Now in its fourth year, Photo London has firmly established itself as a world-class photography fair, attracting both exhibitors and visitors from around the globe. Ahead of this year’s event, which runs from 17-20 May and coincides with Sotheby’s Photographs auction on 17 May, we take a look at 11 of the outstanding exhibitions happening in and around the fair that are worth a visit.
Juno Calypso is best known for her iconic photographic series of self-portraits in ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ and her new exhibition, ‘What To Do With A Million Years’ is her first solo show at London’s TJ Boulting Gallery. The new photographs, which are on display from 16 May–23 June, feature the surreal and unique location of an underground house in Nevada.
Organised by the Seen Fifteen gallery (18–20 May), Peckham 24 returns for a third edition and showcases cutting-edge contemporary photography from artists both based in London and internationally including Campbell Addy, Lalu Delbracio and Hannah Starkey.
From 18–20 May, the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall will host 140 independent and experimental publishers in contemporary art, photography and graphic design. Throughout the weekend there will be a program of workshops and performances.
This exhibition at the Barbican, until 27 May, looks at countercultures, subcultures and minorities of all kinds through the work of 20 photographers from the 1950s to the present day. The photographs reflect a more diverse, complex view of the work and follow the lives of individuals from America to India, Chile to Nigeria.
Beaconsfield Gallery in Vauxhall and Amsterdam’s Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam bring together a group of 20 innovative photography talents under the age of 35 for an exhibition which runs from 16 May until 10 June. Almost 2,000 people responded to the talent call and the final selection of 20 artists was made on the basis of their innovative and often experimental approaches to the medium.
Mathieu Asselin, Rafal Milach, Batia Suter and Luke Willis Thompson are the four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 at The Photographers’ Gallery until 3 June. The shortlist showcases diverse and innovative photographic practices, which recognise and celebrate the many developments within the medium, while also challenging its boundaries and was curated by TPG’s Anna Dannemann.
Shape of Light, at Tate Modern from 2 May until 14 October, is the first major exhibition to explore the relationship between photography and abstract art and includes images from the 1910s until the present day. The exhibition brings together key photographs from pioneers including Man Ray and Alfred Stieglitz with exciting new work by Daisuke Yokota, Antony Cairns (who features in the London Photographs sale on 17 May) and Maya Rochat, that were produced especially for the show.
Widely recognised as one of the few living modern masters of photography from Japan, Daido Moriyama is the most celebrated photographer to emerge from the Japanese Provoke movement of the 1960s. SCENE, which is on view from 15 May until 17 August, features photographs selected by Hamiltons’ gallery owner Tim Jefferies and includes images taken in the 60s and 70s, as well as some more recent works.
London-based Italian artist Lorenzo Vitturi’s new solo exhibition is at the Flowers Gallery from 11 May until 30 June. The works in the new series are based at the Balogun Market in Lagos, Nigeria, the second biggest market of its kind in West Africa.
Telluris, which is at the Edel Assanti gallery from 11 May until 23 June, sees the photographer switch her attention from the sky to the earth. A site-specific architectural installation houses works from two new photographic series while the lower ground floor gallery houses a sculptural work that develops Goudal’s investigations into the stereoscope as an early means of presenting photography.
Created in the years directly following the artist’s move to New York, Untitled is one of a mere handful of the artist’s ‘egg carton’ reliefs from the early 1960s, and articulates the raw drive and acute conceptual tension that Kusama experienced during that period. Embodying the elegiac beauty and disorienting spatial complexity that would define Kusama’s work for years to come, Untitled offers an intimate glimpse of the conceptual and creative origins of one of the most iconic figures of contemporary art.
OBSESSION & REPETITION
Simultaneously enchanting and uncanny in their hallucinogenic repetition of multi-dimensional patterns, the egg-carton reliefs of the early 1960s showcase Kusama’s unique ability to translate private compulsions into mesmerizing abstract visions. Diagnosed with an obsessional neurosis, Kusama¹s serial use of repeated patterns is an expression of the psychotropic visions of infinitely proliferating forms that haunted her from a young age; in replicating the boundless fields of her visions within the confines of her canvas, Kusama finds relief from her ungovernable compulsion. Remarking upon the therapeutic quality of her practice, Kusama notes, “You attempt to flee from psychic obsession by choosing to paint the very vision of fear, from which one would ordinarily avert one¹s eyes. I paint them in quantity; in doing so, I try to escape.”
