tue 29/09/2020

Visual Arts Reviews

Rachel Whiteread: Drawings, Tate Britain & Gagosian Gallery

Judith Flanders

Rachel Whiteread is best known for her exploration of space, of presence and absence, of how we look at what is present – and absent – in the textures of our lives. House, her life-sized cast of a house in a derelict street in East London, first brought her to fame, and more recently Untitled (Plinth), her mockingly affectionate take on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square, a resin-cast replica of the plinth itself, literally shaped a new viewpoint of that absence in the...

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Edward Weston, Chris Beetles Gallery

sue Steward Edward Weston's 'Golden Circle Mine, Death Valley', 1938

Edward Weston was once obsessed with photographing "toilets" (his word) and did it repeatedly in pursuit of the perfect image. "That gloss enamelled receptacle of extraordinary beauty" is how he described the scuzzy lav at the Gold Circle Mine in Death Valley, and seemingly near-orgasmic with excitement, said it was "an absolute, aesthetic response to form". That statement wasn’t about toilets alone, of course; this legend of American photography was, understandably, a perfectionist in...

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Eadweard Muybridge, Tate Britain

sue Steward

Multiple images of silhouetted horses cantering against blank backgrounds in grids of movement are what most people associate with Eadward Muybridge. Made in the late 1880s, they have contributed to his lasting reputation as a pioneer of photography and the moving image. So it is astonishing to discover through Tate Britain’s magnificent exhibition of his life’s work, that horses were only part of a story packed with surprises.

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Darren Almond: The Principle of Moments, White Cube Mason's Yard

Sarah Kent Norilsk: 'The most northerly city in the world and an Arctic wasteland where snow storms rage 130 days of the year'

Darren Almond’s ongoing fascination with far-flung places where extreme weather conditions prevail provides the inspiration for his current show at White Cube. The Principle of Moments consists of over 10,000 tiny photographs cataloguing the ever-changing weather of the Faroe Islands and a three-screen installation of videos titled Anthropocene: The Prelude, filmed near the Siberian town of Norilsk, the most northerly city in the world.

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Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel, Victoria & Albert Museum

Fisun Güner

To mark Pope Benedict’s controversial visit to Britain next week, the V&A have mounted an exhibition devoted to four of the 10 tapestries Raphael designed for the Sistine Chapel – the first time they’ve ever been seen in this country. Depicting the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, these bright, vivid works were made to hang on the lower walls of the Vatican’s principal chapel, below the older Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco

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Gregor Schneider: Fotografie und Skulptur, Sadie Coles HQ

Fisun Güner Gregor Schneider has an obsession with fetid interiors

Few artists can creep you out like Gregor Schneider. His work is scary and it’s absurd. But even as you giggle nervously when confronted with its less than subtle deployment of shock-horror tactics, a more profound disquiet creeps up on you. Schneider knows how to tap into our visceral fears.

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The Chapman Brothers: Children's Art Commission, Whitechapel Gallery

Fisun Güner Grisly etchings for little folk that might scare the parents more than their children

When Jake and Dinos Chapman first came to the attention of a wider public at the Royal Academy’s Sensation exhibition, their work came with a parental warning: a sign barring under-18s. After all, naked child mannequins sporting surprised-looking anal apertures for mouths and erect penises for noses were not, until then, the Royal Academy’s usual fare.

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Romantics, Tate Britain

Judith Flanders William Blake: 'The First Book of Urizen', Plate 7 Small Book of Designs

Everyone likes a “lost treasure” story, a story where something missing for hundreds of years turns up in an unexpected place, bringing sudden riches to the lucky finder. In the 1970s, a purchaser of an old railway timetable found, tucked inside the book, eight hand-coloured etchings, which were quickly identified as rare images by William Blake. On top of the etchings Blake had used watercolour and then tempera, then pen and ink, thus making these one-off images that had been hidden for...

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Domesday, BBC Two/ Treasures of the Anglo-Saxons, BBC Four

Josh Spero

What was originally a coincidence of reviewing – two dispatches from the Dark Ages, Treasures of the Anglo-Saxons on BBC Four and Domesday on BBC Two – in fact turned into a remarkably instructive diptych of how and how not to make history programmes for the television.

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Futureproof: Scottish Photography Graduate Show, Glasgow

sue Steward

To Futureproof is to ensure that we don’t become technologically obsolete, but keep in touch with as yet undeveloped technologies and exploit those already in the ether. It’s an apt title for this exhibition of work by 16 graduates from the five Scottish university photography departments. That most are already future-proofing themselves is apparent in their diverse approaches to their work.

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