarming, and deceptive. Yet to it all there will always be that insidious elegance and visual wit, that after a moment come back to take you by pleasurable surprise.
The exhibition sees Milroy’s world grow, ever more ambitious in the statement and endeavour, ever more varied and surprising, ever more beautiful. Sometimes the images are drawn, painted or photographed himself– but all are treated to the same precise, intricate consideration. Now a fallen, or merely falling, angel tumbles down the sky, now a mermaid, or just poor drowned Ophelia drifts through the weeds.
A Natural World opens from 11th March – 1st May at Art First
21 Eastcastle Street
3) “Origins” — Heist Gallery
Origins celebrates places, people and cultures who have remained largely unchanged for centuries, capturing the fascinating traditions and raw beauty throughout the world through fine art photography.
The exhibition explores the effects of globalisation through the prism of indigenous cultures, questioning whether the forces of globalisation have eroded our sense of identity and isolated us from nature and the traditions that make us unique.
It goes without a fraction of exaggeration that every single photograph present leaves viewers imbued with a sense of uncertainty about just how “developed” we claim to be, and to consider the lessons to be learnt from indigenous populations, such as how to address modern problems that are, for the most part, a result of modern lifestyles.
The Origins exhibition underlines the fact that these people, untouched by globalisation, have maintained a sense of uniqueness. Al- Rushaid explains that “The cultures we celebrate in this exhibition have their own sense of fashion, unaffected by anything except their own environment, personal self-expression and their sense of morality – defined through their instincts and the families around them.”
In the Heist tradition of transforming the space to create an immersive aesthetic environment for the artwork, Heist will be working with artists from a Lagos-based museum to transform the gallery in the style of a traditional Yoruba home, an ethnic group native to South-West Nigeria.
Origins is currently open until April 30th at Heist Gallery
43 Linden Gardens
4) Yukihito Masuura: 祈り Inori/Spiritual Journey, Sengu — The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
““The art of sculpture photography is to let the sculpture speak” says the photographer.
In his eight year quest to capture Michelangelo’s sculptural oeuvre and the bronze works of Rodin and Bourdelle, Masuura finally introduces the public to the extensive collection of works in his search for creative and spiritual perfection.
Using only his camera and natural light in dark churches, the light played a miracle each time and produced three providential works. Through photography, Masuura discovered the existence of the ‘Invisible World’. Having been fortunate enough to document and capture the ceremonial practices of Sengu in Japan, such as the restoration of Japan’s most revered Shinto locations: Ise Jingu and Izumo Taisha, a culture symbolising Japanese spirituality, Masuura cites this exhibition as an expression of his wishes for a peaceful world. The events only occur at twenty- and sixty-year intervals respectively. Masuura skilfully captured the divine essence through the climactic Senzasai ceremonies at Ise and Izumo, which both took place in 2013. The Christian and Shinto images exhibited here explore the relationship between religion and art and the cultural differences between Japan and the West.
祈りInori/Spiritual Journey runs until 6th Apr 2015 at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
13/14 Cornwall Terrace
5) Alejandro Ospina: “Algorithms” Open Studio — Ministry of Nomads
Last month, Alejandro Ospina set up an open temporary studio in 31 Chester Street where he now displays his most recent painting series: Algorithms.
Algorithms opens the floor to tackle the vertiginous dimensions of the digital world: the chaotic phenomenon of high-speed information, from personal images within social media to current events, environmental disasters, and fragments of other artists all of which collapse into apocalyptic and vibrantly coloured abstract landscapes.
The artist dissects the ever-futuristic prophecy of how the Internet transforms our relationship to images, to space, and to each other in unparalleled ways, leaving us with the mystified impression of accessing territories that become instead increasingly synthetic.
Ospina anchors an infinite source of fleeting impressions, allowing us distance to reflect on the human condition.
The Algorithms Open Studio Event runs until March 15th
31 Chester St
6) Rack ‘Em Up, British Contemporary Editions — Shapero Modern
The work of YBA superstars is brought together for first time this spring as Shapero Modern aspire to set contemporary history in their newest exhibition Rack ‘em Up: British Contemporary Editions, 1990 – 2000. The collection highlights and focuses on the brass and bold nature of works by all of the leading figures within the period, including Keith Coventry, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk as well as their their contribution towards a new found buoyancy in the international art market.
While Hirst is now renowned for his editioned works, a process he feels democratises art, he in fact made very few at the start of his career. A highlight is The Last Supper series, 1999, 13 large screen- prints which take as their inspiration the clean graphical form of pharmaceutical packaging. For these, Hirst replaced the name of the drug with that of a food traditional to working-class British cafe culture, such as ‘corned beef’ and ‘sausages’, transforming them into a brand by the addition of the insignia ®, TM or decorative typescript. Such variations on the artist’s name, such as ‘Hirst’, ‘HirstDamien’, ‘Hirst Products Limited’, also set in a range of typescripts, take the place of the usual drug manufacturer’s logo.
From Sarah Lucas, who this year represents Great Britain at the Venice Biennale, is a compelling set of 12 self-portraits, including Self Portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996, a nod to one of her most famous sculptures, Two Fried Eggs and Kebab, 1992, in which a reclining naked female body is constructed from a table with two eggs and a kebab.
The exhibition also includes candid photographs of the young artists at rest and play by Johnnie Shand Kydd.
Rack ‘em Up is currently open at Shapero Modern until 27th March
32 St George Street