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The Shock of the Now - Issue #32

Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Evening All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 32 of The Shock of the Now.
This issue’s Featured Exhibition is Sujin Lee’s debut solo exhibition at Saatchi Yates in Mayfair. I was honoured to be asked to write an accompanying essay for the exhibition’s catalogue, and the text below is a slightly shortened version of that essay.
There are also six weekly Recommended Exhibitions and three fresh Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 32, and if so do forward it along! As always any questions, comments or feedback are welcome, so feel free to get in touch.
All the best, and speak soon, H x

Featured Exhibition: Sujin Lee - Solo Exhibition - Saatchi Yates
Upon entering artist Sujin Lee’s debut solo exhibition at Saatchi Yates you immediately feel the eyes on you. Unsettling unwavering stares, vacant glazed over gazes and steady sideways glances all appear to follow you as you move around the gallery space. Piercing painted peepers reminiscent of the exaggerated eyes of American artist Margaret Keane, social media photo manipulation filters or anime in the lineage of Manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka (an ocular trait also often evidenced in the Korean comic equivalent Manhwa). You are also entering a setting seemingly devoid of men, one that echoes well-known women-only worlds such as Wonder Woman’s homogenised homeland of Paradise Island, a segregated nation-state where men are banned under penalty of capital punishment, or Whileaway, the fictional utopia of Joanna Russ’ acclaimed feminist science fiction novel The Female Man (1975), in which all men have succumbed to a gender-specific plague. However, the sole focus upon female representation amongst Sujin’s artworks results from a much more innocent explanation, the South Korean artists’ desire both to paint her own lived experiences and to experience life through her paintings. 
Almost entirely self-taught, Sujin originally studied visual communication and flirted with a career in commercial illustration, before she became frustrated with the constraints placed upon her creative expression and instead turned to painting as a source of liberation. While working as an artist’s studio assistant Sujin began to pursue a painting practice predicated upon observation, learning by looking. Her earliest works, therefore, are notable for their grounding in reality, showcasing snapshots of urban life in paintings such as Girls on the Street, a city scene populated by figures appearing to follow contemporary fashion trends, or depicting domesticity in Hair Cut, the interruption of an intimate moment. As is often the case, Sujin initially drew from her immediate surroundings for inspiration, where source material was available in abundance and accessible instantly.
Eventually, such fervent observation begins to look inward and tends towards self-reflection. Unsurprising perhaps given Sujin’s preference for painting what she knows, as the young artist strives to truly know herself her work developed an air of possible self-portraiture, all the while resisting representational portrayals, rather opting for a more emotionally engaged likeness or more intimate artistic impression. When unsure of how to express herself, Sujin paints as a process of self-discovery. When reflecting upon outside influences - stimuli such as movies, television shows, literature or social networking sites - Sujin exercises empathy, imagining herself within each specific scene or scenario, predicting each potential reaction to elicit an honest emotive response. Rather than being indicative of any extended or continuous narrative, each painting exists in its own present, every persona portrayed with heightened emotions right at the surface, their heart on their sleeve. 
Throughout, heads rest upon shoulders or nestle into necks, cheeks press against cheeks, hands hold, intimacy encapsulated and a closeness of contact much missed in recent pandemic plagued times. However, a sense of sanitisation prevails as reality is, metaphorically, airbrushed to allow for an aura of cleanliness, consistency and conformity. Gone are the nosebleeds, bloodshot eyes, cold sores, plasters and bandages present in Sujin’s previous paintings, instead, these are perfection personified. Only momentary mask-slips - a strand of bedraggled hair for instance - hint at life’s truthful imperfections, here mostly hidden.
