‘It’s how well you bounce’ at Bethlem Gallery

Bethlem Gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new group exhibition entitled It’s how well you bounce, which explores resilience and its relationship to the imagination and artistic practice. The gallery is an art focused platform for former and current patients of the historic Royal Bethlem Hospital in Bromley, supporting artists with lived experience of mental illness to involve themselves in the positive direction of art making. ArtAttack chats with Bethlem Gallery’s curator Sam Curtis about the show’s themes, the gallery’s milestone anniversary and what the future holds.

Bethlem Gallery, Mr X, 1 September 2017, Photo Ed Watts, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery[1].jpg
Mr X outside Bethlem Gallery. Photo Ed Watts, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery
 How does the theme of resilience manifest itself in the works in the exhibition?

The theme of resilience manifests itself in the works in the exhibition in diverse ways, we see the works of artists who draw on the imagination as a positive and strategic response to life pressures, works that are born out of the artist’s ability to adapt and survive to new and often challenging circumstances, artists that resist or document resistance to social and political pressures, artists that reroute negative thoughts into something more positive through their art making, artists that map, shape and transform their identity through art making and therapy and importantly we can encounter artworks and projects that critique the notion of resilience that says we need to ‘man or woman-up’ and bounce back from adversity . It’s how well you bounce includes artworks that explore a specific aspect of resilience as well as artworks that come from artistic practice that is itself a form of resilience.

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Installation view of Grayson Perry, Map of an Englishman, 2004. Photo: Ed Watts. Courtesy: Bethlem Gallery

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Disco Ball Soul: ArtAttack Interviews Emma Elizabeth Tillman

Opening on 11 August 2017 is photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman’s debut solo show entitled Disco Ball Soul. The exhibition, consisting of more than 90 collages created over a ten-year period, is an accumulation of photographs and texts taken from her new book of the same title. Tillman began this body of work in 2007, recording precious moments, including her meeting of her now husband Josh.

1. Louisville, Kentucky, 2012 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, by courtesy of the artist.jpg
Louisville, Kentucky, 2012 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, by courtesy of the artist

ArtAttack caught up with Emma to find out more about her thoughts on film, travel and making the private public.

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A Turner Prize Nominee comes to Firstsite: Lubaina Himid’s ‘Warp and Weft’

This Saturday 1st July sees the opening of Lubaina Himid: Warp and Weft, a survey of works by the 2017 Turner Prize nominee at Firstsite gallery in Colchester.

1. Naming the Money, 2004. Collection of National Museum Liverpool International Slavery Museum, and the artist. Photo Spike Island © the artist copy.png
Naming the Money, 2004. Courtesy the artist, Hollybush Gardens and National Museums Liverpool: International Slavery Museum. Photo Spike Island © the artist

A key figure in the Black Arts Movement, Himid first came to prominence in the 1980s when she began organising exhibitions of work by her peers, who were underrepresented in the contemporary art scene. Her diverse approach disrupts preconceptions of the world by introducing historical and contemporary stories of racial bias and acts of violence inflicted upon oppressed communities.

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Explore the Unexplored with ‘Ed Gold: Other Worlds’ at Firstsite

Opening this weekend on Saturday 17th June at Firstsite, Colchester (private view tonight from 6-9pm!) is Ed Gold: Other Worlds, a compelling presentation of 100 photographs by the  social documentary photographer taken over the past 30 years during his time spent living in various isolated communities across the globe. There are five bodies of work by Ed being shown in the retrospective: Patagonia, Country Folk (Essex, Wales & Scotland), Afghanistan Bed Spaces, Positive Futures and Nowitna and each series is an in-depth look at what it really is like to be a part of those communities.

M’Hula Crew, Country Folk, 1999, Digital print, Dimensions variable.jpg

M’Hula Crew, Country Folk, 1999, Digital print, Dimensions variable


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Simon Patterson Presents a Safari at the De La Warr Pavilion

From 20th May, the De La Warr Pavilion will present Safari: An exhibition as expedition, an anthology of works by the British artist, Simon Patterson.

8. ...words fly up...,, 1996 (detail) © Simon Patterson, by courtesy of the artist .jpg
…words fly up…,, 1996 (detail) © Simon Patterson, by courtesy of the artist 

Interspersed throughout the gallery space and hence taking the viewers on their own mini safari, the works on view will span a quarter century of Patterson’s career and feature wall drawings, sculpture, prints, photographs video and installation, as well as a public intervention, a site-specific commission and on opening day, a staged sea battle in collaboration with Bexhill Sailing Club!

