Tim Braden, ‘Looking at Ballet’, 2006
Image courtesy of Timothy Taylor Gallery
Mustafa Hulusi, ‘Exstacy Almond Blossoms’, 2008
Conrad Shawcross, ‘Slow Arc in a Cube II’, 2008
“Plumage, petals, bristling fur, bared teeth, and wit: we may appreciate, or fear (or both), all of these things, and be dazzled by their ever branching and beautiful ramifications. We, the viewers of art, may think of the art world as a country garden, cultivated but full of natural wonders, the gentle scene of mortal struggles, the stage on which living things act out their strategies of display, camouflage, mimicry, feigning and intimidation…” High Art Lite, Julian Stallabrass
‘Natural Wonders: New Art from London’ seeks to capture the energy, vitality and diversity of practice of over 20 artists who have taken centre stage in London in recent times. Their ages, national and ethnic backgrounds are varied, as is their work. ‘Natural Wonders’ is also an oblique and subjective answer to the question, ‘How does one judge what is great or noteworthy if one dispenses with the idea of progress?’ London is celebrated for its vast and generous diversity, for its openness to the streams of people, ideas and capital that flow across our planet, all of which has made London, at the moment, the most international city in the world. This great diversity finds a clear expression in London’s contemporary art scene.
Beyond merely presenting some of the most compelling work being made in London now, ‘Natural Wonders’ attempts to identify some of the different trends in thought and cultural production that animate the selected artists. The exhibition is conceived as a journey through multiple zones, each of which is comprised of work that shares a particular aesthetic or intellectual correspondence. During this journey, we encounter the work of artists who engage deliberately and self-consciously with the legacy of Modernism, but who do so through the filter of their contemporary experience, often using irony and low-fi materials. We find paintings that employ the language of abstraction with a level of sincerity unseen for decades. We see work that responds to the new urban environment, uncovering beauty and significance in the landscapes of concrete, glass, and metal, of coloured neon, fraying posters, and the cornucopia of rubbish that makes a constantly-shifting collage of our streets. We discover figurative paintings that testify to the continuing relevance of an ancient genre alongside work that unabashedly finds profundity in the decorative, and work that looks for meaning in myths and symbols long ignored by the dominant culture of modernity.
‘Natural Wonders’ invites the viewer to appreciate the curious and thrilling mix of “plumage, petals, bristling fur, bared teeth, and wit,” comprising the creative landscape of London.
‘Natural Wonders: New Art from London’ is the second exhibition to be presented by BAIBAKOV art projects in its exhibition space on the third floor of the former Red October Chocolate Factory.
Among the artists in the exhibition are Tim Braden, Shezad Dawood, Idris Khan, Eloise Fornieles, Conrad Shawcross and Douglas White.
‘Natural Wonders’ is guest curated by Nick Hackworth, a London-based writer, gallerist and curator, and co-curated by BAIBAKOV art projects’ Maria Baibakova and Kate Sutton.
NATURAL WONDERS: New Art from London
BAIBAKOV art projects
Until 5 April
Red October Chocolate Factory
6, Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya, 3rd Floor