Jeff Koons at the Serpentine

July 31, 2009

There’s been so much talk about this exhibition it’s not surprising that on my Sunday afternoon visit the gallery was absolutely packed. The show is the first major exhibition in a public gallery in England for celebrated American artist Jeff Koons’,  hitting the headlines due to the quirky and exuberant style of the work. His ‘Popeye Series’ began in 2002 and incorporates surreal combinations of everyday objects, cartoon imagery, art-historical references and children’s toys. The sculptural models of children’s inflatable pool toys are fascinating pieces of work, which at first glance it they seem to defy physics completely like the hanging monkeys pictured below.


In actual fact the models are cast in aluminum, their surfaces painted to bear an uncanny resemblance to the original objects. It is hard to get your head around the idea that they are not actually what they seem and the urge to touch them is pretty overwhelming- but alas the watchful eyes of a the gallery assistants wouldn’t allow it.

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Hans Op De Beeck in 798

July 26, 2009

Galleria Continua has been a renowned artistic space in Beijing’s 798 District ever since it’s opening four years ago. The gallery offers visitors the chance to view exhibitions in which international-level artists devise projects specifically for the gallery space and to reflect upon their experiences. The space has become an exciting venue for presenting artists from around the world, all the more remarkable given the comparative rarity of such ventures on the part of Western galleries.

When I visited the gallery back in April I was wowed by the work of Belgian Vi artist, Hans Op de Beeck whose exhibition, ‘Staging Silence’, featured a large scale sculptural installation (‘Location (6)’), watercolors and an animated film. The work focused deeply upon Op de Beeck’s ideas of detachment and loss of self for human beings in these post-modern times. ‘Staging Silence’ was the artist’s first solo exhibition is China.

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Location (6) – Interior

‘Location (6)’ (pictured here), was a large sculptural installation which you had to physically enter via a long white corridor, finding yourself in an igloo-like dome, surrounded by the image of an endless snowy landscape. The installation is made up entirely of a sculpted trompe d’oeil, ingeniously combining light, shadow and artificial fog to create the impression of an infinite three dimensional scene. The experience felt like stepping into a giant, all enveloping snow-globe, mesmerisingly beautiful and tranquil. The artist’s intention was that the piece should draw the viewer’s eye inward, to a state of self contemplation.

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Location (6) – Entrance Corridor

‘I Didn’t Know there was Chicken in this Soup’

July 21, 2009

The latest up and coming name on the current art scene is VITO SCHNABEL, a New York youngster whose been dealing since he was at school. Now in his early twenties, Schnabel has a serious history of curating projects and spotting talent and is rapidly forging his career having been deemed the next Leo Castelli, the iconic gallerist who changed the face of the contemporary-art market in the ’60s. Bestowing his artistic vision upon (where other than) East London, you can find his latest exhibition on display at 20 Hoxton Square Projects, showcasing works by THEO A ROSENBLUM.

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The Exhibition ‘I Didn’t Know There Was Chicken in This Soup’, consist of humorous paintings, sculptures and drawings influenced by comic books, horror films and medieval art. Rosenblum’s work is described to be about ‘the natural order of the world; mankind’s artificial replications and interruptions of order and his own skepticism and fears this generates’…in other words, life can often make you feel like a shit magnet…

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The exhibition runs from 24th June – 1st August at 20 Hoxton Square Projects, London, N1 6NT.

Korean Eye: Moon Generation

July 19, 2009

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If you can make it up the stairs as far as the top floor of the Saatchi Gallery then the the Phillips De Pury Exhibition is well worth a visit. Phillips has been bringing new artists to the forefront of the contemporary art scene for many years now and the current exhibition focuses on Korea. ‘Korean Eye: The Moon Generation’ is a selling exhibition bringing together a group of leading Korean contemporary artists and galleries exhibiting some vibrant pieces to say the least.

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Yi Hwankwon ‘Jangdockdae’ 2008

The art scene in Korea is rapidly developing and this particular collection has proved extremely popular with the dates for it’s display having been extended from 5th July to 13th September at the request of Charles Saatchi himself – so there’s still time to nab your very own Korean masterpiece (funding permitting).

Korean Eye 03Yoon Jongseok ‘Masked Net’ 2008

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Whang Inkie ‘Pla Mountain’ 2009

Abstract in America

July 19, 2009

The whole look of the Saatchi Gallery never fails to be engaging with it fresh clean walls, grand windows and white washed wooden floorboards, the whole atmosphre is always bright and airy. Whilst some of the work in the current ‘Abstract in America’ exhibition is a little difficult to get your head around (off the wall installations and a selection of bizarre sculptures), the work is beautifully curated and the look of the show is certainly impressive.

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Kristin Baker ‘The Unfair Advantage’ 2003

Baker’s work has become iconic of the exhibition as a whole. Her bold, acrylic on PVC works play on ideas of technology and painting.

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Sterling Ruby ‘Kiss Trap Kismet’ 2008

Ruby’s three dimensional structure engages with traditional considerations of sculpture being inherently relative to the human bodyin its occupation of real space and experienced physically. He uses PVC pipe, urethane, and  expanding foam to achieve this fascinatingly grotesque effect.

Pips blog 018Matt Johnson ‘The Pianist’ 2005

A single gigantic blue plastic tarpaulin has been folded and refolded by  Johnson into a larger-than-life origami rendering of a piano and pianist. This piece was made in tribute to the American physicist and origami buff Robert J Lang.

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Pips blog 031Peter Coffin ‘Untitled’ (Spiral Staircase) 2007

Coffin turns a feature of mundane utility into a dizzying conceptual game. Through his humorous constructions, Coffin bridges art history and everyday experience.

More work from the exhibition is featured on the flickr stream

Wax Sculptures

July 12, 2009

Wax sculptures at DoArt Gallery in Chaoyang District, Beijing. This was a huge, warehouse gallery and these wax figures were dotted around the enormous blank space. They appear to be mutated bodies wearing gas masks with various limbs missing.

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Save the Fish!

July 9, 2009

A pop up diplay in the window at Central Saint Martin’s on Charing Cross Road. It combines a Michael Jackson tribute with a brutal blender aquarium for two unfortunate gold fish…