When a visitor enters the Serpentine Sackler Gallery first thing comes face to face with is a Flea Market Lady. A life-sized sculpture of a lady selling books, magazines and art. This is part of the work of American artist Duane Hanson currently on show @ the Serpentine Galleries. Hanson’s characters are made “in minute detail, dressed in real clothes and often placed alongside real objects”.
“Made of polyester resin and fibreglass and later bronze, his sculptures were cast from live models but are not portraits of individuals. Instead the artist sought to produce characters representative of everyday people to achieve a ‘tough realism’ that would hold a mirror up to the trivialities and banalities of daily life”. This exhibition is on until September 13th.
Spent a bit of time in and around London at the weekend which I don’t get chance to do much since adopting Arty from Battersea Dogs Home. So I made the effort to refill the inspiration reservoir and made a bee-line for 2 exhibitions that went on to blow my tiny mind.
After a pleasant stroll through Hyde Park complete with occasional leaf kicking and squirrel chasing, I arrived at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery for ‘Come and See’ - the latest exhibition from the infamous Chapman Brothers.
More nazi infested visions of Hell that are on a scale so huge that you cant help but be in awe of the amount of detail and work that must have gone into these immense models. Every single square inch seemed to have something going on.
The introduction of dinosaurs just added an extra level of madness that tipped my childhood excitement over the edge, forcing me to seek out the toilet before continuing.
The gallery was full of these chaps, adding yet another level of unease.
As well as the incredible model work, there was a series of sinister organic like pencil drawings and oil paintings of pretty folk.
The scale and atmosphere of the work in this show totally floored me. Immersing yourself within the huge model scenes you could almost smell the shit and filth and the sounds of shouting and screaming was constant within my head. You can always rely on the Chapman Brothers to drag you kicking into the darkness, a reason they’ll always be up there for me in terms of inspiration.
The following day was the Candice Tripp and Giles Walker show 'I’m Never Shopping Here Again’. I’ve focused mainly on Candice’s work to keep me from rambling too much. Similar to the Chapman exhibition, lots of immersive scenes in both 3D and on canvas that weren’t as savage as the Chapman’s visions of Hell, but still dark and haunting in their own way.
Beautifully created animatronic characters moved and whirred into life from dark corners.
And Candice’s Sally Dolls seem to scuttle from room to room, tiny sinister voyeurs watching the strange scenes play out through gaps in their fingers or busy creating mischief of their own whilst your back is turned.
I didn’t have my 'proper’ camera with me at this one so I couldn’t get any decent photos of the full canvas in the low light of the space but the beauty is in the detail. Candice paints sinister woodland scenes always inhabited by masked children either up to no good, leaving the scene after being up to no good, or shamefully ignoring some no-goodness being played out by fellow masked tribe members.
Like beautiful yet dark fairy tales, the oil paintings have such strong narratives running through them and the scenes are painted and inked with a lovely precision as Candice weaves her stories and leaves you to come to your own conclusions as to what the shit is going on. And it’s usually not very nice whatever it is. They always make me think of Guillermo Del Toro films when I look at them, even more so since buying and reading his Cabinet of Curiosities book that treats you to a peak inside his infamous notebooks. I’ll probably do a proper post on this later as it’s a beauty of a book.
So one thing I’ve taken from both exhibitions is that my work - especially my most recent paper work - doesn’t have as much narrative as I’d personally like. And I’m really drawn to these works that have such detailed and intriguing scenes and environments that just draw you in and capture your imagination. Definitely something to think about with my own work for the year ahead.
I’d really recommend checking both of these shows out if you can. You can get full info on both by clicking the links below.
Jake and Dinos Chapman: Come and See at Serpentine Sackler Gallery ★★
The Serpentine Gallery has staged an exhibition of work by the Chapman Brothers to put their new Sackler Gallery firmly on the map. Featuring new material alongside past collections, the show contains some highly original pieces. Overall though, it feels like it’s trying too hard to be shocking, and the results are rather mixed.
