21 - 22 September 2013
Life Room, Royal Academy of Arts, 2011 Photo by Marcus Leith © Royal Academy of Arts This weekend sees the annual Open House London
festival open the doors of over 700 buildings to the public, many of which are usually private. It has become a key date in the calendar for anyone interested in the capital’s historic and contemporary architecture (or the inveterately nosey, as there’s a vicarious thrill seeing the interiors where others work and live).
For those new to the event, all the buildings involved – which range from Tudor manor houses, Victorian terraces and new-build wonders to government offices, high-rise hubs and artist studios – can be searched on the web here. Most are accessible just by turning up rather than booking, but for star attractions like The Gherkin, expect a long queue.
The working studios of Academician architects Edward Cullinan and Norman Foster are among the highlights this year, and the Royal Academy
itself is taking part. The public will have access to parts of Burlington House that are normally out of bounds, including the RA Schools, in whose atmospheric Life Room visitors can draw some of the Academy’s amazing collection of plaster casts.
Van Gogh in Paris
Eykyn Maclean, 26 September – 29 November 2013
An exhibition at Mayfair’s Eykyn Maclean
focuses on a transitional period in Vincent van Gogh’s career, during the years 1886-88 he spent in Paris, where the painter made the move from somber portraits, landscapes and still lifes that characterised his earlier output – often produced in tones of brown, grey and black – to the vivid, brightly coloured, expressionistic scenes that are now emblematic of the artist.
Vincent van Gogh, 'A Pair of Shoes, One Shoe Upside Down, Autumn 1886. Oil on canvas, 37.5 x 45.5 cm. Private collection.
The gallery will bring together a selection of the Dutchman’s paintings with some of the works he would have seen in the city, by artists including Monet, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin. An argument will thus be made about how contemporary developments in French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism influenced Van Gogh’s own radical techniques. So popular is the artist that Eykyn Maclean have instituted a booking system for the free exhibition, visit their site and select a date,
before it’s too late.
Anthony Reynolds, 19 September - 26 October 2013
Painter Leon Golub (1922–2004) has a highly significant place in American art history because of his works’ unflinching focus on issues of political power, in particular the brutal violence against individuals and groups by states in both times of war and peace. Among his most famous works are a series of large-scale works made in response to the Vietnamese War, showing civilians under attack, and his disturbing images from the 1980s that show figures being tortured.
Leon Golub, 'Mercenaries II (Section I and II)', 1975. Acrylic on linen. 259 x 152 cm.
Golub disfigured his subjects by scraping paint, their bodies almost seeming burnt, and often in anger he would destroy works. From this week, Anthony Reynolds in London
brings together in an exhibition for the first time the fragments of his monumental painting Merceneries II (1975-6) – the artist teared the work into four pieces, but even in fragments, its searing examination of the role of mercenaries in war remains potent.
Victoria Miro, 20 September - 9 November 2013
Birmingham-born artist Idris Khan has received critical acclaim over the last decade for his experimental photography, in which often black and white imagery is layered to produce haunting abstract effects, under the influence of European philosophy and literature.
Idris Khan, 'Beyond the Black', 2013. Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London. © Idris Khan.
He has now brought his elegiac aesthetic to the medium of painting, in a new show on view at Victoria Miro, London.
Entitled ‘Beyond the Black’, the show features a suite of large black panels on which Khan has layered in oil elements of text. The layering is to such a degree that the words in the finished works can no longer be read; instead, the viewer is left with ominous abstracts whose black forms seem to glow.
South London Gallery, 1 December 2013
Colombian-born, London-based artist Oscar Murillo has had a meteoric rise on the international art scene. Just out of the Royal College of Art and aged only 27, Murillo has recently gained representation by blue-chip dealer David Zwirner, six-digit prices at auction and, from this week, a show in a major London public institution, the South London Gallery.
Oscar Murillo, 'if I was to draw a line, this journey started approximately 400km north of the equator', 2013. Installation view at the South London Gallery. Image courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London.
Hype or not, it’s worth checking out Murillo’s interesting performative practice, which includes a collaborative painting process in which dancers help apply pigment, dust and studio debris to canvas. At the South London Gallery
he fills the gallery space with the contents of his studio.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and Editor of RA Magazine