Ruminations and Art Highlights of 2019
For 2020? I am manifesting myself to be assertive in saying yes or no (which is incredibly hard for a Libra), not being afraid to promote myself, bringing warm and loving people back into my life and regaining perspective to help others. So on an entirely separate note, here are my highlights from 2019:
Le Bourgeois - Stephan Dillemuth 'Diskodekorationen: From Another Century' (4 October - 3 November 2019)
For this total surprise of an exhibition at Le Bourgeois, a tiny former retail space in Catford, south London, artist Stephan Dillemuth used personal experiences of Chicago house music to create a moving and stimulating mixed- and multi-media show. I reviewed it back in October.
Tate Britain - Mark Leckey 'O' Magic Power of Bleakness' (24 September 2019 - 5 January 2020)
Another exhibition merging music and contemporary art seamlessly, Mark Leckey's solo show at Tate Britain revived my interest in institutional shows just in time before the end of the year. With a huge replica of a motorway bridge on the M53, as soon as you walk into the space you are placed directly into Leckey's world; you are within the narrative; sit down as Leckey tells stories of bygone eras which are eerily familiar to the present day. Archival footage of dancefloors throughout the years are charming as well as masterfully put together with layers of sound and different lighting transitions.
White Cube Bermondsey - Tracey Emin 'A Fortnight of Tears' (6 February - 7 April 2019)
This was one that was so prolific at the start of the year that I almost gave it a miss. When there's a great deal of buzz around a show, I feel like I've already seen it once it's been posted on social media (read: Instagram) hundreds of times. However I am so glad I made it to Bermondsey to see Tracey Emin's show; delicately and sensitively put together, yet in using harsh materials such as bronze and neon there is no doubt as to the master of Emin's work. Perhaps naively I felt closer to the artist after the experience, (it was an experience, as the paintings and sculptures took over the whole of the gallery) and felt a unique response, which sat between identifying Emin's strength of character and an unnerving ability to deal with, and express, trauma.
Enclave Projects - Helena de Pulford 'Simnel' (18 - 26 August 2019)
A highly impressive independent show by London-based artist Helena de Pulford was hosted over the summer at Enclave Projects, a versatile exhibition space in Deptford. 'Simnel' was my first experience of de Pulford's work and this unassuming, simply produced exhibition was perfect for the headspace I was in at the time; quiet, reflective, and was a small exploration into masculinity and the Catholic faith in the twenty-first century. This was a real highlight of the art calendar for me.
Goldsmiths Centre of Contemporary Art - Tony Cokes 'If UR Reading This it's 2 Late Vol. 1' (29 September 2019 - 19 January 2020)
If the exhibitions in this list have anything in common, and they largely don't, it is their ability to help me lose myself in the art. Again bringing sound into the mix, Lindsey Mendick's ceramic-heavy show at Castor Projects felt like I was transported to the artist's bedroom. Clever and intimate, minimal love letters and mini stories were written on ceramic post-it notes on the wall, lining a deceitfully simple installation at the centre of the space with surreal, feminine and textured details. With a looping soundtrack of love songs, I was pacing around the space thinking about The One That Got Away, even though it meant delving some way back into past memories. Bringing humour to difficult chapters in life is not easy at the best of times, never mind in the art world. I loved this exhibition!