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Simon Patterson, rehearsal of Seascape, 2017, with Bexhill Sailing Club. Photo: Sin Bozkurt

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Brexit themed art show opening in Fitzrovia this Friday – We interview the artist, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa

On Friday 19th May Gallery DIFFERENT will present 35-year-old contemporary painter, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa’s debut solo show Fall of Europe II (until 22nd May).

We at ArtAttack stumbled upon Tarek’s artwork last year and have been great admirers of his painting practice ever since. His painterly use of space is quite extraordinary, filling the canvas with symbols and figures that tell stories of our world within the greater context of mythology. Each tiny element he chooses to include says something powerful. No iconography is wasted.

Thanksgiving, 2017, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm.png
Thanksgiving, 2017, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm

The artist’s main practice is history painting as he explores historical and mythological subject matter juxtaposing it with the harsh realities contemporary Western society. Within each of the epic paintings he presents the viewer with poignant psychological insight into his  own  life  and  heritage;  Al-­shammaa  is  half  French  and  half  Iraqi, and  so  has  found  himself  straddling two oft-­opposing cultures throughout his life.

Recurring  themes  across  the  young  artist’s  paintings  include  consumerism,  war, love,  lust  and  political  oppression,  as  well  as  the  opposition  and  even  conflict  of Western  and  non-­Western  culture  and  ideals.  In  the  body  of  work on view,  Al­shammaa  depicts  everything  from  iconic  myths like that of the Tower of Babel to mythical iconography such as Mother Earth, all within a present-day context.

ArtAttack contributor, Franzi Gabbert, had the chance to interview Al-shammaa in regards to his upcoming exhibition as well as his general practice.

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ArtCircle presents a pop-up with substance and we interview curator, Bettina Ruhrberg

May 19th sees the private view of the first show from the revolutionary new arts platform, ArtCircle. Taking the pop-up exhibition format but injecting it with a real dose of the high brow — think museum quality work, top notch curators and posh postcodes only — ArtCircle will no doubt finally solve the conundrum of fitting a brand new business concept seamlessly into the restrictive and not always welcoming art world.

The launch exhibition, which will take place at 48 Albemarle Street in London’s Mayfair, is entitled Focusing Room and will feature work straight from the Museum of Modern Art in Goslar Germany, mainly from the Zero, Kinetic Art and Op Art schools. Much of the art has never before been seen in the UK, so ArtCircle, with the help of curator, Bettina Ruhrberg, is bringing us something truly special.

Adolf Luther, Der Fokussierender Raum (Focusing Room), 1968

We had the chance to speak with Bettina, who is the director of the MoMA in Goslar about her experiences as a curator, her goals for this exhibition and her thoughts on the ArtCircle concept.

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Sisters Doing It For Themselves: Brains & Lip Takeover at CNB Gallery

Monday 24th April sees the private view of Brains & Lip Takeover at East London’s emerging art hotspot, CNB Gallery. The all-woman exhibition, which showcases the work of nine fantastic artists, is curated by Claire Orme and Alice Steffen, the creative duo behind Brains & Lip.


Controversial, brash and witty, the artworks on view challenge and reclaim what it means to be a woman in contemporary society. The subversive painting, illustration and sculpture that feature in the exhibition explore discourses of identity, sexuality and female empowerment, resisting the restrictive expectations of the elitist, patriarchal art world.

Jess De Wahls, Consent, 2016, Fabric, 52 x 58 x 5cm.jpg
Jess de Wahls, Consent, 2016

We were thrilled to be able to speak with the two visionaries behind the ‘takeover’ in advance of next week’s exhibition.

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‘Degas: Little Dancer Rediscovered’ at Stair Sainty Gallery

In 1881, a fourteen-year-old girl divided the Parisian art world. She was a lowly dancer, only a small thing, but the subject of a now instantly recognisable icon of modern art, Edgar Degas’ sculpture Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Degas debuted her at the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition, where he was met with both ridicule and respect for his depiction of the seemingly unassuming moment a young student of the Paris Opera Ballet dance school stretched herself into a relaxed version of fourth position (although apparently not without some pain, as her strain is palpable). For an art world accustomed to idealised marble sculptures in imitation of classical antiquity, this was shocking – he had sculpted her from beeswax, and adorned her with a tutu and ribbons. Was this Degas’ frivolous joke, just a mocking wink at a straight-laced bourgeois society, or a more vicious indictment? Or was he simply trying to experiment, push the boundaries of what art could be?    

degas little dancer
Edgar Degas, ‘Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen’, 1880-1, cast c.1990s

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