Los Angeles-based artist, Alex Prager was in London last week for her first solo show in the UK at Michael Hoppen’s gallery. Prager photographs her female subjects in a style reminiscent of the great mid-20th-century film directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk. Similar to old style movie stills displayed outside cinemas, Prager’s photographs offer us stories that encourage us to imagine what happens before and after, beyond the edge of the frame. Often shot from an unexpected angle and unusually lit the audience are positioned as voyeurs. Synthetic wigs, fake birds and retro costumes are meticulously planned and her models cast as players frozen in the narrative. The exhibition is on until 7 June at Michael Hoppen Gallery.
Julian Schnabel was joined by his close friend Tracey Emin for the launch of his exhibition at Robilant + Voena, which is on until 22 May. The seven new paintings in the show were created from early 20th century hospital x-rays that Schnabel found in an abandoned house at Berck-sur-Mer when filming his film ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’, for which he won a BAFTA for Best Director and received an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Despite the bravura in much of his work as a painter, a certain sense of vulnerability, even tenderness, pervades Schnabel’s work – and nowhere more so than in these paintings, derived from these hospital x-rays. Schnabel has transformed these old scientific documents into epic yet ethereal figures where the full traces of passage and use (scratches, spots, stains) are fixed in depthless reproduction. Fragments of a giant skeleton – pelvis, femur, cervical spine, and so on – appear as little more than skeins of smoke or dust looming on the sheer surfaces of the vertical supports.
Stuart Shave’s new gallery opened in Eastcastle Street in the West End of London last week with its inaugural exhibition of new work by British painter Nigel Cooke. On until 25 May, the exhibition, entitled ‘New Accursed Art Club’, features a series of paintings, many on an epic and terrifying scale. Cooke presents a dystopian vision of the world in which giant skulls engulf the natural world, strangely hirsute teenagers deface the walls of derelict buildings with graffiti, and urban environments are depicted in a state of disrepair. These disquieting works can be seen at Stuart Shave/Modern Art until 25 May.
Lucinda Mellor, Tracey Emin and Julian Schnabel
Ralf Sachs and Simon de Pury at Julian Schnabel’s opening
Keith Tyson joins the crowds outside Stuart Shave’s new gallery for the inaugural exhibition by Nigel Cooke
Alex Prager with gallerist Michael Hoppen
Alannah Weston at Alex Prager’s opening
All photographs copyright Dafydd Jones