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The Shock of the Now - Issue #8

Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Evening All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 8 of The Shock of the Now.
This issue’s Featured Exhibition is Xxijra Hii’s excellent group exhibition ‘HDL’, featuring a number of current Goldsmiths MFA students who I was lucky enough to meet as a visiting tutor earlier this year.
As usual, there are six weekly Recommended Exhibitions, and currently four active Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 8, 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: 'HDL' Group Exhibition - Xxijra Hii, Deptford
‘HDL’ at Xxijra Hii, on Deptford’s gallery highway Resolution Way, witnesses the modest gallery space transformed into an oversized cardboard box. The exhibition, its title a glaring anagram of a particularly ubiquitous courier service giant, serves to explore our ever-increasing reliability on shipping companies and the associated ritualistic processes that surround the sending and receiving of goods. Artists, perhaps more than most, know the importance of dependable packing and couriering, as well as the related anxiety that rears its head during a package’s sometimes lengthy period in transit. We all, however, regularly place our parcels, and trust, in the hands of companies bolstered by brand awareness, logo omnipresence and market dominance. ‘HDL’ utilises the cardboard box concept as a spatial limitation within which to display a carefully considered selection of artworks by a cohort of current students (and one recent graduate) of Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art course.
Tiffany Wellington’s involvement in the exhibition takes the form of a durational, ongoing modification of the physical space. Having designed a label-like screenprint that appropriated the exhibition’s own consignment agreement as textual inspiration, Wellington will intermittently print directly onto the walls and floor of the gallery-cum-cardboard box, a progressive proliferation of terminology such as ‘THIS IS A BINDING CONTRACT’ echoing the periodic stamping of a parcel throughout its journey. Elsewhere, Sihan Ling’s pillow of packing peanuts rests within the very box used to ship the artwork from Ling’s flat to Xxijra Hii. The pillowcase, from the artist’s Martial-Kitsch-Art series, depicts poses from the Martial Sports Boxing mandatory within Chinese education, utilized by Ling as a means to discuss his experience as an international student at Goldsmiths and the importance of intercultural exchange and communication against the backdrop of contemporary globalisation. 
Maya Shoham’s practice revolves around concepts of the readymade, incorporating quotidian imagery from her life as a means of documenting the present. Shoham is drawn to the site-specificity of visuals found in public places, be it on billboards, in supermarkets or at shopping centres, as well as the aspirational images often found within magazines. After collecting and collating a wealth of source material surveying contemporary consumer culture, Shoham recontextualizes the aforementioned imagery into both delicate models and maquettes or standalone enlarged numerals and letters that appear to have stepped right out of a billboard advertisement, questioning the perceived power garnered by scale. Additionally, Pop up Ads/ Model (2021) at Xxijra Hii displays a clear familial influence - her mother and father a stage designer and an architect respectively. Not dissimilarly, Tom Bull investigates the staged settings of antiquated English fiction within an interdisciplinary and performative practice, incorporating aspects of Tudor or Medieval architecture commonly associated with folk and fairy tales. Art and artifice unite in haunting works crafted from unconventional, almost agricultural, means; countryside cottages etched into plywood through burning or domicile structures coated in thick, tar-like bitumen.
Finally, Kavitha Balasingham’s disembodied mouth and eyes smile and gaze at the viewer from within the gallery/box’s MDF cladding, a playful intervention within the space that veers towards the melancholic with the addition of ceramic teardrops and the added knowledge of the artwork’s defiant yet withholding title, I’m always good (2021). Bodiless self-portraiture is also evidenced within the work of Temitayo Shonibare, as a multitude of miniature, 3D-printed, versions of the artist’s own head litter one corner of Xxijra Hii - stand-ins for the now commonplace proliferation of our identity through disparate online profiles, avatars and visages - with even more in endless production captured by the looped video Made in…? (2021). 
‘HDL’, featuring Tiffany Wellington, Sihan Ling, Maya Shoham, Tom Bull, Kavitha Balasingham and Temitayo Shonibare, continues at Xxijra Hii in Deptford until September 25th.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Benjamin Spiers - ‘Desire Lines’ Solo Exhibition - Saatchi Yates, Mayfair (9th September - 1st November, opening Friday 10th September, 6-9pm)
Saatchi Yates presents Benjamin Spiers latest solo exhibition ‘Desire Lines’.
Mark Corfield-Moore - ‘Neither Here Nor There’ Solo Exhibition - Cob Gallery, Camden (9th September - 9th October, opening Friday 10th September, 6-9pm)
Cob Gallery presents Mark Corfield-Moore latest solo exhibition ‘Neither Here Nor There’, bringing together a series of these woven paintings depicting motifs of his dual heritage.
