David Franchi – Thursday, 24th March 2016.

Leave Your Weapons Here by Fredrik Raddum, 2016, Photo © Jonathan Milton

Leave Your Weapons Here by Fredrik Raddum, 2016, Photo © Jonathan Milton

The Norwegian exhibitionSkjerp Deg!” was interesting, at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London and also launched the new Projects Space.

The mix the gallery made of three different artists, such as Amir Chasson, Fredrik Raddum and Sverre Bjertnæs, was an interesting idea for the “Skjerp Deg!” exhibition by Kristin Hjellegjerde to bring Norwegianart to London.

Norwegian expression, the title “Skjerp Deg!” indicates the main theme of theexhibition at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London.

Skjerp deg’ could be translated as ‘Sharpen yourself up’. It usually means you’re making an idiot of yourself and it is used in many different situations, including telling to someone to pay attention or that is doing something silly.

The exhibition opened at the door with the intriguing ‘Leave your weapons here’ by sculptor Fredrik Raddum. It reminds of the old churches on the North Europe where there is a room to leave your weapons to get before to get in. For the artist it was a way to remember his own and his children youth when facing a difficult environment, making a parallel with the arms of old warriors. The following room displays other works such as The Nomad series or Human Excavation, confirming the distinctive uncomfortably themes of his works, forcing the viewers to question contemporary culture.

British artist Amir Chasson, instead, mainly presented paintings. Interesting was the series ‘Human Photo References for 3D Artists and Game Developers’ made of large male nude figures – nearly two metres high. These human figures represent the violence overestimated by computer games, stripped back to its most naked humanity. He said: “The work stems from my preoccupation with borders and space. This preoccupation also informs the way I want the work to be seen. The single, lone-standing figures are locked into tightly made-to-measure cropped frames, as if by accident I had run out of space. The idea was to force the viewer to look at it awkwardly from close up, rather than the conventional few steps back.”

Launching the new Kristin Hjellegjerde Projects, in addition to the main gallery, Sverre Bjertnæs showed paintings and sculptures in a separate space. Kristin Hjellegjerde Projects Space will be a way to introduce new artists to the gallery. It is an initiative that supports the organisation of pop-up exhibitions in various locations. The space is located just metres from the gallery. Bjertnaes is well known in his native Norway for his distinctive artistic language. Working with both classical figuration as well as experimental conceptualism, his exhibitions – as seen here – are visually dense and aesthetically expansive.

The Norwegian themed exhibition “Skjerp Deg!” was at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, from 12th February until 19th march 2016.

 

David Franchi – Monday, 14th March 2016.

Line exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London.

Line exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London.

It was a great exhibition ‘Line’ at the Lisson Gallery, London. It was a celebration of the line and an investigation on its possibilities, what the Lisson Gallery (London) presented.

Guest -curated by Drawing Room, London, the exhibition focused on the three -dimensional development, from the line which is used to draw, to installation created for the Lisson Gallery and using its spaces.

Fifteen artists displayed their interpretation of the line, from images to minimalist, with installations and a video. Works spanned from seminal artworks, from the late ’60s, through to performative and site-specific pieces made especially for this exhibition.

The artists involved were: Athanasios Argianas, Ceal Floyer, Monika Grzymala, Victoria Haven, Susan Hiller, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Tom Marioni, Jonathan Monk, Julian Opie, Florian Pumhösl, Fred Sandback, Maximilian Schubert, K. Yoland and Jorinde Voigt.

Lisson Gallery’s almost fifty-year history frames the exhibition. Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 165, a diagonal line first drawn according to the artist’s instructions by Nicholas Logsdail in 1973 and re-drawn again for this exhibition, proposes an expanded field for contemporary art through its conceptual idea. Richard Long’s 1980 work A Four Day Walk expresses an imaginary 94 miles line in the ground, which shifts the parameters of drawing to consider man’s physical yet transitory relationship with the world. Long’s ephemeral line contrasts poignantly with British artist K. Yoland’s recent photography series and a film, bath named Border Land Other (2013-2014), the result of a residency in Texas. A new work by Julian Opie also brings the natural world into the gallery via a black vinyl installation, Pine Forest, a vertical procession of tree trunks mimicking bar codes and lines.

