York Chang: Zero Sum Games
'Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.' That was the old American adage, when newspapers held all the power. But we're living in the age of misinformation and fake news, didn't you know, and it's fair to say times have changed. York Chang’s exhibition Zero Sum Games evaluates the status of language against a backdrop in which belief defies fact and is readily substituted for data; and where language and images serve as malleable currency on an ideological battleground. This exhibit, made up of film and installations, opens a little window into landscapes of communication where institutional power holds sway. With systems increasingly using language to confuse as much as enlighten us, Chang exposes their potential for fostering counter-narratives or alternate histories.
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History can be an elusive and difficult beast to get to grips with, which is more or less the theme of this group exhibition, where 8 contemporary African artists carry out a deep examination of the mechanics of history. Here each artist looks at the past, or their own past, to engage in the act of storytelling, or to put it another way, historytelling. Through sculpture, drawing, photography, artefacts and video, this is an exploration of retrospective and the idea of the historical narrative, mainly based on the continent of Africa.
*You need to book a time slot to see this, available at the link provided* Gazing at works mounted on white walls can sometimes get slightly repetitive so here's a visually refreshing lil' break from the norm: the first major solo show from teamLab, an art group excellently described as 'ultra-technologists'. To be called ultra anything is no mean feat, quite frankly, so our interest is already piqued. What that seems to mean, cutting through the spiel, is that they're makers of interactive digital video art installations. This particular show will be exploring the role of digital technology in transcending the physical and conceptual boundaries that exist between different artworks. So imagery from one piece breaks free from the frame and enters the space of another. Removing the distinctions between artwork and exhibition space, you'll find yourself bopping through rooms filled with butterflies, black waves and waterfalls. Just imagine how nice that'll look on your feed? Isn't art great.
Lady Skollie: Lust Politics
Bright, playful, sexual, joyous, erotic, confrontational and powerful. Those are a few adjectives used in our end of year review, but they're also handily how you could describe the work of South African artist Lady Skollie. Her paintings consider sex, gender roles, taboos, violence, power structures, greed and lust through confrontational, bold works that confront the eyes and force the brain into action. This show, Lust Politics, consists of pieces full of suggestive images of bananas, pussy prints and papayas, highlighting the unrealistic expectations held towards sex and romance between men and women. Misogyny and patriarchy are given an examining here, and if you look closely and you'll find the artist's own sexual fantasies and desires. Who knows, you might even question your own. The Lady herself says "art is about confronting and making people, including yourself, feel uncomfortable...it’s all important in the quest to evoke rage”. This show is self expression at its most striking.
Women of Ghana
Head to Hoxton Square on Friday and Saturday and you'll find a free photography and film exhibition showing the stories of the women of Ghana. The idea is to give a vivid documentation of women who have achieved their ambitions and overcome hardships such as poverty, low levels of literacy and even just being a woman. The words come from the ladies themselves, so you can expect something quite powerful.