WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK: 12th June
i can’t stop saying ‘WE’RE SOOOOOO BACK’ but it feels like literal YEARS since i went to an exhibition, an actual gallery, years since i did my literal job! so last week i made a proper effort to go and have a nosy round and see what was going on. turns out: BLOODY LOADS!
- did actually see the slade degree show last monday
but i included that in last week’s WISLW if u want to read my lil degree show highlights!
did a big fat gallery skl trip day on thursday so if u missed it on stories, here are The Thoughts:
- HARDCORE @ Sadie Coles (Kingly St)
d’you kno wot, i actually really liked this show. i think i rarely see something genuinely good at sadie coles (apologies to sadie coles, but) i seem to only see shows that are like the gallery equivalent of pesto pasta for dinner (lmao, on my mind bc of gabrielle’s sunday text). it’s good, it’s a nice dinner but no one is astounded at how you pulled out all the stops, y’know? it’s always MEDIUM GOOD. Decent! slick and well executed but fundamentally unmemorable. no risks taken ever, other than by an artist’s own astounding talent (i am thinking literally only of the Martine Syms show that was there many many years ago – i think in 2018?)
this was actually quite an enjoyable show. i felt like it was so interesting that the show was focused around a subject that just had an implied looming presence of like: SHOCK VALUE! SEX! HARDCORE SEX! and all the implications of that moral negotiation, but YET! shame was entirely absent. the artists were all mostly making work that focused into the pleasure of material or aesthetic beauty or like the bodily presence of art object. it was mostly a bit sexier than most exhibtiions, which isn’t hard bc most exhibtions aren’t sexy, but – ykwim.
i spoke to someone after seeing this show and they were like ‘well i’ve heard mixed reviews!’ and i was FASCINATED and made them tell me what the mixed reviews were saying. they mentioned that it was quite a sanitised presentation of art about ~A SUBJECT MATTER SUCH AS THAT~ and – i get it. it’s very clean and tidy! but most of me isn’t too bothered or phased by that, unwilling to get bogged down by that. idk. sex is a bodily thing, a felt thing. the absence of dirt or body or sweat or other fluids and the grime of it all wasn’t an absence i felt any particular way about – mostly bc i think the slick object neatness of it all is kinda factored in when you go to a gallery LIKE sadie coles. of course it was handled at a distance, it is conditioned to go out into the world as art-object-on-display, that is kinda part of the conceptual conditioning that happens by sex entering the artists studio and coming out the other end. part of me thinks if it was less santised, it may not actually be art but something different (maybe something better).
reba maybury wrote an essay for the press release & i thought it was very interesting too – read it here!
- Alina Grasmann @ Niru Ratnam
i think i am saving this for sunday’s text so i will save my words! if ur reading this after 25th June, check the art page on the site to see if i kept to my original plan but hehehehe i haven’t started writing yet, let’s seeeeee!
- Sabine Moritz @ Pilar Corrias
this was so incredibly boring. i’m so sorry sabine. i popped into pilar corrias on my way somewhere else and – these are honestly just the most boring paintings. the most boring space. i walked in and immediately walked out like NOPE. sorry!
- Arpita Singh @ no.9 Cork Street
walked past cork street on my way somewhere else and decided to take a lil diversion to peep in all the windows. i recognised the name arpita singh, and i think it’s bc of this painting – i like those, but i think the rest of her work (and deffo the paintings in no9 cork street) are very very different. ah well!
i will say – i’ve never been into the no9 cork street space, i wasn’t aware frieze were running it! got chatting to the person on the front desk (love it when desk people are friendly bc they’re always the people that know loads, have good interesting opinions and a bit of an inside scoop for me. imo always worth stopping to chat and ask Qs bc they know way more about what’s going on than the curators hahaha). and they said something interesting about how frieze invited galleries to come and program the space – the curator in charge came from some big commercial blue chip gallery and mostly was in a zoom out admin mode rather than a hands on ‘this goes here’ mode. which is interesting! i know gallery politics in the commercial space is mostly about brand name recognition and commercial viability (all well and good having a conceptually interesting show, but is it gona SELL! few galleries have genuinely interesting work for sale by geniunely interesting artists – the only one i can think of off the top of my nut doing both Proper Art and Sales is Arcadia Missa and they’ve been in it for the LONG HAUL, so idk idk this is a soft thought) but this felt like a very erm. idk. it felt like a commercial model that maybe traded on frieze’s name in a very cynical way! i don’t want to call it craven bc that implies judgement and honestly i haven’t done my homework. it just surprised and amused me. i wonder if the galleries do make decent sales there.
