David Franchi – Thursday, 19th November 2015

Dench Does Dallas (2015) ® Peter Dench, co. Art Bermondsey Project Space, London.

Dench Does Dallas (2015) ® Peter Dench, co. Art Bermondsey Project Space, London.

The exhibition of Peter Denchwas a remarkable example of reportage about Dallas, at the Art Bermondsey Project Space, London.

A photographic exhibition, ‘Peter Dench does Dallas’ was also the launching of the new London gallery Art Bermondsey Project Space, sponsored by Olympus.

Peter Dench found inspiration in the idea he had of Dallas when he was a teenager in the 1980s. His impression of the capital of Texas was shaped by two aspects: the TV series Dallas, and the adult film Debbie Does Dallas.

Probably, Dench is not the only person in the world to have these ideas. The TV series Dallas was a famous prime- time soap opera about the Ewing family that has been broadcasted to over 90 countries and translated in 67 languages.

The film ‘Debbie Does Dallas’, instead, was a real mass phenomenon, one of the top five grossing porno movies of all time, which had sequels and spin offs. The movie was interpreted by Bambi Woods, the stage name of Debra De Santo, who had a sudden success in the Golden Age of Porn, but then disappeared. This mystery fascinated the adult industry creating a legend about Woods. What happened to her is not clear. A solution was not found even in ‘Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered’ (aka ‘The Curse of Debbie Does Dallas’), a TV documentary shown by British Channel 4 as part of The Dark Side of Porn series.

Therefore, Peter Dench chose the name of the London exhibition, at the Art Bermondsey Project Space, by playing with the title of this famous film, even though it was not shot in Dallas but in New York. And, probably, he is unaware that there is the TV series Conan, season 3, episode 94, titled ‘The Exotic Marigold Hotel 2: Dench Does Dallas’ (2013).

The trip to Texas found Dench questioning his own idea of Dallas, that not everyone there is going around with a cowboy hat and guns, and women are not ranch wives. This impression is familiar to many people in the world. However, Dallas is a more multifaceted town.

In the 13 days of his trip, Dench took images revealing that the word to describe Dallas is ‘big’. He visited the Dallas Junior Police Academy, and also the clubs on Mockingbird Lane, the main adult scene. Additionally, he made a one-day trip to the rich Southlake city and visited the Southfork ranch, location of the TV series. He walked the town and depicted all the various aspects, which are reported in the book published.

The results of his investigation are that Dallas changed a lot from the 1980s and Debbie and the Ewings are something from the past, almost unknown to young generations.

Peter Dench shot images exclusively on Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. He uses the Micro Four Thirds system.

The exhibition ‘Dench Does Dallas’ was at the Art Bermondsey Project Space, London, from 20th October until 7th November 2015.


David Franchi – Wednesday, 4th November 2015.

Rudiments, Installation view, 2015, co. Lisson Gallery, London © Broomberg & Chanarin

Rudiments, Installation view, 2015, co. Lisson Gallery, London © Broomberg & Chanarin

The exhibition “Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments” was involving, at the Lisson Gallery, London.

It was the debut exhibition solo for Broomberg Chanarin at the Lisson Gallery, London.

The London exhibition at theLisson Gallery was an extension of a major show Broomberg & Chanarin had at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw (27 June – 6 September), which also commissioned the film Rudiments with Forma Arts, supported by Arts Council England.

The exhibition, in facts, rotates on the film Rudiments (2015), which is crucial. Here the artists have worked with a group of young army cadets at a military camp in the suburbs of Liverpool. Although the film was staged and prepared, the habitual activities of the military life still results difficult to understand for the public, including those endorsing authoritarian forms of obedience.

Broomberg & Chanarin’s film is focused on childhood and youth and their way to rapport to pain and disgrace. To represent this theme, the artists use the armed forces, the cadets and their habits, the military routines and hierarchy.

Particularly, Broomberg & Chanarin make reference to the 40 rudiments that form the technical foundation of percussive music, such as rolls, strokes and paradiddles. The soundtrack is boosted by a spectacular and unrehearsed drums work out by the American musician Kid Millions (aka John Colpitts).

The exhibition also included a live performance with two drummers, one snare drum, one chair, two clocks and a lead carpet. The drummers played a drum roll for the six-week duration of the exhibition, without interruption.

On the opening night, there was an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Group Drum Roll. This relay drumming performance started at 6pm on 24th September and continued for 65 consecutive hours.

The exhibition has seen also two large-scale photographic series, which are focused on violence. The first series showed bullets that have collided head-on and fused in mid-air. They were originally found on the battlefields of the American Civil War and are said to have successfully saved the lives of two soldiers.

The second series presents military grade prisms, shards of optical glass that are used in the sights of precision weaponry, but which also relate to the lenses found in the same photographic apparatus they use.

The Lisson Gallery exhibition coincides with the artists exhibiting as part of the eighth British Art Show (Leeds Art Gallery, 9 October – 10 January 2015, then touring to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton throughout 2016) and they are also currently exhibiting the new Every piece of dust on Freud’s couch and intervene within the Freud Museum in London (7 October – 22 November).

As a mean to understand the human condition, Broomberg & Chanarin investigate politics, religion, war and history, by using imagery. Initially trained as photographers, at present they work across diverse media. They had a photojournalistic experience in Afghanistan with the British Army and in the frontline action.

The artists Adam Broomberg (born 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (born 1971, London, UK) are living and working in London. Their work is displayed in major public and private collections including Tate, MoMA, Stedelijk, the V&A, the International Center of Photography and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Major awards include the ICP’s Infinity Award (2014) and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013).

The exhibition “Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments” was at the Lisson Gallery, London, from 25 September until 31 October 2015.


David Franchi – Monday, 2nd November 2015.

Never enough, 2015 co. Lisson Gallery, London, Ryan Gander

Never enough, 2015 co. Lisson Gallery, London © Ryan Gander

The Ryan Gander exhibition ‘Fieldworks 2015’ at the Lisson Gallery, London, was very interesting.

It was the third time Ryan Gander made an exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London. It can be described by illustrating the works displayed.

The most attention-grabbing was Fieldworks 2015 itself. It took up the full back gallery. It consisted in a window opening on a revolving conveyer belt, on which were standing various objects coming from the artist’s collection – each apparently found but deeply examined individually crafted. It created a memory game of bizarre relations and a prism of connections.

‘Preparation is everything (There will come a slowness and we should prepare for that also)’ was an autobiographical work, made up of 365 daily efforts to find out the precise colour of the sky over Saxmundham, Suffolk, in acrylic paint.

The out of the ordinary installation ‘Never enough’ was set up by filling the whole basement space with pebbles. Referring to the panorama near Gander’s home, it is inspired to a supposed punishment for criminal perpetrators of smuggling.

In the meantime, ‘The artist’s second phone’ was a giant billboard installed outside the gallery with the real phone number of Gander.

In the courtyard space was installed ‘Night and Day’ an inside lit semi-transparent two-man tent crafted out of fibreglass resin.

Ryan Gander was born in Chester in 1976 and works in London. He is a conceptual artist, who finds inspiration in questions, study or what-ifs, rather than austere conventions or limits. He takes popular notions and restructures them by playing with storytelling and language.

Latest solo exhibitions include Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2015); Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore (2015); Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City (2015); Make Every Show Like it’s Your Last, Manchester Art Gallery (2014), touring to Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry (2014) and OK Centre for Contemporary Art, Linz (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2010); Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2008); MUMOK, Vienna (2007) and the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2007).

Gander received many awards, including the Zürich Art Prize (2009), the ABN Amro Art Price (2006), the Baloise Art Statements of the Art Basel (2006) and the Dutch Prix de Rome for sculpture (2003).

The exhibition ‘Ryan Gander: Fieldwork 2015’ was at the Lisson Gallery, London, from 25th September until 31st October 2015.


On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry (No5/3), 2015, co. Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery © Sinta Tantra

On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry (No5/3), 2015, co. Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery © Sinta Tantra

David Franchi, Sunday, 1st November 2015.

It has been an amazing exhibition “Fantastic/ Chromatic” by Sinta Tantra, at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London.

The exhibition of Sinta Tantra focused on chromatics of colour and geometry, and created a fantastic artistic environment by using structural elements of the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London.

The gallery itself is composed by three spaces where normally the exhibitions are set up. Therefore, Tantra considered using colours on the front space, where the main entrance is. She applied clear pink vinyl on the front window of the gallery and also hung up there coloured paintings. This sort of preparation created games of colours when the lights (and the occasional sun of the UK) were up, casting pinkish forms over the front wall and mixing with the paintings. The constant changing of sun and lights created new interaction between the colours.

The second room was focused on the colour blue, inspired by “On Being Blue: A Philosophical Enquiry” by William Glass. While reading the book, Sinta Tantraproduced the paintings. These canvases presented a contrast between the painted elements and the unpainted ones. Colours are layered in fields, inspired by the work of the Action Painting and Colour Field Painting movements, including Lewitt, Stella, and Buren. There is a distinction between the covered and the coloured parts of canvas, stressing the employ of tessellation and pattern and textile portion characteristics of decoration and craft as each work is hand painted.

The last space is the most intimate of the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London. The works displayed here are collages or assemblages of wall paintings, canvases and found prints, including prints from James Audubon’s famous Birds in America folio. This room puts together a studio and Victorian parlour, with pink decoration. Sinta Tantra explains: “I wanted this room to have a different feel to the previous one. This is more intimate, experimental, domestic – reflecting more on studio activity rather than a finished project.”

Fantastic/Chromatic was an exhibition of high quality, devoted more to decoration and design, where colour played the leading role. Sinta Tantra said: “Colour exists as an integral aspect to my work and I am drawn to it as a material which lies between the language of art and industry. Colour exists within its own structure: it is densely packed, hermetically sealed, contained. My work takes on a sculptural approach to ‘colour collage’ where colour is ‘cut’ as opposed to filled, ‘layered’ as opposed to mixed, ‘constructed’ as opposed to emerged. Geometric boundaries are definitive and illusionary highs ‘snap’ into place as you walk around the work.”

Sinta Tantra is a British artist of Balinese descent. She was born in New York in 1979. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London 1999–2003 and at the Royal Academy Schools 2004–06. Her site-specific murals and installations have been exhibited at the Southbank Centre, Liverpool Biennial, the Royal British Society of Sculptors and Transport for London. Tantra’s most notable work includes a permanent landmark commission for Canary Wharf completed for the Olympics in 2012 – a 300-metre long painted bridge. She exhibited in Cologne (2015), Yogyakarta and New York (2014), Hong Kong, (2013) and The Hague (2012). She has been awarded numerous times, including the Deutsche Bank Award, British Council’s International Development Award and the shortlist for the Jerwood Painting Prize, Tantra’s work has been featured in both UK and international press including Tate Shots, FAD Magazine, The Evening Standard’s Hot List 100, Nylon Magazine USA, the Jakarta Post and BBC Radio Indonesia. Tantra’s work is in the collections of the UK’s Government Art Collection as well as private international collections.

The exhibition “Fantastic /Chromatic” by Sinta Tantra was at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, from 11th September until 10th October 2015.