Brooklyn-based Maximilian Schubert and London-based Greek artist Athanasios Argianas both presented new and recent work that employs metallic forms to execute three-dimensional drawings. The installation of Argiana is made of a freestanding steel armature draped with brass ribbons. Etched with words that describe subjective measurements, such as “the length of the strand of your hair”, the ribbons’ descriptions were activated via spoken performances during the exhibition’s opening.

In Viennese artist Florian Pumhösl’s animated film Tract (2011), moving lines explore the relationship between dance notations and a figure’s movement in space. Drawing from Paul Klee’s Pedagogical Sketchbook, which states “a line is a point, which goes for a walk”, Berlin based artist Ceal Floyer’s 2008 work, Taking a Line for a Walk. The performative element of drawing is also referred to in German artist Jorinde Voigt’sBotanic Code (2015), which translates the artist’s perceptions by way of an algorithmic code into a row of painted aluminium rods leant against a wall.

American conceptual artist Tom Marioni’s One Second Sculpture (1969) records the artist throwing a coiled tape measure into the air and letting it fall – an act echoed in Jonathan Monk’s neon Fallen (2006) – with the aim of eradicating the distinctions between sculpture, drawing and performance. Such crossing and erasure of medium specificity is a feature of the minimalist sculptor Fred Sandback’s dematerialised work,Untitled (1974).

An installation by Susan Hiller, Work in Progress (1980), contained the residue of a week-long performance of dismantling canvas by the artist. Using the soft material of tape, Berlin-based installation artist Monika Grzymala created a densely crosshatched maelstrom blizzard of black. Seattle-based artist Victoria Haven created new delicate site-specific works for the exhibition a minimalist and geometrical abstractions.

The exhibition ‘Line’ was at the Lisson Gallery, London, from 22 January until 12 March 2016.

 

David Franchi – Monday, 7th March 2016.

John Akomfrah, 2015, Lisson Gallery, London

John Akomfrah © 2015 Lisson Gallery, London

John Akomfrah is an involving exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London.

It was the first exhibition of John Akomfrah for the London branch of Lisson Gallery. It presented new and recent works by Akomfrah worldwide acclaimed artist and filmmaker.

For his debut at the Lisson GalleryAkomfrah has made two new diptych video installations. The first, The Airport (2016), was shot in Greece. It focused on the terrible economic situation by referring to Theo Angelopulous, one of the country’s greatest filmmakers, as if it was made through his point of view.

The second, Auto Da Fé (2016), was shot in Barbados. It focused on the nowadays refugee crisis through the handwriting of the Caribbean writer George Lamming. It mixes current events in Europe with a nameless event from 1654, when Sephardic Jews, found shelter in the Barbados, when running away from the Inquisition in Catholic Brazil.

Also on show was Tropikos (2016), a film that transport the Tamar Valley into a sixteenth-century English port of exploration on the African continent, so to disclose the inherent and gloomy past of the river.

The style of work of John Akomfrah is visual, intense, and multi-layered. It refers to poetic but also to political issue, often merged together with contemporary and past, fictional and mythological aspects.

He defines himself: “I’m a born bricoleur. I love the way that things that are otherwise discrete and self-contained start to suggest things once they are forced into a dialogue with something else.”

Akomfrah uses different media, such as archival film footage, still photography, newsreel and new material, to investigate personal and collective memories, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics in works that regularly look at the African diaspora in Europe and the US.

John Akomfrah started to emerge in the early 1980s as a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective alongside the artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul. Still at today they collaborate and their film Handsworth Songs (1986), explored the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London. It won international prizes and attracted a huge audience.

Akomfrah (born 1957, Accra, Ghana) lives and works in London. He has had many solo exhibitions including Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (2015); Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan, USA (2014); Tate Britain, London, UK (2013-14) and a series long a week of screenings at MoMA, New York, USA (2011). His participation in international group shows has included: ‘British Art Show 8’, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds; ‘All the World’s Futures’, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); ‘History is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain’, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015); ‘Africa Now: Political Patterns’, SeMA, Seoul, South Korea (2014); Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2013); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2012) and Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2012). He has also been featured in many international film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival, Utah, USA (2013 and 2011) and Toronto International Film Festival (2012).

John Akomfrah exhibition is at the Lisson Gallery, London, from 22nd January until 12th March 2016.

 

 

Jack Newhouse – Thursday, 30th December 2015.

Self Portrait © Anne Pigalle, London.

Self Portrait © Anne Pigalle, London.

