Charlie Billingham, Sarah Lucas and Ann Christopher RA
Our pick of this week's art events
By Eleanor Mills
Published 4 February 2014
From contemporary maritime art to disemboweled books: everything worth seeing this week.
Charlie Billingham: Tender
Ceri Hand Gallery, 7 December – 18 January 2014
Recently graduated from the RA Schools, with each of his two student shows entirely sold (one to Charles Saatchi), Charlie Billingham is definitely an artist to watch out for. The artist is known for intriguing installations that often involve historic motifs.
With his new multi-media installation at Ceri Hand Gallery he cleverly combines wooden structures, oil painting and traditional tapestry to tackle a maritime theme. Wooden boats that seem to be locked in a race form the centrepiece, in dialogue with paintings of ships that appear to observe them from the walls.
October Gallery, until 1 February 2014
Cascades of typewritten sentences, delicately cut into strips by Jukhee Kwon, topple from the ceiling in this thoughtful show.
But the sculptures the viewer sees are only part of each piece – Kwon regards the action of her cutting and slicing of pages very much part of the final work. She thoughtfully disembowels disused books into the long strands on show. With themes of destruction and re-creation at work, Kwon notes that for her ‘each book has an individual personality, narrative and history, like a human being.’
The Edge of Painting
Piper Gallery, until 30 December 2013
If you were a fan of Tess Jaray RA’s ambitious curatorial feat at the RA’s 2012 Summer Exhibition, where she created a wave of small works swooping across the Academy’s grandest gallery, then I recommend you pop down to ‘The Edge of Painting, the show she has curated for the Piper Gallery this December.
This exhibition explores, as Jaray puts it, ‘the parameters of what constitutes painting now’. She has aligned a small but star-studded cast to exemplify this, including the likes of Cathy de Monchaux, Martin Creed, John Stezaker and fellow RA, Cornelia Parker.
LAST CHANCE: Whitechapel Gallery, until 15 December 2013
Sarah Lucas is famous for her suggestive arrangements of various objects and foodstuffs, whether two fried eggs placed on her bosom in her famous Self Portrait with Fried Eggs (1996), or pairs of stuffed skin-colour tights flaccidly draped over wooden chairs to make her prolific Bunny series. The Whitechapel Gallery have mounted Lucas’s first retrospective, an impressive show covering 1989 to the present.
Throughout the exhibition, the viewer encounters many of Lucas’s headless Bunnys, moves through a garish crimson room with male torsos on a massive scale, and ends their journey with the artist’s most recent series ‘Penetralia’, which combines female and male forms in characteristically phallic sculptures.
Ann Christopher RA: To Know without Remembering
LAST CHANCE: Pangolin London, until 7 December 2013
Following a recent injury, Ann Christopher RA had to make the dramatic move of reducing the size of her sculptures from large to small. What you see at Pangolin is her first attempt at this scale, and one that is very successful. Christopher treats hard materials with delicacy, always attuned to subtle gradients of light and shadow.
The title of this show describes her working practice – the way an artist can know how to form their work, without it being informed by any particular memory. Watch an interview with the artist below.