In years to come Ai Weiwei will be seen as one of the most important artists, not just in this generation but in any generation. His influence and impact are felt on so many different levels and through his strong political statements and his ongoing battles against his oppression at the hands of his own nation’s government.
Gas mask in marble
Weiwei is a clever man clearly and the mediums he use to speak to the wider world as well as his fellow countryman allows him to inject very blatant signposts as well as very subtle nuances, allowing the audience to really understand his work but to also take their own meaning from it.
IOUs to cover evasion fine
The scale and variety at his latest exhibition in Berlin at the Martin Gropius Bau is something to behold, from video, to music, to everyday items, to antiques, to debris from disasters. His show ‘Evidence’ gives a visual representation to what he has experienced in recent years and how his views and the Chinese government’s attempts to censor them have been dealt with, from his own incarceration, to his tax avoidance ‘fine’ to his investigations into those killed in disasters in his homeland. There is a exact copy of the cell in which he was kept 24 hours a day, watched by two guards at all time, for 81 days until international pressure meant he was released.
A Weiwei message
There is also a look back in time to the history of China and the secret cities created. The entire collection is something quite extraordinary, the scale alone is awesome but also the emotion transmitted through each piece is very potent.
Animal heads in gold
Ancient vases in commercial car paint
If you can not make Berlin then a survey of Ai WeiWei is showing at the Lisson gallery now until July 16
It has a been a busy month at SF towers, and by that we mean alcohol, food, Christmas jumpers, snow, late nights and a lack of time to update. That and the two bust laptops that broke in the space in 24 hours.
In other news SF dropped by the Popart exhibition at the Barbican. Some great stuff there but nothing mind blowing, the best bits you will see below. If we are totally honest it was £12 for a whole bunch of nice things to look at but the narrative was a bit weak. It was a shame because the Barbican is one of the best Galleries in London with some brilliant exhibitions and events.
SF has previously avoided Walthamstow because there is little chance of catching a glimpse of the legendary pop foursome that was East17 as they have sadly passed on. There is another reason to visit, that is God’s Own Junkyard. And even more reason as the current sire it under threat from the scurge of the Eastend….. gentrification and redevelopment.
Following a visit to see Chris Bracey’s work in Scream London, SF wanted to do a little more digging. Following a request to the man himself, SF made the journey to deepest East London to find a not so hidden gem, a beacon of light next to a dreary railway line.
Stones vs Beatles
One man’s junk….
First a little history. The business has been going for over six decades, handed down through generations, starting as a lightyard servicing fairgrounds through to creating some of the wonderfully sleazy signs that adorned the shopfronts of gentleman’s clubs in Soho during the Raymond Revue era, through to today as Hollywood backdrops and expensive ob je dar in the homes across the world for the likes of La Moss and Elton. There was even a shop in Soho until that was consigned to the history books
Chris Bracey has created pieces for Alexander McQueen featured in David LaChapelle photoshoots, done parties for Agent Provocatuer and provided signage for movies such as Tombraider. Stanley Kubrick paid him a visit to commission the light work for Eyes Wide Shut. It is however threatened with closure as ‘regeneration’ is about to take place, meaning that a load of new-to-the-area-pram-pushers can move in. Every Friday & Saturday until the end of September you can visit for yourself and sign the petition to stop the brightest light in the Eastend from being moved on. The artist and his band of shining comrades are happy to talk you through any piece….. prepare to put by a few hours though.
For Pro Green
Is still glory
And something for the religious
Visit… sign the petition and save God’s Own Junkyard
Anish Kapoor divides opinion, clearly talented and possessing the vision and confidence to create truly awe inspiring pieces of quite ridiculous scale and grandeur. On one hand his use of a huge variety of materials and ideas is brilliant, on the other the epitome of vulgarity in modern art that is the ArcelorMittal Orbit….. or that bloody great eyesore slide thing next to the Olympic Stadium in London’s Eastend.
The main room
With this in mind a visit to Kapoor’s first foray in Berlin was an exciting / galling prospect. SF need not have worried as it was quite wonderful, varied, gigantic, ridiculous and thoroughly worthwhile. Even if it was tricky getting a few stolen pictures on the iPhone. Never will I understand why galleries stop you from taking a couple of picture momentos.