Byzantia Harlow - ‘Take What Resonates’ Solo Exhibition - AM-POP, Fleet Street (9th September - 1st October, opening Thursday 9th September, 6-9pm)
AM-POP, a new exhibition platform, presents Byzantia Harlow‘s latest solo exhibition ’Take What Resonates‘, curated by James Ambrose, in partnership with Harlesden High Street. Harlow will be providing free psychic readings on the 18th of September, and there will be a ’Wheel of Fortune‘ activation on the 22nd of September.
Francisco Rodriguez - ‘The Silence that Lives in Houses’ Solo Exhibition - Cooke Latham, Battersea (9th September - 15th October, opening Thursday 9th September, 6-9pm)
Cooke Latham presents Francisco Rodriguez‘s latest solo exhibition ’The Silence that Lives in Houses‘, featuring a series comprised of quiet interiors: a classroom, a sitting room, a bedroom, an abandoned art class. The exhibition’s title is taken from a 1947 painting by Henri Matisse.
‘Mixing It Up: Painting Today’ Group Exhibition - Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre (9th September - 10th December)
The Hayward Gallery presents ‘Mixing It Up: Painting Today’ a group exhibition of 31 contemporary painters who exploit the unique characteristics of their medium to create fresh, compelling works of art that speak to this moment. Featuring Tasha Amini, Hurvin Anderson, Alvaro Barrington, Lydia Blakeley, Gabriella Boyd, Lisa Brice, Gareth Cadwallader, Caroline Coon, Somaya Critchlow, Peter Doig, Jadé Fadojutimi, Denzil Forrester, Louise Giovanelli, Andrew Pierre Hart, Lubaina Himid, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Merlin James, Rachel Jones, Allison Katz, Matthew Krishanu, Graham Little, Oscar Murillo, Mohammed Sami, Samara Scott, Daniel Sinsel, Caragh Thuring, Sophie von Hellermann, Jonathan Wateridge, Rose Wylie, Issy Wood and Vivien Zhang.
Samara Scott - ‘BRIM’ Solo Exhibition - The Sunday Painter, Vauxhall (11th September - 23rd October, opening Friday 10th September, 6:30-9pm)
The Sunday Painter presents Samara Scott‘s latest solo exhibition ’BRIM‘, coinciding with Scott’s inclusion in the above Hayward Gallery 'Mixing It Up: Painting Today’ exhibition.
Artist Opportunities:
Following on from the successes of Turps Painting Magazine & Turps Art School and mentoring programmes, Turps have launched MASS Sculpture Magazine and MASS Art School, with MASS Off-Site and MASS Studio Programme opening in October 2021 at the new MASS Studios at Thames-Side Studios, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR. 
MASS Studio Programme included residence within open plan shared studio space at MASS Studios, artists talks and access to visiting artist’s mentoring, one-to-one regular mentoring sessions, guest mentoring sessions and group mentoring sessions, MASS Seminar Points & group review sessions.
MASS Off-Site is a 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.  
Huxley-Parlour present 4×3, a new initiative awarding four emerging artists per year a fully-funded exhibition at the gallery’s project space in London’s West End. Recipients will also participate in the gallery’s mentorship programme to gain assistance and advice from the gallery and its wider community of artists and supporters.
The selection will focus on emerging and early-career artists who work in installation and multi-disciplinary practice. They particularly encourage submissions from under-represented and lower socio-economic backgrounds. Each recipient will be granted £5000 to realise their exhibition. Two artists will be selected from each intake.
Eligible to artists who hold a formal qualification in the visual arts from a UK-based place of higher or further education (undergraduate or postgraduate level) and who completed their course between 1st April 2016 and 20th September 2021, with three winning entries purchased for The Ingram Collection and one prize winner receiving a solo exhibition at The Lightbox (Woking, 2022). Selected finalists will be invited to showcase their entries in a group exhibition at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop (November 2021) and all finalists will be invited to attend a programme of talks and seminars from industry professionals during the exhibition run and will be offered the opportunity to apply for an artist residency project in 2022.
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is offering one artist access for three months to one of its spectacular 350 ft² (35m²) studio spaces. Working above the gallery space, the successful applicant has the opportunity to network with artists, curators, collectors and the wider public. The residency programme also provides guidance and promotion through the gallery’s channels and network and culminates with the Solo Residency Exhibition organised in the studio space upstairs.
Personal Projects:
The first Plop Residency x Cob Studios end-of-residency exhibition opens this Friday, 10th September, 6-9pm. I had the pleasure of mentoring Desire Moheb Zandi, Anna Kenneally & Okiki Akinfe during their time on residency, and look forward to their final presentation.
My current curatorial project ‘Wishbone’, a two-person exhibition of Billy Fraser & Mitch Vowles at Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix gallery in Whitechapel, is open Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-6pm, until September 23rd. The exhibition was recently listed as one of spittle newsletter’s ‘Exhibitions of the Week’.
“Absurd and sweetly nostalgic, if you grew up in the nineties and naughties this show will remind you of what it is to be a Brit.” - spittle
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

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