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What we've seen this month: visual arts

  • Date: 25 November 2011
  • Area: London

Staff at our London office experience lots of great art every week. This month they bring you some of their visual arts highlights. 


Aaron Angell, The Devil's Arse, until 17 December 2011 - SPACE studios

The rise to prominence of Aaron Angell continues with his second UK solo show in as many months. Entitled The Devils Arse, and currently being shown at Space Studios, this exhibition sees the young artist strip back his eclectic output to focus on a series of handmade objects.

Abstract wall collages based on the twee civic ritual of clock flowers are set against a number of glazed ceramic works that, muted in their brown hues, fascinate the viewer with a twisted beauty drawn from the confrontation of biomorphic form with brutal amateur aesthetic. Angell's influences remain diverse but his nostalgia for a certain strain of 1970's utopianism, that finds its reference in The Wicker Man rather than The Good Life, remains intriguing.

Scott Burrell, Assistant, Visual Arts

John Smith, unusual red cardigan, until 10 December 2011 - PEER

This intriguing and insightful show begins with the sweet display of a child's jumper in the gallery window. This gives nothing away but once the context is revealed the object becomes even more charming: it is part of a collection that John Smith purchased from one eBay seller (who was also selling a copy of the artist's well-known 1976 film The Girl Chewing Gum) in an effort to learn more about him. All the objects in the exhibition are displayed along with screen grabs from the items' eBay pages.

In the other half of the gallery Smith has revisited and reworked The Girl Chewing Gum, which featured a Dalston street corner filmed from a fixed position with Smith directing passersbys and any recorded events. By returning to the same street corner - now completely changed - and superimposing a new film on top of the old, he creates a ghostly display of a London scene that is both retro and contemporary, as well as captivating on so many levels. 

Julia Royse, Relationship Manager, Visual Arts

Anri Sala - Serpentine Gallery

Anri Sala's carefully curated exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery plays with the relationship between sound and image, engaging and encouraging the viewer to be immersed in a world with one song. Three films performing, and accompanied by, reinterpreted versions of the punk song Should I stay or Should I go play on a loop, clashing with each other in a curiously complementary way.

This contemporary song provides the soundtrack to pieces Le Clash and Tlatelolco Clash through vintage music-makers - a barrel organ and a music box. In the case of the barrel organ the music is produced out of its original order. A lone drum kit with vibrating drumsticks partners with the third and largest projected film, Answer Me, enticingly drawing the viewer into the world inspired by the famous song.

The exhibition's specially designed perforated walls allow ethereal shafts of light and sound to intermingle with the space from outside, creating another layer of tangibility to the artist's work.

Hannah Cross, Assistant, Visual Arts