From Soviet dial-less phone to post-surveillance art. Things i’ve seen in London this month

I see far more exhibitions than i can blog (i could but i’m fairly lazy, you see.) So this morning, i went through all the photos i took in London galleries and museum in June and threw them hastily in this almost laconic post in case you’re in town and bored. Being bored in London seems to be my latest obsession but that’s another story.

Here we go…

The show’s already closed alas! but here’s a few images. And a video.

The Victoria and Albert museum was showing the short listed artists and the winner of the Prix Pictet. The theme was Consumption in all its disastrous relationship to environmental sustainability.

0i5ogbob459.jpgAbraham Oghobase, Untitled

Abraham Oghobase photographed hand scribbled texts advertising the various informal services offered by people living in Lagos, a city of over ten million inhabitants and the commercial capital of Nigeria.

0-Schmidt-Lebensmittel-1.jpg0Pigs-from-Lebensmittel-by-003.jpgMichael Schmidt, Lebensmittel

In Lebensmittel, Michael Schmidt portrayed the mechanized, industrialized food system of contemporary Western culture. From pigs standing skin to skin in a factory farm to piles of discarded food. Seeing the images one next to the other up on the wall was both shaming and mesmerizing. No wonder the series won the prize.

The exhibition closed a couple of weeks ago.

0s0WORLD-OPEN-DAY.jpgSuzanne Treister, Post-Surveillance Art (POST-SURVEILLANCE ART POSTER/WORLD OPEN DAY), 2014

Suzanne Treister was investigating the rise of mass intelligence and data collection long before it became fashionable to do so.

Talking in the context of her Post-Surveillance Art series, she said that: “What has altered for me post Snowden, is not an awareness and negotiation of a changed condition, but the knowledge that now almost everybody else knows something which was clear as day if you did a bit of research, and it’s great to no longer be called a conspiracy theorist.”
The show closed a few days ago at Maggs Gallery. It was both dramatic and surprisingly humourous.


I have no time for design products, except when they come with a Soviet aura. The GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design is showing all kinds of plastic toys, a dial-less Telephone, red velvet flags, retro futuristic vacuum cleaners, etc.

Work and Play Behind the Iron Curtain is at the GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design until 24 August.

I also visited The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture during the press view. I can’t say that was the show of my life. AT ALL! But there were a couple of works i was glad to see again….

0i1loin2f1532_b.jpg0i1him0fca06a6_b.jpgMaurizio Cattelan, Him, 2001

and discover:

0i1kathar2c38618c_b.jpgKatharina Fritsch St Katharina and 2nd Photo, 2007

The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture is at the Hayward until 7 September.

0irainforest010fa62_b.jpgGUN Architects, Rainforest

Gun Architects’s rainforest-inspired pavilion at Bedford Square for the 2014 London Festival of Architecture.

_0a7arirangopy_jpg.jpgRi Hyang Yon, 21, dancer in the Arirang Games, during a practice session in the car park, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang (Copyright: Nick Danziger)

Photojournalist Nick Danziger visited North Korea in 2013. He recorded the everyday life in the DPRK and was given rare access to cities outside Pyongyang. The story behind each photo is probably more interesting than the photos themselves. The subjects are doing very ordinary things (getting their hair done at the hairdresser, sunbathing by the sea with their kids, etc.) only it does look like the photos were taken in the past.

According to the British Council the exhibition is “the first cultural engagement of its kind” between the UK and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Guardian adds that it opened in London with no advance publicity, for fear that the dire relations between North Korea and the west might sink the first cultural project of its kind.

Above the Line: People and Places in the DPRK (North Korea) is open at the British Council HQ in London until 25 July.


I spotted this one in the street.