Monday, 30 January 2012

gaNNets + Japonika - Xposed Club at Slak Bar, 4 February

Poster by Mark Unsworth
Gannets - Fyfe Dangerfield, Chris Cundy, Alex Ward, Dominic Lash and Steve Noble - will play an Xposed Club event at Slak Bar, Cheltenham on Saturday 4 February. Gannets are the experimental sister band to the more pop Guillemots - also featuring Dangerfield, Cundy and Ward.The band have been featured recently on both Radio 3 and 6 Music and are curently on a UK tour. Their debut album, Transmissions of Not is due for release in April. Listen to samples here.
Support will be provided by Japonika - a four-piece from Cheltenham: 3 guitarists, Steve Grund, Luke Stow, Jamie Dawson and drummer Chris Gage. 
£6.00 on the door (£5.00 in advance from Badlands). Starts at 8.00.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Ori Gersht: This Storm is What We Call Progress - IWM

Ori Gersht, Chasing Good Fortune: Against the Tide, Isolated, 2010
The exhibition title is a quotation from an essay by Walter Benjamin, written in 1940, and his last finished work before his suicide in that year, in which he refers to a painting, once owned by him:
A Klee painting named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Walter Benjamin (1968) Illuminations: Essays and Reflections; ed. by Hannah Arendt, New York: Schocken Books, p257-8
Paul Klee, Angelus Novus, 1920
Gersht's two-screen film Evaders (2009) relates to Benjamin's final and fateful journey following the 'Lister Route' across the Pyrenees, from France to Spain, in an effort to escape from the Nazis and to make his way to America. In Portbou, Spain, he found the border closed and chose to take his own life. One screen shows a figure walking towards the camera, evidently in some pain, the other shows a distant figure disappearing into the landscape.
Ori Gersht, still from Evaders, 2009
The exhibition also features Will You Dance For Me? (2011), another two-screen film, in which an 85-year-old dancer, Yehudit Arnon, rocks back and forth in a chair, slowly recounting her experiences as a young woman in Auschwitz. Her punishment for refusing to dance at an SS officer’s party was to stand, all night, barefoot in the snow, and she pledged that if she survived she would dedicate her life to dance.
Ori Gersht, still from Will You Dance For Me?, 2011
Chasing Good Fortune (2010) explores the symbolism of cherry blossom, in a series of nightime photographs made in Hiroshima, the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, and other sites in Japan.
Ori Gersht, Chasing Good Fortune: Imperial Memories, Night Fly 1, Tokyo, Japan, 2010

Although not included in the current show, Gersht's earlier film Pomegranate (2006) deserves a mention. Gersht replicated one of the strange still life compositions by the C17 Spanish painter Juan Sánchez Cotán featuring a suspended pomegranate. The stillness of the scene is disturbed by a soundless bullet entering from one side and spectacularly puncturing the fruit!
Ori Gersht, Pomegranate, 2006 (video still)
Juan Sánchez Cotán, Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber, 1602
Watch a film of Gersht talking about his work, here, and see Mummery + Schnell for an archive of selected workby Gersht; read a review in the BJP. The exhibition at the Imperial War Museum continues until 29 April.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Indiscipline of Painting - Mead Gallery

Bridget Riley, Cantus Firmus, 1972-3
The Indiscipline of Painting: International Abstraction from the 1960s to Now is an exhibition of 49 artists, currently showing at the Mead Gallery at Warwick Arts Centre and continuing until 10 March. The exhibition has been selected by Daniel Sturgis and has been organised by the Mead Gallery in collaboration with Tate St Ives where it was shown October to January. Read a review by Mark Harris in Art Monthly, No,353, February 2012, pp27-8.
Artists include: Tomma Abts, Daniel Buren, Ingrid Calame, Keith Coventry, Michael Craig‑Martin, Bernard Frize, Tim Head, Peter Halley, Jane Harris, Alex Hubbard, Bob Law, Sherrie Levine, Jeremy Moon, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Robert Ryman, Sean Scully, Frank Stella, Daniel Sturgis, Niele Toroni, Richard Tuttle, Andy Warhol
Tomma Abts, Thiale, 2004
Ingrid Calame, Step on a Crack, Break Your Mother's Back, 2009
Michael Craig-Martin, Mirror Painting, 1990-2011
Bernard Frize, Suite Segond 100 No 3, 1980
Alex Hubbard, Horse Camp No. 1, 2010
Dan Sturgis No Other Home, 2011

