Magazine: Issue 10
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Venue Spotlight: George and Jørgen
GEORGE AND JØRGEN GALLERY 9 Morocco Street, London, SE1 3HB Currently preparing for their debut show in their new SE1 location: (Chris Baker, opens 8th March) Rachel Price steals some valuable time with George Lionel Barker and Ingrid Reynolds, Director of George & Jorgen Gallery to discuss the big move and the future: RP– Firstly, a little about your history: How did George & Jorgen come about? G&J– We worked together for a few years in a gallery in the West End and talked about having our own one day. It is a challenge for any new gallerist to start out, especially without any Ainancial backing, so we were very lucky to get an opportunity from the Salvation Army in 2010. They had a vacant room above one of their charity shops just off Regent Street and we worked out an agreement to convert it into a gallery and use it for 9 months. After that we continued our programme of exhibitions in various Untitled, Nick Roberts temporary spaces. Since autumn we were looking for a permanent space in the SE1 area and the beginning of the year found our new home next to the White Cube on Bermondsey Street. RP– The West to SE London location shift is likely to have an impact on your 'walk by' visitor base, alongside your existing client base, how do feel this (albeit relatively subtle) geographical shift will affect your day to day gallery operations and even potential clients & visitors? G&J– One of our main jobs is to promote the work of the artists we represent, so most of our visitors come by because they've heard of us via the media or word of mouth. There are plenty of amazing galleries in different locations, so I suppose if the work is interesting, people will go and see it. RP– Following from this, do you feel the geographical location of a gallery holds any importance in the digital age? Do you think as a gallerist, visits to your website hold more value than visits to your gallery? G&J– We don't personally think that visits to our website holds more value than visits to the gallery because the work we show often has an experiential quality and people want to see it in the flesh. However, there are artists that I like whose practice can exist purely online, which can work really well. RP– How do you go about selecting the artists you represent? Their practices appear fairly disparate materially, despite a clear painterly mentality in approach throughout. G&J– We select artists by going to see lots of exhibitions and artists' studios. We decided early on to not restrict ourselves in what we wanted to show and we have exhibited a range of different artists who practice performance, installation, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking etc. Yes, there appears to be a strong painterly mentality, which I think reflects our personal taste in art. RP– There are some pretty inspirational galleries in your locale in your new home, Jerwood Space, Poppy Sebire, do the galleries around you have any impact on what you do? G&J– There are some really great galleries in the area. We want to continue to James pimperton, Storm promote artists we love and hopefully when people visit places like Alma Enterprises, Poppy Sebire or Jerwood Space, they will pop in and see us too. RP– What we can get excited about from George & Jorgen in March 2012 and beyond? G&J– Over the last year, we have been working closely with an artist called Tom Pope, who recently won the Deutsche Bank graduate prize. He is doing a big project with CERN at the Large Hydron Collider which we are all really excited about. The launch for his performance is on Sunday 25th March, Golden Square Soho, 12pm. Please do come down! Paddy Gould & Roxy Topia After Chris Baker's exhibition, opening on 8th March, we will be showing work by collaborative artists Paddy Gould and Roxy Topia who have been working on some fantastic ceramic sculptures and we'll also see the launch of their exciting new video. A May visit from New York based installation artist William Corwin is also a highlight in our schedule. We have a busy run of exhibitions and events planned throughout the rest of the year, and we cannot wait to settle in and make SE1 a long term home. Thanks to George & Jorgen Gallery, welcome south! Rachel Price
Review: Svein Flygari Johansen
Svein Flygari Johansen Am I making up what really happended? Beaconsfield Gallery 12 November 2011 – 12 February 2012 There’s something of the far north in Svein Flygari Johansen’s work. A sense of connection to nature, but also an otherworldliness, projected colours reminiscent of the flickering fluorescence of the Aurora Borealis. Seemingly irreconcilable opposites abound. Yet melting snowmen and real-time oil prices, campfires and stock markets become inseparable in Flygari Johansen’s work, just as summers when the sun never sets inevitably cede into winters when it never rises. Upper Space installation image with Call of the Wild (London), 2011 and Måne (moon), 2011, image courtesy Beaconsfield and the artist. Flygari Johansen’s practice strongly reflects that of his hero and artistic antecedent Caspar David Friedrich in its dealing with the sublime. There is nothing picturesque here: this is nature in the raw and it might be ugly. But whereas Friedrich sought to instigate a reunion with the spiritual self through the contemplation of nature (an incident of sublimity as he called it), Flygari Johansen’s work seems to push the viewer more towards the political than the spiritual. An incident of politicization perhaps. Am I making up what really happened?, 2011, installation detail, image courtesy Beaconsfield and the artist. Interventions such as The Fence, where he replaced a traditional Sami reindeer fence in far northern Norway with a modern industrial equivalent in order to ask questions of landscape, boundaries and territory enjoin the viewer to think, judge and possibly act on this issue. He moves nature out of the comfortable box we want to keep it in, how much longer can we naively admire it while telling ourselves we’re not destroying it? Am I making up what really happened? Was a show in two parts. The Upper Gallery hosted a comprehensive retrospective. This showed the artist’s fascination with indigenous cultures and nature and their juxtaposition with international capitalism. Beaconsfield also commissioned a new installation as part of the show and this was displayed in the dramatic Arch Gallery. Trains shudder overhead as you enter the darkened space and a suspended polythene sheet hangs illuminated in the gloom. Am I making