fitzrovia art walk

It has been a while since we last checked out the art gallery neighbourhood in Fitzrovia (last time we were at Paradise Row for this). Despite the exceptionally cold and gloomy days last month, we found cool stuff in these galleries.

Spaces in Transition by Alfonso Batalla, Chris King, Fernando Perez Fraile and Paul Tucker

Hanmi Gallery
Maria Marro-Perera

Hanmi gallery was holding a show curated by Maria Marro-Perera during our visit. The gallery's interiors is stripped to prepare for a major refurbishment, so it is interesting to see the exposed structure and finishes in contrast to the spaces of the photography works by the artists.

Baby Monitoring by Spanish artist Alfonso Batalla

Works of Chris King shown in the gallery


Winter Group Show

In Wolff Gallery a few minutes' walk away from Hanmi Gallery, we found a handful of playful works by Finn Stone, Susila Bailey Bond and Clay Sinclair etc.

Finn Stone's camera dogs

Love Thy Neighbour by Clay Sinclair

Pop by Susila Bailey Bond - video link


Paradise Row

In Paradise Row, a group show of "contemporary neo-noir ffrom L.A." curated by Price Latimer Agah was on. The inspiration is taken from the sensibilities and concerns of film noir culture that flourished in L.A. in the 1940s and 50s. Works consist of various media from sculpture, installation, painting to film. It feels like walking into a time tunnel in the basement.

Tom and Restored Newspaper #2 (Pre-Resurrection) (2010) by Glenn Kaino

Basement showing film at one end

Full photo set of the above 3 shows here


Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery

Rosenfeld Porcini was catching the London Fashion Week moment and brought German artist Silvia Hatzl's costume-like pieces in town. From the shopfront one almost believes this is a boutique selling neo-millennial minimal pieces. Intriguing enough, the gallery has shopfronts to both Rathbone Street & Newman Street. And the walkthrough experience together with Silvia's dress-like pieces make visitors feel like they are entering a out-of-scale walk-in wardrobe.

View out to the Shopfront at Rathbone Street

Details in a piece

Full photo set here


Further Readings -
Review: Review of Kiss Me Deadly by Róisín Lacey-McCormac on Aesthetica Blog, 12.02.2013
Review: Review of A Fragile Existence by Bob Chaundy on Huffington Post UK, 17.01.2013

top picks in the frieze week 2012

Venue Design by Kevin Carmody & Andrew Groarke for Frieze Art Fair 2011

With the return of Frieze Art Fair to its home town after a trans-atlantic conquer in New York earlier this year, it would be interesting to see how its spin-off fair Frieze Masters would fare among fellow art critics and audience. Continuing its well-praised tradition last year, Carmody & Groarke is reappointed (see photo above) to design the venue of the main fair this year. The Masters show next door would be, interestingly, designed by New York-based Selldorf Architects. It seems the competition between the two global cities are everywhere.

As usual, apart from the Giant Frieze, Moniker Art Fair in Village Underground and Sunday Art Fair in Ambika P3 are catering to a slightly more specific audience and do not cost a penny to get in. For the numerous shows in galleries around the whole city, we have shortlisted the followings for those who have no time to do the window-shopping: (in no particular order)

Kris Ruhs in the Wapping Project - full photo set here

Landing on Earth by Kris Ruhs in the Wapping Project
Kris has created a series of large installations in the power station (see photo above) that have a dialogue with each other as well as the space.

Elmgreen & Dragset's transformed attic space in Victoria Miro

Harvest by Elmgreen & Dragset in Victoria Miro (@victoriamiro) -
The duo who put a bronze boy on a rocking horse on the 4th plinth is making two distinct spaces inside the gallery's two floors in their latest show in town.

snails on junk in one of Bertozzi & Casoni's works in the show

Regeneration by Bertozzi & Casoni in All Visual Arts (@allvisualarts) -
Examine the bizarrely colourful life-like works of the Italian duo which are almost renaissance paintings come alive in 3D.

Left: Untitled 12050; Right: Untitled 12044 (2012) by Lee Knagwook

Invisible by Lee Kangwook in Hada Contemporary -
Korean artist Lee uses colour pencils and charoal to create minimalist works (see photo above) that look vibrant yet intriguing in order as a whole. The sparkle highlights in his works make a glam touch to the works.

