Darren Almond

Darren Almond Tide (2008)

Tide (2008) Detail

Pipilotti Rist - Eyeball Massage

Eyeball Massage
Hayward Gallery

View From Loo - Toilet Cubicle Installation.

Pipilotti Rist not only experiments in video, she creates environments which influence the way her works are experienced. It is a total sensory experience, videos projected onto multiple walls, the colour bleeding into each other on semi-transparent curtains while we, the audience, lounge around on giant pillows on the floor, enveloped in this whole dream-like scenario. We become part of the work, moving around within it.

She discovers new ways of configuring the world, her work creating a physical presence, defining the relationship between the art and the audience. She entices you in – a tiny monitor facing up from the hole in the floor, screens embedded within shells and handbags. You are drawn into her world, her way of thinking – she employs banal objects as devices to enter her imagination, full of visual wonders.   

Ryan Gander - Locked Room Scenario

Ryan Gander - Locked Room Scenario for Artangel.
Londonnewcastle Depot


This was perhaps one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had.  Arriving at Londonnewcastle Depot at 12pm sharp I waited for some sort of signal as to where I was meant to be. Eventually a man ticked my name off a register and pointed towards a door I could only assume to be the entrance.

Dark and a little unnerving, I found myself walking tentatively through dim passages and empty rooms. Velvet ropes half cordoned off areas, simultaneously enticing me into the unknown and partially blocking my way. Unsure what to do, I found myself befriending a stranger and together we best guessed at the situation.

Pushing on locked doors into a closed gallery where silhouettes were moving around behind, into an exhibition comprised of artists who don't exist apart from in Gander's head. What was actually going on? No signs, no clues, you are left to your own devices. Unsettling to say the least, but once I relaxed I began to feel like a naughty school kid, free to roam and explore.

You’re left with the process of elimination, going into spaces only if you can, and not always because you want to.  Dark corridors leading to where? Empty rooms with litter strewn about, even the rubbish looks arranged. Not only do you begin to question everything around you, you begin to examine everything as artwork. Gander had completely manipulated my thinking before I even knew it, which is the beauty of his work and left me looking over my shoulder for the rest of the day.

Late View at the V&A - Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990

Looking back, the postmodernism era wasn’t exactly easy on the eyes, let’s be honest. I was shocked visiting the exhibition, seeing how Postmodernism had permeated pretty much every aspect of life, really. It is amazing to see the multifaceted style of Postmodernism which ranges from art, to fashion, architecture, music and lifestyle. Breaking from Utopian ideals and clarity, Postmodernism wanted re-invent style itself; it became self-aware, no boundaries involved. Image was everything.
Everything seemed completely theatrical; everyone was out to make a visual statement of some kind, emphasizing desire and commercial appeal, before eventually collapsing under the weight of it's own success.

Late View at the V&A - The Power of Making

The Power of Making

The Power of Making at the V & A shows exactly what’s right with Contemporary Craft.  No doubt the world will function at the hands of robots in year to come, but it is rather interesting to see the things we are capable of today (both with and without the aid of computers). This exhibition highlights the spectacular craft making skills of both professionals and amateurs alike.

When the word “craft” is mentioned, home-made cards, baskets of potpourri and creepy knitted dolls spring to mind. It seems peculiar the Lady Gaga’s wig and a dissected frog made from lego could really fall into the same category.  A Wicker Coffin in the shape of a lion, a dress made from needles and all the letters of the alphabet carved into 26 tiny pencil leads also provoke a number of “oohs” and “aahs”. It is sad to say that traditional methods of hand- craft are dying, but it’s great to see what human aesthetic we have left before this society of the mass produced, manufactured tat consumes us altogether.


Theo Simpson


I'm not an avid follower of make-up or that latest beauty trends to be perfectly honest, but finding out Mac were doing a Cindy Sherman inspired Palette did excite me! It's the most perfect collaboration: we use make-up to accentuate our best features and hide our worst, yet Sherman uses them to remain anonymous in her photographs. She is known for her conceptual portraits and turning the camera on herself, and Mac have proceeded to bring her alter-ego(s) to life, providing us with another guise to present ourselves into the real world.

