Tamsyn Challenger: Monoculture, Beaconsfield
20 February – 13 April 2013
**Exhibition extended until 20 April 2013**
Tamsyn Challenger’s venue-wide exhibition combines participatory sculptural objects and a small farm.
Concerned with mass objectification of the self, the artist asks us to join her in questioning the level of control being wielded by a supposedly ‘free’ environment like the internet. Themes of habitual performance, viral infiltration and feminine identity link earlier forms of human control by pseudo-sexual torture (exacted upon women who asserted their individuality) with cultural homogenisation on a global scale.
This exhibition premiers new works developed by Tamsyn Challenger during the artist’s residency with Beaconsfield since June 2012. Monoculture expands beyond the galleries and works on the public in a truly viral way through online interaction and a series of related time-based events off-site.
Image: BreakWheel, Tamsyn Challenger, The Breaking Wheel (detail), 2013. 18th century cartwheel, fabricated steel, household and polyurethane paints, from Monoculture (June 2012 – April 2013). Image courtesy the artist and Beaconsfield
Pae White: Too much night, again, South London Gallery
13 March – 12 May 2013
Los Angeles-based artist Pae White merges art, design, craft and architecture through site specific installations and individual works which defy our expectations of a variety of techniques and media.
For her South London Gallery exhibition she creates a mesmerising installation in which vast quantities of coloured yarn span and criss-cross the room to create supergraphics spelling out words that can only be deciphered by navigating the space. Inspired by a period of insomnia and consequent reflection on the transience of our existence, the letters and words emerge and dissolve depending on both our physical relationship to them and the relative weight of the overall aesthetic experience.
Image: Pae White, Too much night, again, 2013. Installation, mixed media. Courtesy greengrassi, London and South London Gallery. Photo: Andy Keate.
Melanie Jackson: the Urpflanze (Part 2), Flat Time House
28th March – 12th May 2013
In a series of moving image works and ceramic sculptures, Melanie Jackson continues her ongoing investigation into mutability and transformation, which takes its lead from Goethe’s concept of an imaginary primal plant, the Urpflanze, that contained coiled up within it the potential to unfurl all possible future forms.
For Jackson, the Urpflanze represents an interesting subject both in and beyond natural science, a model for thinking through transfigurations across social, political and artistic spectrums. Contemporary science likewise imagines the potential to grow or print any form we can envisage, by recasting physical, chemical and biological function as an engineering substrate that can be programmed into being. These emerging technologies present new possibilities for the instrumentalisation of life on a previously unimagined scale.
Image: Melanie Jackson, the Urpflanze (Part 2) 2013. Courtesy the artist and Flat Time House.
Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi, Seep, Chisenhale Gallery
5 April – 12 May 2013
Chisenhale Gallery presents the first UK solo exhibition by Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi. Seep is an installation of video projections, objects and prints. The exhibition is produced in partnership with Delfina Foundation and co-commissioned with the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA).
In 2011, Tabatabai and Afrassiabi began a series of works that juxtapose two 20th century archives in the UK and Iran. One produced by British Petroleum (BP – then known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) documents the company’s operations in Iran beginning in 1908 and ending with the nationalisation of the oil industry in 1951; the other the collection of modern Western art acquired by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art during the late 1970s and withdrawn from public display for twenty years following the Islamic revolution in 1979. The artists’ approach to these archives considers their suspension, through discontinuation (in the case of the oil company) or removal (in the case of the museum).
Tabatabai and Afrassiabi have collaborated as Pages since 2004, producing joint projects and publishing a bilingual magazine – also called Pages – in Farsi and English. Their projects and the magazine’s editorial approach are closely linked, both described by the artists as ‘attempts in articulating the indecisive space between art and its historical condition.’ A forthcoming issue of Pages, titled ‘Seep’, will be published in Summer 2013.
Image: Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi, Seep, 2013. Chisenhale Gallery, London. Photo: Andy Keate. Courtesy the artists and Chisenhale Gallery.
Raqib Shaw, Manchester Art Gallery
15 February – 26 May 2013
Exclusive to Manchester and Prague, this new exhibition comprises recent paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Raqib Shaw. Shaw has created a striking response to Manchester’s famous Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians by George Stubbs for the exhibition. Inspired by the impression the painting made on the artist as a young boy, this provocative new work is on display alongside the original from our collection.
