Bethlem Gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new group exhibition entitled It’s how well you bounce, which exploresresilience 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.
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.
Opening on 11 August 2017 is photographer EmmaElizabethTillman’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.
ArtAttack caught up with Emma to find out more about her thoughts on film, travel and making the private public.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 FocusingRoom 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, BettinaRuhrberg, is bringing us something truly special.
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.
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.
We were thrilled to be able to speak with the two visionaries behind the ‘takeover’ in advance of next week’s exhibition.
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?