With over forty participating galleries and three days of events, Mayfair Art Weekend opens with its Gallery HOP! on Friday 29th June – an evening of previews with galleries hosting special evening viewings and events from 6-8pm (with drinks sponsored by Sipsmith Gin).
In the lead-up to Gallery HOP! each week ArtReview is publishing a specially themed tour guide, to help you decide what to see and where to start in Mayfair’s busy art neighbourhood. Up next, tour number 3…
The Intensely Now Tour
On the surface, you might think that Mayfair caters only for the old and the established. Certainly, Old Masters and elegant antiques galleries rub shoulders with long-established galleries dealing in twentieth century art. But among those are galleries dealing with artists working in the moment, dealing with what art can be about in 2018. The Intensely Now Tour pulls together the galleries showcasing young talent and art dealing with the world as it is right now. From media overload and private experience to gendered sculpture, queer futures and the politicised aesthetics of whiteness and blackness, it’s all right here. And it starts on Dover Street…
Barry Reigate, Get Lost Snake, Who Cares If I'm a Duck, I'm the King of the Castle, 2018, mixed media, 240 x 190 cm. Courtesy the artist and Partners & Mucciaccia, London
Superimposition: Paul Morrison, Barry Reigate Michael Stubbs, Mark Titchner at Partners & Mucciaccia, through 31 August
What’s the twenty-first century like, visually? Something to do with an overload of images and information, of course. Superimposition brings together four UK artists whose work revels in that delirious landscape, picturing it with an updated take on painterly technique – Reigate and Stubbs bring the language of spraypaint and airbrush to abstractions corrupted with cartooning and brand logos. Titchner and Morrison, meanwhile, push a graphic sensibility to almost psychedelic extremes – in Morrison’s dazzling black-and-white designs of flowers and Titchner’s use of psychologically loaded words and slogans, emblazoned like utopian (or dystopian) propaganda. It’s art that doesn’t shy away from the fun of mass culture, while wondering where it’s all headed.
James Ostrer, CURRENTSEE 3, 2017, archival pigment print on aluminium mount in handmade rustic wooden frame. Courtesy the artist and Gazelli Art House, London
James Ostrer: Johnny Just Came at Gazelli Art House, through 22nd July
Contemporary controversies are pushed to the fore in James Ostrer’s show at Gazelli Art House, as Ostrer takes on the hot-button issue of ‘white privilege’, proceeding to unpack his personal relationship to racism, greed and (white) self-loathing. Johnny Just Came takes as its starting point Ostrer’s invitation by Nigerian curator Azu Nwagbogu to show in Lagos in 2006. Out of that intense experience, Ostrer has produced a show of photographs and sculptures that grotesquely satirise the imbalanced exchanges – economic and cultural – in which artists find themselves implicated in a globalising artworld. Especially when those artists have the good fortune (relatively speaking) of being both male and white…
Veronica Brovall, Wear the Heat, 2018, glazed ceramic, powder coated steel plinth, 183 x 120 x 104 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sophia Contemporary, London
Veronica Brovall: Wear the Heat at Sophia Contemporary, 27 June – 28 July
If Ostrer deals with what it might mean to be male and white today, there’s more political-personal self-scrutiny at Sophia Contemporary – this time taking on femininity, gender dynamics and sexuality – in the ceramic sculptures of Swedish artist Veronica Brovall. Kicking back at how ceramics have traditionally been regarded as feminine, fragile and belonging to the private realm of the household, Brovall’s sculptures are instead aggressive, playful and raw. Evoking male and female bodies, their elements resemble elongated arms, fingers and more, while others have surfaces adorned with scribbles and notes, like tattoos on human flesh, or graffiti on walls. If sculpture has long dealt with the human body, male and female, it’s perhaps well placed, today, to reflect on a culture in which gender is in flux…
Tejal Shah, Between the Waves, 2012, single-channel video, b/w & colour, sound, 26 min 15 sec. Courtesy Barbara Gross Galerie, Munich and Project 88, Mumbai
Tejal Shah: As it Is at Mimosa House, through 15 August
A rapid, ambiguously-gendered stride across Hanover Square might take you past Vogue House (headquarters of the all-too-feminine fashion bible). But behind the unassuming door of Mimosa House, Tejal Shah explores the edge between binary and non-binary approaches to human identity, and what may lie beyond. Informed by queer, feminist and Buddhist thought, Shah’s work unwinds normative assumptions about human culture and its relationship to itself and its environment. Alongside works on paper, on show is Shah’s five-screen video Between the Waves, in which hybrid-human protagonists navigate a post-gender and post-Anthropocene world of cooperation and care, even while their world appears as an abandoned, possibly post-apocalyptic future to come.
Jadé Fadojutimi, The Wondering Wanderer Wonders, 2018, oil on canvas, 190 x 160 cm. Courtesy the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
Hypnagogia: Gabriella Boyd, Jadé Fadojutimi, Maria Farrar, Makiko Kudo at Pippy Houldsworth, 22 June – 3 August
Maybe there’s a theme building here of not quite being yourself, or of feeling that identity might be something that doesn’t need to be so fixed. Still, don’t drift away so much that you miss the turning off the brand-crazed canyon that is Regent’s Street into Heddon Street. Upstairs at Pippy Houldsworth, Hypnagogia refers to a transitional state of mind between wakefulness and sleep in which fluid, hyper-associative images are conjured. See? It’s all connected. These four female painters use dreams or archival materials as starting points: Boyd captures the fleeting interactions of everyday life, often focusing on trivial, ‘in-between’ moments, in diffused tones and hazy forms. Fadojutimi, uses here dense, energetic abstraction as a type of sounding board for the memories, both good and bad, of everyday experience. Farrar captures fragments of memories just on the cusp of being forgotten – a four-leaf clover, a tray of biscuits, the hurried movement of a laced boot – while reality and fiction harmonise in Kudo’s paintings, which, rechannelling the tropes of teen manga, fuse dreams and recollections that have, in the artist’s words, ‘burned into [her] brain’.
Irvin Pascal, Self-portrait as Jean Michel Basquiat, 2017-18, mixed media, 84 x 64 cm. © the artist. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
Talisman in the Age of Difference at Stephen Friedman Gallery, through 21 July
Wending between inner world of personal experience and how the social and political world defines and frames identity, we end up at Stephen Friedman Gallery for Talisman in the Age of Difference, curated by Yinka Shonibare MBE. As with his own work, Shonibare has selected artists who upend a white, western-centric view of art. Exploring ideas of magic and subversive beauty in work by artists of African origin, of the African diaspora and others, Shonibare’s show includes painting, sculpture, drawing and other objects from the early twentieth century to the present day – a myriad reflection on black experience crisscrossed by the conflicts of colonial and post-colonial history, and how artists through the decades have self-consciously shaped it through art. This packed show of work by over 40 artists includes work by Sonia Boyce, Lubaina Himid and Zanele Muholi, via the Chapman Brothers, Huw Locke, Kendell Geers, Wangechi Mutu and David Hammons, alongside historical trailblazers such as Betye Saar and Romare Bearden.
Next week: The Ahead-of-the-Curve Tour