Cindy Sherman in Mac's latest campaign

Big Drip - Daniel Arsham

Big Drip (2011)

Daniel Arsham is interested in the manipulation of architecture, portayed quite clearly here in his piece Big Drip. This structural intervention depicts a melting wall in which Arsham challenges the notion of architectural rigidity on a fairly large scale, questioning  normality and the accepted realities of his surrounding environment.


Piss Christ - Andres Serrano

Piss Christ, a model of Christ submerged in a glass of the artists’ own urine and then photographed is Andres Serrano controversial creation. It was essentially the first visual prototype of the use of shock in contemporary art. It originally set out to provoke thoughts on the misuse of religion; however its message is encountered as completely outrageous and appears to adopt the offensive guise as part of its meaning. It’s a vivid and intense image of an icon we are all too familiar with.

Piss Christ (1987)
The controversy peaked earlier this year on Palm Sunday in France when the piece was attacked by a group of Catholics leading an “anti-blasphemy” campaign who found the work offensive, rather peculiar since, the work is not intended to denounce religion; it simply suggests the cheapening of Christian icons in contemporary culture.

John Baldessari

The interest in both written and visual language has been a lifelong obsession for John Baldessari. He incorporates wit and irony in his art, regardless of whether it mocks conceptual art or informs his work. He strives to define the distinction between a “part” and a “whole”, this partly due to his reductive philosophical manner of art-making.

Eyebrow (2009)

Beethoven's Trumpet (With Ear), Opus 127 (2007)

The Pencil Story (1972 -1973)

Synthesizing images with painting is Baldessari’s trademark. His visual juxtapositions of words and text challenge how images function.

Redshift - James Turrell - Venice Biennale 2011

“... I'm very interested in this feeling, using the eyes to penetrate the space."
--James Turrell

Joining the queue for James Turrell’s Red Shift at the Venice Bienniale, I didn’t honestly know what to expect. I had encountered Deer Shelter a multitude of times at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the phrase that springs to mind in order to describe the experience is “an interactive installation”; although really, it’s a lot more than that. It’s a site specific work and also a place of refuge. Its purpose is to cause you to sit down to think and reflect, while the space engulfs you. Deer Shelter consumes your every thought: you sit with your head tilted back and look up at the square hole in the roof, bringing the outside in (and if you sit for a little while, realising how fast clouds move). If this was anything to go by, in addition to people’s enthusiasm of joining a 45 minute queue, this was most likely to be worth the wait.

His work draws attention to the process of seeing, and Turrell has, for more than 45 years, continued to explore the possibilities of using light as his primary subject. It is this choice of medium that allows him to investigate the medium of perception; exploring the variety of perceptual interventions, from deprivation of the senses to optical effects. 

Ready for Redshift
As the queue shortened and it was finally our turn to experience Red Shift, we entered Turrell’s Territory; At first removing our footwear and replacing them with these very strange plastic bag like shoes, which seemed very peculiar and pretty much pointless since what we could see of Red Shift was a projection of a lone pink square on the wall with steps leading up to it. The Invigilator then kindly told us to “enter” Red Shift. Thinking the language Barrier had confused his use of adjectives, we waited for his self-correction. He motioned walking up the stairs, so we followed suit and astonished, found ourselves at the mouth of a hazy void.

It was the most disorienting 10 seconds in the world, like stepping into Heaven and entering a disturbing infinity. The light softly merged one colour to the next, like being inside a fibre-optic Christmas tree (use your imagination). Yet it wasn’t just light flooding the space, a sort of mist inhabited the room as well. The dimensions of the room were completely perplexing, we were hypnotized inside this shell of mystical light.

Turrell has managed to create an emptiness filled with light, presenting us with its physicality. It seemed he employs light to illuminate the form and structure, setting the basis for a complete transformation of a space into a multisensory experience.