Really enjoyed walking by the sea in the high winds at Margate last week and taking refuge at the Turner Contemporary to see Seeing Round Corners. From website:-
Turner Contemporary presents the first major exhibition to explore the centrality of the circle in art. Featuring more than 100 works – from 3000BC to the present day – Seeing Round Corners: The Art of the Circle brings together artworks and artefacts that reflect a vast range of themes and ideas from roundness, rotation and visual perception to wonderment and cycles of time. The exhibition encompasses sculpture, film, painting, design, installation, performance and photography, with works by leading historical and contemporary artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, JMW Turner, Theaster Gates, Rebecca Horn, David Shrigley and Bridget Riley.
At the Whitstable Biennale on Saturday night at the Tennis Courts and powered by the audience using bicycles to generate the electricity I really enjoyed the screening go In this World and Kingsland, introduced by Tony Grisoni. From the Biennale website "After an introduction by Tony Grisoni, we will screen Kingsland #1: The Dreamer (BAFTA nominated), a powerful drama written and directed by Grisoni, telling the story of a Kurdish immigrant who has arrived in North East London with nothing and finds himself involved in a dark world with fellow Kurds; and In This World (Berlinale Golden Bear winner), for which Tony Grisoni made the trek along the people smugglers’ route from the Pakistan/Afghan border, through Iran and Turkey to Europe with the director, Michael Winterbottom".
http://www.whitstablebiennale.com continues until Sunday 12th June.
And a view of the Estuary on Saturday - beautiful light
I'm currently reading this marvellous book on a lost Velazquez painting. Her observations and research are fascinating. Review of the book here
Curated by Anna Bleeker and Alessandra Falbo
LUBOMIROV / ANGUS-HUGHES
Opening and Public Vote: Friday 13 May, 6-9pm
Viewing: 14 May - 22 May, Friday to Sunday 12 to 5
SIXTY is a curated two-part exhibition in London and Athens predicated on notions of arbitrary political constraints. Sixty works of art will be selected by different decision-making bodies and individuals, including a public vote, and subject to a variety of processes and criteria — physical, financial and political — testing the ability of artist and curator to navigate within structures offering both real and illusory choices and opportunities.
Aki Moriuchi | Akiko Ban | Alan McLeod | Albeiro R. Tomedes | Alex Lewis | Alix Edwards| Anastasia Kachalova | Anders Rindom | Andrew Litten | Anna Garrett | Anne Parfitt | Annette Robinson | Annie Zamero | Ann-Marie LeQuesne | Apollo Aabye | Ariadne Arendt | Artem Surkov | Artemis Potamianou | Bonita Alice | Carol Wyss | Carolyn Whittaker | Cate Lis | Catherine Morland | Catherine Jacobs | Colin Maitland | Colin Crumplin | Cynthia Hsieh | Daumants Brunins | David Goldenberg | David Foster | Deb Covell | E. M. Roth | Eirini Bogdanou | Elaina Akeooll | Eleanor Buffam | Eleanor Turnbull | Elisa Cantarelli | Elisavet Kalpaxi | Elizabeth Hannaford | Elizabeth Briel | Emi Avora | Emily Marbach | Emma Davis | Emma Coop | Emma Drye | Evi Grigoropoulou | Ewa Jackiewicz | Fiona McAuliffe | fluxIT | Follie Gioir | Francesca Ricci | Gavin Maughfling | Gini Wade | Gunther Herbst | Hanna ten Doornkaat | Heather McDonough | Helen Bermingham | Hitomi Kammai | House of O'Dwyer | Hyeji Woo | Iain Andrews | Iasonas Kampanis | Imogen Welch | Irene Godfrey | Ivilina Kouneva | Jaime Valtierra | Janine Hall | Jennifer Hodgson | Jill Gibson | Jim Dunkley | Joe Carcary | John King | Jon Solaun | Kaori Homma | Karen Ay | Karol Kochanowski | Katherine Jones | Keiko Kirton | Keran James | Kirsty and Carol Harris | Laura Napier | Linda Jean John | Lisa Ivory | Liz Elton | Lizy Bending | Lorna Pridmore | Lucyna Cierniak | Maeve O'Neill | Maggie Learmonth | Malcolm Dickson | Malina Busch | Mandy Hudson | Margita Yankova | Maria Letsiou | Maria Kaleta | Maria Krigka | Mark Titchner | Markus Soukup | Metra Saberova | MIA C | Michal Plata | Mike Callaghan | Mikey B. Georgeson | Mindy Lee | Mique Moriuchi | Moemi Takano | Natalie Dowse | Nick Newsam | Nina Davies | Oliver MacDonald | Olympia Polymeni | Patricia Guarda | Paul Carter | Peter Barnard | Phil Illingworth | Polina Pivovarova | pop grafik | Prince Thomas | Rachelle Allen-Sherwood | Rebecca Meanley | Rebecca Byrne | Rebecca Scott | Rebecca Key | Richard Mcconnell | Rigmor Dahlqvist | Robbie O'Halloran | Rolina E. Blok | Ronis Varlaam | Sally Jones | Sam Hodge | Sarah Gillham | Sasha Bowles | Scott Robertson | Sharon Leahy-Clark | Shona Davies and Dave Monaghan | Sif Nørskov | Simon Leahy-Clark | Sivan Lavie | Søren Kastalje | Stephanie Garon | Tal Regev | Tania Robertson | Tatjana Šogorov | Tom Hackett | Tommaso Gorla | Uta Brouet | Vanja Karas | Victoria King | Victoria Rance | Weegee Weegee | Wolfgang Berkowski | Yukako Shibata | Zoe Martin
Read more: www.lubomirov-angus-hughes.com/SIXTY
Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/585830304927087
I've somehow managed to see quite a bit of new work recently. Here’s a few highlights …
I'm currently attending a great course at Tate Britain covering Contemporary Landscape which explores the peripheries of landscape by taking inspiration from contemporary and classical artists, in the galleries at Tate Britain. Led by Justin Hopper - who is very inspiring in his ideas and research. The course themes are pasted at the end of this blog.
