In between all that relaxing Christmas shopping, why not take a look at some of these shows;
The Power of Making at the V&A
This is the kind of exhibition you could force along an uninterested boyfriend to and he would actually enjoy it. A place where painstaking time and effort and astounding skill is shown off. Its a small exhibition crammed full of interesting and eclectic objects. Many pieces were beautiful while others were simply worth seeing for the sheer craftsmanship. Coming from a craft background, it’s great to see such contemporary attitudes towards skill and making. My favourite had to be the Pencils by Dalton Ghetti. Definitely worth a visit!
Pipilotti Rist – Eyeball massage at the Hayward gallery
I went to his show when I began my M.A in October. Ashamedly I had never heard of Pipilotti Rist, so as I waited for my new classmates to come I sat down and watched Rists introductory video. What a strange woman! Her eyes bulged and her voice changed octaves as she urged me, in heavily accented english, to enjoy her exhibition. The title of the show should have given me a clue. ‘Eyeball massage’ indeed! The whole exhibition was a visual playground. Rist delights in the colourful and provocative. From her chandelier of underwear to her bizarre relaxation room (well, thats what I like to call it) where you can lie down and watch a film montage of naked bodies, pigs in fields, fruit crushing and worm wiggling all of which is sensual and visceral. Though my favourite of all was her ‘mini-me’ shouting at me from a tiny hole in the ground, For a moment I couldn’t work out whether this was a projection from above or a screen built into the ground so I went to take a closer look. Only to hear booming voice behind me say “Thats not very nice.” I looked up to see a burly security guard eying me up. For a moment I genuinely wondered was this part of the exhibition?!
Taryn Simon – A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters at the Tate Modern
Taryn Simon was another artist I hadn’t heard of until I discovered her show at the Tate. Simon spent four years collecting photographs, documents and stories from families and bloodlines all over the world. The show itself is made up of 18 Stories (or chapters), displayed in three parts, the first panel systematically maps out the members of a bloodline through portraits, then a text panel providing corresponding information in list form and finally a footnote panel including images and fragments of the overall story. The stories are fancinating. One included a boy believed to be the reincarnation of his grandfather, so you see his portrait being repeated throughout. Another portrait panel included four family members that had been officially listed as dead. So Simon was photographing people who on paper do not exist.
Simon says herself “The works are attempting to map the relationships between chance, blood and other components of fate, trying to see or struggling to find some sort of code or pattern embedded within that.” I admire her use of archiving and collecting but mostly I admire her patience! Well worth a visit, and in my eyes a much more worth while exhibition than the fee-paying Richter’s across the way!
Other exhibitions I recommend seeing are John Martin’s – Apocolyse now, Barry Flanagan’s – Early Works and John Smith’s – The girl chewing Gum. All at the the TATE Britain.
Happy Christmas kids!!