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The Shock of the Now - Issue #38

Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Afternoon All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 38 of The Shock of the Now.
This issue’s Featured Exhibition is Clara Hastrup’s current solo exhibition ‘Prickly Tunes’ at the UK Mexican Arts Society, which sees the artist masterfully conduct an orchestra of cacti choristers, with mesmeric and moving results.
There are also eight weekly Recommended Exhibitions and two fresh Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 38, 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: Clara Hastrup - 'Prickly Tunes' Solo Exhibition - UK Mexican Arts Society
Back in pre-pandemic 2019, I visited the Royal Academy Schools‘ customary Premiums interim exhibition, a chance to peek behind the curtain and glimpse artists at the halfway mark of their postgraduate study. Alongside firm favourites such as Harminder Judge, Jenkin van Zyl and Liv Preston, I particularly enjoyed Danish artist Clara Hastrup’s sonic sculpture Echinocactus Grusonii: Polyphonia Fibonacci, which I described at the time, in a previous column incarnation, as “a large cactus placed on a rotating platform, it’s spines plucking and pricking against eight carefully arranged microphones to create a polyphony that plays in real-time through the gallery speakers.”
In the intervening years, Hastrup has continued to hone and perfect her playful post-humanist pairings of the natural and the digital, the organic and the artificially ordinary. Specialising in creating controlled chaos, she merges mundane, oft-overlooked objects or organisms with rudimentary technology, constructing surrealist and nonsensical systems or absurdist environments operating across all axes of the infamous chaotic, neutral, lawful alignment matrix. Each individual element is abstracted from its original intended application or activity, promoted instead to a higher status as performers, dancers, conductors, directors and, as is the case at the UK Mexican Art Society, musicians. 
For Prickly Tunes, Hastrup returns to the rotating Cactaceae, scaled-up and sophisticated to form an immersive multi-sensory site-specific installation consisting of four hundred miniature cacti, each atop its own mini motor. Programmed to spin when instructed, the herbaceous ensemble performs an hour-long musical melody, composed by Hastrup herself, their outstretched spines striking and plucking strings repurposed for harps, mandolins, guitars, banjos or ukuleles. The private performance of serenading succulents is both hypnotic, humorous and oddly haunting, as the collected cacti rarely revolve in unison, rather in pairings, groupings or canons, interrupted by intermittent silences, sans-spinning. Naturally, your eyes dart around the stacked shelves, ears attuning to the direction of each spiky sound, desperate to catch the culprit cactus in the act. And while the individual miniature musicians are not invited to improvise - a vast network of wires, sensors, switched and motors keeping them on message - Hastrup embraces the possibility that their spines may lengthen or shift direction throughout the exhibition’s duration, producing slight alterations in prickly pitch or thorny tone.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Emma Fineman - ‘Encounters’ Solo Exhibition - Huxley-Parlour, Mayfair (27th April - 21st May, opening Wednesday 27th April, 6-8pm)
Huxley-Parlour presents ‘Encounters’, a solo exhibition of new work by London-based artist Emma Fineman. The exhibition consists of work across three mediums: painting, sculpture, and monoprint. Encounters engages with theory on the post-internet age. The title refers to a modern hierarchy of imagery in which ideas of space, communication and touch - both physical and metaphorical - are contested.
Rafal Zajko - ‘Song To The Siren’ Solo Exhibition - Cooke Latham, Battersea (27th April - 27th May, opening Wednesday 27th April, 6-8pm)
Cooke Latham Gallery presents ‘Song to the Siren’, a solo exhibition by Polish artist Rafał Zajko. At the core of Zajko’s practice lies a belief in science-fiction as inherently queer, an arena of otherness in which alternate futures and belief systems can be imagined and explored. In Song to the Siren the gallery becomes a forum in which unexplained action is ever-present. Punctuated by a series of intricate individual works the space nonetheless performs as a unit.
Mary Stephenson - Solo Exhibition - Incubator, Marylebone (27th April - 1st May, opening Wednesday 27th April, 5:30-7:30pm)
Incubator presents Mary Stephenson‘s latest solo exhibition, the first in a programme of back-to-back week-long exhibitions showcasing the work of the most exceptional emerging artists working in London. Incubator arose as a response to the growing need for emerging artists to articulate their vision through individualised exhibitions. As a youth-led exhibition programme, Incubator aims to unify disparate practices and voices from the same generation, which will reflect the energy and culture of London.
Featuring Xavia Duke Richards (11th-15th May), John Richard (11th-15th May), Archie Boon (18th-22nd May), C. Lucy R. Whitehead (25th-29th May) & Alicja Biala (1st-5th June).
Tom Anholt - ‘New Lands’ Solo Exhibition - Josh Lilley, Fitzrovia (28th April - 28th May, opening Thursday 28th April, 6-8pm) 
Josh Lilley presents ‘New Lands’, Tom Anholt’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. Anholt’s protagonists go to the woods. They go to the sea, to the caves, to far-flung lands and forgotten islands. They swim the depths and stride in the shallows, wade in the snow and cower in the rain. Quietly deliberate in their actions, theirs is a journey with no end but much to savour along the way. Whether actively exploring or momentarily pausing, they appear to be contemplating their place in the world, from humble park to cascading vista.
Lucia Pizzani & Vanessa da Silva - ‘Transient Roots’ Two-Person Exhibition - Sapling, Mayfair (28th April - 26th May, opening Thursday 28th April, 6-8pm) 
Sapling presents ‘Transient Roots’, exploring humanity’s kinship with nature through a duo presentation of sculpture and photograms by Lucia Pizzani and Vanessa da Silva, curated by Huma Kabakci, organised in collaboration with Open Space. Plants, fungi and human beings co-exist in a symbiotic relationship, producing the oxygen we breathe in while absorbing the carbon dioxide we release - our every act of breathing is an act of earthly intimacy between them. Despite constantly adapting to survive, flourish, and shift, plants are sensitive beings - connected to lifeforms around them, rooted in the earth and soil.
