Jodie Carey in Londonist

'Surreal Selfies And Giant Viruses: Which Exhibitions Should You See Right Now?' reviewed by Tabish Kahn

12 June 2018 POWER OF LOVE: What do abstract sculpture have in common with abandoned babies? It may seem to be two separate worlds but artist Jodie Carey brings the natural and human worlds together perfectly. A cord buried in the earth has been cast in iron and stretches from floor to ceiling and feels like it could punch through both and continue forever — the power of a mother's bond with her child. Swatches of fabric — often left with foundlings — recreated in ceramic to demonstrate the fragility of love, each one individual. All the works here have an immediate visual impact that comes with added emotional weight.

 Jodie Carey: Sea at Foundling Museum, Bloomsbury. Until 2 September, £10 (includes admission to the museum)




NIGHTMARE FUEL: A creepy oversized wooden puppet of a boy is dragged by clanging chains, tossed around and thrown to the floor unceremoniously. It's a disturbing artwork made creepier by eyes designed to stare right back at you. This is as disturbing as art gets and it's a gratuitous delight.

Jordan Wolfson at Tate Modern, The Tanks. Until 26 August, free.


HOODED FIGURES: Creepy hooded figures populate the gallery — one sits on a tall plinth, another guillotined by art and one dangles a painting outside the gallery. These humorous and unsettling works introduce the often maligned clothing choice of hoodies to the art world (where they would definitely be sniffed at). It's a playful work that mashes up the apparel of disaffected youths with the elitist world of art.

Mark Jenkins: BRD SHT at Lazinc, Mayfair. Until 30 June, free.


BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS: Navigate the warren of John Soanes Museum and step into the light of this one room display. Emily Allchurch's lightboxes are packed with architectural details — some inspired directly by the works of Sir John Soanes, so this is the perfect setting for these seamlessly constructed digital collages. There's also a larger post-modernism exhibition upstairs but this is superior.

Emily Allchurch: Visions of Architectural Fancy at John Soanes MuseumUntil 26 August, free.


LIVE FOREVER: An underground bunker preserved from the cold war era in Nevada plays host to photographer Juno Calypso's 'time traveling' series, where she dives into a house that time has forgotten. The fact this bunker belonged to a director of Avon Cosmetics adds extra weight to the idea of preserving ourselves immortally. Calypso's projects love to take on bizarre aspects of domesticity and then use them as a mirror to make us examine our inner selves — it's surreal, creepy and delightful.

What to do with a million years: Juno Calypso at TJ Boulting, Fitzrovia. Until 23 June. 


PIG OUT: A man in a pig suit made from pig parts crawls around a house covered in plastic, watching porn and eating then regurgitating pizza — it's like a somehow even more surreal American Psycho. Elsewhere the walls are covered with hundreds of flip-flops as the artist explores his own attitudes to race, greed and self-loathing in an immersive show.

 James Ostrer: Johnny Just Came at Gazelli Art House, Mayfair. Until 22 July, free. 


INDIAN BLING: In 1875 the Prince of Wales completed a four month tour of India, the gifts he was offered and the pieces he bought are sublime: jewelled scabbards, ivory staffs, a beautiful lotus flower perfume holder and a blinding quantity of gold. The adjacent exhibition contains 150 stunning drawings and watercolours illustrating both mythical and real events. The context of colonialism is unfortunately swept over, but don't let that detract from the amazing treasures on show.

 Splendours of the Subcontinent at Queen's Gallery. Until 14 October, £12.


MOVING STUFF: It's all lights and motors — not exactly what we'd expect in a gallery. That's part of the reason why we love a bit of kinetic art and in this show there is art reacting to magnets, pulsing lights, spinning works hanging from the ceiling and ones that change colour depending on the viewing angle. It's fun, interactive and welcoming.

Kinetica presents Invisible Realm at Lauren Baker Contemporary, Covent GardenUntil 14 July, free.


A GLOWING SPACEMAN: Colourful artist Yinka Shonibare has curated a who's who of artists of African origin and those that work on the themes affecting the African diaspora. There is Kehinde Wiley who recently painted Obama's portrait and Hassan Hajjaj's stylish portraits recently graced Somerset House. Other eye-catching works include the stoic heads of Thomas Price, a black girl in a bird cage and a glowing spaceman from Zak Ove. This two gallery show is jam packed with powerful political works.

 Talisman In The Age Of Difference at Stephen Friedman, Mayfair. Until 21 July, free. 


SURREAL SELFIES: Kick off your shoes and strike your best pose on top of this large artwork — will you be floating in space or lying across some stairs? A mirror above makes it perfect for selfies and a whole lot of fun.

