‘Thomas Ruff: Photographs 1979 – 2017’ at Whitechapel Gallery
Across four decades, German photographer Thomas Ruff has peeled back the veneer of modern photography, manipulating the medium, and investigating the status of images in contemporary culture. A retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery collates this important artist’s major works since 1979. From his acclaimed Portraits – passport-style photographs, reproduced on a huge scale to reveal every imperfection of their subjects – to his most recent press++ photographs, which draw from newspaper archives from the era of the space race and Hollywood starlets, we get to grips with the photographer as cultural commentator, and we marvel at Ruff’s ability to switch techniques, styles and approaches, and master each one.
Pictured, Substrat 31 III, 2007, by Thomas Ruff
27 September – 21 January 2018; 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX; Tel: 44.20 7522 7888; whitechapelgallery.org
‘The Disasters of Everyday Life’ by Jake and Dinos Chapman at BlainSouthern
The Chapman brothers’ career-long preoccupation with Francisco Goya’s series of etchings, The Disasters of War, reaches a zenith in this, the duo’s first exhibition with BlainSouthern. ‘The Disasters of Everyday Life’ presents, for the first time, their latest body of sculptural work in a dialogue with three sets of Goya’s prints, each substantially reworked by Jake and Dinos. Seemingly plagued by the same kind of pessimism that filled Goya’s troubled sketches, the brothers have added their signature wit and abandon to the reproductions: an army of soldiers are turned into a gathering of gargoyles, a war scene is overlaid with a sheen of glitter.
Pictured, The Disasters of War on Terror, 2017, by Jake and Dinos Chapman. Courtesy of the artists and BlainSouthern, Photography: Prudence Cuming
4 October – 11 November; 4 Hanover Square, London W1S 1BP; Tel: 44.20 7493 4492; blainsouthern.com
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House
The leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary African art returns to London for its fifth iteration. Here, big name galleries from South Africa rub shoulders with smaller, more niche offerings such as Voice gallery from Marrakech – a city in which 1:54 has announced it will present a new fair, come March 2018, adding to its current London and New York portfolio. This year, Goodman Gallery has curated a film series for the fair’s Special Projects section, an area that champions the work of nonprofit cultural organisations and art centres. It shares the space with Nando’s – a name that’s long been associated with the African art scene, housing one of the largest publicly displayed bodies of contemporary Southern African art in the world, with over 9,000 pieces in the UK alone.
Pictured, Let It Be, 2016, by Lakin Ogunbanwo. Courtesy of the artist and WHATIFTHEWORLD
5-8 October; Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA; Tel: 44.20 7845 4600; somersethouse.org.uk
‘Drive my Mother up the Wall’ by Katharina Grosse at South London Gallery
Floors, walls and ceilings become Katharina Grosse’s canvas at South London Gallery, for the German artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in the capital. Great sweeps of colour splay across the space, in the all-encompassing, site-specific style the artist favours. But this is a show about the void, privation and emptiness, as much as it’s one about colour. Masking the room with foam stenciling, then painting over it, Grosse peeled back the abstract draft to reveal bright, white areas, untouched by the propulsive marks of paint. It’s here – in the forgotten spaces – that the eye is drawn and the mind lingers.
Pictured, 1, 2017, by Katharina Grosse. Photography: Andy Keate
3 October – 3 December; 65-67 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH; southlondongallery.org
Ruinart Art Hub at Rosewood London
Escape the bustle (and hustle) of the fair with an artful pit stop at the Rosewood hotel. In collaboration with champagne house Ruinart, the hotel’s in-house chefs have devised a new menu to mark the 2017 edition of Frieze, inspired by Hubert Le Gall’s artwork. The famed French surrealist artist also has work featured in the Ruinart Art Hub exhibition, which celebrates all of the works commissioned by the champagne stalwart over the years.
25 September – 25 November; 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN; www.ruinart.com
‘Un Jardin d’Hiver (A Winter Garden)’ by Marcel Broodthaers at Hauser & Wirth
Hauser & Wirth, too, has chosen to look back with this seminal installation from 1974, created in the last years of Marcel Broodthaers’ life. Belonging to his Décors series in which the artist inhabits the role of sceneographer, creating disquieting theatrical compositions from everyday scenarios, his ‘winter garden’ takes meta-immersiveness to confusing new hights. Hauser & Wirth’s Savile Row location has been transformed, with precise detail, into a convincing parody of a traditional, 19th-century palm court, a collectors’ room once popular in wealthy European homes. Potted palms, framed images of exotic animals, and antique display cases anchor the installation to that period. However, the ideosyncrasies of modern gallery life woven into the environment trick the mind into timetravelling into the 1970s: frayed red carpets, awkwardly placed fire extinguishers, a television monitor displaying CCTV recorded by a surveillance camera. It’s here, in the delicate nuance, humour and pastiche, that the installation feels like it could have been created yesterday, despite its 45-year history, and colonial foothold. Until 18 November.
27 September – 18 November; 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET; hauserwirth.com
‘Quotidian’ by Michael Craig-Martin at Alan Cristea Gallery
New works from the painter, sculptor, printmaker and indefatigable king of colour line the walls of Alan Cristea Gallery this week. Turning his attention to iconic modernist architecture of the 20th century, Craig-Martin pays homage to the design and architectural achievements of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gerrit Rietveld, and Mies van der Rohe. These works will be exhibited alongside another new series of unique tape drawings that depict everyday objects – a subject that has preoccupied Craig Martin since the 1970s, and has seen him become the accidental chronicler of shifting technologies – a motif explored in his nostalgically lo-fi lightblub mural currently on display at the Folkestone Triennial. Until 17 November.
