Our pick of this week’s art events: 29 January – 4 February

RA Recommends

Published 29 January 2016

From intimate insight into lives and deaths of everyday Ancient Egyptians to a poignant display of war zone documentary, we bring you the must-see shows this week.

  • Betty Woodman

    ICA, London, 3 February – 10 April
    Betty Woodman is one of the most important artists working in ceramics today; she rids earthenware of any domestic connotations and, through research and design, asserts her clay objects as wholly artistic and utterly complex. Lacquer on stone or slip glaze on paper, Woodman is known for unlikely material combinations: through them she complicates the distinction between sculpture and painting. Her innovative approach to ceramics is perhaps best illustrated through her reinterpretations of the vase form. Woodman understands the vase to be a swollen body, an animal, a voluptuous metaphor or an art historical reference. Whichever way, she fills her vessels with the residue of creative moments from the past; antiquarian art, Italian Baroque architecture, the paintings of Picasso and Matisse are all gestured at. The ICA’s solo presentation of Woodman’s work – the first of it’s kind in the UK – will show her vases alongside a number of new mixed media pieces. Her rainbow palette and progressive approach to a traditional art form makes this exhibition visually and conceptually exciting.

  • Betty Woodman, Posing with Vases at the Beach

    Betty Woodman, Posing with Vases at the Beach, 2008.

    Glazed earthenware, epoxy resin, lacquer, acrylic paint. 84 x 206 x 17 cm. Photograph: Bruno Bruchi.

  • Beyond Beauty: Transforming the Body in Ancient Egypt

    Two Temple Place, London, 30 January – 24 April
    On the 30 January, Two Temple Place will reopen with Beyond Beauty: Transforming the Body in Ancient Egypt. This exhibition is built around objects from the past; the tale they seek to tell, however, resonates with the present. Painted coffins, funerary masks, fragile figurines and intricately carved reliefs speak of the importance of body image in Egypt 3,500 BC to 400 AD. Accessories, mirrors and cosmetics are relics of the personal rituals and changing styles of the time. Contemporary media portrays a preoccupation with image as a peculiarity of modernity, a symptom of a society saturated in selfies and social media. This exhibition reveals something universal and human about our fascination with appearance and identity.

  • Cartonnage mummy case for the chantress, Shebmut.

    Cartonnage mummy case for the chantress, Shebmut.

    Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22 (945-715 BC). Find spot unknown; Macclesfield Museum

  • Electronic Superhighway

    Whitechapel Gallery, London, 29 January – 15 May
    South Korean video artist Nam June Paik saw technology as a means of collapsing physical distance, of connecting the world. In 1974 he spoke prophetically and coined the term “Electronic Superhighway”. The Whitechapel Gallery’s new exhibition of the same name is a reverse chronology of key moments in the history of art and the internet. The show begins in 2016 with, amongst other things, Amalia Ulman’s four-month Instagram project Excellences & Perfections. It ends in 1966 with the now iconic Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T). The Whitechapel takes us back to the origins of the future through over 100 works of film, painting, sculpture, photography and drawing. Together they provide a comprehensive history of the proliferation of digital media and it’s global impact over the past 50 years.

  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Surface Tension

    Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Surface Tension, 1992.

    Plasma or rear-projection screen, computerised surveillance system, custom?made software. Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Carroll/Fletcher, London. Installation photograph by Maxime Dufour © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

  • Michael Sandle: Time, Transition, and Dissent

    Flowers Gallery, London, 22 January – 20 February
    Flowers Gallery presents a survey of work by Michael Sandle RA. The British sculptor chooses to explore themes with as much weight as his preferred materials of bronze, limestone and wood. Sandle mediates upon mortality, memorialisation and remembrance through his construction of hypothetical public monuments. He has been making these large-scale sculptures since the 1970s and they are a direct response to the traumas of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through his practice, Sandle forms a critique of what he calls, “the heroic decadence” of capitalism and the problematic of global power relations, particularly in reference to conflict.

  • Michael Sandle, Maquette for Animals in War Memorial

    Michael Sandle, Maquette for Animals in War Memorial, 1999.

    Wood and epoxy. © Michael Sandle, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York.

  • Nick Danziger: Eleven Women Facing War

    Imperial War Museum, London, 4 February – 24 April
    In 2001 Award-winning British photographer and filmmaker Nick Danziger was commissioned by an International Committee of the Red Cross to document the needs of women in 11 major conflict zones. He used photograph and film to record the experiences of women in Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, Gaza, Hebron (West Bank), Sierra Leone, Columbia and Afghanistan. Exactly a decade later he revisited the subjects of his study, interested to know what had become of their lives. The stories he collected – the heartbreaking and the hopeful – are shown for the first time in the UK as part of the Imperial War Museum’s Contemporary program. This is a poignant exhibition that highlights the indirect and underrepresented victims of conflict.

  • Nick Danziger, Zakiya, Gaza Strip

    Nick Danziger, Zakiya, Gaza Strip, 2001.

    ©Nick Danziger/nbpictures.com.