Our pick of this week’s art events: 16 – 22 September

Published 16 September 2016

From films about trainspotters, darts players and fetishists, to capturing the simple joy of watching clouds go by, we guide you through the best of this week’s art events and exhibitions.

  • Tacita Dean: LA Exuberance

    Frith Street, Golden Square, London, until 4 November
    Tacita Dean’s works often obfuscate the labour involved in their making. On closer inspection of recent works in this show – which depict cloud formations in Los Angeles by grappling with colour lithography and Victorian school slates – the mind can’t help but wonder (or rather hum): how do you catch a cloud and pin it down? In her 16mm film work, Portraits, Dean captures another cloud: the smoke that lingers around the artist David Hockney RA, at work in his studio with a cigarette in hand. Dean’s experimentation and precision as filmmaker and editor are both showcased and pushed in Event for a Stage, in which she worked with actor Stephen Dillane to film four consecutive nights of his performance, producing a surprisingly intense 50-minute interrogation of creative processes.

  • 'Portraits', location photograph

    'Portraits', location photograph

    Photo: Mathew Hale

  • John Samson: 1975 – 1983

    Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, 18 September – 17 April
    Samson’s engagement in radical politics and challenging thinking reverberates throughout this exhibition of his five films. Having left school at 16, he helped organise the first apprentice strike while working on the docks at Clyde shipyard, and later joined the anti-war Committee of 100 and was arrested for protests at Holy Loch’s submarine base. His poetic films become swept up in the lives of tattooists, steam-train enthusiasts, competitive darts players, clothing fetishists, and members of a disabled dating agency, yet the filmmaker and his camera do not peer or stare, but rather embrace and celebrate. As his son Robin (who has recovered and digitised these films) says of his late father’s work, “he thought that to look at something was to change it; why bother disguising that fact?”

  • John Samson

    John Samson

    © Samson Estate, 2016

  • Anthea Hamilton Reimagines Kettle's Yard

    Hepworth Wakefield, until March 2017
    Ahead of the Turner Prize shortlist exhibition at the end of the month, nominee Anthea Hamilton has delved into the store cupboards of the Kettle’s Yard Collection and fashioned her findings into a show very much her own. She describes Jim Ede’s original collection as “a comprehensive history of British modernism, an education at every turn”, and has created a series of new works in response, as well as incorporating other artists into the arrangement, including Robert Mapplethorpe and Nicholas Byrne. The resulting installation is an inviting stage set, complete with Hamilton’s newly built furniture, a grand piano, and curious whispers of narratives that traverse across people, time and places.

  • Anthea Hamilton, Vulcano Table

    Anthea Hamilton, Vulcano Table, 2014.

    Behind Vulcano Table are Nicholas Byrne, Love Pillow, 2016, Wood carving; Anthea Hamilton, Handwoven grass mats, 2016 and Christopher Wood, Boy with Cat (Jean Bourgoint), 1926 from the Kettle’s Yard Collection.

    Photo © Darren O’Brien/Guzelian. Courtesy The Hepworth Wakefield.

  • Wifredo Lam

    Tate Modern, London, until 8 January 2017
    Curator Matthew Gale suggests that the threshold is a crucial and persistent theme in Wifredo Lam’s practice: a place from which one can journey to, and connect to, something else. It recurs in Lam’s imagery as an alluring sacred site, and his works are full of liminal figures caught between the human, animal, vegetal and mythical. The threshold is also emblematic of Lam’s position in the world: he was the son of a Chinese emigrant and a Spanish-Congolese African in Cuba, his influences glancing between Cuban Occultism and European modernism, his career traversing both sides of the Atlantic, his imagery teetering between social reality and surrealism’s subconscious. And yet, in this exhibition, Lam occupies not the threshold, but the whole room – indeed many rooms – in which he is finally repositioned as a central and expansive figure in art history.

  • Wifredo Lam, Umbral (Seuil)

    Wifredo Lam, Umbral (Seuil), 1950.

    Photo: Georges Meguerditchian/Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Dist. RMN-GP. ©Adagp, Paris.

  • Es Devlin: Mirror Maze

    Copeland Park, London, 21 – 25 September
    In this unexpected September heatwave, it is perhaps difficult to remember that there is sometimes an entrancing pleasure in catching the scent of a stranger as they brush past. Award-winning stage designer Es Devlin’s brief installation at Peckham’s Copeland Park explores this sensation: the unsolicited and uncontrollable recollection of long-buried memories caused by perfume. Mirror Maze uses a labyrinth of mirrored walls and immersive graphics to give that very potent perception of falling through time and place, accompanied by a scent devised specifically for the work by CHANEL. It is a giddy, sensuous beginning to i-D’s new project, ‘The Fifth Sense’, celebrating women across the creative industries.

  • Mirror Maze, 2016 (digital rendering)

    Mirror Maze, 2016 (digital rendering)

    Mirror Maze by Es Devlin is commissioned by The Fifth Sense, a partnership between CHANEL and i-D, thefifthsense.i-d.co

    All images are courtesy of Es Devlin. All images © Es Devlin

  • Alice Primrose is an editorial intern at RA Magazine.

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