sat 03/12/2022

Visual Arts Reviews

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tate Modern review - a forest of huge and imposing presences

Sarah Kent

First off, I must confess that fibre or textile art makes me queasy. I don’t know why, but all that threading, knotting, twisting, coiling and winding gives me the creeps. So it’s all the more extraordinary that I was blown away by Magdalena Abakanowicz’s huge woven sculptures.

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Things, Musée du Louvre, Paris review - the still life brought alive

mark Kidel

Only a Eurostar day-trip away, at least from London, the Louvre is hosting an exceptional exhibition, which makes the journey to Paris well worthwhile. Things – A History of Still Life (Les choses – une histoire de la nature morte) is one of those massive shows that explores a complex theme in a thoroughly original and adventurous way.

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Donna Fleming: Apocalypse, The Pie Factory, Margate review - personal passions and intense feelings

Paul Rider

Donna Fleming’s exhibition at the Pie Factory Gallery in Margate is called Apocalypse, which is confusing because it has nothing to do with the end of the world. Fleming does not even watch the news because she “does not want to think about miserable things”. Instead the title refers back to the Greek word that apocalypse is derived from, apokalypsis, which means uncovering.

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Making Modernism, Royal Academy review - a welcome if confusing intro to seven lesser known artists

Sarah Kent

The Royal Academy’s Making Modernism is a welcome introduction to seven women painters working in Germany at the beginning of the last century.

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William Kentridge, Royal Academy review - from art to theatre, and back again

Sarah Kent

South African artist William Kentridge appears on video in his studio, twice. On the right he sits scribbling, waiting for an idea to surface. Meanwhile his alter ego stands impatiently by, trying to peek at his other half’s notes and, desperate for enlightenment, even reads a recipe out loud. The artist, it seems, doesn’t have a clue; he is as much in the dark as everyone else. A Lesson in Lethargy, 2010 offers a brief moment of humour in this relentlessly dark exhibition.

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Hopper: An American Love Story review - a dry view of a much richer subject

Saskia Baron

This rather disappointing documentary about the great American painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967) has such a dry parade of experts and such a slow linear narrative that it leaves plenty of time to be frustrated by all that’s been left out.

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Lucian Freud: New Perspectives, National Gallery review - a powerful punch in the gut

Sarah Kent

There stands Lucian Freud in Reflection with Two Children (Self-portrait), 1965 (main picture) towering over you, peering mercilessly down. Is that a look of scorn on his face or merely one of detachment? His two kids seem to be squirming and giggling beneath their father’s unblinking stare. Who wouldn’t be, especially when the huge lamps hanging overhead are reminiscent of an interrogation chamber? All the better to see you with, my dear.

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Hallyu! The Korean Wave, V&A review - frenetic but fun

Sarah Kent

Remember Gangnam Style, the music video that went viral in 2012? PSY’s cheeky lyrics and daft moves attracted 1.6 billion hits on YouTube, sparked dozens of parodies and turned the world on to K-pop. And that was just the beginning; K-pop has since mushroomed into a global phenomenon characterised by catchy tunes and fast-paced dance routines performed by beautiful young people in snappy outfits.

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Marina Abramović: Gates and Portals, Modern Art Oxford and Pitt Rivers Museum review - transcendence lite

Sarah Kent

I have powerful memories of performances by Marina Abramović. Back in 1977 at Documenta in Kassel, Germany, she and her then partner Ulay stood either side of a doorway, facing one another. There was only enough room to squeeze through sideways and, since both were naked, choosing whom to face was an interesting challenge.

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Winslow Homer: Force of Nature, National Gallery review - dump the symbolism and enjoy the drama

Sarah Kent

Across the pond Winslow Homer is a household name; in his day, he was regarded as the greatest living American painter. He was renowned especially for his seascapes and his most famous painting, The Gulf Stream, 1899/1906 (main picture) features in the National Gallery’s retrospective.

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