Paul P, ‘Centaurs on the Beach’
Franco Vaccari, ‘Migrations of the Real’
Akeem Smith, ‘No Gyal Can Test’
Sarah Lucas, 'Honey Pie'
Gilbert & George ‘The Great Exhibition 1971-2016’
'The Sky is Leaden in the South: An Evocation Through Grey'
Luiz Roque, 'Republica'
Reinhard Mucha, 'Schnee von gestern – Auszüge aus dem großen Kalender III, 1964-1975'
Tony Cokes, 'If UR Reading This It's 2 Late'
Jennifer West, 'Future Forgetting'
Sean Landers, 'Northeasters'
Simphiwe Buthelezi, 'Freedom Domain'
I was looking forward to the train to Brighton to see the artist’s latest portraits. The early spring weather – cloudy and wet in coastal England – is well-suited to these ethereal paintings of young men and the architecture of two divergent Venices (Italy and California). Now the show, like many of Paul P’s subjects, belongs to a lost world, one we may someday regain but which remains, at present, decidedly out of reach. The ache of longing that persists in these paintings is one even more familiar than usual, as I watch the flowers bloom outside my window with no one around to smell them.
– Andrew Durbin, Editor
In 2017, a telescope at the University of Hawaii detected the first interstellar object, named Oumuamua, passing through our Solar System. I’ve been obsessed with its viral image ever since. It’s not a photo, but a retrofuturistic impression created by an artist for the ESA/NASA space agencies. For his video Oumuamua (messenger who came from afar) (2020), projected in cinematic proportions on a wall of gallery P420, cult Italian video artist Franco Vaccari animated the same image, so that the mysterious asteroid moves slowly towards the viewer. From the 1970s onwards, Vaccari has generated an impressive series of ‘Exhibitions in Real Time’, as he titles them. Now that our lives and collective unconscious are shaken by a real-time close encounter with the unexpected and unknown, I seem unable to keep Oumuamua out of my head.
– Barbara Casavecchia, Contributing Editor
In looking through Akeem Smith’s archive the unacquainted might simply see a community centred around celebration; to those familiar, however, it is messy, personal and hierarchical, with loyalties, gossip, highs and lows, and knowledge of where everyone ended up. This interwovenness, much like what is found in the depths of any archive, challenges the still common idea that there is any one, primary history to which these regional or personal histories are secondary.
– Kenta Murakami, Curator
One ruddy-gussetted, another orange-plinthed, writhing or sprawling around modernist chairs, Lucas’s bunny sculptures have evolved by way of her tangling ‘NUDS’ series and the palette of Franz West. Displaying lust, vulnerability, assertiveness, polygendered anatomy and a confusion of fuck-me/don’t-touch-me vibes, ‘Honey Pie’ is a slouching chorus to the sexual politics of the moment
– Hettie Judah, Contributor
When I met Gilbert & George before the opening of their show at Kunsthalle Zurich, the first thing I noticed was that the two have never had a beard. In fact, their clean-shaven faces are a trademark. As self-declared conservatives and humanists, the facial design of Gilbert & George represents the values of Enlightenment and liberalism. Since the late 1960s, they have challenged Western values through nifty vulgarity. Hence, when they depict themselves as hyper-bearded monsters in the photo montage Octobeard (2016), they draw a sharp line between art and life.
– Jörg Scheller, Contributor
Grey is an experience. Grey is the colour of war and the colour of industry. It is the colour of the photographic age. Grey is the sky, the sea, the weather, the flickering of shadow. The secret space in between that holds everything and nothing.
‘The Sky is Leaden in the South: An Evocation Through Grey’: a group show featuring works by Andrea Büttner, Helen Cammock, Lubaina Himid, Ellen Lesperance, Liliana Moro, Ruth Proctor, Charlotte Prodger and Lis Rhodes
– Lisa Panting, Co-founder and Director
Luiz Roque lives above Pivô, where his solo show ‘Republica’ was suspended a few days before the opening. His latest film, Zero (2019), now plays continuously in Pivô’s storefront as a prologue to the exhibition. In it, a lonely dog flies over the desert in a private jet. The horizon is interrupted only by an oasis-like skyline of futuristic high-rises. The contrast between the dust of the desert, the shining and spotless glass of the apparently uninhabited buildings and the animal adrift – perhaps the last living creature on earth – is a disturbing warning of the consequences of political and economic decisions made over the past century. The lack of a human presence in the film insinuates that our species has set a course towards a new ’zero’ that can either be a total revaluation or even extinction.