anyway. arpita singh and they had some sunil guptas in the back room.
it was a weird space, big, massive rooms, but some of the rooms had the look and feel of a degree show with QR codes and titles mounted on thick bouncy card. i think it felt not very high-end which is even more lmao. sorry to frieze i guess. (i’m soooo not sorry, i am luxuriating in the downmarketness of that cork street space)
- Raghav Babbar @ Nahmad Projects
what the fuck IS cork street? most of the galleries down there are just absolute dogshit but i poke my head in every time regardless just in case things are different this time around. it’s like it doesn’t matter how nice the paintings are (and they’re always paintings) the shopping centre vibes just make everything feel like i’m in a dubai mall (i’ve never been to dubai, other than as a stop over on my way to bangladesh, this is just what i imagine dubai is like). very rich people hang out in SUCH un-chic, unglamorous, uncool places! rich people have actually terrible taste! and no creativity to speak of! that’s all i have to say (messing) – the paintings were nice, i felt bad for them in this weird space. it made these quite sincere portraits feel like a very indian game of guess who.
- Florence Peake @ Richard Saltoun
i need to see the show at southwark park galleries! problem is, i think it’s a performance thingy and SPG is such a nightmare to get to unless you’ve got all the time in the world (i never do). j such a long trek for one thing. maybe i will take my fella on a weekend and we can lollop along through the park after. idk that’s the only way it feels like a do-able trip. i j like public transport but i hate the jubilee line, even tho it’s the best tube line (IMO!!!) but i think this show made little to no sense on its own, other than as the SPG show giftshop (bit far away for that tho!) the holographic drawings were nice but the girl on the desk was SO RUDE! so, swings and roundabouts.
- Charles Avery @ Grimm
never been to GRIMM before! it’s in the space that used to be the old new paradise row! what happened to them? where’ve they gone? is there gossip about paradise row that i’m forgetting? i always forget the good gossip i only ever remember the shit gossip (the stuff that makes me feel like the gossip-teller is j being a bitch bc the gossip is j nosy judgement rather than actual gossip – i’m a gossip connoiseurrrrrrrrr). but i’m glad it’s still a gallery – it’s such a nice tidy well placed space. paradise row (old new) used to do some interesting shows – the curator went on to set up sherbet green so we don’t have to worry about missing anything (i do need to remember to go see the show on at SG this friday tho, note 2 self note 2 self)
i j thought this show was v interesting! charles avery’s work in the space had the look and feel of a group show: so many diff forms and such a wide span across painting, posters, glass, sculpture/installation. it was like, on first glance, that should’ve been loads of people rather than j one person. on second glance, there was a real cohesion and singular vision across the works and mediums tho. like i think the artist does some Good Old Fashioned World Building - a term now out of fashion with the curatorial class, but ALWAYS IN FASHION WITH ME bc i love disappearing into the depths of an artist’s grand plan. i think the glass snakes were the best bit – i could’ve taken or left the wall based stuff but i think that was j me. i wasn’t in the mood for paintings that thursday – which is unusual & very unlike me! but i was j looking for something object-y rather than image-y, j the mood i was in rather than the artist’s personal or profesisonal failing or a gallery’s fault. cannot help it and cannot apologise for it.
- Lawrence Lek @ Sadie Coles (Davies St)
every single lawrence lek film has the exact same vibe. he’s a guy who knows what he makes. as a result, i spent the first 5 minutes of this film being v unsure about whether i’d seen it before (i had) bc honestly – i think if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. having said that, i really like lawrence’s work, he’s j got a strong coherent vibe. it’s like wes anderson! seeing one is enough to get the gist, nothing’s changing all that dramatically bc it’s kinda niche enough to stay the same and still explore new territory – really interested in that thought but i’ve been typing too long to qualify it lmao.