When the artist first arrived in New York in June of 1958, knowing no one and speaking little English, she discovered that, “New York was in every way a fierce and violent place.” Despite her precarious existence, Kusama was deeply inspired by the urban energy of the city, and within her first months in New York, her painting underwent a dramatic transformation. She soon found the means of channeling her psychomatic obsessions into the remarkable Infinity Nets, and later the egg carton reliefs. While her striking spatial abstractions earned her gallery shows and attention, Kusama¹s early critical success did not translate to financial success. YAYOI KUSAMA, NEW YORK, 1964. (PHOTO BY EVELYN HOFER/GETTY IMAGES).
In 1962, driven by an overwhelming pressure to articulate her compulsive repetitions, but forced to shift her focus from expensive oil paint to new media, Kusama began to experiment with free-of-cost materials; in their repetitive form and ready availability, commercial egg cartons were an attractive medium. Unable even to purchase a new canvas upon which to fix the egg-cartons, the verso of the present work reveals the spectral pattern of an earlier painting by Kusama. Untitled is a striking testament to Kusama¹s fierce dedication to her practice during the early years of her career. YAYOI KUSAMA, UNTITLED (DETAIL), 1962. ESTIMATE $7,000,000–10,000,000.
IN A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
Although central to the New York art discourse of the 1960s, Kusama did not affiliate herself with any single artistic movement, moving instead between the various groups of her contemporaries without any discernible allegiance or affiliation. While she cultivated close friendships with artists such as Donald Judd and Frank Stella, both of whom sought her artistic guidance and purchased her early work, she did not consider herself a minimalist. Like fellow trailblazers Agnes Martin and Louise Bourgeois, Kusama emphatically dismissed any attempts to categorize her work within a single movement, pursuing instead a highly personalized and internally motivated artistic practice.
IT¹S ALL ABOUT THE PROCESS
‘Widely considered to be Japan’s greatest living artist, Kusama has continued to explore the boundlessness of spatial abstraction through a seemingly endless series of paintings, sculptures, environments, happenings and films. Despite this variety of media and form, Kusama’s practice is centered upon the same, single impulse that solidified in her work of the 1960s: to express the complex interior of her own psyche. Uniting the graphic and physical force of the artist’s two most celebrated forms, Untitled is a powerful expression of Kusama’s commitment to her unique process and creative output. Offering the viewer an intimate glimpse into the early, brilliant, complex mind of Yayoi Kusama, Untitled evokes the famous words of Donald Judd come to mind: to view a painting by Kusama is to view ³a result of Kusama’s work, not a work itself.”
The cultural calendar in London comes alive in the summer months, with fascinating exhibitions opening at galleries, museums and parks across the capital. Permanent fixtures such as the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Serpentine Pavilion are this year joined in the line-up by appearances by some of fashion and music’s most iconic figures and muses; from Michael Jackson and Azzedine Alaïa to Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. With so much to see, we’ve put together a handy guide to the very best shows and experiences on offer, so you needn’t miss a thing…
The V&A is well-known as the go-to destination for all things fashion, but this exhibition goes a little deeper than merely a look at Frida Kahlo’s clothes. Featuring items from the artist’s personal archive, many that have never been seen since her death in 1954, Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is an intimate journey through the life of the Mexican icon. Kahlo herself was often the subject of her own artwork, and her image, art and troubled personal life were entirely intertwined in the careful construction of her outward appearance. The importance of dress as part costume, and part protection are just some of the themes explored in this powerful exhibition, including clothing, prosthetics and cosmetics.
