Five art shows to see this week: Pump House Gallery, The Fine Art Society and more

6 – 12 January

Published 6 January 2017

From a custom-made bouncy castle, to a series of artworks submitted via email, this week’s art shows are the best start for the New Year.

  • John Baldessari, Mirò and Life in General

    Marian Goodman Gallery London, London, until 25 February

    A master of mixing painting, photography and language within a single work, the conceptual artist John Baldessari’s new exhibition is like an artistic rebus whose meaning has to be guessed. Each work in the show features a close-up from a Miró painting, juxtaposed with what the American artist describes as an image of “Life in General”: namely a black and white Hollywood film still. Each multimedia collage is then captioned with a word: “Reliable”, “Right”, “True”, “Necessary”. The significance of these hybrid compositions remains mysterious, prompting the viewer to find their own narratives within them.

  • John Baldessari, Miró and Life in General: Necessary

    John Baldessari, Miró and Life in General: Necessary, 2016.

    Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint. 95 5/8 x 50 5/8 x 1 1/2 in. (242.9 x 128.6 x 3.8 cm)242.9 x 128.6 x 3.8 cm. Copyright John Baldessari Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris & London Picture Credit: Joshua White.

  • Beyond Boundaries: Art By Email

    Yorkshire Sculpture Gallery, West Bretton, until 5 March

    The 16 artists exhibiting in this YSP show did not visit the UK to install it – they emailed their artworks over from Egypt, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Iraqi Kurdistan. With the aim of building cultural bridges between the West and the Middle East, ArtRole partnered with the YSP to produce an exhibition that could overcome the geopolitical boundaries that impede many Middle Eastern artists from exhibiting internationally. Charged with political messages, the artworks submitted reflect the artists’ surroundings: from a photograph of an overcrowded Kurdish refugee’s camp to a video of a woman training with a punch bag, these works speak of both struggle and resistance.

  • Mai Al Shazly, Undercurrents (still)

    Mai Al Shazly, Undercurrents (still).

    Audio video installation. Courtesy the artist, ArtRole and YSP.

  • Pilvi Takala: The Commitee

    Pump House Gallery, London, until 27 March

    Video and performance artist Pilvi Takala builds her practice around the reactions of people who encounter her work. The Committee (2013) was the result of giving free reign to a committee of children. Takala gave the attendees of a youth centre in Bow her £7,000 Emdash award money, instructing them to use it how they wished. After several group meetings, the young participants decided to design and produce a custom-made bouncy castle, the “Five Star Bouncy House”. In this solo show at Pump House Gallery, visitors are able to play on the castle, and a video showing the creative process behind the work is also shown.

  • Pilvi Takala, The Committee, 2014.

    Pilvi Takala, The Committee, 2014.

    Courtesy: © the artist, Courtesy of Carlos/Ishikawa, London

  • Sandra Blow: Eleven Works

    The Fine Art Society, London, until 30 January

    The vivid talent of the late abstract artist Sandra Blow RA are encapsulated in 11 large-scale canvases, some of which have never been exhibited before. Her use of colour and discarded and unusual materials made Blow one of the most experimental painters of her time. Never repetitive, her works explore shapes, patterns, materials, and shades. Sometimes geometry prevails, while other times movement and dynamism take the lead.

  • Sandra Blow, Clodgy

    Sandra Blow, Clodgy, 1996.

    courtesy of The Fine Art Society.

  • Project Space: Soheila Sokhanvari, Paradise Lost

    Jerwood Space, London, until 13 May

    In this new series of works by the Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari, the personal and the political are merged together to tell a story of displacement, childhood memories, and historical events. Family portraits have been drawn using crude oil and gold. These materials (currently two of the most valuable commodities) draw attention to the economics underlying the turbulent relationship between the West and the Middle East. The drawings portray intimate scenes from the artists’ early years in Iran. Sometimes blurred, they remind the viewer of the fragile nature of memories.

  • Soheila Sokhanvari, Ain't that Love

    Soheila Sokhanvari, Ain't that Love, 2016.

    Crude oil on paper. Image courtesy the artist.