Kapoor has over his career forged an impressive reputation and body of work and as a Turner Prize winner he has been noted as one of the most important artists of his time.
His exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau comprises of almost 70 pieces from sculpture to wax models, to mirrors, to some huge spaced out bouncy castle to a canon to shoot huge paint pot side bullets into a corner of the room. SF likes.
Paint canon indoors
Here is what the Guardian found out when they spoke to the man himself
So you have an hour for lunch break, at a push that is. Some rarely leave their desk and see the sunshine, most sit and work through but that is counter productive.
SF has resolved to make sure that once a week, a small trip will be made to grab a little bit of aesthetic relief at lunchtime, a stolen few moments away from flickering Apple screens and the twittering of phones.
First visit was to Scream in W1, a stones throw from the hustle and bustle of the retail centre of London town.
Static are a two man band featuring Tom Jackson and Craig Evans who use layering techniques of flowers, woods, debris, glass, paint and shadows to create an exhibition called Phantasms of the Living.
The inspiration behind the exhibition is dreams, hallucinations and the ephemeral, using these ideas to create imagery requiring the viewer to look beyond what they see.
Musically, culturally, aesthetically, emotionally, etc etc. Many of today’s creative types quote a certain Brixton born music superstar as one of their biggest influences. There are too many to mention so I would suggest everyone creating within the last 50 years would have been touched by the Starman in some way shape or form
One such inspired type was a certain David Sims. His 2013 re-imagined Bowie imagery known as Bowievirus features images you think are Bowie but in fact not.
Imagery featuring a model, rock star Vince Taylor and what appeared to be Bowie featured. But you could not tell which was which. Head to ICA to see for yourself, and to pick up a free print
At the V&A museum at the moment there is a rather amazing exhibition all about the man behind the multi-coloured-faceted-sexual-talented Mr David Jones.
Kreuzberg. February. 2013. The walls are alive with the painted faces.
Street artists have long used faces and massaged them into something new, emotive and down right creepy at times. The most recent trip down Berlin way pulled out many a face and here are a few stencils, freehand, stickers, statues and even a headless dictator.
The humour of putting one of the worlds most famous, money grabbing, creativity sapping gents in the game using street techniques is a nice touch.
Old is just as good and current and relevant as new
Super heroes are alive and well in Berlin
Jesus looks like he has finally found the love of a good man too. God may well be pleased
Jose Parla is a NY based photographer / artist who has his first London exhibition at the moment from 8th February to 28th March at the Haunch of Venison in Mayfair, he has a pretty damn amazing view on the streets of Londinium
So Jose heads to a city and take up residence, then he goes out on a wonder with his camera and shoots the landscapes that he sees, taking in the colours, textures, light, darkness and all the flaws of the city to inspire and create his pieces.
Once he has a catalogue of images then he uses these for his paintings and sculptures, some are included some are just inspiration. It is pulls together some amazing perspectives on the city he is in.
London is arguably the best city in the world (NYC, Berlin, Lisbon will argue this) and has variety in the people, the food, the architecture, the weather and wealth. This all makes for a case study to bring a vibrant and energetic collection to life, Jose describes it as a reaction to the area he is in, giving him broken languages of a global community. SF reckons this is just Street Art.
When SF visited Haunch of Venison the man himself was there to speak to visitors and he genuinely looked excited to be showing in London, well you would be wouldn’t you.
Anish Kapoor is one of our most well known sculptors, regardless of what you think about that big slide at the Olympic stadium, he creates some pretty impressive stuff.
The sheer scale of his collections often make the work impressive, in this collection at the respected Lisson Gallery is not so much about the size but the form and the perception created using different shapes, density and colour tones. The senses are hightened by the distortion of the shapes, meaning that your eyes are tricked into misjudging depth, the tunnel balls outside reverberate you voice so it feels as if it is coming from behind you
This exhibition is only on for one month until November 10th, a short a sweet run indeed.