Whilst more widely known for his expressive paintings of the natural world, flowers and trees were not the only subject matter that fascinated Monet, who remains one of the most revered figures in the history of art. This comprehensive exhibition explores his interest in man-made structures and the famous landmark buildings in London, Paris, Venice and beyond.
Nearly a decade after the death of Michael Jackson, and coinciding with what would have been Jackson’s 60th birthday, this ambitious display surveys the life and distinctive style of the superstar – from his Motown days in the Jackson 5, though to his later military-inspired dress, on and off stage. Works by more than 40 artists including Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry, Isa Genzken and David LaChapelle celebrate Jackson as a cultural icon and master of reinvention.
Since the inaugural Serpentine Pavilion commission in 2000, this oasis in the park has become a must-see destination on the London art trail. Designed by a different architect every year, this year’s commission is conceived by Mexico City-based Frida Escobedo. The pavilion will be a secluded courtyard with a central pool of water, offering a tranquil place for visitors to sit and reflect and to escape the crowded streets of London. Escobedo is the youngest architect to have undertaken the project, and the first solo woman to design the pavilion since the late Zaha Hadid in 2000.
Beginning on 8 June, Sotheby’s opens it doors for the summer sale season in the New Bond Street Galleries, with five weeks of exhibitions, exclusive events, talks and sales – presenting an array of artworks by the world’s leading artists from Picasso and Jean Arp to Damien Hirst and Barbara Hepworth.
As trends come and go in the fashion world, there are several figures whose designs truly stand the test of time. In a career spanning nearly 40 years, Alaïa’s handmade creations have graced the pages of magazines and red carpets the world over, and devoted fans include Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga and Nicole Kidman. By displaying the exquisite dresses against specially designed architectural screens, the couture creations take on a sculptural quality. With the addition of archival photography, the exhibition goes inside the mind of the man and the brand – the legacy of which plays a starring role in the history of fashion. Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier was co-curated by the designer himself, before his death in November 2017.
LINDA EVANGELISTA AND AZZEDINE ALAÏA PHOTOGRAPHED IN 1990 BY SANTE D’ORAZIO.
250 Years of the Royal Academy of Arts
After a major three-year renovation, the Royal Academy of Arts is reopening, and reinforcing it’s dedication to new art and ideas, as it has done since it first opened in 1768. With a host of events, exhibitions and artist projects, the new RA will be unveiled on 19th May. The aptly named The Great Spectacle, exploring the history of the institution’s exhibitions, and the Festival of Ideas will kick off the new programme, alongside the 250th instalment of the Summer Exhibition – showcasing works by one thousand artists, and this year curated by Turner Prize-winning academician Grayson Perry.
ARTIST BOB AND ROBERTA SMITH AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS.
Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art at Tate Modern
Tate Modern does blockbuster exhibitions well, and manages to toe the lie between crowd-pleaser and educational seamlessly; moving the art-historical conversation forward whilst allowing viewers access to works by the most significant artists of our times. From the early experimental photography of Man Ray and Alfred Stieglitz through to contemporary practitioners such as Thomas Ruff and Antony Cairns, Shape of Light presents an under-explored history of the relationship between photography and abstract art. Whilst visiting, you can also pop in to Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy on the 3rd floor of the Boiler House, which devotes ten rooms to Picasso’s ‘Year of Wonders’.
This exhibition brings together works by perhaps the most famous sculptor in history, and exquisite examples of the Greek artefacts that inspired his practice. On visits to the British Museum in the 1800s, Auguste Rodin was deeply inspired by objects in the museum’s collection, and these works are now displayed side-by-side in this major exhibition, including his most revered works –The Thinker and The Kiss.
The work of some of America’s most important artists are brought together in this bold exhibition, with many works being shown in Britain for the first time. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, many artists of the period were recording the changing world around them, whilst simultaneously experimenting with abstraction. The large-scale industrialisation of the country provided artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe and George Ault with plentiful subject matter, allowing them to produce images of an America on the on the cusp of wealth, prosperity and expansion.