 I don't have time for this, Hattie Stewart at Now Gallery, North Greenwich. Until 25 June, free but ticketed.


NAKED DECAPITATION: Pictures of naked bodies, which from behind look like they're missing heads and legs. These aren't Photoshop fails, but models adopting contorted positions making it look like they are malformed. This series subverts the idea of the erotic nude, body image and the traditional view of what beauty is.

 Chloe Rosser: Form & Function is on at Photofusion, Brixton. Until 18 June, free. 


GIANT VIRUSES: LGBT+ culture meets science in this surreal exhibition, where colourful posters and videos reference the protein case of the HIV virus. The work spreads on to the floor so prepare to kick off your shoes to enjoy the full experience. In the second space, on the other side of the park, giant colourful tapestries lead to a video where oversized viruses roll around London. It's as bonkers as it sounds and similar to Walter's Alien Sex Club at Wellcome Collection. However, this show is a lot more chaotic and while fun it lacks the coherence found in his Wellcome exhibition.

 Capsid: John Walter at CGP London, Southwark Park. Until 8 July, free.


KEEP SMILING: Art makes us feel the full range of emotions but what if all it cared about was making you feel good? That's the goal at the Feel Good Institute, which is part of Bankside's Merge festival. Bliss out in a room full of coloured light, enter a rave and stand mesmerised while watching a rainbow cast into sprinklers. Happiness can be taken to the next step by booking ahead for a full 30 minute consultation. It's way over the top and it's hard to leave here without a smile on your face.

The Feel Good Institute, Southwark. Until 1 July, free.


SEX & COLOUR: Three female painters are placed together in a show that looks at how colour is used in their art. Helen Beard's explicit paintings using bright colours seem gimmicky and Sadie Laska's collages struggle to speak to us. It's only the subtle Boo Saville who manages to evoke interest — it's easy to get lost in her large paintings with slow transitions across shades of the same colour. The show's theme of colour is far too broad and the quality of the work fails to measure up.

True Colours at Newport Street Gallery, Vauxhall. Until 9 September, free.  


ASTERIX IN BRITAIN: The Gauls are back in a show focused on their creator Rene Goscinny and the evolution of his work before he hit the big time with Asterix and Obelix. It's great to see just how successful the comic is, as it's been translated into dozens of languages. Comics and personal effects paint a picture of Goscinny's life but this is a very niche show that will likely only appeal to the die hard fans of the comics. 

 Asterix in Britain at Jewish Museum, Camden. Until 30 September, £7.50


BLEEDING COLOUR: Stand in front of a giant wall of colour and lose yourself in it. That's the best way to approach Katharina Grosse's massive work that hangs from the ceiling and spreads across the floor. It's almost too much colour to deal with — although that's a good thing. Nearby smaller works reveal the different aspects of her abstract creations, but it's at scale where Grosse excels. She had a fantasticinstallation at South London Gallery last year, and this is a worthy follow-up.

 Katharina Grosse at Gagosian, King's Cross. Until 27 July, free.


STUNNING DRESSES: Man or woman, fashionista or more of a hoodies and trainers kind of girl. Whatever your personal style, it can't be denied that these dress are simply stunning. This show contains elegant dresses, beautifully staged with each set of clothing having an inventive backdrop. It's not overcrowded and each piece of clothing can be admired in its own space. This display shows other modern fashion exhibitions how it's done.

 Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier at Design Museum. Until 7 October. 


ABSTRACT MEH: Former Turner Prize winner Tomma Abts brings her small rectangular paintings to the Serpentine galleries. We've never been a fan of her work and this geometric show hasn't won us over. It doesn't elicit a reaction of any sort. It's pretty to look at but it's all a bit too plain and uninteresting. In a word: meh.

 Tomma Abts at Serpentine Sackler gallery, Kensington Gardens. Until 9 September, free.


BODY BUMPS: How we feel about our bodies and their limits is a deeply personal theme. It's what unites the artists in this one room display at Whitechapel Gallery. A totemic figure towers, another burrows into a mattress while camel puppets and a gleaming woman with a baby bump looks on. Whitechapel Gallery has been hosting a series of exhibitions from the iSelf collection and this is the strongest selection yet.

 ISelf Collection: Bumped Bodies at Whitechapel Gallery. Until 12 August, free.


LONDON ISN'T OPEN: This year's London Open has artists from across London taking on big themes such as migration, gender, race and colonialism. However the big the themes may be the artists here struggle to present it effectively. Most of the works lack impact and feel too densely academic to really capture the zeitgeist of our time. The finger here is definitely off the pulse.

London Open at Whitechapel Gallery. Until 26 August, free.

12 June 2018
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