Arts Radar: 17th May

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Sooo, what kind of pick’n’mix are the galleries offering up this week? Ed Atkins and Jean-Philippe Dordolo are getting us all aboard the cheeky train with their playful pieces (there will be undertones of more serious malarkey because Art, but there are also ejaculating bananas). If Phoebe Unwin was a Photoshop function she’d be the blur tool, showing us that you don’t have to be able to make out what’s going on in a painting to have a good time. And to round it all off, The Photographer’s Gallery is bringing us five females that have kicked photography’s ass more times than the Spice Girls have said the word ‘baby’.
There are definitely types of 'layers' we’d like to get lost in for than others. Those of a mille-feuille or lasagne, for instance, or the iconic strands of Jennifer Aniston’s mid-90s layered ‘Rachel’ haircut. Or all the layers of meaning that go with talking about layers. Meta. But let’s keep it simple(ish), and check out Phoebe Unwin’s blurry paintings, where forms seem to shift between the foreground and background, leaving you suitably perplexed.
If you thought the Atkins diet was all 'low-carb and high-protein' then you’ve clearly not come across Ed Atkins and his sandwiches made of the skin off human faces. Don’t freak, they’re not real, just more of the British artist’s mischievous computer-generated avatars in his offbeat video art, here paired with rails and rails of medieval clothing. We’re not sure whether it’s him who needs to get out more, or us.
Finding out this exhibition’s title is the German translation of ‘Flying Without Wings’ and realising you’ve got an entire new language to have Westlife lols in is only the beginning of the comedy you’ll find with the work of Jean-Philippe Dordolo. He uses a cheery palette and his paintings have a flatness that make a nice welcome change to all that art that tries to be too deep.
Fun biology fact for all the naysayers who thought art was a total non-science zone: human blood plasma has a near-identical chemical composition to that of raw oceanic water. It’s a fun idea that there is no boundary between us and nature, our insides are outside, we are one with the universe, etc. Aimée Parrott goes to town with the concept, through painting-sculpture hybrids that have so much texture you’ll be craving ice tea.
They say it’s not about the end result but how you got there. Enjoying the journey and all that. At least that feels like the common thread between these five contemporary photographers and how they work; using innovative processes to get to their finished pieces. And the best bit? They’ve not only nailed the journey part; their resulting works are pretty damn good too, and go a long way in pushing the boundaries of photography. Big claps, please.
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