The Shock of the Now

By Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

The Shock of the Now - Issue #35

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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Afternoon All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 35 of The Shock of the Now.
In another change from the customary, this week’s Featured Exhibition text has been swapped out for a travelogue of sorts, covering my recent trip to Milan and the many exhibitions seen during my week away. Whilst Milan Art Week may be over, and miart packed up for another year, the majority of the exhibitions mentioned will still be running, if indeed you do find yourself in Milan over the next month or two. Apologies for the alteration to expectations, but I hope you find it of interest, and all will be back to normal for next week’s issue!
There are also seven weekly Recommended Exhibitions and four fresh Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 35, 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

Lo Shock Dell'Adesso - Milan Art Week Musings
Collective Ending - Co_atto, Porta Garibaldi Stazione
Collective Ending - Co_atto, Porta Garibaldi Stazione
Having successfully navigated both airport security and customs with three suitcases full of artwork in tow - despite raising suspicions and requiring inspections of certain sculptures - Collective Ending arrived in Milan to take part in co_atto, an alternative satellite art fair coinciding with Milan Art Week and miart. Consisting of eighteen subterranean shop window style vitrine spaces at Porta Garibaldi Stazione, the Piccadilly Circus equivalent of Milan’s metro, this ‘non-fair’ returns for its second edition, supporting and spotlighting independent galleries and curators not eligible for miart, the city’s annual modern and contemporary art fair. Sustained by succulent market stall strawberries we set about installing a continental CASA, the first international iteration of our itinerant exhibition series HOUSE showcasing one artwork from each of our Collective Ending HQ studio members. This was the first time we have exhibited as a full complement since 2020, and we were pleasantly surprised by the seeming solidarity and coincidental cohesion between our artist’s practices.
In the intervening two years, both Gobyfish Collective and Yuli Serfaty have joined our ranks, and for co_atto the former’s Maia Magoga and Fenella Brereton are showing sculptural objects in keeping with their collaborative practice exploring the ritualistic side of food preparation and consumption, while Serfaty is exhibiting a C-Type print depicting a glistening CGI’d Lockheed C-130 Hercules - the American turboprop military transport aircraft - nose nestled into the ground. Alongside, Elliot Fox‘s Alloyed Thinking continues his examination of Cornwall’s post-industrial meets natural landscape and includes faux tree facial features and a miniaturised replica Gwennap Pit, as Alia Hamaoui’s roadside shrine simulacrum is resplendent in mosaic tiles and the artist’s signature dyed sand. Billy Fraser debuts his Cry Havoc series of resin tablets, here with poured liquid pewter encased amongst the Latin letters, and _ˈpɑː®tɪk(ə)l_ introduced the first in a new body of hand-carved black Valchromat sculptures, made moveable across their supporting panels by a complex configuration of magnets. Finally, Harrison Pearce fittingly contributes a previously unseen prototype for the soft sculpture edition he released at Milan’s Ribot Gallery last year, and Ted Le Swer’s polished poster board is plastered with imagery taken from his martian moving image work Storm Arnold.
Co_atto’s subway stop site allows for an impressive amount of footfall, especially seeing as the station seems to be a major junction in the local metro network. During our trip, we walked by a number of times on our way through Porta Garibaldi and celebrated seeing passersby stopping to inspect the curated selection of independent international offerings.
Anicka Yi - Pirelli HangarBicocca
Anicka Yi - Pirelli HangarBicocca
A marked difference in the Milanese artistic milieu, in contrast to our own in London, is their penchant for private museums and foundations, the Pirelli HangarBicocca and the Fondazione Prada being two standout examples. The former, located on the outskirts of the city, is a one-time locomotive factory that has been totally transformed into a crawling complex for contemporary art, complete with Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palace (which recently acted as a pop-up vaccination station, well worth searching out images of people patiently awaiting immunisation amongst the artist’s teetering concrete towers).
Anicka Yi‘s temporary exhibition Metaspore offered a welcome deeper insight into the South Korean artist’s conceptual practice, having previously only witnessed her recent commission in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. A bulbous PVC biodome houses an artistic ecosystem reliant on its carpet of ochre stained bread dough; twin washing machine doors contain Eau de Bullfrog or Traennen until opened by inquisitive visitors, and nearby hanging lamps inspired by Isamu Noguchi flicker as animatronic insects inside flit this way and that. A seminal early work scrutinising our basic need to respirate and ingest/digest, Skype Sweater, consists of an oversized opake parachute perpetually billowing; an entirely see-through Lanchamp duffel filled to bursting with hair gel, cow innards and floating fish hooks; an iridescent Mylar missive deep-fried in tempura batter, and bloodied razor blades embedded in a slab of glycerin.