1. ART WORK OF ESTER HOVERS
Thinking about 'Enclosure' and increasing private ownership of public land I came across this series 'False Positive' by dutch artist Esther Hovers, which examines classifications of possible deviant behaviour in surveillance flagging up people who "repeatedly looking back" or are "lonely objects" and thought worth sharing - this is an interview with her.
2. SUMMARY OF TATE COURSE THEMES
Draw inspiration from contemporary artists such as Trevor Paglen, James Bridle and others whose work examines landscape’s complicity in complex questions of enclosure and surveillance in the modern world. And take a new look at household names from the past through this lens, from John Constable and John Clare to Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Empires and Outliers
Who is contained within – or excluded from – the ‘frame’ of the landscape tradition? How does your work as a writer, artist or art lover involve this framework? We’ll look at artists and writers whose work implies or questions these boundaries, from J.M.W. Turner to Sukhdev Sandhu, and discuss landscape as it relates to access to the countryside and cityscape – and how we might expand a vision of such access in our own work.
One dominant aspect of contemporary landscape art and writing is liminality – the spaces in between city and countryside, land and sea, ‘natural’ and ‘human made’. How can we use these edgelands as writers and artists? We’ll look at edgelands in contemporary works by Patrick Keiller and Keith Arnatt, as well as looking back to seek out edgelands in classic landscape paintings.
Environment and Change
How can we reference environmental crisis in works not explicitly related to environmental change? From 18th century British landscape painting to the 21st century work of Alec Finlay, Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton and others, we’ll look for signs of environmental change in works both old and new. Optional writing exercises will focus on referencing the grand question of ‘environmental change’ in small, subtle ways.
Decay and the Eerie
Decay, ruination, a dark vision of the passing of time – these are themes that extend back to the Romantic landscape tradition and beyond. We’ll look at how the revival of the ‘English eerie’ connects to themes of cultural and environmental loss, and find inspiration in works from Coleridge to Paul Nash to artists and writers of today such as Tessa Farmer and Adam Scovell. And we’ll try our hand at very brief, and very modern, ghost stories.
Books of the year
Art of the year
This was the year I seriously got into podcasts and it’s now almost by favourite medium. (books still win out).
I've long thought that both artists and psychologists have a lot to offer in helping us combat the challenge of Climate Change. I'm interested in ways of improving behavioural change. This blog covers three interesting projects.
1. The first is shown below - the sculptures of Rising Tide by Jason deCaires Taylor. As you can see the horses heads were bee replaced by an oil well pump and the four sculptures were placed at Battersea and submerged twice daily by the Thames. Simple and poignant. Quoted in the Guardian the artist said “Working in conservation, I am very concerned with all the associated effects of climate change and the state of peril our seas are in at the moment,” said Taylor. “So here I wanted a piece that was going to be revealed with the tide and worked with the natural environment of the Thames, but also alluded to the industrial nature of the city and it’s obsessive and damaging focus just on work and construction.”
2. Recently I watched a really interesting talk by Jeni Cross, a sociology professor at Colorado State University, about behavioural change and how important social norms are in this. You can watch it here
3. I've also been to a conference about art and climate change run by Invisible Dust. Invisible Dust is a not for profit organisation and involves leading artists, creative technologists and scientists exploring our environment and climate change, set up by Curator Alice Sharp to produce exciting art and science exhibitions and participatory events. I'm excited to see there's been a new film commissioned by them - 'Deep Above' film premier by the 2015 Jarman Award shortlisted artist Adam Chodzko exploring psychology and climate change, it's just starting to screen. For further information do visit their website.
