Better Talanted Albanian Artist on Oxford Street than Misfit Iranian President on Blvd Imama Khomaini and other good art news
The title says nearly all but let's add some flesh and flavour:
Amidst crazy busy Oxford Street W1Curates has created a wonderful temple where Marinel Sheu is a solitary monch. At Flannels, the first luxury shop at Oxford Street, in the basement a sort of Aladdin Cave is now open and one doesn't even have to say افتح يا سمسم ابوابك to get in. The few animated paintings - or three sequels films - come with a tune - including one of my childhood favourites Omega's Gyöngyhajú lány; known only to Eastern Eruopeans of certain generation - and a more or less melancholic punchline. Mr Sheu's main target is the global corporate world, this one can tell from: the curator's presentation, the artist's half-haikus such as "Overworked Underf*cked", all the girls have their backs turned towards the viewer, all the girls wear knickers mainly and have a glass of red wine underhand. Despite or because of which Marinel's Cave enchanted and elevated me. Possibly because the state of nakedness accompanied by a glass of red wine is amongst my favourites. As a result I stayed longer than expected and had more fun than anticipated to be had anywhere at Oxford Street.
After eleven years of threshing up and down the London galleries, today, at the Royal Academy, I at last saw two Arabic speaking women. For all the previous ten years I have only seen a Syrian family at the British Museum, says My Personal-Experience Statistic. Hence, the elevation - yes, for a second time today - at the sight of two Iraqi women contemplating two portraits of women by two German modernist women painters at Making Modernism*. Vive les femmes!
Other excellent news - appart from "Across the week 50 shows open, 52 close with over 100 events taking place Monday to Sunday"** (in London) according to Seb's Art List - is Harland Miller's Imminent End, Rescheduled Eternally exhibition - an excellent news in itself - at White Cube Bermondsey opening tomorrow, 16th of November, where fantastic colours swing fabulous slogans such as - my personal favourite - DAEMONS ARE FOREVER.
Last but not least and also shouting for creative imagination and artistic approach is the following: England's opening game at the World Cub is against Iran next Monday 21st of November. The question is: What signs and messages should England fans be emitting? Should England fans, women and men, be headbanging from the tribunes singing a) AC/DC Who made Who? b) Patty Smith's People have the Power c) the old touchy-classic "Hands, touching hands Reaching out, touching me, touching you" while getting naked and molesting each other in the spirit of Carolee Schneemann*** ? Should they all be waving long scarves on sticks? How, just how, can England fanhood show solidarity with the women of Iran, who would be watching the game at home, together with their brothers, husband, fathers, boyfriends, cousins etc.
* This exhibition, wonderful as it is, saddened me. This at the realisation that knowing well who Rainer Maria Rilke is, I wasn't aware that the woman beside him was Clara Westhoff, an accomplished artist and pioneer German sculptor. Similarly, despite perfectly liking Kandinsky, I've never heard of Gabriele Münter and their "soon became a couple, painting together side by side". And other sad realisations of the kind. Let alone the small size of most of the exhibited paintings.
**Hence the conclusion that confirms the preface: Better artist in London than politician in Tehran.
*** For fresh impressions on Carolee Schneemann see Body Politics at the Barbican Gallery
Harland Miller's If, White Cube Bermondsey
Rebel Rebel or the Feemale Saints and Martyrs of Shiism - Old and New, Dead and Alive
"Before or after the Islamic Revolution, woman's martyrdom in Iran is the same. We deserve proper change", is how I read this exhibition's message.
Since the 26th of October and the massive pilligrimage on the 40th day of Mahsa Amini's murder at the hands of the forces of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Shiism has obtained a new martyr - Mahsa Amini. Added a new shrine to the old shrines of the Imam Ali and the Imam Husayn - the grave of Mahsa Amini. And a new pilligrimage destination - Mahsa Amini's grave - which hopefully next year, 26 October 2023, will become a place of pilligrimage for the women of the world to visit in an already Free Iran. ISA. Rendezvous? Deal? In an Ayatollahs free Iran we will all be there.
Unfortumately, this coming November, Shiism is about to add hundreds more saints and martyrs to the already existing ones.
To illustrate this comes Sohaila Sokhanvari's timely Rebel Rebel residence at the Curve, Barbican that features thirty two Shiism Martyr-Saints or women fallen victim - through death or exhile (a punishment worse than death, according to the ancient) - to Shiait conservatism from before and after the Anti-Mehdianit Revolution in Iran.
As all great artists Sohaila is also a fantastic story teller. Her exhibition is a journey though the glamorous and painful lives of thirty two tallanted and persecuted Persian women. It is a hearbraking exhibition especially seen in the present context of the events in Iran.
" I feel seduction in fine art and film is something that creeps under the skin, enticing the viewer to engage that little bit longer. The many layers of my artworks reveal a sinister history; there's a demand to confront the darker undercurrents of political situations. My work is not 'seductive' in the sexual sense but in terms of a magnet pulling you into the story, to the opening of a Pandora's box.
