1. Visions in the Nunnery, Bow Arts E3 2SJ
Visions in the Nunnery, a three-part presentation of artist moving image and performance at Bow Arts, started its last programme on 27 November 2018. After Tina Keane and Melanie Manchot, the tone and themes of the final exhibition will be drawn from the work of the Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams.
Here are some photos from the first instalment in September-October, expanding on issues of gender, body and technology – the latter appropriated from the digital sphere, nature or conceived in the (older and newer) myths. With the pioneer Tina Keane’s short films and her neon work Couch (2003) in the first gallery, the rest of the selected artists showcased films in dialogue with Keane’s works, perforating the noticeable concern of technological mediation of life & art with feminist and ecofeminist questions.
2. Mikhail Karikis: No Ordinary Protest, Whitechapel Gallery E1 7QX
In No Ordinary Protest, children from a local primary school discuss the world damaged & poisoned by people, refine their listening and ultimately act as powerful & noisy agents of change. Karikis frequently works with young pupils/citizens/thinkers, and has in the past looked at relationships between them, their environment, sound, ethics of behaviour and capacity for transformation. The new film is great, a lush visual treat of night-light cymatic landscapes followed by looming and clamouring children. Ted Hughes’ Iron Woman, a book which accompanied the filmmaker and his collaborators on this project, has hopefully inspired them to muster a steely resolve needed in future fights.
3. Surreal Science: Loudon Collection with Salvatore Arancio, Whitechapel Gallery
George Loudon – a collector who was on the judging panel for Turner Prize in 1995 – apparently developed a real passion for small, quirky objects more suited to life sciences and natural history museums when he ran out of space for his artworks. He has since then gathered another collection of items, beautiful and bizarre models and specimens, among which Salvatore Arancio’s iridescent sculptures appear equally fascinating.
The synthesis of fact and fiction of this display reminds me of the exhibition Animality at Marian Goodman Gallery a couple of years ago. Similar proto-scientific and early scientific endeavours distilled existing analyses and categories of our world; the inaccuracies in drawings, spiritual explanations in texts and fanciful depictions of nature are present in a good measure here, too. Loudon’s collection completements Arancio’s works nicely, magnifying their ambiguous origins and teasing about their definitions.
4. Kira Freije: Companion to a Fall, Turf Projects CR0 1UQ
The current show at Turf Projects in Croydon is probably the most reticent, most opaque of all the exhibition I have been to recently. It is also the smallest – one installation composed of seven works in steel, aluminium and automotive fog lights. My mind keeps circling back to it as if it wanted to melt the exhibition’s arrested, frozen narrative. The titles of Kira’s sculptures are bursting with allusions and references to dialogic/social real life situations (Water lilies. You cannot travel but your friends can. ; Hurry, Hurry, you know fire ; A Chorus of Laughter Erupted as the Pilgrim Spoke); I feel like they are on the cusp of sharing something more openly. There is an internal dynamism amongs the pieces as they face and cast light over each other. Maybe they are plotting something, maybe they have witnessed something; true companions to a fall.