Our pick of this week’s art events: 5 – 11 August

Published 5 August 2016

From thrones modelled out of guns to charting the changing face of artist self-portraits, we guide you through the best of this week’s art events and exhibitions.

  • Le Penseur

    Jack Bell Gallery, London, 5–13 August
    Rodin’s Le Penseur (1902) was originally conceived as a figure sitting at the gates of hell, hunched over contemplating his own existence as tortured sinners writhe behind him. The famous figure is reincarnated in Cameroonian Pop artist Boris Nzebo’s La Penseuse (2016), a mustard yellow stylized silhouette of a sitting woman, her head resting on her hand. The work, which recalls the murals and street-art prevalent in Nzebo’s hometown of Douala, was the inspiration for a new exhibition at Jack Bell Gallery. Mixed media works by ten contemporary artists explore the fabric of Africa’s cultural heritage, which has often been threaded with violence. Mozambican artist, Gonçalo Mabunda’s, ‘gun’ thrones – fashioned from objects of war – recall the catastrophic impact that 15 years of civil war had on his homeland, while challenging traditional symbols of power.

  • , Le Penseur

    Le Penseur

    Image courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery.

  • Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden

    The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, 5 August–19 February 2017
    A space that provides respite from the turmoil of daily life and allows for a closer connection to nature, the garden has long been a favoured subject for artists. “Perhaps I owe it to flowers that I became a painter,” stated Monet, whose celebrated ‘Water Lilies’ series was painted in his flower garden in Giverny, northern France. This exhibition brings together works from as far back as the 16th century when gardens were magnificent idealised spaces, up until the early 20th century when the Impressionists used rapid brushstrokes to capture the sensation of being outside in a sun-dappled garden. The works, which range from paintings to scientific drawings and written manuscripts, include some of the earliest depictions of both gardens and plants.

  • Mir Ali Shir Nava i, Seven Couples in a Garden

    Mir Ali Shir Nava i, Seven Couples in a Garden, c.1510.

    Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

  • Performer / Audience / Mirror

    Lisson Gallery, London, until 25 August
    The late 1960’s and early 1970’s saw a new medium explode onto the art scene: video art. Cheap and easy to make, video allowed artists to move outside of the conventional gallery space and into everyday life, recording themselves and those around them. This exhibition draws its name from a work by video artist Daniel Graham, in which he records an unrehearsed monologue of observations about his audience while standing in front of a mirrored wall. The space is divided into three sections with films by artists such as conceptual artist Ryan Gander and interdisciplinary artist Francis Älys. ‘Performer’ – which includes work by the performance artist Marina Abramovic – looks at the relationship between performer and film. ‘Audience’ – situated within Daniel Graham’s two-way mirror glass pavilion, Greek Meander Pavilion, Open Shoji Screen Version (2001) – explores architectural space in film. ‘Mirror’ looks at film’s ability to reflect society.

  • Dan Graham , Performer/Audience/Mirror

    Dan Graham, Performer/Audience/Mirror, 1975.

    © Dan Graham. Courtesy: The artist.

  • Linda Brothwell: The Missing

    Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, 6 August–2 January 2017
    This site-specific commission offers a playful look at the history of the Holburne Museum and its founder, the keen traveller and great collector Sir William Holburne. Artist Linda Brothwell has used Holburne’s ornate plinths, which originally displayed his extensive and eclectic collection of objects, including Chelsea porcelain and bronze statuettes – as inspiration for her contemporary collection. Many of Holburne’s objects were separated from their plinths in the 20th century and Brothwell reinterprets these display stands by inserting her own works, everyday objects such as bowls and necklaces, crafted from a range of luxury materials such as silver, quartz, marble, ebony and gold.

  • Linda Brothwell,  Presence: Sphere Necklace

    Linda Brothwell, Presence: Sphere Necklace, 2016.

    Image © India Hobson.

  • Facing the World

    Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until 16 October
    As Oscar Wilde once said, “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter”. This collaboration between the National Galleries of Scotland, Germany’s Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and the Musée des Beaux-Arts brings together self-portraits by some of the most renowned artists throughout the ages, from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei. The exhibition guides the visitor through the various guises of the artist portraitist, from the hidden artist – who appears without any of the signifying objects of their trade, such as paintbrush or palette – to the artist who brazenly flouts it, like French painter Joseph Vivien in Self Portrait with Palette (1715).

  • Ai Weiwei, Illumination

    Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2009.

    Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei.