One of the prominent photographers from Porto Novo in Benin, his work borrows from both the modern and the traditional, and throws light on how the world seeing Africa, leads it to see itself. Featuring dramatic masked Egungun figures, bare breasted women, and a colonial style backdrop in some of the images, Agbodjelou references both the history and the ritualism that cloud our gaze when we look at this continent. At the same time his images stand as testament to how Africa has embraced and shared those aspects of its culture that are rich and unique, while blending in with other social and cultural aspects that the globalised world favours.
The sound of eerie.
a slice of light cutting through the fog,
then black again.
The shadow of the person standing somewhere in front of you,
the hollow shuffle of the group behind,
then lost again to the black that fills the Curve.
Welcome to Momentum, one of the latest works by the acclaimed United Visual Artists at the Barbican’s The Curve gallery. Combining light, sound and the movement of the visitors, this is a work like we’ve never experienced before. Being thrust into a darkness that alternates between pitch black and smoky shadows, depending on where you stand, is not something we’re used to. And the smoke is not exactly smoke we think, just the way the light feels….
Where’s Health & Safety when you need it?
Rest assured the maximum damage this work can cause you is knocking into the wall. Or bumping into the person in front/behind you.
But we guarantee that if you do take the first step into the darkened abyss that Momentum has transformed the Curve into, you won’t come away disappointed. And with many images in your head that no camera can capture, or no two people can witness.
We love exhibitions that make us want to walk slowly…
where it doesn’t matter whether you came alone or with someone, because you just forget…
where it feels like you’ve just spent an hour but then you end up with 250 photographs on your phone…how long were we here?
where you covet everything and delight in the colour and symmetry of someone else’s good taste.
Martino Gamper’s design is a state of mind at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is all of these things and more. In a deeply aesthetic way, Gamper has curated a display of shelves that range from design classics to contemporary pieces, Ikea to iconic, all of which play host to an eclectic collection of objects loaned from artists, designers and creatives we enjoy and envy.
With his own background in exhibition and interior design as well as his close ties with the furniture industry, Gamper seems like the perfect curator/designer/artist to have crafted this exhibition with just the right amount of precision, restraint and joy.
Bethan Wood & Campo Graffi (Bookcase 1950s)
Adam Hills & Martino Gamper (Book Show Case 2010/2014)
David Bailey’sStardust at the National Portrait Gallery gives visitors the perfect opportunity to immerse themselves in what Bailey does best – take fantastic images of the beautiful and the famous, but without letting the glamour overwhelm you.
‘The pictures I take are simple and direct and about the person I’m photographing and not about me. I spend more time talking to the person than I do taking pictures.’
Most of the images are black and white, and though the display does highlight Bailey’s other images taken in India, Sudan, Australia, and London’s East End, the main focus is on his celebrity images. And it doesn’t take much to figure out why it is with these images that the maverick photographer has built up his reputation and his fan base.
One of our favourite exhibitions to currently see in Vienna is Evil Things – An encyclopaedia of bad taste at the Möbel Museum Wien. A tongue-in-cheek look at those everyday objects that make us grimace or laugh, that have had an unexpected impact on society or the economy, that are utterly useless, have big design flaws or are just plain rude – there’s an interesting conversation to be had around each and every one of these objects.
The exhibition also invites visitors to leave behind their bad taste objects with a story of why they consider the item to be terrible. All the written humour and indignation was completely lost on us given the German wall text, but what we did witness is that one person’s jewel could very easily be another person’s garbage. And since we ourselves possess and have gifted to friends a few of the displayed objects, we completely put down bad taste as being in the eye of the beholder. Now you tell us, why would anyone pass up on the chance to own a set of wind-up teeth that walk across the table? That’s so many hours at work taken care of!
Some of the objects that made us chuckle…
Nearly all these pictures are courtesy eBay.
On a more serious note, the exhibition is based on a 1912 publication by the art historian Gustav E. Pazaurek where he drew up a criteria on taste mistakes of all kinds. Pazaurek also believed that every institution or museum should have a chamber of horrors cataloguing past design mistakes for students and designers to learn from.
This exhibition includes loans from Pazaurek’s original collection as well as new items from several other museums. Getting visitors to bring in their items as this exhibition does, is also an effective way of acknowledging that everyone has taste or at the least has an item to be commemorated to the Chamber of Horrors.
A definite must-see even if you don’t understand German, we’d also encourage you to wander through the rest of the Möbel Museum which is magical in a quiet, non-touristy-museum sort of way…to us this is the best kind there are!
Lazy beaches, idyllic scenes, quotidian life that is peaceful but not mundane, the selection of works by Eric Fischl on view at the Albertina in Vienna left us hungering for more on a recent trip. From glassines to watercolours and sculpture, his ability to capture fluidity across different mediums is inspiring and allows his stories to flow well beyond the edges that frame them.
As Fischl says on the wall text, ‘trying to control the pooling of liquid colour so it captures the feel of muscle, motion and light while allowing it to do what it does naturally, is my most satisfying discipline.’ We believe it’s also his most endearing feature.
Here are some of our Fischl favourites, from the show and otherwise.
Fischl is also known for his oil painting on glassine, a very thin smooth paper that is air and water resistant. He places layers of these sheets one on top of each other to form a narrative, thereby allowing for the possibility of multiple scenarios.
Tucked away behind the sandy beaches and billowing silhouettes that comprise this exhibition is Fischl’s Tumbling Woman sculpture. Not just any woman, this sculpture symbolises the lives lost in the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy. It was first installed at the Rockefeller Center but due to complaints from the public was later covered and then removed.
Whether this sculpture symbolises a fallen or a leaping woman, someone being pushed or forced to jump is immaterial. It was Fischl’s aim to turn the conversation away from the destroyed towers to the people who lost their lives in the tragedy, and in this he succeeded.
Eric Fischl: Friends, Lovers and other Constellations
Till 18 May 2014 Albertina, Vienna