Call of the Mall

This review appeared in frieze: Matthew Darbyshire IP, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable You wouldn’t normally expect to find ambitious contemporary art, least of all the kind that critically engages with consumer culture, in a shopping centre. But then, Hoog Catharijne is no ordinary mall. Built around a train station, the Netherlands’ busiest shopping centre (in terms of footfall) includes its own residential complex and office buildings. A late Modernist urban development animated by Utopian ideals, it was once an opulent place fitted with marble floors, chandeliers, exotic plants, aviaries, a bronze fountain and, yes, art works. This shopper’s paradise … Continue reading Call of the Mall

Mark Leckey: The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things

This review of ‘The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things’ appeared in Dutch translation in Metropolis M:  With an eclectic mix of handpicked objects spread across most available gallery spaces at Nottingham Contemporary, in the latest round of artist-curated Hayward touring exhibitions, Mark Leckey has created a Wunderkammer fit for the digital age, one in which the physical and virtual realms converge. A cabinet of wonders that by and large steers clear of the academic pretensions and preciosity of some modern-day curiosi. The artist insists that he did not wish to make a show that would put his own taste on … Continue reading Mark Leckey: The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things

Ursula Mayer

This review was published in frieze d/e: Ursula Mayer, Gonda, 2012, Film still Located in an old mill on the edge of Kraichtal, the Ursula Blickle Foundation has turned the sleepy German town into something of an art destination since the private art space opened in 1991. The London-based Austrian artist Ursula Mayer – who previously took part in the 2003 group show at the Foundation, Love/Hate, alongside Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Isaac Julien, Runa Islam and Tadeusz Kantor, among others ­– returns with a solo exhibition a decade later. A partnership between the 21er Haus at Belvedere, Vienna – Blickle recently … Continue reading Ursula Mayer

The Making of Helen Marten

This piece appeared, translated into Dutch, in Metropolis M: ‘Success in public life seems sometimes to be not unrelated to the possession of thick skin – thick enough to be proof against penetration by any caricature not drawn with an electric drill.’ (Helen Marten, Evian Disease, 2012) Getting an interview with the highly sought-after London-based artist Helen Marten is no mean feat. It seems that everyone wants a piece of her these days. With a spate of international art galleries representing her (Greene Naftali, New York; Johann König, Berlin; Sadie Coles HQ, London; T293, Naples), a couple of prestigious art … Continue reading The Making of Helen Marten

Unsound London

This report from Unsound London festival appeared on “IS IT JUST ME? Lightning Bolt’s been doing it for, like, ten years,” a stranger sidles up, sensing a fellow-skeptic. I nod. “The shirtless thing, the masks,” he adds. My response is drowned out by waves of sonic interference. Out there in the spotlight, a balaclava-clad man stripped down to his waist is pounding away at some homemade drumlike instrument, while his bare-chested companion, a shaggy black wig covering up his face, is strumming on something resembling an elongated rocket. We’re being treated to sonic warfare by Poland’s noise rock band … Continue reading Unsound London

Open House

This piece on the birth of ‘performance architecture’ appeared in frieze: Gordon Matta-Clark, Conical Intersect, 27–29 rue Beaubourg, Paris Biennale, 1975. Courtesy: David Zwirner, New York, and MACBA, Barcelona © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark / DACS The annals of every discipline are full of unsuspecting twins somehow hitting upon an idea concurrently and yet independently. One such concept is ‘performance architecture’ – a phrase that started being used at roughly the same time by two different people, both of them practising architects who happened to have a foot in the art world and a particular interest in performance art. Back … Continue reading Open House

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness

This interview with Ben Rivers and Ben Russell about their new film appeared on Agnieszka Gratza: How did the two of you meet? Ben Rivers: We met in Brighton. I used to run a cinemateque there with some friends for about ten years. One of the last things we did was host Ben and Jonathan Schwarz. They were travelling round with a programme called… Ben Russell: ‘The Psychoacoustic Geographers’. Rivers: That was in 2006. AG: When did you start thinking about working together? Rivers: We stayed in touch after that meeting and then we went on tour together in … Continue reading A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness