Magazine: Issue 6
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Preview: Jobbers to the Stars
Preview | Jobbers To The Stars, CGP London: Cafe Gallery 16 November – 11 December 2011. Wednesday – Sunday from 11am – 4pm. Preview: Sunday, 13 November 2011 from 2 – 4pm. ‘Jobbers to the stars’ is a group exhibition that opens on 13th November at Cafe Gallery., showcasing the works of Ruth Beale, Dora Garcia, Michelle Hannah and Katarina Zdjelar. Curated by Claire Shallcross. The exhibition takes its cue from the rule of play inherent in professional world wrestling entertainment to ensure the current wrestling stars stay at the top. A ‘Jobber’ is a wrestler, often an amateur who has been chosen to always lose against their opponent. ‘Jobbers to the Stars’ however are paid to beat the Jobbers but must lose to the stars. So behind a formulaic hierarchy lies a competitive staged performance. The exhibition ‘Jobbers to the stars’ seeks to challenge the conventions of hierarchy and power systems. The act of performance is used as an apparatus to explore power relations, reinventing truths and questioning rules. Image:Katarina Zdjelar Katarina Zdjelar’s work explores notions of identity, authority and community and the challenges of communication across different languages. The video installation Act I and II is a two-part projection. The film features three protagonists, an asylum seeker, interpreter and interrogator. The film’s location is stripped of familiarity, focusing on the complications of communication and in turn the political distance between the situations of the protagonists. Within Act II the story follows the asylum seeker’s journey to its eventual conclusion. A discussion between three Italian fascist buildings the Fiat Tagliero Building, Palazzo dei Congressi and Palazzo della Civilita is the basis for the play The Aesthetics of Power by Ruth Beale. Through the characterization of these buildings Beale discusses power systems relating to capitalism and the impact of tourism. Combining costume and references to the Telefoni Bianchi film genre, the lighthearted play is displayed as a document of a performance and a hand printed script. Image: The Aesthetics of Power, A play with hats, Ruth Beale The exhibition not only questions the complex power relations inherent in society but the hegemonies that can exist between the visitor and audience. As can be seen in Dora García’s work. Garcia uses the exhibition space as a platform to investigate the relationship between the visitor, artwork, and place. The installation Yes or No (The Sphinx) is a game which does not tolerate the indifferent spectator; the viewer must define themselves in order to see the work. The end of the piece is only available to those members of the public who are nearly identical to the artist, or to those who lie. Which one of these is more like the artist remains in doubt. Image: Yes or No (The Sphinx) Dora Garcia At the opening of the exhibition there will also be a performance by Michelle Hannah entitled Black Block on Sunday 13th November. Science fiction, the gothic and contemporary propaganda are used as tools capturing the viewer and inviting them into a world of the omnipotent. So head on over to CGP and get your interrogator hats on, as this show necessitates a reciprocal and skeptical engagement from its audience that goes beyond mere representational thinking. – Chantelle Purcell
Review: Deptford X 2011
Deptford X 2011 Power, wealth and privilege. These forces have always had a decisive say in the art and aesthetics as well as the form and structure of our society. This year’s annual Deptford X Contemporary Visual Arts Festival took as its theme this interplay between elitism and the aesthetic. Image: Serpent of the Nile, in situ Deptford X Festival, 2011 © Hew Locke Exiting Deptford station, a work by co-curator Hew Locke titled ‘Serpent of the Nile’ is reproduced on a billboard above the high street which seems to encapsulate a tension which is central to much of the work on show this year. Superficially the shimmering golden image appears to be a celebration of the glitz and excess of wealth. Looking more closely though, the symbols of power depicted have clearly been carefully selected to reaffirm the elite status of the subject, Cleopatra. It’s easy to see this manipulation when the subject is historical, but are we always aware as viewers of the codes and messages of establishment power in contemporary art and aesthetics? Much of the fun of Deptford X is in the discovery. It didn’t take long to see visitors clearly new to the area following their guide maps to encounter artworks in surprising places. You wouldn’t find Katie Surridge’s ‘Fed Up’ unless you knew where, but taking a look up into the trees in a small community park revealed a riotously disorganised cluster of over-decorated bird-boxes. Or stepping inside what appears to be an art shop led to ‘I Need Pop Like I Need God II’ by Kate Foreshaw, a rhinestone and glitter encrusted shrine to 1970s glam-rock legends. You leave thinking it’s probably tongue in cheek, but unable to completely shake off a suspicion, the artist does actually worship the icons depicted. Image: ‘I Need Pop Like I Need God II’ Kate Forshaw If any of those visitors did lose their maps, they would have been well served by ‘Information Centre’ at Hatch Space. Here the gallery was given over to the display of thousands upon thousands of free information leaflets. The sheer number served to make them seem absurd and took away the supposed importance of each one. The leaflets were carefully displayed, but categorising them solely by colour rendered their content irrelevant and left them as something solely aesthetic. Back on the high street, Utrophia Project Space hosted Ben Parry’s ‘The Deptford Machine’, a sound sculpture created from discards and donations from local traders. The Heath Robinson contraption turns Deptford X on its head: instead of artwork throughout the area, here the whole of Deptford High Street seems to have been brought into one space, sonically at least. Image: Surrender to Pleasure, Installed for Deptford X Festival, 2011 © Ar-Se Another in-situ piece was Ar-Se’s ‘Surrender to the Pleasure’ in APT Xtra Space. This installation grappled with the political aspect of this year’s theme, asking the viewer to question hegemonies of power by presenting an impromptu shantytown constructed from found materials in the local area, starkly barren of inhabitants. Is this perhaps the corollary of Hew Locke’s ‘The Serpent of the Nile’? If glitz, decoration and beauty go hand in hand with wealth and power, then is this what’s left for the poor and disenfranchised? These are just a few highlights of what was a varied and thought-provoking fourteenth year of the festival. Beyond the main programme itself there were a whole host of fringe activities and shows (Adrian Lee’s feral CCTV cameras hiding in the undergrowth deserve a special mention). Hew Locke and Indra Khanna, curate again next year, and I’ll certainly be back. – Adam Walker
Venue Spotlight: White Cube
White Cube White Cube opened at the beginning of a busy Frieze week, putting itself ahead of the opening nights and festivities taking place. On arriving with my companion that evening, down the now chichi Bermondsey Street, we found White Cube, South Galleries. It was as we imagined, a converted warehouse from the 60’s/70’s with schoolyard appeal. Getting in was our first hurdle, despite my obvious pregnant form, we were sandwiched between students, celebrities and collectors, which in a way was rather refreshing. The huge crowd of a queue was serviced with drinks and hot dogs, which is something I remember from visiting the Basel Art fair some years ago..... We were excited to see so many people crowded on a small street in South London, it felt right, it felt like something was happening. Once inside we were met with a perfectly proportioned set of larger and smaller galleries, spidering off from the main entrance hall. What of the show? ‘Structure  &  Absence.’ Very good actually, featuring works by Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Agnes Martin, Gabriel Orozco and Jeff Wall (amongst others). Each artist had their own space with some rooms carefully curated with trademark neons and floor pieces, by different artists. The highlight for me was the video space, very comfortable as far as these go. The piece ‘The Organ Grinder\'s Monkey’ By Jake & Dinos Chapman included some familiar faces (Rhys Ifans, Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey), as an adaptation from the full screenplay ‘PABLO’. Altogether a good evening, good show and great new space for South London. – Julia Alvarez, Director, SLAM
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