Revolver presents works by ten artists made between 1983 and 2012 in discrete spaces in the gallery in a three-part series of short exhibitions. Show 2 features Anna Barham's live installation, Graham Gussin's sepia toned photographs and Tai Shani's sound-tracked installation.

Spazio di Luce by Giuseppe Penone in Whitechapel Gallery (@_thewhitechapel) -
No other artist have made a more poetic piece for Whitechapel Gallery's columned room yet than Penone (see photo above).

Ligurian Sea Saviore (1993) by Hiroshi Sugimoto

Dark Paintings & Seascapes by Rothko and Sugimoto in Pace (@pacegallery) -
If you think David Chipperfield's museum space is a must-see, a joint show of Mark Rothko & Hiroshi Sugimoto inside a space designed by Chipperfield would be one that is seen to be believed. See the above teaser photo. We hope the show can stay forever, it is timeless.



Blastfurnace by Atelier Van Lieshout in Carpenters Workshop (@cwgparislondon) - 
Carpenters Workshop is renown for their taste of craft designs. It is showing a few pieces of AVL's works that viewers can view the chemistry among them when they are all in the same space. 

On a sidenote, there was outrageous queue everyday in the Barbican Curve gallery since its current show opened last week (see below photo), those who live in London should avoid getting there in frieze week to save your valuable time in this period.

Random International (also represented by Carpenter Workshop)'s interactive Rain installation in the Barbican Curve gallery

A Kassen's work in Sunday Art Fair 2011 represented by New Gallerie Paris

A Kassen's work in Nettie Horn, 17A Riding House Street

17A Riding House Street by A Kassen in Nettie Horn (@nettiehorn) -

Danish Collective A Kassen is known for their reaction with the environment and space in their works. The show would see how they respond to the relocated gallery (from Vyner Street) in its new premise and hence an one-off not to be missed.

degree show 2012 - central saint martins

Degree Show 2012
Central Saint Martins King's Cross Campus

The first degree show of Central Saint Martins in its new King's Cross campus has begun last week. Its high security campus is open to the public for the occasion, and provide an opportunity for visitors to see what the students are producing in this former Granary building.

Steps from the Entrance Plaza to the Canal - the new campus is part of the King's Cross Central Regeneration

The Forecourt with its generous headroom

Lecture rooms and studios are lined up on both sides of the Central Spine with a transparent roof
Something the university management should really feel ashamed of, when they always advertise themselves as a world-class institute and the campus is indeed, NEW
Roof terrace with unobstructed views - a drastic contrast to the backyard terrace in its old Charing Cross Road campus

The covered Handyside Canopy is showing some of the BA Fine Arts works

With about 20 courses exhibiting at the same time, it is a real art & design fest for the public not to be missed.

Further Reading -

Page: Official website of the Degree Show

art that moves

Kinetica Art Fair 2012
Ambika P3 Gallery

The annual Kinetica Art Fair is back in Ambika P3 gallery this week, with many exhibits, seminars and performances lined up for visitors to indulge themselves into art that moves and performances that intrigue.

There is a shift in the people who exhibit this year - more universities are showing student works, Kinetica Art Museum also seems to be occupying a larger area to showcase their collection. The programme also present the Musion Academy MAMAs Awards.

Overview of the venue this year

The followings are some highlights of this year, with more to come in part 2 in our next post.

Titia Ex's Flower from the Universe is the welcome piece visitors will see by the entrance

Titia Ex featured in Deutsche Welle's youtube video - link

Linear UV drawing (2012) by David Ogle - David's florescent fishing lines remind viewers of the metal wires installation by Lygia Pape showing recently in Serpentine Gallery

Gear Mobiles by Jonathan Miller has a retro sense of elegance & precision

Gear Mobiles by Jonathan Miller - link

Karen Neill's Liquid Crystal art

The booth of Alexander Berchert has 3 wonderful installations on display

Water Wheel (2011) by Alexander Berchert - video link

Xylophone Wheel (2011) by Alexander Berchert - video link


View Larger Map

a bright start for the year of dragon

The Trafalgar Sun
Trafalgar Square

What could be better to have the Sun shining in Trafalgar Square on the first day of the Year of Dragon (Chinese New Year)? A sponsored comission made by Greyworld is up for today in Trafalgar Square.

Similar to the artifical sun once shining in Tate Modern? Well it's outdoor this time!

