Despite spending his whole professional life in the Belgian seaside town of Ostend, James Ensor was very successful in his lifetime and exerted considerable influence on the development of Expressionism. An innovator and an outsider, he rebelled against the conservative art teachings of the late 19th century academy in Brussels, drawn instead to the avant-garde salons where his radical creative vision could thrive.
Ensor’s childhood spent among the fantastical treasures of his family’s curiosity shop offers a clue as to how the seeds of this wild imagination were sown. The imagery of masks and carnivals runs through much of his work, from vibrant colours and flamboyant costumes to an ever-present sense of drama and satire.
We invited the artist Luc Tuymans, a fellow Belgian and admirer of Ensor, to curate this unique exhibition. Taking a personal view, Tuymans looks back at Ensor’s singular career through a selection of his most bizarrely brilliant and gloriously surreal creations.
Red Bull Studio Collectives series launches with a focus on bringing artists together in a cross-disciplinary project. Collectives sees artists select a young collaborator to work with and, combining creative minds both emerging and established, together they are challenged to create unique and exciting pieces of art that push limitations and provoke viewers. Based across three east London locations with one-of-a-kind collaborative installations for you to experience.
Leif Podhajsky and Eva Papamargariti @ Hoxton Gallery
(28th January – 8th February)
Combining their common interests, Leif and Eva are using their partnership to explore the individualism of interpretation in relation to visual language. Pursuing a symbiosis between Eva’s digital techniques and Podhaisky’s trademark patterns; “The Language of dreams” explores the meaning of a visual language, bringing to life thoughts, ideas and dreams through visual manifestations.
Alice Dunseath and Matteo Mastrandrea @ DreamBagsJaguarShoes (28th January – 13th March) Expanding on their own individual projects, Matteo and Alice have drawn influence from Object Oriented Ontology, a philosophy based on the idea that everything is connected, contrary to the egocentrism of humanity. In a room filled with the central colours of the spectrum, one can ponder one’s place within the web of existence, while experiencing some of Dunseath’s crystal formations taking on a life of their own.
Netta Peltola and Hortense Duthilleux @ No. 90
(29th January – 9th February)
“Latitude’ utilises No. 90 as a public space, remaining open to all for the exhibition’s duration. With this organic flow, the installation will respond to the relative amount of energy and collective movement within the space at any one time, revealing and concealing fragments of choreographed light. Using the passage of the sun as a means to express energy throughout the course of the day, ’Latitude’ creates an immersive, interactive space.
Exploring themes of male identity and uncertainty. Through the symbolic use of bodies, objects and gestures he navigates the idiosyncrasies that permeate the ‘lifestyles’ of today. Employing images of the absurd Richardson’s approach disarms through dark humour and the staging of infantile wonder.
The exhibition HEADBONE features a new single-channel video has as its central component, extending both the technical ambition and emotional complexity of his practice. Using digital photography Richardson creates 3D models of his own body, and the bodies of others, which are then animated with movement and sound. Bound in everyday detritus the figures appear frozen and mute, yet full of psychological resonance. The video is presented alongside sculptural objects linked to its production, and displayed in an installation constructed from foil-covered board that requires viewers to weave a route through to a final ‘chamber’.
Ryan Gander returns for a third time to Lisson Gallery with Fieldwork, an exhibition of interlinking new works by the artist, each offering a glimpse of the inspirations that feed his practice.
Encompassing everything including a kitchen sink, the exhibition presents an individuated encyclopaedia that includes a year’s worth of skies, the clothes of absentee statues, a tent, a helium balloon, the artist’s phone number and a pebble beach. As ever with Gander’s art, the forms convened in Fieldwork are elliptic and opaque, starting stories for the viewer to invent or complete.
