London-based German artist Bettina Buck makes and commissions material alterations to everyday things to bring attention to the associative territories between the prop, sculpture and found object. This extremely elegant assembly of almost defunct sports equipment, domestic items and architectural elements appear held in (perilous or pathos-inducing) states of suspension: the poetically ordinary moments just before each familiar form loses recognizable shape or functional identity and becomes something else entirely.
Until Nov 27
As this modest solo exhibition ‘Arts, Media and Sports’ at Sprovieri proves, it doesn’t take many Jimmie Durham works assembled in one place to describe the impact of this American Cherokee artist on contemporary makers. Working here with the traditions of objet trouve, monumental sculpture and text art, Durham weaves a darkly comic critical narrative on the social significance of and cultural-policy reasoning behind the procurement of politically contested sites, all in the name of extracurricular fun. Read his stream-of-consciousness felt-pen ramble (on a white shirt) around material culture and weep.
Until Dec 10
Ensconced within a James Turrell light installation one ceases to care about the possible commercial directions the artist might be pushing his career in or the gallery’s decision to premier them in London during Frieze. Just because, for all the post-bling interior-design associations now attached, they work: like a dry, colour-rich body bath for the sensorially weary. This large-scale exhibition of sculptures, photographs, holographs, projections and an MRI-chamber-cum-alternative-therapy experience, provides the viewer with several sublime points of departure into the subset of biology and technology.
Hauser and Wirth
Until Dec 18
Hauser and Wirth open their impressive new space with textile works by late American-great Louise Bourgeois, less characteristically testy than a simple joy to behold. This predominantly wall-based selection situates the viewer between the languages of painting and sculpture; abstraction and abstract art. For the variably coloured and patterned swatches of fabric, stitched together in frames, alert one as much to the sensory potential of printed matter as the spatial dynamics of pictorial composition. These images/objects recall both the representational history of the physical landscape and that of basic forms used to conjure difficult-to-reach facets of human experience.
More Pricks than Kicks
David Roberts Art Foundation
Until Dec 18
This group exhibition of video, painting, performance and sculpture posits the concept of exhaustion as an artwork destination bearing in mind that every conceivable motif one might employ in the process has it’s own specific language liable to influence any communicative mission. ‘More Pricks than Kicks’ is the title of a collection of short stories by Beckett exploring the futile theatre of a man’s life from his student days to accidental death. Each of the works here perfectly struggles with the contradictory nature of their private mission: producing something to convey the sense of having got nowhere. Thomas Houseago’s humanoid sculptural form, appears insubstantially heavy with the job of existing, while Bethan Huws’s church-style pegboard text leaves one lost between mundane and more sinister languages of instruction.
Best Laid Plans
11/11 – 23/11
This group show will explore seven artists’ uses of drawing, in the widest sense, to challenge the current means and modes through which essential data is formalised (from scientific concepts to daily rotas) and offer alternatives. Artist-architect Marjetica Potrč responds to real-life scenarios with building projects, identifying both the utopian ideals and practicalities that the process of finding a solution raises. Meticulous researcher Janie Kerbel takes on the historically macho world of topography for this project, etching a town for ghosts based on the former constellations of dead stars, while video artist Paul Rooney offers up a short story based on a salvationist website. There will be a symposium, with performances, at Tate Modern on November 12
Dan Coopey describes the relationship between visual languages and communication strategies like that between hostage and kidnapper. The British sculptor isolates visual elements of (often time-based) information as if the essential channels of an overloaded music track, releasing actions and forms from the limits of their contexts. Coopey’s material sources, for this his first solo exhibition at The Agency, include illustrations from a 1970s Israeli children’s book, colour spectra and a video of string demonstrations.
Gary Webb’s impeccably made, often outrageously styled sculptures appear the hybrid totems of an aspirational consumer society on the brink. The material and aesthetic references the American artist combines, from shiny automotive surfaces to crematorium marble, play havoc with the evolutionary travels of art and design objects out of, and back into, the Modern. In Webb’s latest convention-defying system (of goods, representational tropes and services) the gallery becomes breeding ground as one work begets another — in the form of a brick-hewn comic-strip boy taking a Webb-sculpture-shaped leak, apparently.
It bodes well that Gabriel Kuri, Mark Leckey and Dawn Mellor have selected the artists for this year’s competition, which returns to it’s original home after opening in Liverpool’s A Foundation. One name leaps out of the list: Laure Prouvost who has had a very busy London year with an ArtNow Lightbox commission at Tate Britain, a solo project at Frieze’s Frame with MOT gallery and a video work in ‘More Kicks than Pricks’ featured above. The exhibition also includes Ella McCartney’s (re)presentations of sculptural space and Kiwoun Shin’s video of coins, in various currencies, being ground to dust.
Never the Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts)
Camden Arts Centre
Simon Starling returns to the Camden Arts Centre (following a residency and solo platform in 2000), with a project that revisits the institution’s 50-year exhibition history. The 2005 Turner Prize winner, will explore particular ideological shifts (back and forward through time) made possible by the exhibition process, reinstalling some 28 individual works from past projects in their original positions alongside imagery and props that may be clues as to the future programme. Amongst fragments of historical survey shows such as ‘Photography into Art’ (1973), one might expect to find a Kenneth and Mary Martin work from their seminal joint exhibition of 2007 and Mike Nelson’s epic installation of his residency detritus back in1998