Visitors view Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi creation, painted on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, during a preview of the annual Met's Roof Garden commission, in New York on May 13, 2013.  PHOTO: Emmanuel Dunand - Getty Images

February London Art Guide

It’s February, and we have picked some of the shows we are planning to hit. There are some first – ever solo shows in London and the UK, performance art, new artists, group shows, political art and even ceramics. February may be short but it promises to be intense!

BETTY WOODMAN: THEATRE OF THE DOMESTIC

When: 3 Feb 2016 – 10 Apr 2016

Where: ICA, London

Why: This is the first UK solo presentation of works by Betty Woodman (born 1930), one of the most important contemporary artists working with ceramics today. The exhibition focuses on work Woodman has created in the last ten years, including a number of major new mixed media pieces.

Detail of Wallpaper #9, Betty Woodman. Courtesy the artist.
Detail of Wallpaper #9, Betty Woodman. Courtesy the artist.

 

HISTORY OF NOTHING

When: 3 February – 17 April 2016

Where: White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey

Why: Another show whose title is borrowed from a previous work, inspired ‘History of Nothing’ references the 1962 film by Eduardo Paolozzi, and explores the idea of the ‘supersized’ American dream.

The participating artists are framed by this concept, and their practices reflect a critic on the excessive global commercialism.

THE CALDER PRIZE 2005 -2015

When: Feb 4 – Mar 5, 2016

Where: Pace London, Mayfair

Why: As a counterpoint to Calder’s massive retrospective at Tate Modern, this show explores his enduring impact through the work of six contemporary artists: Darren Bader, Tara Donovan, Rachel Harrison, Žilvinas Kempinas, Haroon Mirza, Tomás Saraceno. It is an interesting attempt to demonstrate how art connects and influences multiple generations and locations – which, at times, is forgotten.

RED AFRICA : THINGS FALL APART

When: Feb 4 – Apr 3, 2016

Where: Calvert 22 Foundation, London

Why: ‘Things Fall Apart’ creates interesting South-South connections, featuring artists, filmmakers and groups presenting interdisciplinary reflections on African connections to the Soviet Union and related countries, during the Cold War. Curated by Mark Nash, the show gathers the responses of contemporary artists, particularly focused on ambitions to influence the development of political structures through film and art.

The exhibition’s title is based on the 1985 Chinua Achebe classic of post-colonial fiction, considered an archetypal modern African novel in English echoing the brunt of colonialism in Africa. Based on this premise, the idea is to concentrate on the loss of “ utopian perspective following the end of the cold war and collapse of the Soviet Union and eastern bloc.”

 

Kiluanji Kia Henda, Karl Marx, Luanda.  Courtesy of Nomas Foundation, Rome
Kiluanji Kia Henda, Karl Marx, Luanda. Courtesy of Nomas Foundation, Rome

Participating artists: Filipa César; Onejoon Che; Radovan Cukić and Ivan Manojlović (Museum of Yugoslav History); Angela Ferreira; Yevgeniy Fiks; Kiluanji Kia Henda; Isaac Julien; Stevan Labudović and Milica Tomić; Tonel; The Travelling Communiqué Group; Jo Ractliffe

 

KAZUO KATASE : MIMESIS. U TSU SU

When: Feb 5 – Mar 26, 2016

Where: White Rainbow Gallery, London

Why: This is the first London solo exhibition of this Japanese artist, including his works in photography, painting and a sculptural installation. Katase was a member of the artists group Group 361° + Intersection, through which he cultivated his interest in European phenomenology, instigated by the divergence between imagination and reality – which still inspires his practice.

Trained as a painter, in 1976 when moving to Kassel, Germany, where he studied experimental photography. Due to this move, the artist embodies the fusion between German philosophy and Zen Buddhism. This encounter between west and east is a mark of his practice. It was at this point that the artist started to build a line of work which aimed at materializing the act of seeing. It is an incredibly relevant body of work, rarely available in London.

The exhibition will also show Katase’s most current paintings, created after a spiritual journey to India. “As a motif of his paintings he has chosen a bowl, the shape that continues to characterize his work since 1986. In the shape of the bowl, he has found a form for his painting that is capable of accommodating his artistic yen for a free configuration of colour.”

 

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SARAH BOULTON : TAKE AWAY DOVE

When: 6 February

Where: Cell Project Space, London

Why: A performance event commencing at dawn from 7 am-9 am promptly. Boulton will draw on the rapid change in natural light and unfolding awareness of the audience. We particularly love performance art, as it tends to immediately transform the viewer into an active audience member. It is an intimate experience with art that promotes instant reactions, through it’s surprise element.

sarah-boulton

Sarah Boulton (b.1989, UK) graduated from the Slade School of Art in Summer 2015. Her poetry has been included in Tender Journal and Best British Poetry (2015) as well as on the walls of group show ‘Nothing’ at Unna Way, Huddersfield, UK, 2015. Her work was included in the following selected exhibitions: ‘Am3er’, solo exhibition at Artarea, Tbilisi, Georgia, 2015, ‘Dry Deal’, Athens, Greece, 2015, ‘birdsneedgravitytoswallow’, OPENYOURKIMONO, online, 2014.

 

IMRAN QURESHI: WHERE THE SHADOWS ARE SO DEEP

When: 18 February – 10 July 2016

Where: The Curve, Barbican Centre

Why: We have already mentioned Imran’s work before, and this time the Barbican has commissioned this award-winning Pakistani artist to create a new body of work for their space – The Curve.

Qureshi will present a series of exquisite miniature painting, the traditional technique that he trained at school, drawing upon The Curve as a motif. Qureshi is an extremely versatile artist, whose paintings look – from afar – as a splash of ink, only to find detailed and intricate technique once looked up close.

On miniature painting, the artists says:

“After some time I came to the conclusion that miniature painting is not only a formal arrangement of different objects with a narrative, but it is something beyond this, and this thing pushed me towards the abstraction in my own work, which was also very much connected to the traditional practice of miniature painting. “ – from Asia Art Archive

Self Portrait, 2009
Self Portrait, 2009

According to the Barbican’s press release, the work will be hung at varying heights “along the dramatic 90-metre span of the space, these delicate, jewel-like paintings lure the visitor in”.

CMYK – BY MICHAELA ZIMMER

When: 25th February – 26th March 2016

Where: FOLD, London

Why: This is the first UK solo show of Michaela Zimmer’s striking work. Zimmer’s pieces are a performance in itself, since she actively needs to engage all her body to drape, wrap and work around it.

As Michael Simpson (Curator of Fine Art at the Walker Art Gallery) once wrote: “To describe it as Body Art places it perhaps too firmly in the genre of live performance that emerged in the late 1950s in which artists used their bodies as materials. (…) Zimmer performs, but she is her own audience, working alone in her studio, describing her work as „somehow a private dance performance”.

“ Never appearing quite the same when viewed from different angles, the transient nature of the surface encourages us to react to the work physically, which in a way, reflects the act of making “ – Kim Savage