Mark Leckey: O’ Magic Power of Bleakness

Ecstasy and melancholy are different kinds of euphoria. When Johnny Rotten sang, in God Save the Queen (1977), that ‘England’s dreaming’, it wasn’t the psychedelic celebration of British suburbia of, say, The Beatles’ Penny Lane (1967), but an ironic, caustic admission of a darker sort of delirium. Mark Leckey’s show is part retrospective, embedded in history, and… Continue reading Mark Leckey: O’ Magic Power of Bleakness

Hiding in plain sight

Thinking of Francis Bacon’s paintings as constantly touching on and circling around what can and cannot be shown, what can and can’t be revealed, opens a different perspective on the artist’s shifting, fugitive representation of the human body. Rather than be explicit in works only shown in private, Bacon was hinting and suggesting in public… Continue reading Hiding in plain sight

Jennet Thomas: Animal Condensed>Animal Expanded

It’s a mistake to think that Jennet Thomas’s eye-boggling, comic, sinister, techno-folkloric videos are ‘about’ something. They are, but it does them an injustice to say that they’re about nothing more. Set in motion by some recognisable bit of subject-matter, Thomas’s narrative spins kaleidoscopically, ideas tumbling out, other ideas spooling out of those. At Tintype, the first… Continue reading Jennet Thomas: Animal Condensed>Animal Expanded

Forensic Architecture at the ICA

Institutionally, the group’s activity is indicative of how both academic and curatorial cultures have become entwined in this wider shift in the locus of political activism, with the art gallery becoming just another channel of dissemination for this broader political culture of independent and quasi-institutional activism. My review of Forensic Architecture at the ICA, for… Continue reading Forensic Architecture at the ICA

Natascha Sadr Haghighian at Carroll/Fletcher, London

My latest review for Art-Agenda Berlin-based Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s exhibition at Carroll / Fletcher might appear visually spare, but with each work, Haghighian draws you further into a game of institutional hide-and-seek, in which visibility and invisibility, the act of remaining hidden and being revealed, are played out as Machiavellian manipulations of the conventions of spectatorship… Continue reading Natascha Sadr Haghighian at Carroll/Fletcher, London

Yto Barrada’s ‘Mobilier Urbain’ at Pace Gallery London

"There are artworks that work on the viewer’s apprehension of an implied absence, and then there are artworks that simply stand there waiting for that apparent lack to be filled in by contextualizing talk. The former has something to do with aesthetic experience, the latter with a loss of interest in it, and standing among… Continue reading Yto Barrada’s ‘Mobilier Urbain’ at Pace Gallery London

Damien Hirst’s Complete Spot Paintings at Gagosian

"I've got a game on my phone which consists of a grid of randomly coloured spots. It looks a bit like one of Damien Hirst's many spot paintings. But at least with the game on my phone, if you get a row of the same colour, the spots go away..." My review of Damien Hirst's… Continue reading Damien Hirst’s Complete Spot Paintings at Gagosian