Andrew Shoben from Greyworld introducing their work - video link

It does look better when the sky is dark (because the crane holding the sun is... yellow!), so perhaps you can try to get a look after sunset if you are around. Check out the making-of video below if you want to know how it was made.

Full photo set here


Further Readings -
page - official website of greyworld
video - official making-of clip from Tropicana

the frieze art week 2011 - part 2

Frieze Art Fair 2011
Regent's Park

This is the long over-due part 2 of our frieze art fair review. Although the sculptural park seems to be quite disappointing this year, we found some encouraging development in the tent.

Frieze Projects has selected a handful of cool works this year, and arranged them to be scattered around the fair.  Laure Prouvost plays jokes about the physical environment and the visitors. Christian Jankowski puts a boat in the venue, and ironically it does not actually look odd among all these contemporary art works - the nature of an art fair as the flea market for the rich is spelt out loud. Bik van der Pol's slogan-generating scoreboard is an attempt between installation and performance. And Pierre Huyghe leaves his work to the hand of mother nature for his aqua creatures to entertain the guests.

Laure Prouvost - one of the Frieze Projects this year

Laure Prouvost for Frieze Projects -

Christian Jankowski - one of the Frieze Projects this year

Bik van der Pol in Frieze Art Fair 2011 - one of the Frieze Projects this year

Pierre Huyghe in Frieze Art Fair 2011 - one of the Frieze Projects this year

We are also very pleased to see many galleries have devoted time and efforts to create a presence in the fair by a unique booth design. This creates an identity to the gallery and a set for the art works featured inside the booth. The followings are our favourites this year -

IBID Projects (London)

the IBID Projects booth - video link

Alex Zachary (New York)

Ken Okiishi / Alex Zachary at the Frame section - video link

Galerie Eigen & Art (Leipzig/Berlin)

Carsten Nicolai in Galerie Eigen & Art (Leipzig/Berlin)

Galerie Eigen & Art (Leipzig/Berlin)

Georg Kargl (Vienna)

Sies & Höke (Düsseldorf)

Sies & Höke (Düsseldorf)

There is an official Stand Prize of  £10000, and it was given to Gavin Brown's Enterprise this year. The gallery has displayed works by Turner prize winner Martin Creed, Elizabeth Peyton, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Joe Bradley and Alex Katz in the booth. From the office website's announcement, “the judges agreed that the stand articulated a long-term commitment to and understanding of the artists represented.” No further elaboration is provided.

Winner of Frieze Art Fair's Stand Prize - Gavin Brown's Enterprise (New York)

The tent itself also gets a breakthrough form - no more total white prefabricated assembly. We hope the fair has the money to keep this exciting move next year.

The cafe, as well as other parts of the venue this year, designed by Carmody and Groarke

Video link

If you haven't read part 1 previously, it's here. Have a happy new year in a few hours!

Further Readings -
Page - Official website of Galerie Eigen & Art
Page - Official website of Galerie Georg Kargl
Page - COS supports Frame

the white disguise duo

It comes to our attention there are two shows within walking distance in Shoreditch that co-incidentally share a common feature in the works they are showing - a 'white-out' treatment.

Taliban Bullet Holes & Crude Oil Silksreens by Piers Secunda

the "Bullet Hole" series

Piers Secunda has developed into a specialist using "paint" as a sculptural material, rather than the medium in his career. He flew to Kabul in summer 2010 with the sole intention of specifically casting Taliban bullet holes. Two suicide bomb attack sites were located in advance and existing bullet holes were confirmed on site by witnesses and the Kabul police to be Taliban.  The first site was an attack on a private security firm in a residential area of Kabul. At the outset of the Taliban’s assault on the building, two drivers for the security firm were fatally shot inside their car on the street. The works in this exhibition were created directly from the casts of bullet holes made as members of the Taliban shot through and around this car – killing the drivers and pock-marking the wall behind. These bullet hole casts have been integrated into a series of wall mounted paint “relief” sculptures, their hanging devices also cast from paint.

Six-minute documentary about the Taliban works

'Painting' on paint in the "Crude Oil Silkscreen" series

As the curator of the gallery Stuart Semple said, “Piers has always made an important contribution to both painting and sculpture, but now with the materiality of the work being harnessed to record extreme politics, we have his most powerful series to date. I feel absolutely privileged to have the opportunity to show this in the gallery.”