Other major works on display include Adam, a painted bronze overlaid with black diamonds, sapphires and rubies. The exhibition will also feature a selection of glitter and rhinestone-encrusted acrylic works on paper from Shaw’s recent series Of Beasts and Super-Beasts. First shown in Paris in 2012, these incredibly detailed pieces depict creatures and still lives drawn from the artist’s imagination and highlight Shaw’s passion for drawing.
Raqib Shaw is an Indian-born, London-based artist. His opulent paintings and sculptures evoke the work of Old Masters such as Holbein and Bosch in their treatment of often unsettling subjects. But they also reflect the ornate style of Persian miniatures and Kashmiri and Japanese textiles. Beneath their beautiful jewel-like surface is a collection of dark and violent images inspired by ancient myths and religious tales from both East and Western tradition.
Image: Monkey King Boudoir I, Raqib Shaw. Courtesy the artist and Manchester Art Gallery
Cara Tolmie: Pley, Spike Island, Bristol
13 April – 16 June 2013
London-based artist Cara Tolmie works across performance, film, audio and installation to explore the ways in which meaning is created and, in particular, how context shifts our reception and understanding of events.
Her new film, Pley, was shot inside a structure specifically designed by the artist to host a series of encounters between three strangers. The set is comprised of two spaces, one inside the other, though at no point while watching the film does the viewer see its exterior or understand fully its internal architecture. Over a number of hours the participants undertook activities devised by Tolmie that were deliberately left undocumented. Instead, the interviews that the artist conducted afterwards form the basis of the work. Filmed individually, the participants reflect on their assumptions about each other, about Tolmie herself and about the tasks they were asked to fulfill. Their responses reveal differing inclinations to accept or challenge the temporary social setting into which they were placed.
Pley is presented for the first time at Spike Island as a single large-scale projection with seating designed by the artist. Tolmie’s use of bright colour and geometric shapes within the installation references the visual aspects of the film set that are more often spoken of than actually witnessed. This reflects the artist’s wider concern with the performative role that language plays, both in reflecting on reality and in shaping our understanding of that reality through speech.
Image: Cara Tolmie, still from Pley (2013). Courtesy the artist and Spike Island
Robert Filliou: The Institute of Endless Possibilities, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
21st March – 23rd June 2013
Robert Filliou: The Institute of Endless Possibilities is the first institutional solo exhibition devoted to Robert Filliou (1926-87) in the UK. It considers Filliou’s work outside of his close ties to Fluxus in order to focus specifically on his sculptural output and his concern with objects. This exhibition asks the question: when does an everyday object become a sculpture?
Filliou interrupted the definition of sculpture with time and chance. He destabilised sculpture as a fixed and incontrovertible object to construct sculpture through multiple moments of encounter. His work embodies Marcel Duchamp’s 1957 statement: ‘The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act’. Robert Filliou: The Institute of Endless Possibilities positions Filliou as an object-maker whose sculptures examine the very nature of the creative act. His methodology pre-empts the first wave of conceptual art, and is a crucial moment for understanding sculpture today.
Image: Robert Filliou, Eins. Un. One…, 1984. 16,000 wooden cubes, paint, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Musée d’art moderne et contemporain Genève and Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
Shaun Gladwell, Cycles of Radical Will, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea
2 Feb – 23 Jun 2013
Shaun Gladwell‘s solo exhibition Cycles of Radical Will is the Australian artist’s largest in the UK to date. The exhibition embraces flux and transformation, reflecting the changing seasons during the exhibition. Over the course of five months, works are exchanged to offer a sequence of windows into Gladwell’s artistic practice, unconstrained by the limitations of a single exhibition project.
For Cycles of Radical Will, Gladwell speculates on the creative conflict within various cultural practices and traditions. These conflicts take the form of ‘battles’ – between beat-boxers and urban dancers, skateboarders and BMX riders, and (Mod) scooter enthusiasts and (Rocker) motorcycle riders – and ultimately between the extreme sports athlete and gravity itself. Tension between these opposing and often complementary practices is the force that drives groups towards innovation or oblivion.
Image: Shaun Gladwell, Jack In The Green (Lambretta-AGS 195 to Triumph-GVL2MXD). Courtesy the artist and De La Warr Pavilion. Photo: Nigel Green