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Smoking with Hockney and Tacita Dean

Plus: lining up the evidence at Michael Hoppen Gallery; Fausto Melotti's ingenious sculptures; and an unsung branch of the Bauhaus

24 September 2016

As Frieze week approaches, there are hundreds of new exhibitions and events vying for attention across London. Which should you see? We’ve put together a series of highlights: for the full selection, click here.

‘Tacita Dean: LA Exuberance’ at Frith Street Gallery (until 4 November)

Tacita Dean’s latest solo exhibition in London is an overview of the recent challenges, in form and subject, which the artist has set herself. Dean’s record of artists at work now includes David Hockney (to add to Cy Twombly and Merce Cunningham among others) – her short 16mm film Portraits records the painter smoking his way through five cigarettes. Also made in California are a series of lithographs depicting clouds and vapour trails and a series of drawings of clouds on slate. In contrast to all this contemplative activity is the 2015 film Event for a Screen, the record of a performance by the actor Stephen Dillane over four nights at the Sydney Biennial in 2014.

Event for a Stage (2015), Tacita Dean. Courtesy Frith Street Gallery, London. Photo: Stephen White

Event for a Stage (2015), Tacita Dean. Courtesy Frith Street Gallery, London. Photo: Stephen White

‘? The Image as Question: An Exhibition of Evidential Photography’ at Michael Hoppen Gallery (28 September–26 November)

The photographs in this show were taken for many different purposes, but are united by the fact that they were intended to be seen as ‘evidence’. Nineteenth-century examples range from Étienne-Jules Marey’s physiological enquiries – his series of a naked man walking – to Guillaume Duchenne’s studies of facial expressions. More recently, Simon Norfolk’s images of the Iraqi National Archives in 2003 are a document of destruction. How we see such images long after their evidential purpose is served is the crux of the exhibition.

One of a pair of American Police Identity line-up photographs, 1/5/1933 (with and without hats). Unknown Photographer. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery

One of a pair of American Police Identity line-up photographs, 1/5/1933 (with and without hats). Unknown Photographer, Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

‘Fontana/Melotti: Angelic Spaces and Infinite Geometries’ at Mazzoleni London (28 September–18 November)

It’s still possible to have read a lot about an artist and seen reproductions of their artworks without having seen it in the flesh, and that’s where I am with Fausto Melotti. I’m looking forward to encountering his ingenious, spare sculptures for the first time and suspect that the pairing with Lucio Fontana’s paintings – sculptural objects in themselves – will be an intriguing one.

Tre Tempi (1971), Fausto Melotti. Hauser & Wirth

Tema e Variazioni IX (1980–86), Fausto Melotti. Courtesy Mazzoleni; © Fondazione Fausto Melotti and Hauser & Wirth

‘The Ulm Model’ at Raven Row (5 October to 18 December)

Raven Row’s imaginative excavation of the overlooked or out of fashion continues with this show about a slightly unsung branch of the Bauhaus. From 1953 to 1968 the Ulm School of Design founded by Inge Scholl, Otl Aicher, and the astonishingly versatile Max Bill (who had studied at the Bauhaus at Dessau), gained an international reputation for industrial design. The school’s work for Braun and Lufthansa make its teaching and work a key part of the post-war world. Raven Row seems to have mastered the art of trawling through archives and making engaging displays, so I have much higher hopes of this than most design exhibitions.

Advertisement for Erbotherm, heat therapy unit (1962). Designers: Tomás Maldonado, with Gui Bonsiepe and Rudolf Scharfenberg. Manufacturer: Erbe Elektromedizin.

Advertisement for Erbotherm, heat therapy unit (1962). Designers: Tomás Maldonado, with Gui Bonsiepe and Rudolf Scharfenberg. Manufacturer: Erbe Elektromedizin. Photo: Wolfgang Siol. Courtesy HfG-Archiv / Ulmer Museum

More London highlights…

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