up what really happened?, 2011, installation detail, image courtesy Beaconsfield and the artist. It sags, filled with water. You approach and a single fish, a massively oversized version of a fairground goldfish in a bag, breaks the stillness. A second later you realize it’s a projection. Progressing further into the darkness beyond, you negotiate your way around a curving spur of patterned mounds of some earth-like material. And finally a table bearing a single glass of milk, the stillness of the surface broken by the vibrations of the trains passing above. The fish projection on the polythene fits within Flygari Johansen’s recurring interest in presenting the disjuncture between the natural and the digital. But the curve of sand-like mounds is different, like some miniature Spiral Jetty it seems to speak both of the majesty of nature and yet also our mastery over it. It seems an awkwardly modernist piece in the context of Flygari Johansen’s other work. The glass of milk provides the postmodern resolution to this though, drawing our attention back to the microenvironment we stand in as viewers: A Lambeth railway arch beneath the relentless schedule pulling out of Waterloo. Am I making up what really happened? has shown us a nature stripped of romanticism and in this final act draws our attention in to that specific spot in which we stand. My over-riding feeling walking away from this show was that it seemed to distill that sense of contemporary art as a secular religious experience. Flygari Johansen gives us the spiritual battle between capitalism and nature, and then the meditative space to reflect in a railway arch which has become his temple. An incident of sublimity after all. Adam Walker
Preview: 4482 Saspari
4482 [SASPARI]: MAP THE KOREA Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf 23–26 February 2012 Chantelle Purcell talks to the exhibition's organiser's to find out about this year's 4482 exhibition which is the largest showcase of contemporary Korean art in the UK, held at the Bargehouse London. This is the 5th installment of 4482 and is entitled "Map the Korea", bringing together 64 artists and 5 curators. 1. How is this year's 4482 different from previous years? Living as Korean artists in the UK must be pretty tough. As a foreigner and a non-western artist, many Korean artists have found difficulties in stepping into the UK art scene. 4482 originated to promote and represent these artists. As 4482 grows year after year, the participatory artists criticise and rethink the meanings of 4482 exhibition. Reflecting these circumstances, we try to affirm the legitimacy and the value of the 4482 in collaboration with artists and curators. 2. What revelations and shifts have you seen within contemporary Korean art? Since the annual showcases conception? As an annual showcase, the 4482 makes the history of artistic movement among Korean contemporary artists. However, it does not mean that this is a generalisation of the Korean art scene. It could be said that 4482 has a synergy effect. Being an annual group exhibition, each artist can build up the attention from the UK art scene. As a result, now the 4482 has become the largest scale Korean contemporary art exhibition in the UK. An increasing number of art professionals show an interest and many of the artists have been picked up by British art galleries. 3. How did you go about selecting and curatorially categorising the artworks? We made a call out for the artists, and the response was over whelming! We selected the art works based on the portfolios and the performances. We also considered the diversities, so young artists could be encouraged among established artists. Regarding to our sub-themes, we all agreed that it is perfect to represent and state about the Korean contemporary arts in the UK throughout the previous the 4482 exhibitions. As a method, we drew inspiration from ‘Mapping’. Mapping is no longer a mere cartographic technique to represent the borders of a territory imposing hegemonic relations or to analytically visualise the already planned reality. But, in contemporary geographic studies, it is more like a performative process to dismantle what is conventionally known and inaugurate new grounds upon the hidden traces of a living world.(1) ‘Mapping’ is now an idea of “performance” to be searching, disclosing and engendering of the new conditions of cultural projects, detouring around the fixed sets of thought. As James Corner claimed in hisThe Agency of Mapping (1999), it is time to be concerned more with what maps actually do rather than with what they mean.(2) In this performative sense of mapping (not a socio and geo-political sense of planning), the 5th 4482 [sasapari] exhibition attempts to map the Korean Contemporary Art scene in London, with diverse voices of sixty-four Korean artists. Even though the 4482 [sasapari] is a large scale group show organised under the flag of Korean nationality, its ultimate purpose is neither a nationalistic gesture to idealise how internationally powerful Korean art is nor a conclusive claim to address that this is only the representative scene of Korean contemporary art map in the UK. Rather, it endeavours to draw out of plurality of readings to Korean art in a contemporary visual art context while undermining a particular route or itinerary to understand what it means and represents. With experiencing multiple entryways and exits of alternative trajectories of original art practices in the show, audiences can create their own journey to reshape the mind map of Korean art so that they become a constitutive role to be part of the 4482 [sasapari] mapping. (1) James Corner, “The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention” in D.Cosgrove Mappings, 1999, p. 214. (2) Ibid., p.217. 4.How would you say the artists have been been influenced by working in the British terrain? It seems that this question is suitable for the artists rather than us... In general, the art scene and the art education in the UK are pretty different from Korea. Like learning a foreign language, many Korean artists possibly need to adopt the differences. Sometimes they are conflicted and confused between two cultures and it leads artists to produce multi-cultural and international sense of art works. 5. And finally how do you see this project expanding? During the last 5 years, 4482 has grown significantly. Now it is time to leap up for the next stage! We hope that 4482 exhibition can be an art hub for Korean contemporary artists abroad within Europe first and the world eventually.
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