Having indulged in The Horror Show! a couple of weekends ago, I thought it’s time to go and see some of these wonderful free exhibitions that the capitol has to offer. Particularly in and around Soho, Mayfair and Fitzrovia, within 5 to 10mins walking distance away are a multitude of excellent galleries offering woks of art from around the world, for free. No need to wait until Cezanne hits the Tate, you just walk down Newman Street, parallel to Oxford Street, galleries are only a few feet away from each other.
After a little lie in and breakfast, I put on my wide jeans and comfy trainers for a few hours of gallery hopping. In order:
- Indigo + Madder
- Castor Gallery
- Pontone Gallery
- Pipeline Gallery
- Hauser & Wirth
It is not my intention to give you basically a translation of a two page press release. In there, the artist’s work is often artificially described as complex and intents to give you the impression that this is something beyond your comprehension so you better not start arguing or have an opinion. Which turns any attempt to have an own opinion invalid. Based on my knowledge in the arts (not academic!) and the respect that I have for true artists and their talent, I’m gonna give you a quick breakdown of how I perceived these artworks. These are just my opinions.
indigo + madder gallery: Noorain Inam, A dream that visited every night
Inam is young painter born in 1998 and this is her first solo exhibition. Her works are placed directly next to an icon’s work but more on him later. It reminded me a bit of David Lynch, a creepy sense of carefully placed details that seem to harbour quite some significance but you just can’t make it out. Similar to the guy sitting in this red room in Twin Peaks. While some of the renderings are a little….simple let’s say, the motives are nightmarish.
Pipeline gallery: Johanna Bath, Shivers
A veeeery subtle Gerhard Richter style paired with 50s Americana vibes surrounds you inside the Pipeline Gallery. Bath introduces simple graphic symbols in plain flat colours to her dream like visions of portraits, always moving, never still.
Pontone gallery: Lee Jaehyo
As part of the Pontone Gallery’s permanent exhibition is a chair by Lee Jaehyo that somehow really struck me. I don’t know if it’s the flawless execution or the smooth dynamic of the piece. The holes are just as important and impressive as the chunks of wood this chair is made of. I looked up how other work and my overall impression was that it’s like a smooth sports car from the future, made of raw wood. Useful, decorative, impressive, simplistic and beautiful. Wow.
Hauser & Wirth: Günther Förg, Tupfenbilder
From excellence to what looks to me like an amateurish wannabe. I don’t know what this work is about but I’m quietly shocked and upset that this stuff is on display in one of the most prominent galleries in London. The title is “spotted paintings” and frankly, my answer is nope. These are tests at best. And when I spoke earlier on people who don’t understand fine art then please enlighten me because right here, I don’t see the skill. There is no visible technique, just a mere idea of something that went wrong. Some critics described them as “rhymes and poems”and I guess this explanation is plausible. Still, the overall impression when seeing those huge canvasses is rather cringe. I felt silly looking at them yet some people were fascinated. Again, please let me know what I missed. Perhaps he should have stuck to Photography and Graphic Design.
Castor Gallery: Clyde Hopkins – paintings
Somewhere hidden underground in Fitzrovia is Castor gallery and I first walked by not noticing it. After a short tunnel system you’ll bump into a small gallery space. I have never heard of Clyde Hopkins before but I quickly found out that he was a teacher and that he died in 2018. To people who don’t understand fine art his work might look like childish smearing but I was so taken, I cannot believe he isn’t world famous. The technique is impeccable, his brushstrokes are something that you develop after years of training. The paintings exude a lust for life or suffering, whichever, they are full of raw passion. More so, there is real BALANCE. The compositions are incredibly balanced amidst the chaotic whirlwind living on the canvas. An absolute must see and if you can’t, I urge you to check him out.