Saturday, 29 June 2013

Easy Does It

A visit to Aid & Abet in Cambridge in which Corinna Spencer meets a toothless patchwork snake and a money cactus.

Kevin Hunt, The Money Cactus, 2013

Leaning, balancing and quietly standing while the trace of 'us' is caught just out of the corner of the eye. This is what happens when visiting Easy Does It at Aid & Abet.

These objects are familiar and have an air of ease about them. Their installation is beautiful and uncomplicated. It avoids any hint of clutter or sense that they are detritus. They have been purposefully and painstakingly placed in relation to one another, and to the space, and the approaching visitor.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Notes From Venice: The Natural History Museum

Annabel Dover, our Garageland Venice Correspondent, continues her guided tour of this year's Venice Biennale. Today we enjoy a very educational trip to the Natural History Museum. Click here for previous Notes From Venice (Manet Returns to Venice & Bedwyr Williams' The Starry Messenger).

The Natural History Museum of Venice is a fantastic place to visit with or without Biennale art. A long thin room with bottle-glass windows houses ceiling high cabinets of flayed geese, legions of finches, herbariums and rocks. It also houses the least successful artwork, a twee paper cut out of plant silhouettes, draped over a botanical album.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Venetian Magic: An Overview of This Year's Biennale

As a Venice first timer I found the whole experience of the Biennale pretty exciting. I am also suffering from the feeling that I have missed out on so much, and desperately want to go back.

One of the first openings I went to really set the scene, an enchanting Antoni Tàpies exhibition hosted at the Museo Fortuny. Tàpies work was shown alongside the museum collection, a stunning selection of mysterious artefacts, dresses and paintings that belonged to the nineteenth century designer and art collector Mariano Fortuny.

From the Museo Fortuny collection

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Notes From Venice: Caffè Florian and Bedwyr Williams' The Starry Messenger

Annabel Dover, our Garageland Venice Correspondent, continues her guided tour of this year's Venice Biennale. Today we enjoy a dalliance in Caffè Florian followed by a visit to Bedwyr Williams' exhibition. Click here for previous Notes From Venice.

As I walk past the heavy damask curtains of Caffè Florian I see the glittering diamond necklace and bitten lip of an illicit affair. The lagoon fills St. Mark's square past my knees and the couple are stranded in a red velvet booth, surrounded by the heavy scent of bougainvillea and cigarillo.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Quarry at IMT Gallery

Corinna Spencer's sense of discovery and adventure take her to IMT Gallery, where Charles Danby and Rob Smith are showing an examination of Robert Smithson's 1969 work Chalk Mirror Displacement

This collaboration between Charles Danby and Rob Smith seems to be one of travel, seeking, doing and perhaps some longing for Robert Smithson's notion of 'non site', something that may well be unattainable. The project is based upon an exploration of the site of Smithson’s 1969 work Chalk Mirror Displacement. 

I imagine excavation and discovery but with a methodical zeal and delight. The main room of the gallery is deceptively empty, but looking closer you can see the Smithson quarry in a huge barely visible image on one long curved wall. The rotating panoramic view moves across the walls, then onto the smooth side of a split chalk, then across the floor and over me.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Art of Ephemera

Camden Arts Centre’s posthumous exhibition of Dieter Roth’s work is headlined by his video diaries (Solo Scenes, 1997-8). The room is filled with TV sets, stacked five-high on simple wooden shelving units. The footage is at once banal and compelling. Roth goes about his day-to-day life – eating, sleeping, working and using the toilet – with a tragicomic circularity and lack of incident. His age is apparent, as is our knowledge that this is the margin of his life; that he died making this work somehow doesn’t seem incidental.

Dieter Roth, Flat Waste, 1975-6/1992

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Eli Cortiñas: Awkward Studies and a Decent Take on Serious Matters

Confessions With an Open Curtain, 2011 (still from single-channel video)

The film Confessions with an Open Curtain is my favourite piece in this show. So much can be gleaned from the back of a person, perhaps she is waiting for someone, or someone has just left her alone. Maybe she has entered a room to find it unexpectedly empty. Even emotions like shock and sadness can be seen through a posture viewed from the back. All of these are possibilities for the women on the screen.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Notes From Venice: Ostaria al Garanghelo and Manet Returns to Venice

Annabel Dover, our Garageland Venice Correspondent, gives us her guided tour of this year's Venice Biennale. Today we start with Manet and a light meal; stay-tuned, there's more to come.

'Food first, then morality' Bertolt Brecht.

When I posed in the RA life room years ago, my fellow subjects were the flayed smuggler in a case and Stubbs' horse cast, respectively crouching and standing nobly. These two figures bring to my mind Venetian speciality cuisine: Sfilacci di cavallo (frayed, dried horse) a smugglers treat, and the mud loving goby fish with its gormless expression, floating open mouthed along the milky waters of Venice, squeezed into a net and onto the plates of Ostaria al Garanghelo, a small, cosy restaurant furnished with knick-knack tat, Venetian glass lights and friendly waiters and waitresses.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Scandalized Mask at Josh Lilley

A couple of strides in from the door of Josh Lilley Gallery is a faux-wood, round-legged, knee-high coffee table. Its surface has been causally strewn with Hello and Men’s Health magazines. Behind it, bright-blue upholstered chairs with grey legs are arranged in twos, back-to-back. More seating lines the walls, breaking at the corner to make room for a potted plant. This is, without doubt, the quintessential waiting room, but there is no receptionist sat at the gallery’s white desk, and the space is eerily still.