Steve McQueen - Pirelli HangarBicocca
Steve McQueen - Pirelli HangarBicocca
Next door, unknowingly encountering Static - Steve McQueen’s famed Statue of Liberty film - projected on an almost IMAX scale screen with surround sound summoning a helicopter hovering overhead, was an artistic experience almost unparalleled. The artist’s temporary exhibition Sunshine State also sees the debut of his latest moving image artwork of the same name, a two-channel projection that opens with film footage of the sun that bathes the HangarBicocca’s stadium-sized space in a warm orange wash. As the artwork progresses McQueen’s own narration retells a troubling familial anecdote, accompanying distorted and disturbing footage from The Jazz Singer (1927), the earliest cinematic example of including synchronised dialogue, including now-infamous scenes of Al Jolson applying blackface makeup.
Carsten Höller - Fondazione Prada
Carsten Höller - Fondazione Prada
Across town, at the Fondazione Prada, the pre-existing early 20th-century architecture of its site on a former distillery is juxtaposed with avante-garde structural interventions designed by Rem Koolhaas’s firm OMA, including the jewel in the crown, a central four-story building clad entirely in twenty-four-carat gold foil. Known as the Haunted House, this gilded gallery space is the permanent home to works by Robert Gober and Louise Bourgeois, which while although not scary in the carnival funhouse sense, instead evokes emotional upset or the onset of an existential crisis, one subtitled by Bourgeois’ embroidery that reads The Cold Of Anxiety Is Very Real
Much of the foundation, and indeed its central Milan offsite Osservatorio, feels if not directly favourable to, then at least wilfully aware of, the phenomenon of the Art Selfie, with many a mirrored wall, mood lighting and immersive installation. Case in point Carsten Höller‘s upturned agaric mushrooms, accessible only through an unnerving sensory deprivation passageway, which although charmingly homemade in person were partly interrupted by the aspiring influencers undertaking mid-photoshoot wardrobe changes behind the revolving Amanita muscaria.
Elmgreen & Dragset - Fondazione Prada
Elmgreen & Dragset - Fondazione Prada
The previous evening, Plastic - Milan’s premier nightspot - played host to the official afterparty for the opening of Fondazione Prada’s latest exhibition, Elmgreen & Dragset‘s Useless Bodies?, including displaying the duo’s video artworks and install shots behind each DJ booth, intercut with footage from The Beatle’s animated adventure movie Yellow Submarine. The exhibition itself, however, was of little interest, especially having previously seen their 2018 Whitechapel Gallery survey, but did offer the chance to view the artist’s satirical skewering of art fair infrastructure The Outsiders (2020). Originally parked outside last year’s Art Basel, this Mercedes W123 features two life-sized and like-like figures fast asleep, spooning while surrounded by packing materials, wrapped artworks, wall labels, shipping tubes, discarded drinks bottles and other detritus. Their Basel installer passes and lanyard rest neatly on the dashboard. It’s a peaceful picture that belies the hard work and often limited financial remuneration that comes from art world employment and feels equally apt in its current context, given the foundation even insists that all staff return their Prada designed uniforms at the end of each day, for fear of secondary market resale.
Emilia Kina - eastcontemporary
Emilia Kina - eastcontemporary
Speaking of art fairs, despite an engaging and exciting emerging art entranceway, miart unfolded into a mass of mostly 20th-century monotony, save for a few familiar faces in the form of Anna Perach tufted totems with ADA, Márton Nemes‘ pyrotechnic paintings with acb Gallery, Sam Bakewell’s scrumptious ceramics with Corvi-Mora, Zoe Barcza’s cosmic collages with Darren Flook, Todd Bienvenu’s surfers swimming in impasto oil with Galerie Sebastian Bertrand and Josephine Baker’s debris dioramas with Nir Altman.
Of the city’s commercial gallery circuit, select personal highpoints include Maurizio Cattelan’s suicidal sculptural self-portrait YOU installed within the grandiose green marble bathroom of Massimo De Carlo’s Casa Corbellini-Wassermann headquarters; eastcontemporary’s presentation of Emilia Kina’s trompe-l'œil curtains complete with warped wavy canvases and pleasing pastel pinks and Valerio Nicolai’s solo exhibition at Clima consisting of two murals with foregrounded foxes set atop fading patterned picture plane. Majestic murals in and of themselves, they graduate to genius status once you spot the four ocular orifices in place of the vulpine eyes, through which peep whichever poor interns or studio/gallery assistants the artist has persuaded to crouch behind the false walls for the exhibition’s duration (special mention should be made to the playful attendant who roguishly requited our winking!).
