tue 11/08/2020

Visual Arts Reviews

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception, Tate Modern

Judith Flanders

In 1994, Francis Alÿs joined the regular hiring-line in the central square in Mexico City. Standing next to plumbers and carpenters with their hand-lettered signs touting their skills, his sign read "Turista", as he offered his ability to be an outsider looking in.

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Joseph Cornell & Karen Kilimnik, Sprüth Magers London

Fisun Güner

The gallery has been turned into a little girl’s dressing-up closet. The walls are painted midnight blue and dusted with glitter. Ballet shoes, made for small feet, and a discarded tutu are to be found in a decorous pile on the floor. There are shiny trinkets and princessy things and pictures of ballerinas in bright, pastel shades.

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Ernesto Neto / The New Décor, The Hayward Gallery

Fisun Güner Take a dip in Ernesto Neto's pool on the terrace of the Hayward Gallery

The Hayward has been closed for the past six months for "housekeeping": those boring cleaning and repair jobs we all do. It's entirely suitable, therefore, that the two exhibitions that reopen the gallery showcase ideas of how we live both physically and emotionally. Ernesto Neto has become one of Brazil’s most successful exports, a powerhouse of an artist whose minimalist biomorphic shapes, created from stretchy, opaque nylon in sharply acid colours, alternately mould, mask, shade...

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The Surreal House, Barbican Art Gallery

Judith Flanders

Surrealism, it occurred to me while looking round this fine exhibition, is like pornography: it is hard to define, but everyone knows it when they see it.

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Rude Britannia: British Comic Art, Tate Britain

Fisun Güner

Satire, like roast beef, is what Brits are famous for and this exhibition takes us right back to its earliest days in graphic print. In the 1600s, Dutch allegorical prints were adapted by British printmakers to comment on contemporary issues and one of the first examples in this exhibition is a print that illustrates the purportedly cruel and barbarous treatment meted out by the Dutch to the English at the outset of the Anglo-Dutch war - so it’s hardly rib-tickling stuff.

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Antony Gormley: Test Sites, White Cube

Judith Flanders

Many people use that weaselly phrase about Antony Gormley, saying he “divides the critics”. For the most part this is not true: for the most part the critics loathe Gormley’s work. They suggest he is either a bad figurative sculptor masquerading as a conceptual artist, or a bad conceptual artist masquerading as a figurative sculptor. This is really just a whinge that he doesn’t fit in a box, but so what?

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Newspeak: British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery

Fisun Güner 'Dad with Tits': Ged Quinn's oedipal twist on the famous portrait of George Washington

These days, it seems that approaching any new Saatchi exhibition, especially one that promises to be even bigger than all the previous ones held at the multi-galleried, three-storey Chelsea venue, makes the heart fairly sink. How much bigger, you want to ask, and why use size as a measure of anything?  Surely there isn’t enough headspace to accommodate all those loud, clamorous, “look-at-me” artworks favoured by Saatchi all in one go? And this is just Part One. Part Two will be...

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Tacita Dean: Craneway Event, Frith Street Gallery

Sarah Kent 'Against the light, the dancers appear like marionettes framed within grids of glass and steel'

Silhouetted against the sparkling waters of San Francisco Bay, a pelican surveys the scene from a quayside bollard, then takes flight. The beautiful opening shot of Tacita Dean’s Craneway Event establishes a mood of elegiac tranquility. We are at Ford Point, on the east shore of the bay, in a magnificent building – a Ford factory that made military vehicles in World War Two, but closed down in 1955. Floor to ceiling windows afford breathtaking views across the water and allow...

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David Nash, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Fisun Güner 'Black Ball' looks like an alien space-ship entirely at home in Yorkshire

Wood is a mysterious substance. We do not make it, it makes itself. It is useful to us, alive and dead. Without it, our history would not be the same. But it is so ever-present, so much a part of that history, that we rarely see the wood for the trees. David Nash has seen both the wood and the trees for years. To him, wood is life.

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Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera, Tate Modern

sue Steward From Nan Goldin's series 'The Ballad of Sexual Dependency': definitions start dissolving because of her presence as voyeur and participant

In the week that Sarah Ferguson was caught on a secret camera receiving a stash of $40,000 from News of the World journalists, Tate Modern launched this ambitious and excitingly diverse photography exhibition. Had the meeting been earlier, the incriminating images would have been perfect for the show. Instead, the Royal Family is spied on in Alison Jackson’s unusually generous parody, The Queen Plays with her Corgis.

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