Bloomberg Space, 27 July - 14 September 2013
Exhibitions by the British artist Anthea Hamilton tend to be highly theatrical: found objects, assemblages and architectural elements intermingle as if actors or dancers on a stage.
Image Courtesy of Anthea Hamilton.
Kabuki, the classical form of Japanese dance-drama, is thus a suitable central subject of her solo presentation at the City of London’s Bloomberg Space, which opens this weekend. She promises to build up a narrative with diverse materials ranging from a leather kimono to wallpaper that represents a rural idyll, as well as – when the moon is at certain stages in the sky – human performers.
Shimabuku, 'Flying Me', 2006. Performance / video. 3 minutes, 5 seconds. Collaboration with Nogueras Blanchard. Courtesy the artist. Shimabuku
Ikon Gallery, until 15 September 2013
Staying on the theme of Japan, we can turn our attention to Ikon in Birmingham, which presents the first major UK exhibition of one of the country’s most irreverent contemporary artists, Shimabuku.
By turns whimsical and contemplative, the Kobe-born conceptualist focuses on our everyday interaction with the natural world. One highlight is Cucumber Journey (2000), an installation that includes a video, photographs, drawings, paintings and pickled cucumbers.
The work records how he pickled vegetables during a long boat journey from London to Birmingham, as a paen to the possibilities of ‘slow food’.
Chisenhale Gallery, until 1 September 2013
Another important Asian conceptual artist whose work is newly on view in the UK is Bangkok-based Pratchaya Phinthong, the subject of a show at London’s Chisenhale Gallery until September. The Thai artist is interested in how objects acquire their associations, whether they be of luxury or labour.
Pratchaya Phinthong, Broken Hill, Chisenhale Gallery, 2013. Photo: Mark Blower
For the Chisenhale, Phinthong picks the subject of the ‘Broken Hill’ skull, a highly important early human fossil found in Zambia but now in the collection of the Natural History Museum. But instead of concentrating on the original, he focuses on a replica – and what our perspective on its provenance reveals about us.
The Future Is Here
Design Museum, until 29 October 2013
‘A New Industrial Revolution’ heralds the subtitle of this new presentation at London’s Design Museum, but if that fills your mind with images of ‘dark Satanic mills’, think instead top-of-the-range robotics, open-source software and new-school processes such as the carbon weaving of car parts and the 3-D printing of jewellery.
The exhibition is in collaboration with a UK innovation quango, the Technology Strategy Board, so it is something of a showcase for British research and development.
Anthony Faroux, 'Short Life in Details', 2013. © Courtesy Jerwood Visual Arts. Photography: thisistomorrow.info Anthony Faroux, Jerwood Painting Fellow
BayArt, Cardiff, until 24 August 2013
Ben Luke recently interviewed a selection of RA Schools graduates for RA Magazine to see how their work had developed since leaving the Academy. One was Anthony Faroux, who in Luke’s words, produces “enigmatic paintings, evoking desolate cityscapes and still lifes”.
At the time of the interview, five years out of the RA, Faroux had been awarded a Jerwood Painting Fellowship – this comprises an offer of £10,000 and, perhaps more importantly, a year of mentoring by a more senior artist. The work that resulted for Faroux and the two other fellows – Susan Sluglett and Sophia Starling – has been on tour, previously at Jerwood Space, and now hits Cardiff’s Bay Art gallery until the end of August.
In a nice touch of symmetry, Royal Academician painter Mali Morris was involved in the programme, as the mentor of Starling.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine