Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou

 

We recently came across the haunting images of Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou at the Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America exhibition which is currently on view at the Saatchi Gallery. Though all the photographers featured deserve mention when art from these regions is referenced, Agbodjelou’s images made us halt in our tracks.

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.

Untitled triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

 

Untitled triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

 

Untitled (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

 

<em>Untitled (Egungun series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Egungun series), 2012

 

<em></em>, 2012
Untitled (Egungun series), 2012

 

Untitled (Vodou Series), 2011

 

Untitled (Vodou Series), 2011

 

<em>Untitled (Musclemen series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Musclemen series), 2012

 

<em>Untitled (Musclemen series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Musclemen series), 2012

 

Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America
2 April – 2 November 2014

Saatchi Gallery

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United Visual Artists: Momentum

 

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.

 

United Visual Artists is a collective of London based ‘visual orators’ as they call themselves. With over ten years of work behind them including an intervention at Sou Fujimoto’s summer pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery in 2013, Volume at the Victoria & Albert Museum garden in 2006, and numerous projects for the band Massive Attack alongside re-designing the main stage for Coachella in 2011, we’re always in awe of their projects and the way they make us feel and see ourselves in space.

United Visual Artists: Momentum
Up to 1 June 2014
Barbican

 

Martino Gamper: design is a state of mind

 

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.

Martino Gamper: design is a state of mind
Till 18 May 2014
Serpentine Sackler Gallery

http://martinogamper.com/

David Bailey: In the Pursuit of Beauty

 

David Bailey’s Stardust 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.

Meryl Streep, 1980

 

Noel Gallagher, 2008

 

Damon Albarn, 2007

 

Ralph Fiennes

 

Marianne Faithful, 1964

 

Marianne Faithful, 1999

 

Jerry Hall and Helmut Newton, 1983

 

Mia Farrow, 1967

 

Jack Nicholson

 

Francis Bacon, 1983

 

Man Ray, 1968

 

Salvador Dalí and David Bailey 1972
Salvador Dalí and David Bailey, 1972

 

Jacques-Henri Lartigue, 1982

 

Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie, 1982

 

Catherine Bailey

 

Bailey’s Stardust
National Portrait Gallery
Till 1 June 2014

Evil Things – An encyclopaedia of bad taste

 

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…

So where do the seeds go?

 

One can never have too many cats or teapots.

 

What would an exhibition on taste be without a Blackberry?

 

 

 

 

Advertised as ‘makes very realistic sounds’!

 

The Better Half chopping boards

 

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!

Evil Things. An Encyclopaedia of Bad Taste 
Till 6 July 2014
Möbel Museum Wien

Eric Fischl: Friends, Lovers and other Constellations

 

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.

Swimming Lovers, 1984

 

Untitled, 2008

 

Untitled, 2008

 

Eric Fischl, Untitled, 2008. Oil on Chromecoat, 27 x 39 1/2 in.
Untitled, 2008

 

Eric Fischl, Untitled, 2008. Oil on Chromecoat, 27 x 39 1/2 in.
Untitled, 2008

 

Untitled, 2013

 

Untitled - Eric Fischl
Untitled, 2001

 

The Travel of Romance, Scene II, 1994

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.

Catboy, 1986

 

The Critics, 1979

 

Scarsdale, 1986

 

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.

Ten Breaths: Tumbling Woman II, 2007

 

Eric Fischl: Friends, Lovers and other Constellations
Till 18 May 2014
Albertina, Vienna