Robert Brambora - Sans titre (2016)
Robert Brambora - Sans titre (2016)
Elsewhere, Sans titre (2016) presented a pop-up exhibition to mark the release of Robert Brambora’s magnificent monograph, featuring fresh paintings of post-apocalyptic highways rendered in an autumnal palette alongside copper glazed ceramic countenances placed upon plinths complete with lucky pennies and other discarded copper coinage, all hosted within a local artist studio space. Lastly, and our final stop before heading back to Milan Malpensa airport, Eduardo Secci‘s two gallery spaces are resplendent in malbec maroon for a two-person exhibition of Daniel Crews-Chubb, whose primitive pigmented figures appear carved out of coarse collaged surfaces stained with sand, spray paint and oil stick, and Kevin Francis Gray, who creates his battered busts in collaboration with one of Italy’s last marble studios employing traditional techniques recalling the Renaissance.
Perhaps the biggest take-away from my time in Milan, was the exhilarating enjoyment of being surprised by art once again. I find that feeling rare in London these days, as for the majority of exhibitions I visit I have either promoted them in advance, have seen abundant install shots or artworks photographs online, or have had the pleasure of being involved to some degree in their production. To enter the galleries, foundations and museums in Milan with little prior knowledge as to what I would find was refreshing and reinvigorating, and a feeling I will look to replicate and recapture.
Lastly, I would like to thank Marta and the co_atto team for their invitation and continued support of Collective Ending, Elliot and Billy for their company and Mauro, Andrea, Julia, Agnieszka, Matteo, Maria, Elisa, Daniel, Robert, Darren, Valeria, Vittoria and Agnese for their hospitality! H x
Daniel Crews-Chubb & Kevin Francis Gray - Eduardo Secci
Daniel Crews-Chubb & Kevin Francis Gray - Eduardo Secci
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Pam Evelyn - ‘Built on Clay’ Solo Exhibition - The Approach, Bethnal Green (7th April - 15th May, opening Wednesday 6th April, 6-8pm)
The Approach presents ‘Built on Clay’, the debut London solo exhibition of paintings by the young British painter Pam Evelyn. The show title takes its name from the geological composition of the city of London, which has a predominantly clay foundation. As a material, clay is volatile and unpredictable, it shrinks and expands depending on its water content, imbuing it with the capacity for collapse. Evelyn’s painting process shares similar qualities, the title becoming a comment on the work itself. From the moment she approaches the canvas, Evelyn begins with a problematic and challenging foundation, an untackled and incalculable terrain.
‘The Drawing Year 2021: End of Year Exhibition’ - The Royal Drawing School, Shoreditch (8th-14th April, opening Thursday 7th April, 6:30-8:30) & The Royal Drawing School’s ‘The Drawing Year 2021: Open Studios’ - Space Studios, London Fields (6th-19th April, opening Friday 8th April, 6:30-9pm).
The Royal Drawing School presents The Drawing Year 2021‘s End of Year Exhibition and Open Studios, featuring Jamiu Agboke, Jade Anthony, Catarina Cardoso, Charlotte Edey, Sophie Edwards, Nour el Saleh, Allegra Fitzherbert, Isabel Garfield, William Goldsmith, Rowley Haynes, Christina Kimeze, Shana P Lohrey, Sammi Lynch, Ranald Macdonald, Katie Marland, Phoebe Mash, Christine Mills, Zuzanna Pedrasik, Dexter Orszagh, Gabriel Phipps, Kitty Rice, Gregory Stevens, Viola Wang & Minna Williams.
Olivia Sterling - ‘Manslaughter’ Solo Exhibition - Guts Gallery, Hackney (7th-28th April, opening Thursday 7th April, 6-9pm)
Guts Gallery presents ‘Manslaughter’, an exhibition of new work by Olivia Sterling. Challenging hierarchical systems of power, the exhibition intentionally destabilises and interrogates these modes of control by reimagining a world in which the role of the oppressor is inverted.