The overcrowded nature of this exhibition stifles the individual pieces by forcing them to compete for attention. Putting Ku Klux Klansmen in rainbow socks and Birkenstocks is a great way of poking fun at the vile organisation, but endlessly repeating the concept throughout the exhibition makes it look like they’d run out of ideas. Similarly, the 83 framed illustrations tightly mounted together are one of several examples where the exhibition feels like a lesson in quantity over quality.
It’s free and worth a look, particularly if you’re passing through Hyde Park, but probably not worth a special trip. Also, while some of the images are unsettling to grown-ups, it’s really not as bad for kids as you might think.
So went to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery the other day. T'was a little creepy, and a tad disturbing. Other than how life like the sculptures were and the sculpture of a baby dumped in the bin with a plastic bag over its head. Other than that, Duane Hanson exhibition was… interesting.
I visited the Serpentine gallery on a recommendation from a friend and was glad I did. A truly inspiring and captivating show that demonstrates the artists unique ability to combine issues of individual and national identity and global consumption.
A thought provoking solo exhibition by Pascale Marthine Tayou @SerpentineUK. “The artist is known for challenging notions of individual and national identity and often tackles socio-economic issues and consumer culture in his work. He does so through a combination of discarded and found objects with strong links to developing countries”. At the Sackler Serpentine Galleries till 17th May.
Press Release: Serpentine Sackler Gallery presents the first solo show in London by Cameroon-born, Belgium-based artist Pascale Marthine Tayou. The exhibition will include new work made specifically for the Serpentine and introduces audiences to a range of works that demonstrate the artist’s unique ability to combine issues of individual and national identity and global consumption.
The exhibition, his first in the UK since 2008, will see the Serpentine Sackler Gallery populated by a diverse mix of sculptural forms that demonstrate Tayou’s unique visual language based on archetypes, made and found objects and traditional craft. Mysterious human forms and fantastical beasts – such as the 100 metre snake of Africonda – incorporate materials such as cloth, wood, plastic, glass, organic matter and consumer waste combined with an artisanal skill.
Tayou, who began studying law before deciding instead to become an artist, began exhibiting in the early 1990s – a time of political and social upheaval across West Africa. With works often produced in situ, Tayou is renowned for combining found and discarded objects and materials – often sourced locally – with a skilled and playful sense of craftsmanship.
Bite Your Tongue - Leon Golub
Press Release: Serpentine Gallery presents Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue. This survey exhibition of the American figurative painter, his first in London since 2000, highlights key aspects of the artist’s oeuvre from the 1950s until his death in 2004.
l'Homme de Palmyre 1962
Throughout his career Golub was guided by his belief that art should have relevance. His works are profoundly psychological and emotive – often painted on a huge scale – and return again and again to themes of oppression, violence and the misuse of power. His paintings from the 1950s depict universal images of man and reference the classical figure found in antiquity, while his highly political series of the 1970s and ‘80s draws on the Vietnam War, American foreign policy and the rise of paramilitary soldiers in places such as South Africa and Latin America. His work from the 1990s incorporates slogans, text, graffiti and symbols into dystopian scenes of urban existence. Golub experimented with scale, and the works assembled for this exhibition range in size from the smaller works on paper to monumental, unstretched canvases that will extend from floor to ceiling at the Serpentine Gallery. Born in Chicago in 1922, Golub began painting in the figurative style in the early 1950s. Labelled as a ‘Chicago Imagist’, he was a member of the post-war artists’ group known as Monster Roster. Several members of the group, including Golub, served in World War II, subsequently obtaining fine arts degrees as a result of the American GI Bill. During a time when abstraction was hailed as the future of contemporary painting, the group created works rooted in the external world, with the human figure and contemporary events informing their style and content.
Here are a few photos of Golub’s work on display in this exhibition. Do make an effort to see this show, but BEWARE! You will be entering a place full of violence and brutality…
Both shows end 17 May 2015
PS. Don’t forget to check out Bertrand Lavier’s Fountain outside the Sackler Gallery. There until 4 October 2015