Friday, 24 June 2011

FAD Preview: Watch Me Move at Barbican Art Gallery

(Originally published on FAD)

Be prepared to set aside a sizeable chunk of your life for Watch Me Move, because for their summer blockbuster the Barbican Art Gallery have assembled the biggest ever exhibition on the history and influence of animation, and once there its hard to tear yourself away from these colourful, dynamic, sparkling moving images.

So diverse and comprehensive is the show’s coverage of animation, from makers including the Lumiere Brothers, through Disney, Pixar, Tezuka, Semiconductor, Lotte Reiniger, Ari Folman, Roy Harryhausen and Christian Boltanski using stop motion, claymation, puppets, drawing, CGI… that this review is in danger of turning into a list.

So instead of reiterating how great these great names of animation are (as indeed the lesser known names who appear here), it’s suffice to say that to have them all available to view is a great thing, but to have them choreographed over seven carefully themed sections is sublime.

Structured to cover the early development, later technologies, character development, narrative ticks and experimentation in animation, as well as the gamut of themes and concerns within these films from through time and around the world, Watch Me Move is so comprehensive it’s impossible to take it all in during one sitting. But it’s worth a try. There’s something intrinsically magical about animation that captures us from an early age and Watch Me Move shows how mesmerizing it can be at any age.

Friday, 17 June 2011

FAD Video: Interview with David Lamelas at Raven Row & Bloomberg Space

Two video interviews I did for FAD with artist David Lamelas for his screenings at Raven Row and installation at Bloomberg Space. He's a very engaging man, a great interviewee.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

ArtSlant Review: Piccadilly Community Centre

Visiting Piccadilly Community Centre is probably one of the most disconcerting encounters with ‘art’ that I’ve ever had. This place does what it says on the tin: it’s a fully functioning, socially enriching community centre bang on Piccadilly in the space normally occupied by Hauser & Wirth’s up-market gallery.

There’s a canteen, a prayer room, charity shop, access to the internet and a constantly rolling program of classes to enhance one’s physical and mental well being – hula hooping, laughter sessions, zumba, aromatherapy; you pick your therapy. More than that: there are people. Yes, actual humans who occupy the space not as paid up components of an installation but of their own volition... (read more)

ArtSlant Review: David Rickard at Sumarria Lunn

The interesting thing about David Rickard’s work is not that he leaves large chunks of its production up to chance, but how much structure and pattern surrounds this surrender to the unforeseeable. In this small yet well-put-together solo show at Sumarria Lunn, Rickard relinquishes part of his artistic control and lets the unknown creep in; the two are collaborators and the results are surprisingly coherent.

Exhaust takes main stage in the show – a performance piece in which Rickard exhaled into metallic balloons for a full twenty-four hours, assembling them into a silver tower of captured breath. Rickard’s need to breathe and the passage of time set the parameters of the aesthetic, but of course he couldn’t foresee how much he would exhale over the day, so the volume and shape of the piece was determined as it happened... (read more)

Monday, 13 June 2011

FAD Preview: Jan Švankmajer at Barbican Film

If there’s room in your life for a bit of animated Czech psychoanalytic comedy then you could do worse than going to the Barbican’s short and sweet Jan Švankmajer season. With the likes of Tim Burton, The Brothers Quay and Terry Gilliam citing him as an influence, Švankmajer is certainly a surreal force to be reckoned with and his loopy, nightmarish yet highly amusing animations are fascinating.

Said psychoanalytic comedy comes in the form of Surviving Life; one of the director’s more gentle pieces and a good introduction to his work. It’s introduced by an animated version of Švankmajer, who apologises for using stop-motion animation instead of real actors in his film, only it was cheaper… This sets the scene for the delightful wacky, deadpan animation to follow. It screams Monty Python, although Švankmajer was of course there first... (read more)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Aesthetica Review: Jerwood Painting Fellowships

Jerwood Visual Arts’ support for painters has morphed over the years from an annual cash prize through to the group show format of Jerwood Contemporary Painters to the inauguration of the Jerwood Painting Fellowships this year. These awards afford three selected early career painters the time, funds, guidance and exposure to undertake some sustained professional progression, developing and contextualizing their practice under the guidance of a mentor before exhibiting their work. Jerwood have sought to address exactly what it is today’s upcoming painters need to progress, and the results are now on display. As such, this collection of works by the three graduates - Clare Mitten, Cara Nahaul and Corinna Till – does feel slightly disparate. Walking into the gallery we encounter three separate mini solo shows, each to be encountered each in their own right. This will obviously be coloured by the viewer’s familiarity (or lack thereof) with the artists’ work, deciding whether the work displayed is viewed as a product influenced by the Fellowship’s developmental aims or as a snapshot of an upcoming artist deemed outstanding enough to receive the award... (read more)
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