Free art exhibitions in London
The contemporary art world gives us many things, but laughter is rarely one of them. Opportunities to squeal? Even rarer. Which is what makes this exhibition at Southwark Park Galleries as precious to behold as a chug wearing a very small hat. If I was the Marie Kondo of art critics, I’d tell you to throw out the invites to all other exhibitions because only this one will bring you joy.
There’s an oft-told story in my family about the time a friend’s kid drew on the living room wall, then denied it was her. The problem with escaping punishment was this: it was her own name she’d scrawled in crayon across the wallpaper. This seemingly primal need to impose our markings on the world around us, from cave paintings to bus-stop graffiti, informs the raw, tactile installations of Jodie Carey.
Wong Ping creates brutal, grim, sexually violent modern fairy tales. But there’s no Red Riding Hood or any cute little pigs here. Instead, the Hong Kong artist tears and rips at ideas of societal dynamics through a world of throbbing cocks, aborted foetuses and mistreated OAPs.
There’s a soft orange glow being cast across the floor of the Chisenhale. Warm shadows ripple out of mini glass chandeliers filled with cognac and palm oil, stuck into a low false ceiling. Opposite, Ima-Abasi Okon has screwed an army of air conditioners into the wall. Their fans spin and stop, juddering along to a syrupy, slow soundtrack emanating from behind.
Aliens and celebrities, Egyptian gods and cowboy boots: Issy Wood’s paintings are full of the banal and the surreal, the everyday and the extraordinary. The young American painter’s works are claustrophobic, close-cropped compositions.
Fans of the photographic uncanny are in for a great summer: first Cindy Sherman lands at the NPG, and now Canadian weirdo Jeff Wall has arrived at White Cube. Wall by name, wall by nature, he’s known for his epically scaled, carefully orchestrated set-ups, which have all the complexity of a movie, only they don’t – you know – move.
You can’t call the RSPCA for crimes against toys, apparently, but one look at Jamian Juliano-Villani’s art and you’ll desperately want to. I mean, if hammering a dildo into a toy tiger’s mouth over and over again isn’t abuse, then what is?
The voices of forgotten women echo through the Whitechapel Gallery. British artist Helen Cammock’s commission, made in a residency in Italy, is a mournful look at historical female pain.
Astonishingly, this is the first UK solo show for Liz Jonhson Artur, a London-based, Russian-Ghanaian photographer, who has been documenting the African diaspora for three decades.
Summer group shows in London galleries are the worst. They’re just naff excuses to sell leftover art in the quiet months, helmed by some curator who’s insisted on writing something on the wall about how the show focuses on physical spatiality or the violence of poetics or some shit. Urgh.
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