17 Jul From Koons to Ghenie
Myself and Chloe take the occasional day off to go and see some new shows… So we started at the new Jeff Koons show over at the Serpentine. He’s never been an artist that I’ve been particularly enamoured with but I have to say I was fairly impressed by these paintings. I guess sometimes you have to put aside the fact that he has a factory producing these pieces and just appreciate them for what they are.
I quite like the use of Popeye as a metaphor, at first seeming like another throw-away pop icon but on the 80th anniversary of the comic strip’s creation the appropriation of this figure is all the more timely as a reminder of the Great Depression of 1929. Not that we need a reminder really.
And then on to White Cube to see London’s favourite artists Gilbert and George’s new show. I see these guys around alot, their studio is around the corner from mine on Brick Lane and they have dinner every evening in Mangal in Dalston right round the corner from my flat. They’re perfect gentlemen, always immaculately dressed and their current show displays their unique twisted sense of humour. Cute and dark. I want to be like them when I grow up. But maybe without the male lover.
Strolled past Anthony Gormley’s 4th plinth installation ‘One and Other‘. Just another platform for the Big Brother generation so the less said the better (although some participants have raised money for various charities so kudos for that).
I was gutted that Yinka Shonibare’s proposal was dismissed in favour of this. He hoped to build a scale replica of Nelson’s HMS Victory in a bottle complete with sails bearing African textiles from England’s colonies. But the UK still doesn’t like to address its shady past so instead we have muppets on a pedestal.
And finally, on to Haunch of Venison to see a few shows in their new home at the Royal Academy. We were completely blown away by Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie who’s dark and dangerous paintings recall the ominous days of the old European history. His figures appear like foggy shapes in mysterious interiors and I hate to repeat this ol cliche but they really do have to be seen in the flesh. He has such a magical command of oil paint, the figures scraped back and struggling in a damp muddy palette. So we ended our gallery trip on the other end of the spectrum, from Koon’s shiney happy people to Ghenie’s down and dirty. I like dirty.