Held in galleries, museums and public spaces all over Liverpool including the Bluecoat, Tate Liverpool and FACT, the art world will once again descend on the city for a four month festival of international contemporary art. Commissions and residencies by the most exciting talents working in visual arts and culture are accompanied by programme of talks, films and interactive installations – with a carefully curated online element, allowing people from around the world the opportunity to take part in the Biennial from any location.
As one of the founding figures of the St Ives School, Patrick Heron’s paintings are beautifully expressive studies of colour and form. Inspired by the light and landscape in his adopted Cornwall, Heron’s abstract canvasses will be exhibited in the town that nurtured the creative experimentation of many of British Modernism’s most significant figures.
One of a limited group of monumental California landscape paintings, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica is a defining moment within the British-born Hockney’s 60-year career and the pinnacle of his longstanding visual infatutation with the city of Los Angeles. The ambitious painting, dazzling with hues of chartreuse, tangerine, rose, lavender and cerulean across its 10-foot wide canvas, epitomizes the artist’s bold use of color. Comparable works are held in the collections of such renowned institutions as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
This 1990 oil on canvas is also an acknowledgement of the importance and significance of traditional painting. At a time when artists across the board were turning away from painting and towards photography and conceptual art,Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monicaaddresses the history and impact of artistic styles such as Post-Impressionism and Fauvism, all executed in Hockney’s signature vernacular.
Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica may also be interpreted as David Hockney’s heartfelt ode to Los Angeles. In his autobiography That’s The Way I See It, which features the present work on the back cover, he writes, “anyone who had been on my Wagner drive would immediately recognize Pacific Coast Highway [and Santa Monica] – a multiple view of Santa Monica Bay and the mountains.”
Wagner Road, the artist’s multifaceted and variegated daily route from his home in the Hollywood Hills to his studio on Santa Monica Boulevard, encapsulates Los Angeles’s bright sunlight and bold colors, the very characteristics that drew Hockney away from the grey skies of London. Remembered and recalled in his studio, the result is a masterpiece in which mountain peaks, rolling hills, serpentine roads, calm bays and orderly cityscapes harmoniously vie for attention, guiding the viewer from the top of the road to the horizon.
An extraordinary visual feat that positions Marshall’s singular vision in dialogue with the masters of art history, Past Times has been a cornerstone of Kerry James Marshall’s acclaimed career since it debuted at the 1997 Whitney Biennial. As seen in Past Timesand five other lots by the artist – listed below – on offer in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction (17 May, New York), Marshall has consciously pushed against the constraints of art history throughout his career. With Past Times, he confidently reclaims the presence of figures of African descent in the canon of Western art.
KERRY JAMES MARSHALL, PAST TIMES. SOLD FOR $21,114,500.
In this immense 108- by 157-inch canvas, Marshall expands upon his foundational series, the 1994–95 Garden Project paintings, first shown in Documenta X in Kassel, 1997. Comprised of five works of art, this group of paintings depicts the daily routines of black residents in romanticized versions of major housing projects in Los Angeles and Chicago, including the Nickerson Gardens housing project, the artist’s childhood home. By calling attention to the gap between the idealized notion of community and the harsh reality of low-income housing, as well as the disconnect between the dire living situations imagined by those on the outside versus the hope retained by those in the inside, Marshall highlights the multi-layered incongruences of these urban settings. Widely regarded as the artist’s first, triumphant artistic breakthrough, the majority of the Garden Project paintings are held in the collections of such museums as the Denver Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, amongst others.
This enormous accomplished work is deeply linked to Marshall’s upbringing. As an adolescent and a young adult, Marshall wandered the halls of Los Angeles museums and devoured books in his neighborhood library – through this education, he became acutely aware of the artistic language of the Dutch masters, the French Impressionists and the American Abstract Expressionists, but also the absolute absence of people of African descent in any of these works. This voracious appetite for art history informed Marshall’s singular artistic goal, appropriating the grand artistic gestures of historical movements in order to rectify the glaring absence of the black figure within Western art history.
Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art Highlights
Sotheby’s presents a global tour of highlights from the upcoming Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art sales in London this June. The exhibition will be on view in Hong Kong and Zurich.