The Shock of the Now

By Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

The Shock of the Now - Issue #9

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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Evening All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 9 of The Shock of the Now.
This issue’s Featured Exhibition is Sofia Mitsola’s magical solo exhibition ‘Aquamarina: Crocodilian tears’ at Pilar Corrias. I’ve been an ardent proponent of Sofia’s work since I first discovered it at a Slade interim show a few years ago, and always relish any opportunity to see her paintings in person. Her latest exhibition is a must-see!
There are also eight weekly Recommended Exhibitions, and five fresh Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 9, 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: Sofia Mitsola - 'Aquamarina: Crocodilian tears' Solo Exhibition - Pilar Corrias, Fitzrovia
‘Aquamarina: Crocodilian tears’, Sofia Mitsola’s second solo exhibition at Pilar Corrias in Fitzrovia, see’s the artist immortalise her own fictitious mythic narrative, having for many years mined the history and mythology of her native Greece for inspiration. The exhibition introduces the protagonist’s Aqua and Marina, a pair of huntress sisters, as they inhabit their seemingly paradisal underwater empire, unaware of a looming reptilian predator. The beguiling beauties lounge and frolic with wanton abandon in the gallery’s upper space, continuing the artist’s ongoing exploration of the nude female body and subversion of conventional notions of the female gaze. Not dissimilar to their Grecian or Egyptian counterparts the Sirens and the ​Sphinx, Mitsola’s figures are at once alluring yet confrontational, unflinchingly meeting the gaze of each and every voyeuristic viewer, whilst avoiding seductress or temptress territory with manifest sexual liberation and empowerment. Surrounded by their angelic acolytes, charms bejewelled with precious stones and architecture incorporating ornate Greek caryatids, Aqua and Marina are portrayed literally larger than life within azure, translucent turpentine washes set against swathes of luscious, opaque oil paint.
The exhibition takes a sudden, sinister turn as you move through the upper gallery space and encounter the immense drawing that wraps around two walls, evoking The Bayeux Tapestry in its depiction of the heroines impassioned battle against the evident villain of Mitsola’s myth, Crocovelus Niloticus. The warrior sisterhood’s frenzied struggle with their crocodilian foe plays out across the expanse of paper, a fury of flailing limbs, flowing hair and fierce eyes wrestle with the scaled swathes of toothed jaws, all carefully choreographed in charcoal. Downstairs, the conflict’s bloodied denouement is depicted through a triptych of paintings, lent further gravitas by their setting within the velvet-lined lower gallery space. Mitsola’s previously cherubic figures calmly subdue, or seduce, the predatory reptile, before savagely slicing its throat in the final powerful painting, dripping in sanguine. The exhibition’s press release quotes the renowned German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “Anyone who fights with monsters should make sure that he does not in the process become a monster himself.”, and in this vicious climax, it becomes clear that it was it in fact Aqua and Marina shedding crocodile tears all along.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Yulia Iosilzon & Anna Skladmann - ‘Paradise Is Not Just a Place’ Two-Person Exhibition - Roman Road, Bethnal Green (16th September - 6th November, opening Thursday 16th September, 6-9pm)
Roman Road presents ‘Paradise Is Not Just a Place’, a two-person exhibition of Yulia Iosilzon & Anna Skladmann, showcasing photography, painting, ceramics and an entire floor space covered in black sand, that submerge viewers into the intertwining of the vibrant and beautiful natural world.
‘Hawala’ Group Exhibition, curated by Shezad Dawood - Paradise Row, Mayfair (16th September - 29th October, opening Thursday 16th September, 6-9pm)
Paradise Row, a one year, nonprofit, curatorial project, presents their inaugural group exhibition ‘Hawala’, curated by Shezad Dawood, featuring Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Shezad Dawood, Sunil Gupta, Haroun Hayward, Harminder Judge, Jasleen Kaur, Haroon Mirza, Anousha Payne & Rithika Pandey (above). The exhibition takes as its starting point the parallels between hawala, the informal, decentralised, and ledger-based system of money exchange prevalent in South Asia and its diasporic communities, and the structure and functionality of blockchain technology.
Dean Kenning - ‘Evolutionary Love’ Solo Exhibition - Standpoint Gallery, Shoreditch (16th September - 30th October, opening Thursday 16th September, 6-9pm)
Standpoint Gallery presents Dean Kenning‘s latest solo exhibition, the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award Show 2020/21. For ‘Evolutionary Love’, Kenning has produced a series of semi-autonomous, interactive creatures, which crawl and drag themselves continuously around the gallery, avoiding obstacles and interacting with visitors and each other. Point of view footage is live-streamed on screens, viscerally giving the audience a close-to-the-ground creaturely perspective.
Olivia Sterling - ‘Really Rough Scrubbing Brush’ Solo Exhibition - Goldsmiths CCA, New Cross Gate (17th September - 31st October, opening Friday 17th September, 6-9pm)
Goldsmiths CCA presents Oliva Sterling‘s latest solo exhibition 'Really Rough Scrubbing Brush’. Sterling’s new body of work, commissioned by the CCA as part of the Episodes programme, focuses on colour-changing bodies through tanning or fake tan, on the stage of the bacchanalian British package holiday.
Eugenio Dittborn’s solo exhibition ‘Airmail Paintings’ and Sam Keogh‘s solo exhibition 'Sated Soldier, Sated Peasant, Sated Scribe’ are opening concurrently at Goldsmiths CCA.
Dale Lewis - ‘No Place Like Home’ Solo Exhibition - Block 336, Brixton (17th September - 23rd October, opening Friday 17th September, 12-8pm)
