Exhibition Highlights: September - October
Hannah Perry, GUSH, Somerset House
One of the most powerful exhibitions you will see this year, GUSH reflects on the emotional and mental impact of the sudden death of Perry’s friend and long-term collaborator Pete Morrow. This is intensely personal terrain but the universality of tragedy, grief and loss resonates beyond Perry’s own unfortunate narrative.
Comprised of dynamic sculpture, a multi-channel video installation and wall-based works, GUSH is visceral, candid and unapologetically confrontational. Perry’s large scale suspended sculpture ‘Rage Fluids’ dominates and weaves its way through the Somerset House’s River Rooms. Formed of a car body wrap - a material common within Perry’s work - the reflective surface forces the viewer to confront their own image: one which is distorted by a vibrations of subwoofer speakers.
Friendship too is a central theme. Collaborations with artists Mica Levi, Coby Sey and the London Contemporary Orchestra that feed into the immersive video, are genuine negotiations of the artist’s loss and are a moving tribute to Perry and Morrow’s relationship.
Through GUSH we, the viewers, are compelled to acknowledge that emotions are slippery and raw. Overt from the exhibition’s title, Perry reminds us that emotions resist containment and categorisation yet is clearly frustrated that they are widely gendered. As the prevalence of mental health issues and the rates of male suicide continue to rise, lazy associations and blanketed attributions to one sex, cannot be tolerated. Within the context of Mental Health Awareness Day, GUSH has a particularly profound message. It is our duty to listen.
River Rooms, Somerset House | Runs until 4 November | Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA | https://www.somersethouse.org.uk
Christopher P Green, Thames-Side Studios
A solo exhibition comprising largely small-scale acrylic paintings of astute precision. Immediately striking is Green’s choice of scale, with the majority of his paintings on display hovering between A4 and A5 in size: a brave move in a stark, 2600 square foot gallery space. This defiance of the environment shows Green’s commitment to this chosen format, alluding to a quiet confidence in his handling and the overall shape of the exhibition.
And with good reason. Each painting implies an individual, internal logic through distilled compositions but offers an invitation to explore the show further. This feels like the work of an artist whose process is not constrained by predetermined outcomes or imposed limits but is instinctive and open. This translates into an exhibition which displays an incredible flow and - enabled by the simplicity of the installation - feels unimpeded and generous.
Thame-Side Studios Gallery | Runs until 14 October | Harrington Way, Woolwich, London SE18 5NR | Thursday-Sunday 12-5pm during exhibitions and by appointment | https://www.thames-sidestudios.co.uk
Strange Days: Memories of the Future, The Store X
This large-scale group exhibition was initially conceived as a compendium of artists who had contributed to exhibitions at the New Museum over the last decade. This early vision was refreshed through a three-part collaboration between the New Museum, The Store X and The Vinyl Factory and brings together 21 artists who work across film and video. It boldly promises work that is ‘enigmatic and oracular… polyphonic.. visions of the future.’
The premise is as spectacular as it is highfaluting, reiterated by dramatic production and a slightly laboured structure. No question that this is off-putting, as are the doorman and women that and ensure you see all 21 works. It has the feel of a heavily-curated and awkward club night.
Whilst the tone is initially irksome, the success of ‘Strange Days’ lies in the quality of the presentation, the ambition and the selection of artists involved. A lot has been thrown at it, with, I imagine, a good measure of the effort aiming to hit the brief of creating an ‘epic’ experience. This works for and against the works in equal measure. Make time for Pipilotti Rist’s spectacular ‘4th Floor to Mildness’ , Cally Spooner’s ‘Drag Drag Solo’ and one of my favourite works of all time, ‘Jewel’ by Hassan Khan. If The Store X took a less self-conscious approach, my impression is that the venue would work for the artworks and visitor to better effect.
The Store X, 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA | 2 October – 9 December 9, 2018 | 12–7pm Tuesday – Saturday, 12–6pm Sunday | http://www.thestores.com/180thestrand/
Top Image: Installation image from Hannah Perry, GUSH
Below left to right: Hannah Perry, Christopher P Green and Strange Days