Occupying the entire back gallery, the titular work Fieldwork 2015 opens a window onto the revolving touchstones of Gander’s art. Objects from the artist’s collection – each seemingly found but on closer inspection uniquely crafted (for instance, a National Trust sign protecting ‘Culturefield’, Gander’s imaginary artistic utopia) – rotate round the room on a vast, walled-off conveyer belt. Views of these items gliding past momentarily (a baseball bat covered in nails, a pair of dead pigeons, a chocolate bar swoosh…) are granted via an aperture in the gallery’s wall, creating a memory game of strange associations and a prism of connections (a chess set, a tortured teddy bear, a dead chick served on a plate with a napkin signed by Picasso…) through which to consider the rest of the exhibition.
William Morris and Russian artist El Lissitzky both wanted to change people lives through their art. Whilst Morris saw beauty in the past, Lissitzky sought a new visual language for the future.
In his latest work, British artist David Mabb celebrates the utopian ideas of these two men through their seminal book designs: Morris’s Kelmscott Chaucer and Lissitzky’s For the Voice, a revolutionary book of poems by Vladimir Mayakovsky considered one of the finest achievements in Russian avant-garde bookmaking.
Comprising 30 canvasses, Announcer takes over the gallery space, interweaving and contrasting the two designs so that Morris and Lissitzky’s graphics are never able to fully merge or separate.
Major new film installation by Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Mangan that continues his recent investigations into the relationship between energy and social transformation.
Ancient Lights is the first solo exhibition of Mangan’s work in the UK and comprises two new films, presented within a specially conceived installation powered entirely by an on-site solar PV system. This new work is the culmination of Mangan’s extended research into the physical and conceptual power of the sun, and the role that it has played in human economy, culture and technology throughout history.
Throughout his forty-year career, Duane Hanson (1925–1996) has made lifelike sculptures portraying working-class Americans.
Throughout his forty-year career, Hanson created lifelike sculptures portraying working-class Americans and overlooked members of society. Reminiscent of the Pop Art movement of the time, his sculptures transform the banalities and trivialities of everyday life into iconographic material. The exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery presents key works from the artist’s oeuvre.
Innovative love it or hate it exhibition showcasing plagiarised works designed to make you think about all the taboo subjects including sexuality, feminism, stereotypes and people’s roles in society.
‘In 1984 I took some portraits. The way I did it was different. The way had nothing to do with the tradition of portraiture. If you wanted me to do your portrait, you would give me at least five photographs that had already been taken of yourself, that were in your possession (you owned them, they were yours), and more importantly . . . you were already happy with. You give me the five you liked and I would pick the one I liked. I would rephotograph the one I liked and that would be your portrait. Simple. Direct. To the point . . .’
Featuring over 70 original works by McCauley ‘Mac’ Conner, one of the defining illustrators of America’s golden age of advertising.
This is the first time the work of one of New York’s original ‘Mad Men’ has been the subject of a major exhibition in the UK.
In the 1940s – 1960s, Conner’s captivating advertising and editorial illustrations graced the pages of major magazines and helped shape the image of postwar America. One of the influential group of commercial artists at the heart of Manhattan’s thriving advertising and publishing scene, Conner’s hand-painted illustrations capture the style and spirit of a pivotal era in American history.
Mac Conner: A New York Life will present Conner’s published work alongside reference photos and preliminary designs, a selection of fiction stories accompanied by illustrations from Conner and his contemporaries, advertising tearsheets for major clients such as Ford, United Airlines and AT&T, correspondence letters with editors and art directors and more – presenting a window on the dynamic world of the illustrators who created the look of a generation.
Shot in London during different seasons over the past year, Slinkachu’s new body of work draws upon our desire to seek out and recreate the natural world amongst the urban metropolis.
His miniature people, photographed on the streets of London and then left in situ – or “abandoned” – by the artist, explore the hidden enclaves of the wild within our city. Slinkachu captures idyllic glades and green pastures, in reality weeds and moss that appear through cracks in the concrete, and comment on our modern society’s detachment from nature.
The new works employ irony, humour and a healthy dose of reality; despite their fantastical situations, the miniature figures we observe are not so dissimilar to ourselves, living in the shadows between the real and artificial.