Flow My Tears, Co-Curation, 40 Exhibitions and Christmas
Another month has come and gone, moving ever closer to the end of 2018. It’s been an interesting month, and an interesting few months being outside of education and working semi-full time to earn money. It’s been fine, definitely detrimental to my art and everything that I do with isthisit?, but that’s okay, that’s life. Either way I’m looking forward to Christmas, to break away from London for a moment, to walk in the fresh air and write a little in the comfort of a warm, bright house with worries pushed into the back of my mind.
So, what’s been happening? The issue 6 open call ended, which will hopefully be launching in January somewhere in London. I’m still discussing where, although hopefully soon I’ll have a finalised location and will be good to promote and to source artists to be in the exhibition. As mentioned before, 3 or 4 artists only from now on, keeping things open and not too cluttered, alongside saving on shipping costs. I have about 20/30 people so far for the issue, again, I’m keeping it a little tighter this time, giving room to the texts to breath. Either from being slow or otherwise, I also haven’t got any interviews in the upcoming issue, I guess it’s another way of distancing myself from a magazine and more to a book. Of course, interviews can be in books, but they feel a little more – in the moment – than essays, interviews are usually for promoting upcoming projects/events (minus the times when it’s doing a look back of an artist’s career, etc). So yes, that will all come together over the next month or so, beginning to find a format, who’s going to be on the front, etc. I want this one to be great.
I’ll also be writing something for the issue too, probably something around 1500 words, a fictional story focusing on truth and deception, details to be refined once I have some time to sit down and write something.
What else has been happening? Flow My Tears debuted online at Daata Editions, which was really great, I just hope now that some of the work sells and the artists who are a part of the exhibition get somehow reimbursed for being a part of it. Either way, here’s the link to the show, with full press release and artworks on view - https://daata-editions.com/art/curated/bob-bicknellknight
I made a new piece called Drone Theory, influenced by the book of the same name by Grégoire Chamayou which argues against the use of drone warfare. The piece is made up of a video, alongside prints and sculptures, all hanging/resting on/within a structure made from the aluminium modular system. It’s made to look a little like an information stand, with the TV vertical in nature, as if it has a timetable of train/plane times, slowly changing and providing information to the public. Instead the video depicts a computer animated drone flying in the sky, being looked at from an aerial view, so you can see the mountainous ground below. This, accompanied by an animated gif featuring the YouTube logo in the bottom right hand corner, is seamlessly looped on the screen alongside the sound of a deep throbbing of a plane in flight. The video, in its peacefulness, focuses on drones, and the desensitisation to warfare that has occurred through online viewing of various atrocities/drone attacks, although more specifically, the desensitisation to the aesthetics of these metallic birds, flying through the sky and controlled from the ground. Through seeing visual representations of these objects we grow accustomed to them and stop seeing them as a threat. The use of the YouTube gif works in this way, referencing screens and our obsession with these video platforms. The animated drone was purchased from a stock footage website, alongside the gif being found online, adding to the work being online focused - https://vimeo.com/300203199
Alongside the video, placed on the structure are a series of sculptures and prints, one of them being a print of a drone, mid fire, caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube. The print is half obscured by a piece of PVC plastic, part of a curtain, speaking further about how seeing things through the sheen of the screen obscures and changes one’s viewpoint of it. There’s also two sculptures places on the bottom of the structure, a 3D printed blue shell from Mario Kart, referencing the gamification of warfare, alongside another reference to a chapter in How to Talk about Videogames by Ian Bogust, The Blue Shell Is Everything That's Wrong with America, where Bogust speaks about the blue shell and how its qualities are duplicated by the military drone. Finally, there’s a Donald Trump knock off inauguration coin from and produced in China placed next to the shell. Although less drone focused, it speaks to the production of falsified goods sold online, presidential power regarding drones and the controversies regarding Trump. Although, thinking about it now, it would have been potentially slightly better to feature the Barack Obama presidential coin, due to his widespread use of drones during his presidency. Perhaps if/when it next gets shown that will be the best way to do it… Anyway, here’s some photographs, I think it turned out really well.
Next up was re-showing Colleen and Joshua. It was nice to return to this work, although I think the new installation wasn’t that successful, potentially better than the deck chair, although still not that amazing. Someone said to me that it looked like a weight lifting bench, which I didn’t really see until it was said, then once it was said I couldn’t get it out of my head… It also included some emoji stickers, which I liked. Anyway, I’ll eagerly await reshuffling how it’s installed. Here’s some photographs.
I also finalised the two sculptural works utilising bolts and aluminium. They turned out quite nicely, although felt a little unknown when not being shown with the accompanying video (that I’m still yet to add a voice over track to). I’d really like to show them together at some point soon. Here’s some photographs of those:
The exciting piece of news is that the group show I’m in next year, curated by Yasmine Rix, got funding from the arts council, which means I’m going to be able to get some of my paintings produced, 4 in total, which is very exciting. The selected works are below, the ones that are actually edited, rather than simply pictures that I’ve used the paint filter on photoshop with.
That may well potentially be it for new work. I’m thinking of beginning a series of works made out of clay, as I’ve been very drawn to it as a medium recently, so have been thinking about how to incorporate it into my own practice. I’d like to make a symbol based series of works, influenced by my previous interest in Psi, potentially moving backwards and finding other symbols that have been utilised by companies/corporations, and carve/build into bits of clay as works. I think that could work quite well.
I’ve also been chatting with Tom Galle about collaborating on something with him, potentially a meme based series of paintings/works, all focused on different memes/internet cultures fighting on a battlefield, with each painting depicting two figures, fighting one another, alongside perhaps sculptures and other things. It’s a work in progress, but would definitely be interesting to keep coming at and thinking about. Here’s a super basic concept idea, obviously it’s very early in the planning stages.
What else? I was really interested in making a series of puzzle works again, featuring burnt puzzle pieces as well as puzzle pieces vacuum packed and made into sculptural wave like works. Each puzzle piece would depict a different cryptocurrency symbol (I think), and would be burned slightly on the edges, representing the crypto crash and the crypto currencies continued fragility, whilst being vacuumed in plastic, making references to authorities/governments wanting to keep these currencies from becoming fully realised and used everyday. So, as part of the series, there will be framed singular puzzle pieces, and sculptural works. This is something I want to make, perhaps in the next few weeks whilst I’m still in London, before Christmas occurs… I have two weeks, it should be enough, ish! I just need somewhere to photographs work in…
I also want to start working on a new video work, as I feel I’ve slightly neglected video work lately, although I’m unsure why. I guess I’m succumbing to enjoying having physical things, rather than digital files, I don’t know…
I think that might be it for now work being produced or being thought about. Now let’s look at the exhibitions I’ve been to. As usual, it’s a bunch, beginning with Live Dead World at Seventeen, a solo show from Gabriele Beveridge. It was a series of beautiful sculptures made from glass and modular shelving systems that you’d find in commercial shops. It was very clean, considered work. Definitely a fan.
Julian Stair was basically big mugs/cups at Corvi-Mora, I was unsure how much of a joke this was or not. It felt a little like being in Muji.
Karin Ruggaber upstairs at Greengrassi was also very weird, kind of like a GCSE project, featuring copper and steel wire assemblages, all untitled. Two very weird shows that I really did not like. They were serving soup at the private view though, which was very lovely, so I guess that balances things out?
The Lotus Eaters, a group show at Aindrea Contemporary, was very weird and not so great. It featured some great artists who I really admire, like Jane Hayes Greenwood alongside Harriet Fleuriot and Sarah Cockings, but it felt like such a selling exhibition, devoid of emotion and feelings. One piece had a booklet showing how much each of the works were, supposedly a part of the work, although it felt a little too on the nose for my liking. Plus, I couldn’t find a press release on the private view, apparently there was one, but I did search one out and only found a map with artist names. So who knows, maybe there was a press release?
Flo Brooks’ solo show Scrubbers at Project Native Informant was super nice, a series of quite intricate/delicate paintings on MDF, focusing on cleaners in various spaces, interacting with day workers, with little details within.
Bodies of Water: Age of Fluidity at White Crypt, a solo show from Hannah Rowan, was a nice environment focused exhibition, full of melting ice and whirring machinery. I believe it’s work created to make you wonder/worry about the melting ice caps and everything else, which it kind of did, but also by making this type of work one wonders how much it’s adding to the problem you’re critiquing.
The romance of flowers at Kingsgate Project Space, featuring work from Victoria Adam, Aaron Angell, Holly Graham, May Hands and Sean Roy Parker, wasn’t really my type of show, lots of work that felt like it had no real lifespan, which is fine, but I do like work to have some longevity. Saying this, it was very well curated, with all the work feeling very similar and functioning together incredibly harmoniously. So, a well-done show featuring work that I’m not so into.
James Fuller and Marco Miehling’s duo show at William Benington Gallery, An Arrangement in Two Halves, a Bench in Two Parts was fun and felt very tight. Basically modular parts of a sculpture set in incredibly precisely cut packing foam. Then, for the second part of the show, the works will be made into chairs, becoming the final work, which is super nice. I’m looking forward to the second stage, which occurs in January.