Piers' bullet holes series is equivalent to an isolated replica of war crime evidence. And the way he creates them is similar to a forensic officer, reconstructing the crime scene by extracting residues of available material evidence. These works are bound to be controversial in their nature, but as Piers said in his interview, "I've come to accept that this stuff happens throughout the world all the time so I document it." The choice of white colour in the paint gives a cynical touch of sterile operation which authorities often employ to underplay issues they do not want to arouse attention to. 

Full photo set here

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Let Us Build Us a City & a Tower by Richard Galpin

Brace V (Boom), 2011 peeled photograph

Different from Piers Secunda's efforts to replicate the subject matter to his audience, Richard Galpin strips away the superficials on his selected urban scenes and reveals the underlying orders (or chaos) in the city. And he only uses a scalpel in the whole process to intricately score and peel away the emulsion from the surface of the photograph. The end product sometimes look like a collage, but it is not the case at all. You can see in the video below how precise and time-consuming the process is:

Graduating from the Goldsmiths MA in 2001, Richard has been holding solo shows every year since 2005. His works are also collected by the V&A Photography Collection. The 'edited' photographs are probably not an overall depiction of the environment where they were taken, but they symbolise the spontaneousness, hierarchy and diversity of every contemporary city.

Close up of Stem II (Span), 2011 peeled photograph

Full photo set here


We feel very grateful to see art shows with works directly confronting the social-political situation in the more and more gentrified Shoreditch. And the "white-out" is a powerful visual approach to bring the audience's attention immediately to the subject matter.

Further Readings -
Page: Official page of Piers Secunda
Page: Official page of "Taliban Bullet Holes & Crude Oil Silksreens by Piers Secunda" in Aubin Gallery website
Page: Interview with Piers Secunda, Almanac Christmas 2011
Page: Official page of Richard Galpin
Page: Official page of "Let Us Build Us a City & a Tower" in Hales Gallery website
Video: "Richard Galpin, Viewing Station, The High Line, New York" by Richard Galpin

the frieze art week 2011 - part 1

Frieze Art Fair 2011
Regent's Park

Icon (2011) by Will Ryman

The Frieze art week is as busy as usual, with returning fairs Sunday, "Pavilion of art & design" & Moniker. This year we also saw newcomer Sluice joining the party. Headmaster Frieze is spearheading the crowd with its blockbuster programmes in addition to over 170 exhibitors.
Frieze Sculpture Park is one of Frieze's unique programme, only Frieze has the privilege to have a collection of large-scale art works to be displayed outdoor in Regent's Park. However, this year's line up is arguably a little bit disappointing compared to the past 2 years which we had also witnessed.

video link

Non-profits arts organisation Measure quoted curator David Thorp's comment on the selection this year - ‘This year’s Sculpture Park continues to provide a fascinating cross section of sculpture being made today from the monumental to the socially engaged. The twelve works on display by established and emerging artists build on a dialogue begun in previous years, developing a debate about art in public places and the condition of sculpture as an evolving conversation that proceeds by example, as an exchange of ideas between artists and artworks.’

However, the background of the selected works and their creators is practically invisible in the official website. The official page of the Sculpture Park has only a list of artists' names and the titles of their works. In a thorough search across the whole website, we still cannot find any further details. Should a curator's statement at least be displayed? Is it too much to ask to have some basic information for the general public or new art fan who knows nothing about Frieze & contemporary art in the website? Only the hardcore fans or insiders would pick their time of visit to the park to catch a guided tour. And does Frieze really think that by not providing any basic information, people would then be forced to buy the official catalogue? All we want to say here is this approach does not help promoting art to the general public and does not help Frieze to develop an educated audience which would be more likely to purchase art than just attending for the sake of ticking the box off the social calendar.

Despite the perception that contemporary art is more about the concept than the technique, one may wonder why some of the works are selected. Just look at the art piece below -

Ajar (2011) by Gavin Turk

We understand that sometimes it needs radical approach to bring the message out, but simply placing a door with frame in the middle of the park without any explanation about the intent of the artist is not working. All we hear from the 'official' source on site is the confirmation from the security guard the green plastic bag taped on the door was due to vandalism. A lack of understanding and sense of ownership are common causes of vandalism. We hope this message is clearly shown to the organiser now. Also in our memory there are no security guards by the side of every piece of works in previous years - is this a new clause in the insurance contract or else?


