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  • Emilio Blaese


This month's favourite London-based exhibitions, shows and cultural events.

View of “The Mirrored,” 2023. From left: Laura Grisi, Spiral Light, 1968; Germaine Kruip, The Illuminated Wind, Udone-shima, 2023; Laura Grisi, Le dimensioni immaginarie (The Imaginary Dimensions), 1977; Germaine Kruip, 360 Polyphony, Brass, 2023. Photo: Michael Brzezinski.

Laura Grisi, Germaine Kruip - The Mirrored

The Approach

47 Approach Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9LY

Germaine Kruip discovered the work of Laura Grisi in 2022 and was struck by the shared interests and artistic approaches between them. Despite being born in different generations and never meeting, both artists explored themes of time, space, perception, nature, and spirituality. Their works utilized environmental and technological materials such as wind, rain, film, photography, and neon, reflecting a minimal yet playful aesthetic. In the exhibition "The Mirrored," Kruip curated five of her own pieces alongside four of Grisi's, creating a meticulous arrangement that emphasized formal and conceptual connections. The installation included various works, such as films documenting wind effects and subtle interventions using light and mirrors. Through this exhibition, Kruip aimed to engage in a dialogue with Grisi's art, blurring the boundaries between their works and creating a musical remix-like experience for the viewers. The exhibition showcased their shared interests and the interplay of their artistic voices.

Rina Banerjee - Blind Spot, imagining those who are invisible

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

6 Heddon Street, W1B 4BT

Banerjee's exhibition is a captivating journey that celebrates diversity, challenges prevailing narratives, and invites viewers to engage with profound themes of identity, globalization, and the interconnectedness of the human experience. It is an exceptional showcase of an artist whose work transcends boundaries and leaves a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to witness it. Through her large-scale sculptures and installations created from found materials, Banerjee captures the experiences of diasporic communities worldwide. Her own multinational background and encounters with multiculturalism influence her work, infusing it with questions of identity, ethnicity, tradition, and social engagement.

The artist's ability to incorporate objects with diverse origins, ranging from low craft associated with folk culture to more exotic or expensive artifacts, adds a compelling layer to her sculptures. Through these assemblages, Banerjee weaves mythologies that transcend cultural and geographical boundaries, creating a rich tapestry of meaning. Her figurative drawings, adorned with jazz era and science fiction motifs, delve into the positive social transformations brought about by migration. They offer a respite from the present and future rapacity, inviting us into a fantasy world where freedom, flexibility, and resilience pave the way to emancipation from the negative effects of globalization by creating a humanistic inquiry into individualism, inviting viewers to contemplate their own place in the world and the interconnectedness of all beings.

Maryam Tafakory - I want to tell you what I can't


Waterlow Park Centre, Dartmouth Park Hill, N6 5HG

Maryam Tafakory's recent video works reframe the role of montage in cinema, exploring the poetic-political dynamics of Iranian visual culture. Through fragments from popular films, she unveils domestic tensions and forbidden aspects. Her generous and multi-referential approach reflects the interplay of censorship and innovation. Tafakory's videos, such as Irani Bag, Nazarbazi, and She Stuttered, offer thought-provoking perspectives, using annotations, distorted clips, and manipulations to highlight the political necessity of critically engaging with everyday life and moving images.

Face to Face: A Celebration of Portraiture


6 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BY

Portraits hold a significant place in Marlborough's history, reflecting the gallery's longstanding commitment to the figurative tradition. The ground floor features influential figures in modern figuration, including Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lynn Chadwick, Lucian Freud, Maggi Hambling, Alex Katz, Henry Moore, and Celia Paul. Alongside these icons, the exhibition pays homage to Marlborough's pivotal role in exhibiting photography during the 1970s and 80s, presenting iconic photographic portraits by Bernice Abbott, Richard Avedon, Bill Brandt, and Brassaï.

On the second floor, Face to Face explores contemporary perspectives on portraiture. Artists such as Roxana Halls, Hugo Hamper-Potts, Natalia Hazell, Alexander James, Lorena Levi, Darren LyndeMann, Christian Quin Newell, Liorah Tchiprout, Georg Wilson, Vicky Wright, Deanio X, and Ki Yoong present their works, delving into themes of identity, intimacy, and status. These pieces not only incorporate figuration but also employ conceptual, indexical, and object-based modes of representation, synthesizing different elements of the portraiture tradition. Beyond capturing external likeness, Face to Face contextualizes portraiture by exploring its allure, critiquing its elitist associations, and drawing attention to the banal or even grotesque. This exhibition presents diverse, highly personal, and unconventional approaches to depicting the sitter, forging connections between works that engage with Marlborough's rich past and vibrant present.

Pilvi Takala

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art

SE14 6ED

Pilvi Takala explores Marc Augé's concept of non-lieux, purposeful yet transient spaces where we seldom stay, seeking honesty within them. While Augé focuses on airports and train lines, Takala's fascination lies in office blocks, investigating their unspoken rules and the silent power dynamics at play. In her video works, Takala covertly films or reenacts her observations, often disguising herself and engaging with unsuspecting participants. Through her interventions, she disrupts the established flow of these spaces, introducing behavioral eddies. For example, in "Close Watch," she spent time undercover as a mall security guard, later involving her ex-colleagues in workshops to role-play their experiences. Takala's approach is probing and therapeutic, allowing her subjects to reveal insights about their roles and power dynamics. She also engages in playful comedy, such as dressing as Snow White at Disneyland Paris, where her presence confuses and surprises both staff and visitors. However, some of her actions, like in "The Stroker," can be perceived as unsettling, as she invades personal space without consent. One of her notable works, "The Trainee," showcases her unobtrusive presence in an accounting firm, riding elevators and gazing into space, prompting mixed reactions from colleagues. Takala's exploration challenges social norms and prompts reflection on our behavior in these spaces.

Pilvi Takala, The Stroker, 2018, two-channel HD video projection, color, sound, 15 minutes 16 seconds.

Cover image; Rina Banerjee, Crying. Crying and crying tiny or gigantic minerals, crystals like diamonds blistered, raw and w/o notice, jewelers, and brides in summer solstice, 2023, acrylic, silver leaf, marble paper and vintage Venetian papers. Credit: Courtesy the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.

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