30 April 2015

An art-rich afternoon

Dragged out of cosy domesticity by a dental appointment, I continued into town to see "From her wooden sleep" at the ICA [till 17 May], which is an installation of the artist/curator Ydessa Hendeles' collection of manikins ... about 150 of them, arranged in various ways. This is what you see when you enter the room -
(Via an image search; see closeups here)
What's missing from the picture is the sense of being watched - not so much by the manikins but by the three be-suited guards stationed around the room. All day they must listen to the music that plays over and over - Debussy's "Golliwog's Cakewalk", a 1912 recording of the composer himself playing it. The 78-page booklet that accompanies the show has information about many of the components of the show, including a history of the cakewalk as a musical form. The manikins are pictured in thumbnails, and information about them is given in the pamphlet - the earliest date to 1520. The furniture and vitrines - and 15 funhouse mirrors - add another je ne sais quoi.
Then to the Westminster art reference library to leaf through a few magazines - an expose of dry cleaning practices in Vogue, and article on Samuel Levi Jones and a review of Lucy Skaer's latest in Art in America. 
Samuel Levi Jones eviscerates, rips up, and even pulps encyclopedias (via)
Lucy Skaer's Sticks and Stones series has used insets of studio objects
 into mahogany planks that lay underwater for centuries (via)
Also I was excited to see work by Argentinians Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolas Goldberg that used thin sections of a meteorite from Campo de Cielo, held at the Smithsonian in Washington DC and sent to Buenos Aires for photographing by the artists. Another part of the project is to reunite two halves of a meteorite that went to different scientific institutions for study and display.
(The printed image was completely square; via)
In the thin section you see diverse components of a seemingly unified rock, each of a distinct shape, transparency and hue [perhaps another idea for the Elements challenge, which you can read about tomorrow]. More about their Numero project is here, the Art in America article, where the specialised technique of production (through a microscope) is contrasted with the simpler means (a scanner) used by Christoph Keller to produce huge prints of leaves from the Amazon for his Anarcheology show last year.

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