4 October – 17 November; 43 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JG; Tel: 44.20 7439 1866; alancristea.com
Autobiography by Company Wayne McGregor at Sadler’s Wells
Wayne McGregor is known for pushing the bounds of his interdisciplnary collaborations to the edges of possibility, to create the most visionary of performances. Aitor Throup is the latest to tally with the choreographer. The Argentinian-born British artist and designer has turned couture costumier for Autobiography, in which dancers inact a cycle of choreographic ‘portraits’ based on the sequencing of McGregor’s own genome. Renowned for his work exploring the human anatomy through rich conceptual narratives, Throup is the perfect partner for the work, which also sees creative forces employed in the set design (Ben Cullen Williams), and lighting design (Lucy Carter). Until 7 October.
Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN; Tel. 44.20 7863 8000; sadlerswells.com
The Art of Wishes by Make-A-Wish Foundation at Morchester Hotel
A fundraising auction in aid of Make-A-Wish Foundation drew crowds at the start of Frieze week, reminding us of the power that art has to uplift and affect good. Oliver Beer, Idris Khan (work pictured), Mat Collishaw and Thomas Demand are among 18 artists who created new works for the online sale, which cumulated in a live auction held at the Dorchester on Monday. Each work was directly inspired by the wishes of children fighting life-threatening conditions. Tracey Emin donated three works inspired by six-year-old Grace’s wish ‘to go on holiday in Wales with her pony’; Gillian Wearing’s figurative sketch Me as Margot depicts a dancer drawn in response to 18-year-old Amy’s wish ‘to be a ballerina’, and Eddie Martinez’s work, was inspired by 16 year old Dylan’s dream of skydiving.
‘I Had Nowhere to Go: Portrait of a Displayed Man’ by Douglas Gordon at Gagosian
Glaswegian artist Douglas Gordon has been a hot ticket on the European film circuit of late, with his much admired feature I Had Nowhere To Go, which sees its first London showings at Gagosian this week. The atmospheric film centres on the life of 94-year-old Jonas Mekas, journeying with him from his days in a Nazi labour camp, to his career as an iconoclastic poet, film critic, curator and all round multi-disciplinarian. ‘I met Jonas when he was still a young man,’ Gordon says. ‘I think he was 75 years old.’ Prepare to be plunged into the depths of Mekas’ memory, as he pulls anecdotes from his memoir, while the eyes focus on imageless stretches amid the pulsating of an immersive sound environment.
Pictured, I Had Nowhere To Go: A Portrait of a Displaced Person, by Douglas Gordon, 2016. Photography: Stathis Mamalakis
3-7 October; Screenings at 10am, 12am, 2pm, 4pm daily, with an additional screening at 6pm on Friday 6 October; 6-24 Britannia Street, King’s Cross, London WC1X 9JD; Tel: 44.20 7841 9960; gagosian.com
‘Portraits and Landscapes’ by Catherine Opie at Thomas Dane Gallery
Catherine Opie is one of the foremost documentarians of the American landscape. It’s a subject that runs through her first exhibition with St James’s Thomas Dane Gallery. New abstracted landscapes are complimented by a series of portraits, another medium the seminal photographer has pioneered throughout her ongoing 30 year career. Her classically set studio portraits of David Hockney (pictured), Gillian Wearing, and Duro Olowu, among other of Opie’s renowned contemporaries, distill in them a regal dignity befitting of their culture-shaping talent.
3 October – 18 November; 11 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BN; Tel: 44.20 7925 2505; thomasdanegallery.com
‘EVERYTHING AT ONCE’ by Lisson Gallery and The Vinyl Factory
As London’s Lisson Gallery rings in its 50th year, it has teamed up with independent British music enterprise The Vinyl Factory on an all-singing, all-dancing showcase. With the apt title of ‘EVERYTHING AT ONCE’, the exhibition eschews traditional anniversary proceedings, side-stepping chronology or encyclopaedic history, preferring instead to present 45 new, classic, or career defining works from its artists, that embody Lisson’s experience-driven approach. Expect sculptural statements from Anish Kapoor, side by side with a trio of Marina Abramović films, along with more recent representations from the gallery, including Cory Arcangel (work pictured) and Ryan Gander, who joined Lisson’s bulging, era-defining books within the last decade. For good measure, renowned works by Ai Weiwei, Richard Long and Richard Deacon are included, too.
5 October – 10 December; 180 Strand, London WC2R 1EA; everythingatonce.com
‘Notes from a Misunderstood Weed’ by Dan Rees at Etro
‘Fashion comes from art and to art it returns.’ So says Jacopo Etro, founder of the Italian fashion brand’s new, interdisciplinary collaboration with Welsh artist Dan Rees. The somewhat unlikely partners have come together to create a capsule collection and subsequent exhibition of artful scarves. The ‘misunderstood weed’ of the exhibition’s title refers to seaweed, which Rees believes to be a sustainable (and delicious) food resource, that goes unappreciated in the West. The humble weed is celebrated, printed and thrown in aquamarine colours across silk squares. Rees has also produced photographs, mono prints and linocuts on paper to complement the collection, which is ongoing at Etro’s Old Bond Street store.
Etro, 43 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4QT; Tel: 44.20 7493 9004; etro.com
‘(X) A Fantasy’ at David Roberts Art Foundation
Private and public spheres, and the moment the two spaces join, is the subject of a politically-motivated exhibition at DRAF, the last one to be staged in its Camden space. Following ten years of exhibitions and performances in London, the Foundation’s ambitions are expanding to include projects in different sites across the UK, including a 20-acre sculpture garden in Somerset opening in 2019. For the final hurrah in the capital, Wolfgang Tillmans, Helen Chadwick, Prem Sahib and Julian Opie, among others, compete for space in the excitingly crowded galley.
8 September – 7 October; Symes Mews, 37 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7JE; davidrobertsartfoundation.com
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