26 November 2011


Ala Younis, Tin Soldiers, 2010-11 Wilfredo Prieto, Politically Correct, 2009   Untitled (Death by Gun), 2011, installation photo

On the crossroads between East and West, the Istanbul Biennial has a complex context of rich and diverse cultures, fused with troubled politics that it is meant to respond to. This year’s edition, curated by Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa, had the desire to differ from intricate contexts that drove the curators to search for inspiration in traditional values of art, such as aesthetics. At least, this was the official claim made by Hoffmann and Pedrosa. For some mysterious reason, the Biennal found its own path and turned out to be very political. To be more precise: it was informative about the history of art activism in the second half of the 20th century. Some of the individual projects, such as Wael Shawky's film "Cabaret Crusades: The horror show file", Nazgol Ansarinia's "National Security Book Series" and Ala Younis' "Tin Soldiers" were among the most provoking participations.

22 November 2011


Third floor, two fire-doors and there it is: the temporary studio of Rasmus Nilausen - this summer, right in the middle of London, just across Tate Britain. The danish painter is incredibly thoughtful and charming - and he is in search of the perfect masterpiece that he is just about to make. Rasmus is not spiritual, but he loves the idea of chance transforming his work into something that he cannot control anymore. His paintings are full of curiosity and they invite into a universe of incomprehensible spaces and impossible structures. I spend an afternoon in Rasmus' treasure room, chatting about rap-music, masterpieces and diamonds. Even though he now moved back to his adopted home Barcelona, some of his paintings remained in the British capital to be exhibited in the New Contemporaries - Show at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

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12 November 2011


Phil Maxwell Brick Lane launderette Petra Stridfeldt - Bandage Simon Roberts - Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Nottinghamshire
From top: Phil Maxwell "Brick Lane Laundrette", Forty Years On @ Bishopsgate Institute. Until 30th November, Petra Stridfeldt "Bandage", Control @ Oxford House. Until 28th November, Simon Roberts "Ratcliffe – on- Soar Power Station"

This November sees more than 100 galleries and spaces in East London host exhibitions, talks and event as part of the Photomonth International Photography Festival. Expect a glut of shows with local outlook, such as Peter Kyte’s intimate glimpses of London explored on foot (Hoxton Furnace, until 31st December), a retrospective of the work of Phil Maxwell, whose camera has captured the ever changing places and faces of the East End over the last 20 years (The Bishopsgate Institute, until 30th November) and the unexpectedly beautiful forms of the plastic bags that float through Graham Barker’s shots of Regent’s Canal (out-of-the-loop.co.uk). There is also a global sensitivity evident in the featured exhibitions - which range from the surreal to the striking, occasionally by way of the utterly sublime - particularly in relation to the problematic notion of “home” in the kind of globalised, multicultural society that London’s East End has come to epitomise. The programme also includes a number of organised photowalks, talks, auctions and workshops

October – November, Various venues, For a full listings and a map of participating spaces, go to: www.photomonth.org