Caroline Walker - ‘Lisa’ Solo Exhibition - Stephen Friedman Gallery, Mayfair (28th April - 28th May, opening Thursday 28th April, 6-8pm) 
Stephen Friedman Gallery presents Caroline Walker‘s latest solo exhibition 'Lisa’, featuring a new body of work that traces the daily life of her sister-in-law Lisa as she becomes a mother. Walker’s cinematic paintings and works on paper reveal the diverse experiences of women living in contemporary society. Drawing on photographic source material, her paintings blur the boundary between objective documentary and personal experience.
Lewis Davidson - ‘Clickers’ Solo Exhibition - Xxijra Hii, Deptford (28th April - 28th May, opening Thursday 28th April, 6-9pm) 
Xxijra Hii present ‘Clickers’, the first solo exhibition at the gallery by Lewis Davidson. Clickers will bring together a body of work made by the artist over the past year. Consisting of plastic sculpture, stop-motion animation and sound, the gallery will host an exhibition of work made up of mostly salvaged plastic. Davidson creates sculpture in the palette of the everyday vernacular, drawing on souvenirs, hobbies, toys, utensils and packaging. 
Rhea Dillon - ‘The Sombre Majesty (or, on being the pronounced dead)’ - Soft Opening, Bethnal Green (30th April - 11th June, opening Friday 29th April, 6-8pm) 
Soft Opening presents Rhea Dillon‘s latest solo exhibition 'The Sombre Majesty (or, on being the pronounced dead)’. Dillon (b. 1996) is an artist, writer and poet based in London. She was recently an artist in residence at Triangle - Astérides, Marseille and previously at V.O. Curations, London, which culminated in a solo exhibition, Nonbody Nonthing No Thing and the publishing of a poetry chapbook, Donald Dahmer (both 2021). 
Artist Opportunities:
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.
Kupfer Project Space x Hackney Impact & Ideas invite Hackney-based artists to apply for their newest residency programme. Between June and October 2022 Kupfer will host 4 underrepresented and socially underprivileged Hackney-based artists for a 3-month long residency where they will each develop both in practice and international recognition. Artists can either live in Hackney or have a studio in Hackney. During the 3 month residency, Kupfer will support the artists through: Access to an individual studio space and our in-house workshop facilities; monthly grants paid to the artist in salary style; a grant dedicated to funding art materials to be used during the residency; technical support and mentorship from the organisation’s staff and monthly one-to-one tutorials led by established artists, curators and researchers.
“With Whom We Mutually Communicate?” calls for artists, thinkers and practitioners from all areas who wish to answer ONE of the following prompts set through Alain Badiou’s extraction of Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense, which Badiou would call the four Delezean axioms of the event:
“Unlimited becoming becomes the event itself.”
“The event is always that which has just happened and that which is about to happen, but never that which is happening.”
“The event is of a different regime than the actions and passions of the body, even if it results from them.”
“A life is composed of a single and same event, lacking all the variety of what happens to it.”
Answers can be in any form: visual arts, writings, event proposals, workshop ideas and more. Selected submissions will be exhibiting as part of “With Whom We Mutually Communicate?” at Copeland Gallery, May 26th - 29th.
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 This programme is supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council 
A Space For Art and The Hari Hotel present The Hari Art Prize. The award will be open to all applicants who are self-taught or have graduated in the last two years (2020-2022) from UK art colleges from 4 April until 30 May 2022. A shortlist of artists will be chosen by A Space For Art and an elite panel of judges. Artwork from the shortlisted artists will be showcased at the hotel in an exclusive exhibition from 1 September 2022 until February 2023. The overall winner will be awarded a £10,000 cash grant, generously donated by Dr. Aron Harilela. The two runners up will receive the opportunity to become the next Artists in Residence based at The Hari from January to February 2023, followed by an exhibition of their work at the London hotel. All three finalists will have their work exhibited at The Hari’s newest hotel in Hong Kong.
Entry is now open for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022. Open to all, it is the leading international competition and celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary photography. The winner of the competition will receive £15,000. In addition, the judges, at their discretion, will award cash prizes to one or more of the shortlisted photographers. The prize winners and exhibition selection are judged on an equal and anonymous basis. In 2021 the exhibition was held at Cromwell Place and featured a total of 54 portraits from 25 artists.
Exeter Contemporary Open is an annual open submission exhibition, established in 2006 and hosted by Exeter Phoenix, a busy, multi-artform venue and contemporary art space situated in Exeter’s historic city centre. The exhibition aims to provide an important national platform for contemporary visual art with an emphasis on supporting emerging talent alongside more established artists. The exhibition is open to contemporary visual artists working in any media including painting, sculpture, photography, print, drawing, video, mixed and digital media. Each of the artists selected for the exhibition will be eligible for one of several cash prizes: The £1000 Overall Award, £500 Additional Award and £200 Audience Choice Award – as voted for by visitors over the course of the exhibition. 
The Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that administers intellectual property rights on behalf of visual artists. ACS is offering an artist the chance to win £4,500 to contribute to the cost of an artist’s studio in the UK. If you are a UK or EEA national and are an undergraduate or postgraduate university student on an accredited art course who is about to graduate, or if you have graduated from a university accredited art course within the last four years, and you work in pictures, collage, painting, sculpture, tapestry, ceramics, glassware or photography, then you are eligible to apply for the prize.
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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