Our pick of this week’s art events: 12 - 18 January

RA Recommends

Published 9 January 2015

From an abundance of abstraction across London to impressionistic cityscapes of New York.

  • Fig-2

    ICA, London, until 20 December 2015
    In 2000, curator Mark Francis invited 50 artists to present 50 separate successive solo exhibitions over 50 weeks of the year. Fig-1, the title of Francis’s project, saw contributions by artists including Richard Hamilton, Jeremy Deller, Runa Islam and Anish Kapoor RA, with each artist only invited to take part a few weeks in advance, in order to keep the project organic and informal.

    Curator Fatos Üstek launched Fig-2 last week, a sequel that updates the format for 2015. While Fig-1 commandeered a small room in a Soho club, Fig-2 takes over a small studio at the ICA. Each Monday a new show or project is presented. This week saw an installation by Laura Eldhert that hung tapestries from the ceiling; on Monday 12 January, Charles Avery – whose practice revolves around the continual visualisation of an imagined island society – takes over the space.

  • Laura Eldret, installation image of fig-2 exhibition

    Laura Eldret, installation image of fig-2 exhibition, 2015.

    various media . Courtesy of the artist Photography Sylvain Deleu.

  • Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society, 1915–2015

    Whitechapel Gallery, London, 15 January – 6 April 2015
    The RA’s show of South American abstract art, ‘Radical Geometry’, examined how geometric abstraction travelled diagonally across the Atlantic from Europe, taking compelling new forms inspired by local political and social circumstances.

    The Whitechapel expands this investigation across more countries and continents this week, with ‘Adventures of the Black Square’. The show starts at the beginning of geometric abstraction, in Russia with Malevich, before journeying, via the Dutchmen Mondrian and Van Doesburg, to the American minimalism of Dan Flavin and Carl Andre, to the work of today’s artists, including painter Sarah Morris and New York-based performance artist Andrea Fraser.

  • Gabriel Orozco, Light Signs #1 (Korea)

    Gabriel Orozco, Light Signs #1 (Korea), 1995.

    Synthetic polymer plastic sheet and light box 100 × 100 × 19.7 cm. Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York © the Artist.

  • Seven from the Seventies

    Flowers, London, 16 January – 21 February 2015
    In view of the Whitechapel show, it is timely that Flowers gallery focuses on British abstraction from the 1970s. Works by seven artists – Colin Cina, Bernard Cohen, Noel Forster, Derek Hirst, Michael Kidner RA, Jack Smith and Richard Smith – developed the form in divergent directions, from the hard-edged paintings of Hirst to Kidner’s optically expanding pattern pieces.

  • Michael Kidner, Column (no.2) in Front of its own Image

    Michael Kidner, Column (no.2) in Front of its own Image, 1970.

    (c) Michael Kidner, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery.

  • Serge Poliakoff: Silent Paintings

    Timothy Taylor Gallery, London,14 January–21 February 2015
    To continue any adventure into abstraction, art lovers can visit Timothy Taylor Gallery, in Mayfair, to see the first solo presentation of Serge Poliakoff’s work in London for over 50 years. The Russian-born painter fled the revolution to work in Paris, and became a significant figure in Taschism, a catch-all term for pre- and post-war French abstraction, which departed from Cubism and Constructivism for more rough-and-tumble, spontaneous, expressionistic styles (for this reason it is often seen as the European equivalent of the Abstract Expressionism of De Kooning and co in New York). The exhibition focuses on Poliakoff’s more restrained series of ‘Silent Paintings’ from the 1950s.

  • Serge Poliakoff, Composition abstraite

    Serge Poliakoff, Composition abstraite, 1968.

    162 x 130 cm. © the Poliakoff Estate. Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London..

  • Ken Howard: London Paris New York

    Richard Green, London, 14 – 31 January 2015
    And from the purely abstract to the sublimely figurative, in the form of paintings by Ken Howard RA, who presents his impressionistic cityscapes of London, Paris and New York at Richard Green gallery from Wednesday. For those who follow Howard’s work, the Academician’s paintings of the American city will be a particular highlight: they are his first of the Big Apple, and capture walkers in Central Park, Manhattan skyscrapers, the streets of Brooklyn and, most keenly of all, the changing conditions of light in the city that never sleeps.

  • Ken Howard, Square in Manhattan

    Ken Howard, Square in Manhattan.

    oil on canvas. 61 x 20.3 cm. Copyright, Richard Green Gallery, London.