Monday, 23 January 2012

Zarina Bhimji - Whitechapel Gallery

Zarina Bhimji, still from Yellow Patch, 2011
Zarina Bhimji is showing at the Whitechapel Gallery until 9 March. The exhibition of photographs and film installations features 25 years work and includes the premiere of Yellow Patch (2011) which was shot on location in Mumbai, Kutch and Gujerat. The film comprises beautiful lingering images of interiors and landscapes. The film is also showing at The New Art Gallery, Walsall, until 14 April and can be viewed online here. Also showing is her atmospheric 2002 film Out of Blue shot in Uganda - view online here.
Zarina Bhimji, Your Sadness is Drunk, 2001-2006
Zarina Bhimji, Bapa Closed His Heart, It Was Over, 2001-2006
Zarina Bhimji, still from Yellow Patch, 2011
Zarina Bhimji, We are cut from the same cloth, 1995

Zarina Bhimji, Memories Were Trapped Inside the Asphalt, 1998-2003

Monday, 16 January 2012

N.E.W. + Lund Quartet - Xposed Club, 20th January

Poster by Mark Unsworth
Xposed Club returns: the first concert of the new year will be on Friday, 20 January in its new space at the Centre for Art & Photography at the Hardwick Campus on St. Paul's Road, Cheltenham.
The event will be headlined by N.E.W. - Steve Noble, drums, John Edwards, double bass, Alex Ward, guitar. Listen to samples here.
Stewart Lee wrote: The bass player John Edwards turns up on the best British free-jazz recordings. The drummer Steve Noble cleaves through improvisatory rumblings with dramatic, decisive moves. And the guitarist Alex Ward, a compulsively creative polymath of indiscriminately omnivorous appetite, is a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds. The trio’s second record posits a bricolage bebop, an ugly ecstatic jazz, played on sheet metal, broken glass and barbed wire. Coming Up for Air bubbles like an electric soup, and an elastically extended Empty Ballroom finds Edwards and Noble stretching back to catapult Ward’s electric guitar far beyond the gravitational pull of Planet Rock. 

N.E.W. will be supported by Lund Quartet - Simon Adcock, piano and Theremin, Jake Wittlin, turntable, Sam Muscat, drums and Rob Childs, double bass.
Audio and videos here.
£6.00 (students £3.00) on the door, starts at 8.00pm.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Catherine Yass: Lighthouse - Alison Jacques Gallery

Catherine Yass, Lighthouse (North north north west), 2011
Yass's photographs and films focus on the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse (50° 43'.40 N 00° 26'.13 E), 5 miles out to sea from Eastbourne on the East Sussex coast. The lighthouse was completed in 1971, replacing a light vessel which had marked the Royal Sovereign Shoal since 1875. The structure includes a cabin section - a perfectly square platform resting on a circular column - which contained accommodation for the keepers who manned the lighthouse before its automation in 1994, when it was converted to solar power.
The photographs and films use inversion and reversal  to produce a series of beautiful and spooky images.
Read Catherine Yass's Best Shot.
Catherine Yass, Lighthouse, 2011. Detail from 35mm film transferred to digital video.
Catherine Yass, Lighthouse, 2011. Detail from 35mm film transferred to digital video.
Catherine Yass, Lighthouse (East), 2011
Catherine Yass, Lighthouse (North), 2011
Catherine Yass, Lighthouse (North north west, distant), 2011
Catherine Yass, Lighthouse, 2011. Detail from 35 mm film transferred to digital video.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings, 1986 - 2011 - Gagosian

Damien Hirst, N-Methylurea, 2005

As a taster for the Tate Modern's forthcoming Damien Hirst retrospective (4 April - 9 September), Gagosian has launched its ambitious, if slightly batty, global exhibition of the Complete Spot Paintings, 1986-2011. The exhibition will take place at once across all of Gagosian Gallery’s eleven locations in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong, opening worldwide on 12 January and continuing until 10 March. If you have the time and money to pop into all 11 exhibitions you may be lucky enough to win a signed spot painting specially dedicated to you! Hmm...
Hirst on Spots:
I had an argument with an assistant who used to paint my spots. A fantastic argument. Because it's, like, nothing comes out of my studio unless I say it comes out of the studio. You've got loads of people working. You've got people you care about that you've known for long periods of time. When she was leaving, and she was nervous, she said, 'Well, I want a spot painting. I've painted loads for you. I've painted these spot paintings for a year, and I want one'. A year in the studio, getting paid a fiver, a tenner an hour, whatever it is. So I said, 'I'll give you a cheque for seventy thousand quid if you like. Why don't I just do that? Because you know you're going to sell it straight away. You know how to do it. Just make one of your own.' And she said, 'No. I want one of yours.' But the only difference between one painted by her and one of mine is the money.
I only ever made five spot paintings myself. Personally. I can paint spots. But when I started painting the spots I knew exactly where it was going. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I couldn't be fucking arsed doing it. And I employed people. And my spots I painted are shite. They're shit. I did them on the wrong background, there's the pin-holes [from the compass] in the middle of the spots which at the time I said I wanted, because I wanted a kind of truth to it. Under close scrutiny, you can see the pocess by which they were made. They're shit compared to... The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel [Howard]. She's brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.
Hirst, Damien and Burn, Gordon (2001) On The Way to Work, London: Faber and Faber: "Interview 4: Outbuilding, Combe Martin, Monday, 30.08.09", pp82 and 90.

Jerry Saltz on Hirst's Spots:
Hirst's spot paintings are spiffy riffs on Sol LeWitts sixties formula: authorless paintings that can be made by anyone. Each one looks cheery, fresh, and modern. The grids are machinelike, the color lifelikebingo, a brand. I wouldn’t mind owning a spot painting at all. Yet the idea of owning more than one is unimaginable. You see one, and you really have seen them all. (Read Spots and Sharks andMaggots and Money: How Damien Hirst took over the world, by Jerry Saltz)
Read review by Adrian Searle, watch TV interview with Charlie Rose.
Damien Hirst, Methoxyverapamil, 1991
Damien Hirst, 1-Bromododecane, 1996
Damien Hirst, DL-P-Chlorophenylalanine Methyl Ester, 1998
Damien Hirst, Bromchlorophenol Blue, 1996
Damien Hirst, Levorphanol, 1995
Damien Hirst, Spot Painting, 1986
Damien Hirst, Ethyl Laurate, 2003
Damien Hirst, Eucatropine, 2005
Damien Hirst, Cupric Nitrate, 2007
Damien Hirst with Spot paintings, Gagosian, 522 West 21st Street, NY

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Eve Arnold, 1912 - 2012

Eve Arnold, Bar girl in a brothel in the red light district, Havana, Cuba, 1954
Eve Arnold died on 4 January, 2012.
Arnold, the first woman member of Magnum, was best known for her portraits of both the famous (especially Marilyn Monroe) and the unknown as well as for photojournalist assignments from Harlem to China, and Russia to South Africa.

Asked by Sarah Brown of the BJP, how much power photojournalists actually have to change the things they see, Arnold [brought] her hand up to eye-level, a tiny gap between forefinger and thumb, "very little," she said. "You know in the beginning we thought we were going to change the world. I think people live in so much visual material these days, billions of photographs annually, that they grow numb after too much exposure. But it's hard. You see something and it's your profession and you want to do something about it." (Quoted from BJP obituary by Oliver Laurent)
Eve Arnold, Josephine Baker, 1950
Eve Arnold, Marilyn Monroe, 1955
Eve Arnold, Malcolm X, Chicago, 1961
Eve Arnold, Anthony Quinn and Anna Karina on the set of Guy Green's The Magus, Mallorca, 1976
Eve Arnold, Retired Woman, China, 1979