Block 336 presents Dale Lewis‘ latest solo exhibition 'No Place Like Home’, featuring new paintings that respond to his experience of Covid-19. Depicting a host of characters from London’s lesser and well-known gay and LGBTQ+ scenes, from the Royal Vauxhall Tavern to Wanstead Flats, these new paintings reflect on how social distancing and enforced segregation impacts on the shared experiences of intimacy, pleasure, solidarity and loss.
Aleksandra Waliszewska - ‘STARA BABA’ Solo Exhibition - Bosse & Baum, Peckham (17th September - 30th October, opening Friday 17th September, 5-9pm)
Bosse & Baum present Aleksandra Waliszewska‘s debut London solo exhibition 'STARA BABA’, featuring mixed media works on cardboard spanning from 2007 to 2021.
Dan Linden - ‘After Images’ Solo Exhibition - Claas Reiss, Euston (18th September - 30th October, opening Saturday 18th September, 12-6pm)
Claas Reiss presents Dan Linden‘s debut solo exhibition 'After Images’, featuring new paintings and accompanied by an interview between Linden and Nicola Stephanie, a British artist and writer based in Newburgh, NY, USA.
Daniel Graham Loxton‘s solo exhibition 'The Patron Saint of Turning’ is opening concurrently at Projektraum London, a project space situated on the lower level of the gallery.
‘“Hope” is the thing with feathers’ Group Exhibition - South Parade, Deptford (18th September - 16th October, opening Saturday 18th September, 12-6pm)
South Parade presents the group exhibition ‘“Hope” is the thing with feathers’, exploring what it means to look forward, while reflecting on the past and the present, featuring Joshua Armitage, Malcolm Bradley, Tom Hardwick-Allan, Julie Maurin, Holly Mills & Siggi Sekira (above).
Artist Opportunities:
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.
The Ballad of Peckham Rye is inviting artists to engage with ideas of ecology and sustainable food production, growing and cultivating plants, particularly within an urban environment. They are interested to hear ideas you might have for one-off workshop sessions and/or small-scale artistic interventions that could relate to activities aiming to; share practical skills; engage people through discussion; explore opportunities for co-production; make and/or present new work within this specific context.
The project will offer 3 early-career artists a fee of £200 (plus travel expenses up to £50 and materials agreed in advance). We envisage a session will last between 1-2 hours and will be delivered on a date to be specified in October/November 2021. TBOPR and AFRIL will support artists with the planning and delivery of their projects.
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.
This new fund offers awards of £2,000 for two early-career practitioners (artists, curators and producers) to connect, experiment, learn from each other and share ideas. The 1:1 FUND is designed to offer an injection of support for two practitioners who want to work together. You can apply to strengthen an existing collaboration, or to explore a new one. Your work together can happen either in-person or remotely, and you can work together for some or all of the time.
Are you involved in producing exhibitions or art research? Does this work include a focus on British art? Are you passionate about making positive changes to the way British art is collected, displayed and interpreted? Do you feel you have a way to go to feel well-established in your career? Would you benefit from a peer support network and professional development programme?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above, the British Art Network’s Emerging Curators Group (ECG) wants to hear from you! They are looking for 15 people to form the latest Emerging Curators Group, coming together regularly over nine months from January to September 2022.
The Artists Information Company is offering bursaries of £500 to £1,500 to Artist and Joint (Artist and Arts Organiser) members wishing to engage in a period of self-determined professional development. We know that it continues to be a challenging time for artists so the bursaries are designed to support the continuation of artistic practice and to help alleviate the financial pressures that may have arisen through the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
FLAMIN Productions aims to seek out ambitious, mid-career, London-based artists whose projects have the potential for national and international exhibition and distribution. Alongside £30,000 of funding, FLAMIN Productions will provide ongoing support in development as well as mentoring opportunities tailored to the artist. With works accepted at the stage of concept or development, the project will signify a pivotal progression for the artists’ careers. The fund will support up to three artist’s projects.
Personal Projects:
For the final event in our ‘Parasol’ summer events programme, Collective Ending presents ‘Seam, Strata, Séance’, inviting the public to traverse a landscape of audio-visual works that critically engage with ecology, (de)coloniality and knowledge production.
Three distinct audio-visual works created over 2021 by Tavga Guttstadt, Sherie Sitauze and Yuli Serfaty will be situated within the Collective Ending gallery for the weekend of the 25th and 26th of September. All three works are framed within unique geopolitical contexts yet are tied together in their desire to communicate alternative narratives that subvert hegemonic systems of knowledge and power.
My current exhibition, ‘Wishbone’ at Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, a two-person exhibition of Billy Fraser and Mitch Vowles is in its final weeks!
Thanks to all those who have visited the exhibition so far, and for those who haven’t caught it yet it’ll be open this Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm, as well as the following Wednesday & Thursday. I’ll personally be at the gallery this Friday & Saturday, and next Thursday, so those interested in a tour! ⁣
⁣Thanks also to Kabir Jhala for featuring the exhibition as one of his ‘Emerging art exhibitions to see in London this weekend’ for The Art Newspaper, Tabish Khan for featuring the exhibition as one of his ‘Top 5 Art Exhibitions To See In Late September’ for FAD Magazine, and to Isabel Davies and Spittle newsletter team for featuring the exhibition as one of their ‘Exhibitions of the Week’!
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

Weekly Featured Exhibitions, Recommended Exhibitions & Artist Opportunities

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