I went to Cell Project Space to see their current show, The Nth Degree by Emanuel Almborg, but unfortunately it’s an hour long film, quite the commitment which I was unaware of. I need to go back…
Safe City, Amikam Toren’s solo show at Matt’s Gallery was very clean, one print/painting that featured a painting bought in a charity shop with the works KILL RUSHDIE cut into it, words taken from graffiti in London (in 1990!) alongside a number of banana skins, slowly rotting in the gallery, also found around/on London’s streets. So yeah, very clever and concise.
Bone Memory at Lychee One was okay, although felt a little throw away, due to it being the launch of the new space. From talking with people, it was a very rushed exhibition. With works by Bea Bonafini, Freya Douglas-Morris, Marlene Steyn, Aishan Yu, Lian Zhang and Vivien Zhang. I was a fan of Bea Bonafini’s carpet based works the most.
Hun Kyu Kim at The approach was super nice, incredibly detailed paintings depicting animals fighting in post-apocalyptic spaces, clever and just very well made. Excellent.
Polka Dots and Curls, a solo show from Andro Semeiko at Narrative Projects was solid, some nice paintings of bubbles, smoke and vent shaft type things.
Chiharu Shiota at Blain Southern was super dull, Venice 2015 flashbacks.
I’m unsure why I didn’t like ◊P | Protocols of Uncertainty at Gossamer Fog, a group show curated by Felice Moramarco featuring Yen Chun Lin, Milan Mazúr, Lucia Sgrafetto and Natália Trejbalová. The work was nice, but the positioning just felt incredibly odd and uncomfortable, plus there was no lighting in the space, well, a little purple lighting but no more. I even spoke to the curator and tried to identify with him why I didn’t like it, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it, I still can’t. It’s odd, plus the press release felt way too academic for my liking.
Oikos Logos at Enclave Projects with Hannah Rowan, Matthew Verdon and Gregory Herbert was okay, again, too academic and science esque for me.
Josephine Pryde’s In Case My Mind Is Changing at Simon Lee was fine, some nice sculptural and wall-based prints, but overall it was fine. Not amazing, no train to ride on.
Martin Creed at Hauser and Wirth felt very weird and unpleasant, like a child’s fun house, but an incredibly diluted one with no real sense of experimentation.
The Age of New Babylon at Lethaby Gallery was fine, although I wanted more from the show, I did appreciate the insightful press release with an in conversation with the curators. That was fun.
The Perfume Shop, a group show at Ryder, was nice, basically a bunch of perfumes made by artists. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for some time, perfume artworks, so it was nice to see a group show of them, featuring Thomson & Craighead, Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, littlewhitehead, Clara Ursitti and Kentaro Yamada.
2068 at [ space ] was good, although I’m unsure if I was totally into it, a group show featuring work by Paul Chapellier, Rachel Cheung, Anna Mikkola and MH Sarkis. I think I wanted more.
Ginte Regina’s solo show Monika in September at GAO was good.
Frances Upritchard’s solo show Wetwang Slack at Barbican was okay, although a little too museum like for me, being very knowing and museum like within itself. It was fine, some nice sculptural doll like figures.
Emmanuelle Lainé at Southbank Centre was good, office spaces as art.
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard at Kate Macgarry was fine, multigraph images of various actors among other things, it was fine…
James N. Kienitz Wilkins’ Hearsays at Gasworks was interesting, full of copyrighted content and a VR piece that wasn’t so satisfying.
Bojan Šarčević solo show at Modern Art Sentimentality is the core was basically a bunch of freezers in a large white cube gallery. It was cool, although after I left I started to think about the environmental impacts of the work, keeping freezers open for the duration of the show, cooling the gallery space and wasting energy. I’m unsure.
Lothar Hempel’s Le Terrain Vague upstairs was fine, an acrylic box full of international currencies?
Tom Worsfold’s solo show Models at Castor was fine, a series of paintings that are started but have no knowledge of where they’re ending, so I liked parts of the pieces, snippets and segments, but the finished works were not to my taste, it felt like a mish mash of different painting styles which felt super odd and misplaced. I kind liked his solo at Carlos Ishikawa, but this new series wasn’t that fulfilling.
I went to a very fancy group show at Laure Genillard, basically a gallery in a home near Oxford Street, with works from Gertrude Stein, Heinz Gappmayr, Olivier Mosset, Alan Charlton, Valentin Hauri, Colin Sackett, Elizabeth McAlpine, Ella McCartney and Yun-Ling Chen. So yeah, big names but a weird show that felt way too much on the opening night.
Korakrit Arunanondchai’s No history in a room filled with people with funny names 5 at Carlos Ishikawa was a solid show, not as crazy as his previous works, although I guess that’s growth? It’s a video installation that focuses on the cave that a group of young people were trapped in earlier in the year, taking that as a metaphor and allegory. It was fun.
Archive Fever, a group show with Özgür Kar, Adriana Lara and Dena Yago, curated by Elisa R. Linn & Lennart Wolff at Emalin was maybe my favourite from the past month. Some very nice works that all felt very of ease together, spaced out perfectly alongside just a really nice use of the gallery. I’m a big fan of their shows in general.
CACOTOPIA 03 at Annka Kultys Gallery is going fine.
Space Shifters at Hayward Gallery was terrible, I hated every minute of the experience, full of mirrors and people taking so many pictures on their phones. It just felt so cringe inducing and painfully click bait esque. I’m just incredibly glad I didn’t have to pay 15 pounds to get in, thankfully friends had free tickets.
PROUDICK at Hannah Barry Gallery, a duo show with Lindsey Mendick and Paloma Proudfoot, was well put together and felt like a true collaboration. They both work primarily in ceramics, so they’re a very good fit, although I really do not like Mendick’s work, it feels so messy and very overloaded, whereas Proudfoot’s is so nice and crispy, well made ceramic works that feel considered.
Elmgreen and Dragset at Whitechapel was both great and dull. Putting a pool in a gallery is obviously awesome, but everything else felt weird and too on the nose. A baby in front of a cash machine? Perhaps a little too stereotypical…
Javier Chozas at Tenderpixel was fine, although it was very Tenderpixel, a very liminal exhibition with earthly sculptures.
New Contemporaries at South London Gallery was crap, as one assumed. A lot of paintings and a lot of work, just thrown together with no real connections to be seen, accompanied by a press release that’s incredibly weak with no artwork explanatory text. Without I am left lost and wanting.
Meiro Koizumi’s Battlelands at White Rainbow was good, lots of ex-military soldiers (I think) recounting their stories of death and destruction whilst showing head cam footage from them exploring their homes. It was very good and very clever. I should really go back, as the video is an hour long and I only probably scratched the surface.
GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! at Somerset House was okay, it felt super museum esque, although there were a few works that I really enjoyed seeing, namely pieces from David Musgrave. Bronze, silicone and video works, all incredibly beautiful and very well made.
Karanjit Panesar’s The Way Things Are at arebyte was super nice, although at this point I’m a little worn down to write anymore, so I’ll just say that it’s definitely well worth seeing it.
Annnd I think that’s it for exhibitions, 40 exhibitions in a little over a month, not bad! Next up is films and TV. Whilst browsing I found this beautiful little show called Bee and PuppyCat. Kind of like a mix of Steven Universe with a little bit of Adventure Time and Over The Garden Wall. It’s focus is a young woman and her puppycat, who speaks in a different language and moves through different worlds doing various bits of work for different people. It’s incredibly lovely and I would highly recommend it.
Sheep in the Big City is a little weirder, very early 2000s in its animation style and storylines that don’t flow from one to the other. It’s very absurd and quite good, just not lovely.
Smallfoot was fun, a film focusing on a Yeti living on top of a mountain within a community of Yeti’s, living with no knowledge of human beings. It’s fun, have a vaguely interesting fake news kind of back story, but overall fairly forgettable.
I loved Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, incredibly clever and knowing, fourth wall breaking and layered ideas surrounding superhero films. Very good.
Dilbert was another, quite clever, animation focusing on the work life of a number of individuals working in cubicles within a bland office. It was very enjoyable.
Crazy Rich Asians was amazing, just a very fun comedy romance with well-formed characters.
The Equalizer 2 was a fine action film, not amazing but what did I expect?
Great News was a nice tv show focused on a new group. It was fun and forgettable.
The Kominsky Method was another of Netflix’s old person comedies, unsure whether I enjoyed it or not. Again, I assume it will eventually be forgotten.
That’s it I think, I’ve also been watching a bunch of Christmas films like Home Alone, The Holiday, Love Actually and all the others, but I don’t think those truly count, especially as I’ve seen them many times before. Either way, it’s been nice to get into the ‘Christmas spirit’.
So, continuing forwards, Christmas will happen, it’ll probably be the new year before I get another chance to write this. So, in the coming weeks, continuing to create work, potentially the puzzle sculptures, getting works painted, ordering Obama coin, issue 6 preparation, new/old video work, new clay works, new and old everything. It’s going to be a busy few weeks and then I can rest and sleep in Suffolk. I’m very much looking forward to it…