18 November 2015 § Leave a comment
The preview day of Frieze always provides plenty of visual stimulation – both on and off the exhibiting gallery walls. As we shimmied past the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hooper, Tommy Hilfiger and Valentino we made our way around the fair to see what was on offer this year.
Glenn Brown was our undisputed favourite this year with a stand full of great pieces at Gagosian, including these examples of both oil and sculpture.
The young sensation Eddie Peake had two stunning works on show.
There were two superb Michael Fullerton portraits showing at the Carl Freedman Gallery.
The underrated Billy Childish had a large scale work, also at Carl Freedman.
A colourful large scale Allen Jones was a great example of his work.
Ai Weiwei has been dying his roots.
Self Portrait in bath by Tracey Emin underwhelmed us, but here are some others that drew our attention:
Frieze London runs until Saturday 17 October 2015. For more information visit www. friezelondon.com
For more information visit www. friezemasters.com
Images by CELLOPHANELAND* and courtesy of Frieze
8 November 2012 § 1 Comment
Upstairs from the Sung Hwan Kim exhibition in the airy Vyner Street spaces of the Wilkinson Galleryis the first UK solo exhibition from Mark Alexander. For those familiar with his work you will realise how extraordinary to see more than a couple of pieces at a time. Prolific is not one of the words usually associated with Alexander’s output and the previous time I saw a work – a reworked Hieronymus Bosch pictured below entitled All Watched Over by Machines of Infinite Loving Grace – at Frieze 2012 – it was only two-thirds complete.It is a real treat then to be in a room with eight works at the same time. It is much easier to get a feeling of what he is trying to do with work that, viewed occasionally, may (falsely) seem to be disparate and unconnected.
Alexander’s most recent works have been in bright renaissance shades but here he switches to brown. This would normally be a colour that artists avoid, presumably on the basis that brighter colours catch the eye , but here every work has been carefully created in multiple shades of earthy browns. The inspiration here is the skin colour – and texture – of ‘bog bodies‘. Usually found in central and northern Europe the moisture preserves those unfortunates who met a swampy demise and were uniquely preserved. They have become almost timeless and represent a point somewhere between death and permanence, beauty and the grotesque.
The metaphor here is the bog – transforming bodies into artefact – which Alexander uses in his vision of reinventing icons of the past. He has effectively ‘buried’ and dug up from his own bog elements from works like Paul Egell’s Mannheim Alter Piece, 1739-41, Van Gogh’s Reaper with Sickle (after Millet), 1889, Jean-François Millet’s original The Sower, 1850, Caravaggio’s Narcissus, circa 1597-99, and Durer’s Praying Hands, circa 1508.
These paintings are given a strange new life – at the same time attractive and repellent. A striking body of work and well worth visiting before it closes. You may never again see as many Alexander works together!
The exhibition has just been extended until 18 November 2012. Wilkinson Gallery, Vyner Street.
The exhibition’s title alludes to the mystical writings of the sixteenth- century German thinker Jakob Boehme. “For I saw and knew the Being of all beings,” Boehme wrote, “the ground and the unground”.
- sun hwang kim – pages from ki-da rilke at wilkinson (akickupthearts.wordpress.com)
19 July 2010 § Leave a comment
Further to the last post on Alexander’s Red Mannheim I bumped in to the man himself the other day as I strolled down Piccadilly. Over a very pleasant cappuchino at Laduree (I hadn’t saved up long enough to buy any macaroons to accompany the coffee) we discussed life, art and the beautiful leggy models that seemed to stride past much too frequently.
I mentioned in the last post that Mark has actually only produced a couple of dozen works over an almost 20 year career. He was worried that he was perceived as somewhat ‘lazy’ – an understandable concern perhaps given that it threatens rain in the Atacama more often than the latest ‘Alexander’ arrives at the Haunch of Venison. Those works that have appeared however have been quite remarkable – his early acceptance by one of the finest galleries in London bearing witness to the fact. I wont review the works here but ‘A Darker Gachet’, ‘Via Negativa’ and the ‘Shield of Achilles’ (illustrated here) are examples of his fascinating and impressive recent works.
Having been a contemporary of the yBa’s in the nineties his conventional approach – such as using paint (aaagggh) on canvas and drawing on the techniques of the masters – was deeply unfashionable and led to his slow production. The result was a deliberate approach – he ‘wanted to get it right’.
I cant help feeling he got it spot on. He is not lazy of course – what would be the use in producing large quantities of unfashionable work, to be sold cheaply or indeed be left on the gallery wall? The result is that he is now highly regarded, successful (ish) and he has limited back catalogue of rare and desirable work that can only increase in value for those far-sighted enough to have stumped up the cash.
Future works are planned to appear more frequently. I can not reveal the next on pain of instant death, but keep your eyes peeled –it looks stunning – and very, VERY expensive!!! Alexander is a name for the future.
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