– Fernanda Brenner, Contributor
Mucha’s ‘Schnee von Gestern – Auszüge aus dem Großen Kalendar III’ (Snows of Yesteryear – Excerpts from the Big Calendar III, (1964-1975/2020)) encompasses 436 DIN A4 sheets in plastic sleeves with drawings, photographs, writings and objects from the artist’s archive, documenting four different stages in his life before he began his art studies. Pressed plants from Mucha’s school days are placed next to photographs from his time in the military. Documents from his apprenticeship as a blacksmith are accompanied by photographs taken during his time as a nurse in a psychiatric institution. Schnee von Gestern not only provides an insight into Mucha’s own biography, but also into the history of the young Federal Republic of Germany
– Marina Rüdiger, Director
I cancelled my trip to Boston to see Tony Cokes’s survey at the Carpenter Center, ‘If UR Reading This It’s 2 Late’ – a title that turned out to be prophetic – but this central work, which was screened at New York’s Greene Naftali Gallery last year, is seared into my mind. Its simple, syncopated slideshow of white text on red and blue backgrounds tells the story of the US ‘extraordinary rendition’ and ‘enhanced interrogation’ program during the George W. Bush administration – smokescreens for illegal abduction and torture. An incongruous soundtrack by Britney Spears and Metallica mimics the music military interrogators used to keep detainees awake for days on end. Cokes’s reference to ‘Disco Inferno’, in one slide, elides the catchy 1976 single by The Trammps with the literal hell of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and turns the benign corporate format of the PowerPoint into a blaring alarm.
– Evan Moffitt, Associate Editor
In Jennifer West’s gorgeously degraded 16mm films, time passes frame by speckled, scratched and double-exposed frame. Her exhibition, ‘Future Forgetting’, at JOAN in downtown Los Angeles, is especially poignant: 16mm footage of Los Angeles’ 6th Street Bridge, just days before it was torn down in 2016, re-exposed to river water in 2019; flatscreen monitors, on the floor, repurposed as tables for the salvaged river detritus that appears on screen.
– Jonathan Griffin, Contributing Editor
In the group show ‘This Corrosion’, which would have been open until May, pale emerald and silvery acrylics feign a figure reaching for a skeleton’s hipbone. A rat scurries between a dustbin and decaying Starbucks iced coffee. Late medieval technical sublimity bleeds into 1980s Japanese, fairytale manga, like a heart-melting, transtemporal romance. It’s dark magic.
– Gabriella Pounds, Contributor
If any artist was going to have their show postponed because of a plague, it’s Sean Landers: master of self-deprecating despair. Still This Guy (2020) is from his solo show at Greengrassi, which was closed before it opened. It was going to comprise five new paintings inspired by stock photographs of long-forgotten actors from the 1920s and ’30s. At a time of collective discombobulation, there is something proudly defiant about ‘Still This Guy’: like so many humans, a touch demented, longing to laugh, possibly about to sob. Send in the clowns.
– Jennifer Higgie, Editor at Large
In South Africa, the dominance of lens-based work exploring identity has been met by other practices that are visually discontinuous but still invested in the urgencies of identity. Buthelezi’s work mines a seam of practice that has a rich tradition, including the 1970s and ‘80s assemblage experiments of artists like David Koloane and Lucas Seage, who trained under Joseph Beuys. I love the muted earth tones of Buthelezi’s work, and the simple elegance of this assemblage, which strikes a chord with its rich materiality.
– Sean O'Toole, Contributing Editor
I like the audacity of adding 'ism' to the end of your name to suggest you're a movement or style. 'Linderism' is arch-style; punk-iconoclasm; jilted domesticity; black leather gloves; feminist cut-ups made from '70s pin-ups; and porn overlaid with enormous suggestive flowers. The catalogue for this survey at Kettle's Yard is one of the best we've received this year. I'm disappointed to miss the show in the flesh.
– Sean Burns, Editorial Assistant