i did have a thought while i was zoning out, trying to figure out if i’d seen it before, bear w me bc i don’t think they’re linear: i think Lawrence Lek makes films that are AI Aware. they are Knowing of AI. the script feels like bad bot or chat GPT jarg (non-derogatory, it’s j non-sequituur, on purpose imo!) the graphics feel like those youtube songs/shows that are bot-generated for kids (a la johnny johnnny yes papa) but DARK, EVIL. it’s interesting as a choice! i really respect it. i don’t think AI is capable of making actual good art yet. i may be wrong in the future. i don’t care if you think i’m wrong now and if you try and tell me i am wrong now, i am sorry (not rly) i am simply NOT LISTENING. you cannot change my mind. art is made by people, even the art that is made by machines or by accident. that is human. AI art is simply shit and it is here to replace NFTs as a novelty tool to generate bullshit guardian articles. BUT. artists are great. they can take something soooo deeply bullshit and twist it, have beeeeen twisting it – idk. i think lawrence lek makes films that feel jarg and uncanny on purpose, as his entire vibe and conceptual reasoning. and i think that’s sooooo interesting. ai art is built to fail bc human artists are simply better! (tbf people’ve been making art for much longer than those pesky robots – send a robot to art skl! see what happens.)
WARNING: this film had the most UNCOMFORTABLE and RIDICULOUS seating i’ve ever had the misfortune to place my peachy cheeks on in my entire life. i wouldn’t wish this seating arrangement on my worst enemies (and i have MANY). be warned.
- Sophie-Yen Bretez @ JD Malat
popped in by accident! these paintings were intersting bc they were STYLISH. they had STYLE. more than they were beautiful or accomplished or even interesting. they tickled the same part of my brain as like: scandi pinterest blogger model DJ girlies with That Arket Blanket posting flatlays with curly candles and natural wine on IG in a photodump. god almighty – none of those words are in the bible but – dyou know what i mean? there is a specific kind of aesthetic pleasure reserved for clean girls on tiktok or people who have very nice dainty gold earrings stacked all up their ears. that is a kind of aesthetic skill! i think these are people who would be very capable artists – maybe they are already! and there is a criticality there under the surface of that aesthetic pleasure. a cleverer person than me should write that essay. i look forward 2 reading it, expeditiously. these paintings made me feel like – THAT. that was there in them. they weren’t beautiful or lovely or even NICE. and good! paintings aren’t obliged to be NICE!!!! they are only obliged to be interesting or to bring visual pleasure: these did both.
- Hamishi Farah @ Arcadia Missa
Hamishi Farah is a very good painter and an artist whose work i enjoy immensely. this show was funny. there’s a good punchline that i actually don’t want to spoil, even though i know spoiling it is contingent on you going West and visiting irl which isn’t always possible. i j know i’d do a shit job of landing the artistic punchline in my words, so i’ve put a bit from the press release behind a spoiler tag and its ur fault if it feels like it didn’t land – i told u so. The gallery contains 3 paintings, Roberto Cavalli, Beyoncé, & Whale, and a letter from a London legal firm on behalf of their client seeking to colonise or reappropriate the physical body of Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli.
- i saw this butterfly
- honourable mention
the weather is so nice i wanted to go in one of those pedaloes on the lake/pond in victoria park – mostly so i could include it in this round up as a whimsical last news item but ALSO bc awh pedaloes are cute aren’t they! BUT IT STARTED RAINING by the time we stomped over on sunday and the MAN SAID THEY HAD TO CLOSE THE PEDALOES BC OF ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS :((((( tbc on pedaloes but mark my words, I’LL BE BACK FOR MY PEDALO EXPERIENCE.
- concluding thoughts
where have mojito flavoured elfbars gone? i am SICK AND TIRED of elfbar innovation bc it comes at a PRICE! (the price is: they seem to keep axeing my fav flavours) mostly i can never find cherry or mad blue except - luckily - at the corner shop at the end of my road (thank u boss, ur a real one & i love u). where are they!!! there used to be mojito flavoured elfbars! i want one! i actually have never wanted anything MORE! i want one so bad i’ve considered going into one of those drug front money laundering american candy shops down in central and paying £19 for one (they are such zone 1 gougers i don’t actually want to cop one there on PRINCIPLE, bc it’s daylight robbery, but i fear i have no other resort). if u know where the mojito elfbars are, please CONTACT ME through any means you have available or j @thewhitepube on ig thank u xxxx