The art is also seductive in that it is new and curious. It offers an image of Iranian life that a lot of people have never seen before. My works are based on found photographs from before 1979, a nostalgic era when taking a photograph was really quite special: people made an effort to pose, unlike the throwaway attitude that exists today with digital photography. These stars had to be glamorous and charismatic, their profession required them to be that way. The repetitive patterning and vibrant colours also have a seductive quality. With their miniature scale, the paintings have a delicate and multifaceted allure." Says Sohaila in an interview available in the exhibition book.
Also at the Barbican, but on the other side of the spectrum is : Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics, upstairs at the Barbican Gallery addressing topics from sexual expression and the objectification of women to human suffering and the violence of war. Despite of it being in a complementary intended dissonance with Rebel Rebel I desadvise seeing both exhibitions on the same day. It would be too hard core trip even for the most experienced audience.
The art shop by the Curve has a neet book of the exhibition for £14; yet no other related artefacts, which is a missed opportunity. I can think of at least 100 objects to be displayed in relation to Sohaila 's exhibition. I guess we don't creat a merchandise for a residency exhibition, but in this case I think it would have been nice.
The shop upstairs though hasn't missed to feature artefacts adorned with tits and pussies. Very Caroleesh and cheerful as it should be.
"Boom boom. Bang bang and Puufff with the Ayatollahs", (my title, apologies) by Sohaila Sokhanvari, Rebel Rebel, the Curve Barbican until 26 February 2023
Who's Vangard? Or why the colour revolution hasn't yet happened in the Norther Hemisphere.
"Everywhere in the world, the current generation is keen on just believing in their crafts and pushing for what they love to do... You see a lot of young people trying to create awareness from music to fashion to technology-moving toward freedom." Stephen TAYO. Born in Ekiti State, Nigeria, 1994.
Also known as برای آزادی
Sponsored by Burberry the New Black Vangard is surely the most elegant exhibition this year featuring excellent photography of fashion, abstract and militant character all of which striking and memorable. It is hard to single names out of this fantastic, young and talanted crowd as all names featured are to be remembered. Yet my personal favourites are:
Renell Medrano with her dyptique 1984, Harlem, New York 1918. What a rrrrroar!
Awol Erizku - "I am trying to creat a new vernacular - Black art as universal" - with a fantastic dreamy Malcolm X 2018. This work should have been presented at the Venice 2022 Biennale with its motto "The milk of dreams"
Speakung avout motto: Yannis Davy Guibinga with "Blue Eye" illustrates perfectly my motto "The one eye fixed in the light while the other in the darkness".
Danny Scruggs with her statement "If I hadn't been posting my work on multiple platforms for years, I would never have had these opportunities. Every moment that I didn't give in, pack up, and move back home has been critical to my success."
Travis Gumbs with his "Golden Finger", a phenomenon known as "Jaundice" in Bulgaria and of which I become more and more infected by with age. Also known as Дивото зОве.
Combining the messages of all artists involved I read in conclusion "Colour, more of it, is the Key". Which is not what I saw featured by the audience present at the time of the press view, nor by the two Burberry representatives - who admittedly were working (even the currator - Excellent work Antwaun Sergent. Chapeau ! But may be at least the currator could have been spent the clerical black?) and when you work you wear a uniform which is often....well, black. But the message coming from the gallery walls was "We want colour!".
Shall I display (now or never) in brief, my Revolution-Faild theory on colour?
Here we go: For centuries colour was privilege of the higher classes. Dies, all natural, where ridiculously expensive. At the time of the French Revolution the representatives of the guilds, no matter how wealthy, were confined to wearing only: black, grey, brown. When the Revolution occurred there was the rather curious situation in which French aristocracy, colour-garmented as peacock was deeply in depth to a brown-gray-blackish dressed bourgeoisie... Wearing put-down grey suits, black uniforms, and brown dresses has since become a bon-ton standard that Eurpoe was never able to surpass in the last....help the poor working class count... three-four? centuries. ....
... Again, both Burberry representatives were wearing black - again and dmitedly because they were in working capacity - But so were, whenever I saw them in Islington or Soho - the New Young Black Avant-garde crowds. Fantastically stylish, yet all dressed in black. Hence, my conclusion: Could we now eventually break the old French bourgeoisie fashion palette curse, once and for all - with only just recently (not four or five decades ago?) added baige, white and navy blue?
Go on people, all the colours of the rainbow are waiting for us to wear as monochrome or in peacock combinations. While to Burberry staff I would say: Go on people, practice what you preach! Staff or no staff.
Next to come The New Kurish Vangard Exhibition in Ankara - opening soon . And The New Afghan Vangard Exhibition in Tehran - opening soon.
Other "Black" events nearby : Vardon, seductive.as it is with its large terrace oppen on Duke of York Squere remains simultaneously hyper and systematically single-women unfriendly. With some of the staff members being super sweet I really don't know what is the Key here. "Short of staff" is a mantra that doesn't work anymore. All the staff sounds local by the way.
As of tomorrow 28th October till 22nd of January plenty of time to visit at Saatchi Gallery. Which is also the reason why London and not Ankara nor Tehran.
Men in Black at the New Black Vanguard Exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, with Ruth Ossai "The Beauty of photography is it starts a dialogue about who we are" in the background.
Let's go to the Patti Smith Marlborough exhibition