Go See Stephen Willats and Maria Nepomuceno at Victoria Miro!

Last night was the opening of two exhibitions at Victoria Miro. Victoria Miro is one of my favourite galleries as the space – a vertical and horizontal maze – never ceases to amaze me. This spatial challenge makes for spectacular works and exhibitions (Sarah Sze’s exhibition in 2007 is an all time favourite). Plus they do drinks in the garden and the silvered balloons on the pond are enough to keep anyone occupied for a wonderfully long time.

Stephen Willats has created an installation made up of individual drawings from the 1960s and 2010s as well as large-scale site-specific wall drawings that together are designed to be experienced as a single work. I’m not too sure how far this is possible but the colours and various shapes and arrows create a map connecting each element. The works have a Bauhaus and De Stijl quality and portray Willats’ u- or even dystopic vision of the simulacra that make up our world.

(I have noticed more and more arrows in exhibitions recently; Stephen Willats, Richard Hamilton, Paul Klee.. maybe I just yearn to see direction wherever I go).

Sorry no pictures yet for this one, got distracted by the pretty colours.. and the bar.

Maria Nepomuceno’s contemporary works fall in line with my conclusion to the post below; creating something new out of the familiar, or rather ordinary in this case. She uses traditional methods of rope weaving and straw braiding, which paired with beads of various sizes and colours amounts to monumental installations.

Maria Nepomuceno, The Pearl, the Bamboo and the Straw 2014

Maria Nepomuceno, The Pearl, the Bamboo and the Straw 2014

These organic shapes are however meticulously futuristic-looking manufactured objects and remind me of a disturbing dream.. and the teletubbies.

Maria Nepomuceno, Grande Boca 2013

Maria Nepomuceno, Grande Boca 2013


 

Stephen Willats REPRESENTING THE POSSIBLE 13 March – 17 April 2014
Maria Nepomuceno TRANS 13 March – 17 April 2014

Tate in Ruins

Construction site of Phyllida Barlow's upcoming work for the Tate Britain Commission 2014.

Construction site of Phyllida Barlow’s upcoming work for the Tate Britain Commission 2014.

This title couldn’t be further from the truth, yet ruins are ever so present at Tate Britain.
After passing the magnificent – recently refurbished – entrance and rotunda, I came across the closed off Duveen Galleries, a building site, contradicting the initial polished reception. I overheard an attendant who, trying to amaze children, explained that the D Galleries will be host to Phyllida Barlow’s largest work in London to date, a work that will be made in response to the Tate’s collection. I couldn’t help but feeling a little enthralled myself.
Yet construction does not signify to ruin. Indeed, construction exploits ruin to make something new, rid of yesterday’s decay.
Ruin Lust, a recently opened exhibition curated by Brian Dillon, Emma Chambers and Amy Concannon, presents artists’ fascinations with ruin, or rather their lust (in the German sense) thereafter. Particularly interesting, is the way in which artists present ruin using ruin as medium. Such as Tacita Dean who created Kodak with some of the last monochrome standard 16mm film that the company produced. Or even John Stezaker who collages old postcards with cut-up photographs, creating an uncanny coherence with refuse.
Sneaky snaky photo doesn't do the artist justice.

Sneaky snaky photo doesn’t do the artist justice.

Last but definitely not least, Richard Deacon’s organic, sensual and curious shapes had me studying the works intently, trying to figure out how he could possibly contort the materials – wood, steel, marble, leather and ceramic – into the forms he desired. I am very aware that man has accomplished remarkable things, yet the unnatural shapes, produced by torturing the wood as it seemed, is what struck me, what stirred something in me.
And so, Tate 1 – Ruin 0.

 
 

Phyllida Barlow 31 March – 19 October
Ruin Lust 4 March – 18 May
Richard Deacon 5 February – 27 April