The latest London art reviews
Turns out, seeing faces staring back at you from inanimate objects isn’t a sign that you’re losing your mind, it’s just proof that your brain is working. It’s called pareidolia: the phenomenon of seeing familiar patterns where none exist, and it looks like British artist Peter Liversidge sees faces pretty much everywhere.
Look out the window. How is it out there? Grey? Miserable? Is there a low-hanging, neverending blanket of suffocating cloud pressing down on the whole city? Of course there is. This is London.
Spruced-up after a five-month renovation, Islington’s Estorick Collection reopens with a rather leftfield show. If you recall, we were all talking about the centenary of WWI, before a contemporary global catastrophe loomed over us, so engaging with this show starts with an oh-yeah… jolt of recognition. Which is quickly replaced with a wait-what? jolt of non-recognition. Because this is not the Great War as we’re used to seeing it.
It’s all his fault. All that highfalutin, unapproachable conceptual art everywhere that gets your mum in a tizz whenever it gets nominated for a Turner Prize. All John Baldessari’s fault.
(Note: the gallery is closed between Dec 18 and Jan 10) A digital woman emerges form a virtual desert. Her skin is the same colour and texture as the sand and rock that she’s surrounded by.
Being an architect must be so frustrating. At every turn, your artistic vision gets constrained by town planners, clients and engineers. Even the laws of physics stop you in your tracks. Visionary architectural nutcase Zaha Hadid, who died in March 2016 at 65, must have felt that frustration more than most.
Ceramics might be enjoying a kind of hipsterish resurgence in art right now, but it's never been taken particularly seriously as a means of expression. Certainly not in the avant-garde scene of early-’60s Los Angeles.
Two staggeringly bright eyes burn through you when you enter Lucy Raven’s show at the Serpentine. And that’s a potent visual metaphor, because this American video artist tries to look through and beyond the things around her, with a particular obsession with film.
If there are no original ideas left in art, it’s probably because Robert Rauschenberg had them all. Over the course of his 60-year career (he died in 2008 aged 82), he reinvented, reused, recycled and revolutionised himself so many times that walking around this retrospective feels like stumbling through a textbook on twentieth-century art history.
McLean was part of that group of St Martins students from the 1960s, who loved nothing more than pissing off their tutors with weird, outlandish, provocative works of art. His playful, mischievous nature still comes in the large-scale paintings and film pieces that he mostly makes these days.