Janga, Maze and Dummy evoke a neoteric nostalgia, posed like the fictional friends of Friends or Charlie’s titular Angels these groupings recall the Spice - or Powerpuff - Girls, cultural icons that promoted feminist ideology and female empowerment. Similarly, each individual exhibits a unique and immediately identifiable personal style or appearance, a trope frequently found in contemporary K-pop within girl groups such BLACKPINK, Red Velvet, TWICE or Stay C. Friends, meanwhile, echoes certain K-pop stars’ penchant for matching uniforms, as well as the Korean custom of ‘couple looks’ or twinning with your significant other, here however with added eerie Kubrickian traces of those ghostly Grady Twins. Prosopagnosia, commonly known as face blindness, is the cognitive disorder of facial perception that leaves sufferers relying upon secondary signifiers for recognition, namely clothing, hair colour or voice. The uniformity of facial features and blank expressions of Sujin’s figures leaves us too searching for similar clues, save for voice and with the addition of their surroundings, as to their individual identities or personalities. 
It is said that you cannot dream of a face you haven’t seen before, and if that is the case then these are those fleeting faces. Those visages unwittingly witnessed, of passersby and fellow passengers, that mass of anonymised appearances that leave unregistered yet lasting impressions upon your subconscious. This is perhaps Sujin’s true skill as a painter, to create depictions that embodied empathy by portraying everyone and no one, all at once.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Liam Fallon - ‘The Hotspot’ Solo Exhibition & Derek Mainella - ‘Too Much Fun’ Solo Exhibition - Castor, Deptford (18th March - 23rd April, opening Thursday 17th March, 6-9pm)
Castor presents Liam Fallon‘s debut London solo exhibition 'The Hotspot’ and Derek Mainella‘s latest solo exhibition 'Too Much Fun’.
Max Petts & Robert Orr - ‘Flowers’ Two-Person Exhibition - Xxijra Hii, Deptford (18th March - 16th April, opening Thursday 17th March, 6-9pm)
Xxijra Hii presents ‘flowers’, a two-person exhibition by Max Petts and Robert Orr. The exhibition brings together over a decade of dialogue surrounding health, communication, care and the slipperiness of identity. Across video, drawing, sculpture and photography the artists attempt to access a lineage of growth and the impermanence of time and place.
‘SEVEN’ Group Exhibition - Alice Black, Fitzrovia (18th March - 15th May, opening Thursday 17th March, 6-9pm)
Alice Black presents ‘SEVEN’, the inaugural exhibition in their new central London gallery space at 46 Mortimer Street, which spotlights their newly formalised roster of artists, featuring Rachael Bailey, Ivan Black, Dante Elsner, Matthew Harris, Tristan Pigott, Amber Pinkerton & Atalanta Xanthe..
Martin Parr - Solo Exhibition & Corbin Shaw - Solo Exhibition - OOF Gallery, Tottenham (18th March - 8th May, opening Thursday 17th March, 6:30-8:30pm)
OOF Gallery presents solo exhibitions by Martin Parr (above) & Corbin Shaw that delve into the culture of football fandom. Parr, one of the world’s leading photographers, has documented the national game for decades, while Shaw is a young artist who uses football flags and memorabilia to subvert traditional ideas of masculinity. Together, these exhibitions look at what it means to watch football, and how the game is the beating heart of our society.
Thomas Adam - ‘Chemtrails Over Camberwell’ Solo Exhibition & ‘Praxis’ Group Exhibition - Arusha Gallery, Fitzrovia (18th - 28th March, opening Friday 18th March, 6-8pm)
Arusha Gallery presents Thomas Adam‘s solo exhibition 'Chemtrails Over Camberwell’ (above), alongside the group exhibition ‘Praxis’ featuring James Owens, Alia Hamaoui, Carl Anderson, Rosa Lee, Joshua Hagler & Mohammad Barrangi.
In recent artworks, Adams attempts to highlight the absurdity of society’s idea of normality, where community and environment are secondary considerations - an afterthought to our attempt to navigate the challenges of contemporary living. He presents fictional characters immersed in the obligatory routines of modern life, but who also subconsciously understand, that these set patterns are far from natural. 