Full photo set here

We do find some encouraging developments in the fair this year inside the main ehibition tent, and would talk about them in part 2.

Further Readings -
Page - official page for Frieze Sculpture Park
Page - Sculpture Park Showcases Stunning Creations by Pippa Jane Wielgos and L. Meir for, 18.10.2011
Interview with David Thorp - The Age of Discover - Frieze Education Programme 2010
Video - Frieze Sculpture Park 2010 by
Page - our review on Frieze Sculpture Park 2009

top picks at london design festival 2011

Wallpaper* & Bernhadt Design's launch party at St Pancras Hotel

Here are our top 10 picks (in no particular order) for London Design Festival this year, with a bit of art power! -

1. AL_A's Timberwave at the V&A - Amanda Levete's comeback masterpiece after her split with former partner in Future Systems

2. David Chipperfield's Size+Matter at the Royal Festival Hall - the minimalist master's attempt to unite technology and simplicity

3. Designjunction at Victoria House Basement - 30 furniture & lighting brands in 1 location, events on top of showcases

4. Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby at Haunch of Venison - the duo's first solo show with the gallery

5. Faye Toogood at Phillips de Pury - new and old furniture collection by the magazine editor turned stylist and designer

6. Cristian Zuzunaga at EB&Flow - brilliant photographic works by the spanish artist/designer

7. Formosa Show at Candid Arts - taiwanese art & design at your door step, London!

8. John Pawson's Perspective at St Paul's Cathedral - see how the master can attract eyeballs by doing nothing

9. Superbrands at Tent London - it's worth to go all the way to the east with all these big names

10.  De la Espada at Tramshed - suffocatingly beautiful timber furniture by the Spanish brand 

how to fill up a space with flowers or cardboards

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011
by Peter Zumthor and Piet Oudolf

The black box exterior has a reclusive swiss flavour often found in Zumthor's architecture

To enjoy the annual Serpentine Pavilion under the summer sun is not something you can plan to do in a weekend, because of the english weather. But in the latest edition of the Pavilion series which began 11 years ago, we conclude that the pavilion has equal charm whether you're going there on a sunny or rainy day (but probably not so good if it's overcast).

While Jean Nouvel's signature red pavilion has never tried to blend in the surrounding landscape, Peter Zumthor's pavilion is by no means relating itself to the gallery next to it either, although it is much more understated. However, when we see pictures of this year's pavilion online under the rain, the rain doesn't simply fall along the roof - it transforms the pavilion when it glides along the roof. A curtain of water dripping from the roof down divides the seating area and the central garden, giving the whole experience its Zumthor's touch of zen.

The 'secret garden'  reveals once you walked into the pavilion

The highlight of the pavilion is the flowers in the central courtyard. And they are best experienced when the sun is present. So if you come to visit the pavilion on a sunny day, you will not be able to feel the effect of the rain on the architecture. And if you come in a rainy day, the blossoming flowers would be less vivid than they are under the sun.

Dutch landscape design Piet Oudolf's selection of plants capture every visitor's admiration

Serpentine Pavilion 2011 - video link

Texture of the walls

The sun beams through tree shades and the pavilion's roof

Full photo set here

The Mirror of Judgement by Michelangelo Pistoletto
Serpentine Gallery

Michelangelo Pisolleto's use of ordinary corrugated boards has a distilling effect of calmness despite the lack of order in the folds of the boards

The exhibition inside the Serpentine Gallery is equally dramatic as the Pavilion's floral show. Italian artist Michelangelo Pisolleto created a labyrinth path experience within the gallery and placed objects at several stops within the maze. The random nature of the corrugated board folds resembles the organic variety of the flowers in the pavilion.

The gallery is transformed into a maze

Both the pavilion and the exhibition have invited the visitors to indulge in a journey of discovery and re-discovery, creating a subtle link which one may not realise in the beginning but connect to the element of labyrinth in traditional european gardens. We truly enjoy this co-incidental surprise.


Further Readings -
Page - official page of the Pavilion (2011)
Page - official page of the exhibition
Review - Piet Oudolf's garden at the Serpentine Gallery pavilion by Joanna Fortnam for the Telegraph, 29.07.2011
Review -  by Florence Waters for the Telegraph, 28.07.2011
Wiki - entry for Piet Oudolf
Archive - blog post on Serpentine Pavilion 2009