“cats drinking wine, posing for a birthday card”
💦 the passé, the dead fad, the past season
💦 Brutalist cuisine rejects adornment
💦 Two dolphins playing with a snake
London Gallery Weekend returns and - for one day only! - galleries are forced to open on Sundays. Catch spittle in all corners of London this weekend, from Rhea Dillon at Soft Opening to Nicola L. at Alison Jacques, and gossip with us at Saturday night’s South London Art Party at the arches next to 899 Old Kent Road!
🧊 10 May | 6:30pm | Vivien Zhang in conversation with Kiera Blakey, Pilar Corrias, Savile Row [Piccadilly Circus]
🧊 11 May | 6–8pm | Conversations on Tomorrow, group show hosting 4 Indian galleries, Sadie Coles HQ [Oxford Circus]
🧊 12 May | 5–8pm | Siggi Sekira: Parties to cover the silence, South Parade [Deptford]
🧊 12 May | 6–8pm | Sandra Poulson: Economy of the Dust, V.O Gallery [Oxford Circus]
🧊 13 May | By appointment | If these walls could talk, Stephanie Ruth [Kentish Town]
🧊 13 May | 10am–8pm | Brian Dawn Chalkley: The Pictorial Space of Poetic Horror, Lungley Gallery (new space) [Oxford Circus]
🧊 14–17 May | Electric Art Car Boot Fair, Lewis Cubitt Square & Online [Kings Cross]
🧊 14 May | Cherry Boy Independent Market, Siobhan Davies Studios, SE1 6ER [Elephant & Castle]
🧊 15 May | 3pm | Michael Dean: Bear Threads in Ffffucksake Major (performance), Herald Street [Bethnal Green]
🧊 15 May | 2–2:30pm | Mandy El-Sayegh Performance in Allen Gardens, E1 5AT [Shoreditch High Street] | Register free
Exhibitions of the week
Karen Kilimnik - Early Drawings 1976–1998, Sprüth Magers, until 21 May, information here
‘Bring the suitcase to Marble Arch,’ she whispers. ‘The way you wear your hair makes all the difference,’ and don’t forget to ‘eat’… Traipsing through Sprüth Magers’ survey of early works by Karen Kilimnik, one is bombarded by sketchy drawings and watercolours expounding all kinds of clashing narratives: illustrations that look like they could have been made for the type of whodunnit novel you pick up in an airport; sexy fashion illustrations; cats drinking wine posing for a birthday card and charming landscapes of the Thames that look better suited to Hyde Park’s tourist trap kiosks. Basic, you say? Kitsch, you imply? Well absolutely – what would you expect? – this is Karen Kilimnik after all. Chief purveyor of the tacky, Kilimnik has been dishing up nostalgia long before Y2K was a thing. But these drawings - seemingly hundreds of them framed with gilt edges and looking simultaneously expensive but oh so cheap - what do they achieve? A homage to popular culture – too obvious. A purposeful mockery of the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art so relished in commercial galleries and argued about in BA Art History courses? Yawn. No. For spittle, these drawings are a subtle and tender prod at viewers to admit – even when you know you know what’s cool – there’s something inside you that can’t help finding comfort in the passé, the dead fad, the past season. Whether it’s reinvigorating The Beatles, Twiggy or cliché fairy tales, this show is a rarely encouraged forensic deep dive into our naff collective psyche…
Vivien Zhang: undo undo undo, Pilar Corrias, until 28 May, information here.
undo undo undo, Vivien Zhang’s first solo exhibition at Pilar Corrias gallery, plays with motifs, symbols and language, filtering them through a digital lens and spewing them out onto large, vibrant canvases. Having grown up between China, Kenya and Thailand, Zhang intrinsically understands the changeability of symbols within different cultures and linguistic contexts, a changeability which is often also present online. In three large works, alternative visualisations of the globe appear crumpled on the canvas, a trompe l'oeil of texture and pattern, overlaid with leaves from a ginkgo tree - paradoxically one of the oldest trees in Southern China where it is biologically unsuited to the macroclimate of the region. In these works, visuals take on double meaning, and motifs are layered and multiplied - like you’ve left too many tabs open - causing both a visual and symbolic glitch.
🌒 "Mankind went to the Moon. I don't even know where Phibsborough is" - We stumbled across Chris Cunningham’s creepy as **** Playstation advert on Saint George Street’s Instagram account last week. This led us to a deep dive on gaming’s strangest and coolest adverts featuring the likes of David Lynch and Eminem – video art, really – Tate (or more realistically, 180 Strand), if you’re listening, we’d like a survey soon!
⛓️ “this fetishist pretending to be a small, half-blind mammal-eating moths is a mirror of ourselves” - Sam Kriss uses the ridiculously over-serious new Batman film to look at how frivolous and performative the state of our society is. Every political crisis is just a pretext to indulge in some kind of dressing up - after all, ‘if the world is a masquerade, a game of secret shadowy desires, behind all the seriousness there’s a grim pervert in a silly costume’.
🏢 “This place is going to be a catalyst for interesting people, and we desperately needed that in Stockholm” - It seems the art world just can’t help itself opening restaurants. Carsten Höller's new gesamtkunstwerk restaurant BRUTALISTEN has opened to fanfare. Incorporating a 13-point manifesto as a menu, serving chicken brains as a sustainably conscious gesture and cooking with only salt and water to honour minimalist philosophy. You couldn’t make it up!
🪞 “the world is like a silly little sandbox, inconsequential and fun” - Daniel Moldoveanu delves into the strange contemporary obsession with lionising scammers as ‘unapologetic anarcho-narcissists that fuck around with smoke and mirrors’ and then! outta nowhere! Daniel breaks the news that scamming is not the exception, its the norm in a world where capitalism ‘allows certain people to be accredited value that doesn’t exist, in order to sell something that creates surplus value – that, unless sold, also doesn’t exist.’
🦷 “Did these people survive the night?” -The White Pube’s look into the Chaotic Nightclub Photos Twitter account is a must-read. Beyond searching through art history to find out if ‘everyone in the past was just as rowdy as we are,’ Gabriella de la Puente’s droll narration of the images – ‘There’s a dog in the club;’ ‘man smiles as his front tooth falls out of his mouth, caught in mid-air by the flash’ – is impossible to read without smirking.
We’re feeling a wardrobe overhaul and are seriously thinking about investing in one of Adam Jones’ ready-to-wear pieces made using actual pub cast offs (including branded tea towels and carpety beer mats). Crafting an instantly iconic range - from tote bags and scarves to tank tops - his designs are not only made entirely from up-cycled materials, but pay tribute to fading British cultural touchpoints. Read the rest of our column to find out what else we’re after this month!
Thanks go to one of spittle’s favourite artists – Julian Jacob Kneer – for pointing us in the direction of this equally bizarre, cute and horrifying story in animal news. Two dolphins playing with a snake ‘not having a very good time’ – surely there’s an art world metaphor here…
London’s beating ‘art <3 <3 <3