Mark Leckey - ‘1. To the Old World (Thank You for the Use of Your Body) 2. Carry Me into The Wilderness 3. Under Under In’ Solo Exhibition - Cabinet Gallery, Vauxhall (19th March - 30th April, opening Friday 18th March, 6:30-8:30pm)
Cabinet presents Mark Leckey‘s latest solo exhibition.
Artist Opportunities:
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop are now accepting applications for their Solo Residency (May - July 2022). ​The gallery is offering one artist access for three months to one of its spectacular 350 ft² (35m²) studio spaces, with both natural and professional lighting. Working above the gallery space, the successful applicant has the opportunity to network with artists, curators, collectors and the wider public whilst visiting ongoing exhibitions and events organised in the gallery. The residency programme also provides guidance and promotion through our channels and network, as well as the Solo Residency Exhibition organised in the studio space upstairs.
Are you a creative practitioner or collective looking to take up space, share and inspire conversation, build creativity and connection? Autograph are inviting proposals for events to take place either at their building in Hackney, London or via our online platforms. Autograph are welcoming artists, producers, writers, performers, musicians, curators and collectives to propose and host an event that relates to Autograph’s mission to explore issues around race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice. This might include - but certainly isn’t limited to - launch events, spoken word or performance, in-conversation and Q&A events, creative workshops, or film screenings. Successful applicants will receive a £600 budget as well as a £300 curatorial fee. Selected proposals will take place between 2022 and early 2023.
hARTslane is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary by calling women and female-identifying creatives based in Hatcham & New Cross to take part in ‘The Way we Rise’ exhibition in hARTslane gallery, 22 April – 1 May 2022. Artists can submit one artwork, which can include painting, film, drawing, photography, print, sculpture, mixed media, and performance. On the opening night of Friday 22nd April, hARTslane will be running a programme of short performances and film screenings. They greatly encourage submissions for live work.
The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is the most significant award for emerging artists working in the field of sculpture in the UK. It is unique in its combination of offering financial support towards the production of new work, plus a solo exhibition to an exceptional sculptor. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the award and to celebrate the prize fund has been raised to £10,000. The award also includes a national touring programme, taking MTSA artists to partner venues across the UK. Applicants must be established residents of the UK. Students in current education are not eligible to apply. This applies to BA and MA students or equivalent, but those undertaking postgraduate research work leading to a PhD/Mphil/MLitt/ MRes or equivalent are able to apply.
RES. 007 will take over one of Changing Room Gallery locations in Soho, London for a 28-day long duo residency. Artists have access to their residency space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the 4 weeks of their residency. During this time both artists will participate in a studio critique, a talk and artist-led workshop from a visiting artist and an interim interview with photography of studio work. Artists will also have a £250 materials budget and a fully-funded exhibition at the end of their residency.
The Mark Rothko Memorial Trust Funded Artist-in-Residency programme is now open for submissions, seeking two professional artists, working in any medium, currently based in the UK, who wish to travel to the Mark Rothko Art Centre (Daugavpils, Latvia) and are available on the given dates (1st-30th August 2022). Each artist receives studio space and accommodation organised and paid for by the Trust at the Mark Rothko Art Centre for the given period, as well as an award sum of £4,500 each, given in advance of the residency. Awardees will be responsible to organise and pay for their own travel arrangements, materials, stipend and all other associated costs.
The Trust would expect the awarded artist to make full use of the opportunity to travel, engage in a new culture, make new works and interact with the local creative community. In return the Trust requests only that the awarded artist sends a brief report on the outcome of their experience and provides the Trust with images that may be used on the Trust’s website, this will be of benefit to future candidates.
I Felt That is a multidisciplinary, collective project consisting of an exhibition, interview series, essay and published magazine dedicated to articulating the complex language of pain, through commissioned artworks visualizing real stories from women and non-binary artists who experience ‘the gender pain gap’. The project will begin with a meeting with selected artists to discuss their experiences of pain and (gendered) health issues, and create a forum for conversation, community and trust. Whilst considering ways to present and visualize pain, it will bring about a collective discussion about how one work can build on another, and create a community and discussion around such a vital topic.