Marcus Nelson - ‘Lost Boys’ Solo Exhibition - Eve Leibe Gallery, Dalston (7th-29th April, opening Thursday 7th April, 6-9pm)
Eve Leibe Gallery presents ‘Lost Boys’, an exhibition by the London-based artist Marcus Nelson. The show will mark ​his ​inaugural exhibition with the gallery, and his second solo show in the UK. ​Nelson’s practice focuses on interpreting internal conflict in a fluid and psychologically charged way; his work questions the very notion of logic in our existence and examines what remains when we expose our raw vulnerabilities.​
Oliver Clegg - ‘Tongue-tied’ Solo Exhibition - MAMOTH, Euston (8th April - 15th May, opening Friday 8th April, 6-8pm)
MAMOTH presents ‘Tongue-tied’, a solo exhibition by British-born, Costa Rica- based artist Oliver Clegg. The exhibition is a homecoming of sorts, the artist’s first solo presentation in London since 2008, following several years living and showing in New York before relocating to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Clegg is among a generation of British artists who have helped to bring the medium of painting back into the spotlight, both nationally and on the international stage.
Harley Weir - ‘Sins Of A Daughter’ Solo Exhibition - Hannah Barry, Peckham (9th April - 7th May, opening Saturday 9th April, 2-8pm)
Hannah Barry Gallery presents Harley Weir‘s debut London solo exhibition 'Sins Of A Daughter’.
Eva Gold - ‘The Last Cowboys’ Solo Exhibition - Ginny on Frederick, Farringdon (9th April - 22nd May, opening Saturday 9th April, 5-8pm)
Ginny on Frederick presents Eva Gold‘s latest solo exhibition 'The Last Cowboys’.
Artist Opportunities:
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.
Whitstable Biennale are inviting submissions of short film and video works by early-career artists to be part of Whitstable Biennale 2022, which will take place from 11-19 June 2022. The open call invites submissions of existing films and video works from early-career artists that resonate with or relate to the concept of ‘afterwardness’ and its associated themes.
The North Devon Artist Residency was founded in 2018 and is open to artists in all media at all stages of their careers. Its aim is to create a body of work inspired by and engaging with north Devon and the village of Combe Martin. North Devon Artist Residency is offering a month-long residency during 2022 or 2023. The aim of the residency is to build a body of contemporary artworks which engage with north Devon and the village of Combe Martin, where the residency is based.
They are currently specifically seeking proposals that take the medieval church in Combe Martin as its subject. They envisage that the residency will be offered to a photographer (most likely) who will be able to take a creative and contemporary approach to documenting the interior and exterior of St Peter’s church in a fresh and exciting way. Whilst They think that a photography proposal is most likely to be selected, they are also very open to proposals in painting, drawing, sculpture, craft – as long as they are original, innovative and explicitly contemporary!
Deadline - Friday 15th April.
To mark their 1 year anniversary, Liliya Art Gallery are delighted to announce their first Open Call. It is completely free to enter, all you have to do is email pictures of your work (max three per artist) with information (medium, dimensions, price) and a short bio. Selected artists will have their works featured in their first Open Call exhibition opening 27th May 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.
With further funding from The Fenton Arts Trust, the A.P.T & Fenton Arts Trust Mentoring Award, returns for a second year, to provide mentoring and free studio space for one year to two emerging artists or recent graduates, whose practice is focused on sculpture and installation. The awardees will receive studio space for a year, as well as advice and guidance on their fine art practice from a mentor. This mentoring will be provided by esteemed professional artists at APT: Victoria Rance and Sheila Vollmer. Starting in July 2022, this unique programme is designed to provide space and support during the period between education and professional life, with a collaborative one-to-one mentoring relationship.
Film London and Arts Council England present The FLAMIN Fellowship, a major scheme for early-career artist filmmakers living in England. Part of Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), the Fellowship aims to support the most exciting, innovative and challenging moving image practices from filmmakers at the early stages of their careers, with development and funding for new work. The FLAMIN Fellowship offers a unique opportunity in developing professional artistic practice with a series of monthly workshops, which cover key areas including selling artwork, film festival strategy, writing funding applications, archiving your work, sound design, insurance, copyright and sustaining a practice.
Submissions are now open for the Village Books curated SCREW Gallery billboard. There is no theme. One image will be chosen, but applicants are welcome to submit up to 1-5 images of any medium of image-based artwork (photography, illustration, video stills, painting, collage etc) in portrait format to be displayed on the side of the gallery in Summer 2022. The selected artist will be paid an £80 fee for their participation, with all printing costs covered by Village/SCREW. The banner size is double A0 so a ratio of 1.414:1 however can be accommodated with a border or a tigger crop if the artist allows. Email all submissions as low-res jpegs with the heading ‘SCREW billboard submission’ to sam@villagebooks.co. This programme is supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council 
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.
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

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