It is an atypical but involving exhibition Âmérotica Art Sale by Anne Pigalle, at her studio in North London.

In between an exhibition and an event,Âmérotica is also an art sale Anne Pigalleorganised in North London.

When still very young, French artist Anne Pigalle was a punk movement member. When in London, she had the opportunities to publish an album with Trevor Horn. Then she went to LA for seven years but when back in London started poetry, art exhibition and erotic salon. Because of a break, Pigalle could buy a Polaroid and started her current life into figurative art. But she also keeps on performing music and poetry.

At the Âmérotica, it is possible to buy her original works, she could almost make on the instant while talking to you. Her assorted works are the result of her life and of her experiences, as an artist and as a woman. Her production consists in small cards or dresses hand painted, proper paintings on canvas, decorated CD, Polaroid photos, a blue Christmas tree, and a myriad of small everyday items. Many different objects, small common ones, are the material she uses to produce her works, giving them a different nature or another role. She is a stalwart fan of Duchamp, whom works she knows well and cites much.

Practicing various media, Anne Pigalle is a whole artist in a Renaissance meaning. She is a kind of small universe where art is the main core. She is a poet, a musician, a performer, and a painter.

French artist Anne Pigalle is born in Paris from a family of artists. She grew up in Paris, in Montmatre, ‘le quartier des artists’, the district of the artists.

When still at school, Pigalle joined the punk movement. She met an English boyfriend at a concert and began to come to London when she was only 15.

Pigalle moved to London definitively when was 20 years old. She had the opportunity to work with notable photographer, such as Mario Testino, Lord Snowdown, Nick Knight, Kevin Cummins, but also musicians as Michael Nyman.

Realising punk music was dead, in 1980 Anne Pigalle found stimulation in her culture and referred to Edith Piaf. In 1985 she published her first album for the ZTT of Trevor Horn, and also toured in Japan. With her boyfriend, they also started a successful club, Le nuits du Mercredi.

Then Pigalle moved to Los Angeles for seven years. Her life was made of concerts and performances. Together with

The Whole Lot © Anne Pigalle, London.

The Whole Lot © Anne Pigalle, London.

her friend, Donald Cammell, they made a project to realize a film on her life.

However, when Cammell committed suicide, Pigalle moved back to Londonand started to experiment, such as poetry, art exhibition and erotic salon.

As a consequence of a break, Pigalle turned in to the figurative art sector. When the guy she was living with left her, he forgot his Argos card and there were enough points to buy a Polaroid camera. She started to take picture of herself, mostly naked, and modifying them with ink, paint and found objects.

The idea was to show the difference between sex and love but differentiating from pornography. As a result of her romantic and feminine side but not excluding eroticism, the work was named Âmérotica – from the French âme and érotique, which means the erotic soul. The work was so appreciated and an acclaimed exhibition at the Michael Hoppen Gallery was organised.

Anne Pigalle is a free personality. Therefore, her need for autonomy makes her to test the limits of authority and control, generating antagonist behaviour. She thinks differently and often in opposition. She dislikes the big business, the mainstream, and corporations. And of course, this means a lot of references to sex and love that can only exist in freedom.

Probably, from this point of view comes the idea for Amérotic Art Sale. Being against the big business probably generated the one-to-one approach, she used for this event.

To reach the place, in fact, you need to book an appointment through her website or her Facebook page. In a performative style, Pigalle welcomes visitors offering a tea and a cake, making people comfortable, and possibly showing her own collection. She truly speaks to the guests and she is really interested in their lives, their emotions.

It is a tailored approach, it is warm, and it is human. It is not aseptic and tasteless like in a shop, where staff dumbly ask if they can ‘help you’, while they do not really care at all to ‘help you’, but rather just to sell to have the salary bonus to spend at the pub – when they are not threatened by the employers or team leaders.

Anne Pigalle does not sell mass production objects sic et simpliciter. She manipulates these objects (the readymades of Duchamp), giving them a new life as artworks. In doing so, she instils a part of herself in them, and basically, she sells herself, giving you her stories: these works are pieces of her.

This personal approach is very interesting, because it challenges the mass tactics used by the big business marketing, and it criticizes the idea that a person is nothing but what can buy with money.

After having published five albums, at the moment, Anne Pigalle is also working on her new music project. She also does art performances in specific venues acrossLondon and the UK.

Âmérotica Art Sale exhibition by Anne Pigalle is ongoing in North London.