After initial meetings and discussions, there will be an opportunity to partake in a lecture series, hosted in collaboration with London Drawing Group, discussing the art historical context for women artists working with these ideas. Artists will be encouraged to make works in response to these conversations, meetings and lectures. The artworks will be put into an exhibition in May 2022, that will take viewers on an expressive deep-dive into gendered pain, and explore the history of women’s pain in more detail.
Turps Studio Programme is a unique opportunity for a select group of painters to take up residence in their own dedicated studios within an exciting studio and gallery development in South East London, just 10 minutes from Elephant and Castle. Participants embark on a year-long programme of intensive mentoring, dynamic group seminars, talks, and crits with the option to continue for a second year. Participants are expected to work within this professional environment with commitment and a strong work ethic, as well as participating fully in a community-based studio.
Turps Off-Site is an exciting mentoring opportunity for London based painters who want to develop their practice through the ethos of Turps Studio Programme but wish to remain working in their own studio. A team of Turps Mentors visit participants in their own studios for one to one tutorials, and painters will develop a supportive network of peers across London, through group studio visits to each other’s studios, crits based at Turps Studios and regular visits to attend talks at Turps Art School across the year.
Gasworks presents a residency opportunity for an artist whose practice is concerned with the advancement of participation within a contemporary art environment. ⁠The candidate must be committed to engaging with the local migrant community around the Lambeth and Southwark areas, while addressing the issues of mental health and wellbeing which are of relevance to them. The candidate will deliver a diverse range of regular participatory activities in a creative and enjoyable way throughout the 8 months of the residency. The programme should incorporate the artist’s own practice as a means of developing a cohesive project with an overall output at the end of the residency. Outputs could be in the form of a publication, film, podcast, exhibition, performance, digital media, sculpture or any other type of public presentation.
Residency dates: May 2022 to December 2022 (8 months), Artist Fee: £200 per day, Working days: 2 days a week, flexible working days and hours, Programme budget: £5,000 (includes materials for activities and final output), Location: Gasworks, 155 Vauxhall Street, London.
Staffordshire St Studios are looking for proposals from curators, artists, makers, designers, and performers to exhibit in their project space as part of a new supported programme of events presented by STS.
STS are looking for projects that engage and reinvigorate the gallery space bringing new audiences to the space and make insightful and relevant commentary to this time and place. Theu are particularly interested in cross-disciplinary collaboration and community engagement through a series of events alongside each exhibition. STS want to support artists at all stages of their career and will select successful proposals from this Open Call to deliver three-week exhibitions in their gallery space alongside the rest of their programme in 2022.
Applications are now open for The Drawing Year, Royal Drawing School’s one-year postgraduate-level course offering up to thirty students the opportunity to focus on drawing from observation. There are no tuition fees – all students are awarded a full scholarship and receive a free personal studio space (SPACE studios, Hackney) from which they can continue to work on the development of their practice alongside taught courses. The programme is taught by a distinguished faculty of over 75 practicing artists offering in-depth quality tuition. Royal Drawing School sees drawing both as an end in itself and in relation to other areas of practice.
The Waverton Art Prize is aimed at supporting artists all over the world by showcasing the very best in contemporary art with a first prize of £10,000 and shortlisted work forming an exhibition at Alice’s Oyster Bar and Gallery in London for 2 months. The Waverton Art Prize is open to artists at all stages, whether already enrolled on a course, about to embark on undergraduate or post-graduate studies, self-taught artists, recent graduates and those who have studied at any time. The selection will lean more towards unrepresented artists and those who have not shown at significant establishments, but artists who are exhibiting regularly and have shown at galleries will also be considered.