On Wednesday I went to a fascinating talk about the process of turning personal experience into memoir between authors Jeanette Winterson and Helen McDonald. Both were clear, as long as you can “take the reader with you” that personal experience can be generalized into prose and language that has clear resonance with others. I can relate to this within the process of making and viewing art; interesting, good art for me always has some kind of space for the viewer. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s clear when it’s there.
Exploring how writing works for her Winterson spoke about how she can often “grasp something complex as a whole” at the beginning of the process that needs to be explored and “then having to spend time bringing it back to focus – the thing that is most real to us and finding it again”. “As a writer the process is dynamic – things are happening to you as you go along. I have a feeling when something is right – I trust myself”.
Helen McDonald, who was as engaging and witty as the hugely compelling Winterson, talked of writing a book that would be likely to be between genres, part memoir, part nature writing. Writing in the aftermath of her father’s death she commented that her prose about grief turned out to be more objective, more like nature writing, than she'd imagined and passages about working with the Goshawk were much more subjective and unconscious in comparison. “As an author you listen to what the book is telling you, sometimes say things you don’t want to say” she reported and also said at the time she was “trying to live in the moment, in my case with perilous identification”. She talked how after completing the book she saw more clearly the hawk as a proxy self – an inhabited role. This is a really interesting thought process and something I’ll think about when reading the book.
Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson and H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald are now both out in paperback published by Vintage.
Another embodied artwork in the show that interested me was Labyrinth Psychoticia by Jennifer Kanary Nikolova. The catalogue make the rather grand claim that it is "a physical and mental translation of what it is like to be in psychosis”. Before entering you are asked to don a lab coast and then invited to discover your way through the large labyrinth by pushing at layers of material. Between the thick fabric your perception is altered by encountering strobe lights. For me the experience was hot and overwhelming and at times frighteningly claustrophobic. I’m not convinced my low level panic, combined with art excitement was in any way relational to the experience of psychosis, but it was a good talking point and hopefully people encountering it can think and read more on the subject.
The catalogue to the Group Therapy show is informative and engaging with many essays across the theme of society, creative practice and technology and how they relate to mental health in an increasingly unequal society. I'm aiming to take my time to work through it and give it the attention it deserves . I’ll be reading it alongside the next psychology book on my list ‘My Age of Anxiety’ by Scott Stossel, which was recently shortlisted for the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize.
Introductory comments by curators Vanessa Bartlett and Mike Stubbs place the focus of the show in our information-overloaded age of "constantly updated digital identities", challenging the idea of mental distress in a small cohort of individuals the show looks at pressures of work, status anxiety and common experiences of guilt and self doubt. The catalogue has essays by people from a variety of disciplines, formed by experimental conversations and a creative research process. As both a psychologist and artist I was especially interested in Vanessa Barlett’s point that art can be transformative and lead to individual and social change. She mentions Jill Bennett’s* notion that aesthetic experience is a “means of apprehending the world via sense-based and affective processes”. I think this is a good way to see both art works we encounter and our use of technology and social media – asking ourselves how does it actually make me feel at this moment? (and listening to the answer…)
*from Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and ART after 9/11
Last week I got to see the Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age exhibition running at FACT in Liverpool. I’d read quite a bit about the show and been impressed by the event programme running alongside it. The show was curated across two large rooms one very dark and one containing a fabric labyrinth. More on that in a later post.
The main artwork I went along to see was the film Twelve by artist Melanie Manchot, who’s photographic and video work I’ve seen and admired for many years. Her multi-channel video piece, arising out of two years work with people recovering from addiction, was very compelling and at times even overwhelming. In the dark at FACT (the work will tour the UK to other venues this spring) three monitors are placed in a circle with chairs in between them so that installation feels intimate and echoes a therapeutic setting. Encompassing car washes, ferry journeys and window shots her liminal landscapes combined with spoken vignettes are enganged with, rather than passively received. One of the recollections of a women talking about her drug use on the night of her daughter’s long-awaited communion was so very sad. Speaking with Michaela Nettell in a recent a-n article the artist was clear she wanted to do more than retell the early traumatic circumstances that most people she worked with had endured as that creates “a sort of us and them, reinforcing the separation”; she also emphasized that the work echoes the addiction recovery process, which often “moves forward, backwards – it’s really not linear”
http://www.a-n.co.uk/news/melanie-manchot-we-defined-the-aesthetic-framework-together-but-the-content-is-theirs. For further information please visit www.twelve.org.uk. Group Therapy runs at FACT until 17th May