tue 12/11/2019

Visual Arts Features

Marina Abramović: 512 Hours, Serpentine Gallery

Fisun Güner

I’ll admit, there's a scene that made me well up during the excellent Marina Abramović biopic The Artist is Present. If you've seen it you’ll know the scene I mean – it’s where Ulay, Abramović’s former partner, in art and in life, takes the seat opposite her on the last day of her MoMA marathon performance. And the tears come, hers and his and then ours, and she takes his hands, and then more tears. Oh god.

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Maria Lassnig, 1919-2014

Fisun Güner

Maria Lassnig, the Austrian figurative painter best known for her emotionally complex self-portraits, died yesterday aged 94. She was virtually unknown in the UK until her solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 2008. In a compact survey which focused on recent work one self-portrait - You or Me, 2005 (main picture) - attracted the greatest attention.

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10 Questions for Artist Yinka Shonibare MBE

Mark Sheerin

Yinka Shonibare MBE makes work from a less entrenched position than his many decorations suggest. This Member of the British Empire (he adopted the initials as part of his name after receiving the honour in 2005) is naturally also a Royal Academician, an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths, and has an honorary doctorate from the RCA.

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theartsdesk in Basel: More than Minimalism

David Nice

In a near-perfect, outward-looking Swiss city sharing borders with France and Germany, on a series of cloudless April days that felt more like balmy June than capricious April, anything seemed possible.

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Alan Davie, 1920-2014

Mark Hudson

Alan Davie, who died on Saturday aged 93, was one of the great 20th-century British artists, a life-long maverick whose explosive canvases cut a swathe through the provincial aridity of the postwar art scene.

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theartsdesk in Calais: Monument, Musée des Beaux-Arts

Mark Sheerin

Were it not for the bombs which rained down on Calais, its current Musée des Beaux-Arts would not exist. The 1966 building was part of a civic reconstruction programme, so it too is a war memorial of sorts. And it's now playing host to an exhibition dedicated to the idea of the monument which looks to commemorate the two world wars.

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theartsdesk in Bilbao: Yoko Ono at the Guggenheim Museum

Fisun Güner

Addressing a crowd of journalists gathered at the press launch of her major retrospective at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Yoko Ono begins by telling us how cynical she is. It’s quite a claim considering it’s just about the last thing you’d ever think to call her. Perhaps she’s finally tired of being dismissed as a naive idealist.

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Remembering Derek Jarman

Ron Peck

It was very odd, in January this year, to see that Super-8 camera of Derek’s in a glass case and a few open notebooks in his beautiful italic handwriting in some other glass cases in the same room. There were five or six small-scale projections from his films in other rooms, including The Last of England, and some art works, but, somehow, Derek wasn’t there at all for me.

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theartsdesk at the Marrakech Biennale: "Where Are We Now?"

Mark Sheerin

Whether fingerprint or labyrinth, the swirly logo for Marrakech Biennale 5 feels apt. The festival has left its mark upon the city. It questions Moroccan notions of identity. And, going by the tagline, “Where are we now?” it reflects the ease with which you can get lost in this rich and bewildering land.

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Listed: The Vikings - Life and Legend

Gareth Williams

The British Museum's exhibition The Vikings: Life and Legend promises to redefine the Viking age for a new generation. First seen at the National Mueum in Copenhagen, it has now travelled - much as the show's subjects once did - across the North Sea. It includes objects from 25 lending institutions spread across nine countries - 10 if you include Scotland, whose national law requires export licence.

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