MASS Studio Programme was launched in October 2021 at MASS Studios at Thames-Side Studios, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR. MASS is in the heart of the largest single-site community of artists and creatives in London. Working in collaboration with the London Sculpture Workshop they offer a number of on-site studio spaces and a flexible exhibition and talks space to enable us to build a sustainable community of peers and mentors. Participants join an open plan shared studio space at MASS Studios at Thames-Side Studios with 24/7 access, receive to 15 artists talks and access to visiting artist’s mentoring, 10 one-to-one regular mentoring sessions, 2 one-to-one guest mentoring sessions, 2 group mentoring sessions, 10 MASS Seminar Points & 2 group review sessions. The programme runs in three 12-weeks blocks across a 10 month period.
MASS Off-Site is an exciting new mentoring opportunity for London based sculptors who want to develop their practice through the same successful ethos employed by Turps Mentoring programmes and wish to remain working in their own studio. MASS Mentors visit sculptors in their own studios for one to one tutorials, and participants develop a supportive network of peers across London, through group studio visits to each other’s studios, crits based at Turps Gallery and attending MASS artist talks.
Mass Correspondence Course is an innovative distance-learning programme of online mentoring facilitated through critical, supportive written reviews by a dedicated mentor. The course is aimed at sculptors based anywhere in the world and at any stage in their career who want to develop or reinvigorate their work, whether recently graduated from art school or those without any formal arts education. 
Turps Correspondence Course is an innovative programme of online mentoring facilitated through critical, supportive written reviews delivered by a dedicated mentor. The course is aimed at painters who want to develop or reinvigorate their work, whether recently graduated from art school, mid-career or those without any formal arts education. The course is designed and structured to be delivered entirely online so that painters, based anywhere in the world and at any stage in their career, can participate and receive informed, critical feedback from a mentor who is a practising painter selected by Turps. There are 5 review points throughout the year when you will be required to upload images of your work and a short statement or ‘letter’ to your mentor. Your mentor will then review what has been uploaded and write their response. It is a very different type of feedback from more conventional face-to-face tutorials but we believe this is what makes the correspondence course such an appealing and sought after professional development course.
V.O Residencies provide emerging and lesser represented artists with the time and space to research and develop new work. The 2022 V.O Residency Programme will host six artists across three sessions, inviting practitioners to experiment and create new work in an open and supportive environment. Residents are provided with free studio space, critical and practical support, the opportunity to present a solo exhibition, and access to useful resources and a broad network of individuals and organisations. V.O aims to bring together diverse voices and encourages applicants from all backgrounds. The V.O Residency Programme is focused on promoting artistic exchange, socially-focused discourse and knowledge production.
V.O Residencies are open to artists in their first five years of professional practice and with less than three solo exhibitions. Each resident is invited to present a solo exhibition or project at V.O Gallery, and will have the possibility of producing a publication or print project related to the work they have developed while in residence.
Personal Projects:
Collective Ending and Well Projects present Artist Against War Print Editions
Collective Ending wants to support the people in Ukraine who are suffering as a result of the invasion by Vladimir Putin. We have partnered with our dear friends Well Projects for an Artists Against War print editions fundraiser, of which 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Sunflower Of Peace. We have selected this organisation due to their ability to provide essential medicines, aid and support to the people in Ukraine, through a network of doctors and medical professionals on the ground.
Collective Ending artists Alia Hamaoui, Elliot Fox, Billy Fraser, Yuli Serfaty (w. Anisia Affek) & Ted Le Swer have each produced a limited edition risograph print, produced in kind by Well Projects. Prints are available for £50 each, in an edition of 20. Please visit Well Projects Shop to purchase.
Lewis Brander & Sonya Derviz‘s two-person exhibition 'First Light’ at Collective Ending HQ, which I organised, closes this Saturday. We’ll be open Thursday & Friday, 17th & 18th March, 12-6pm, and Saturday, 19th March, 12-9pm. Thanks to all those who have visited the exhibition over this past month!
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

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