Until 23 September
Contemporary British artists Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger, together with some of the country’s finest poets and choreographers, respond to three of Titian’s masterpieces at the National Gallery this week.
Wallinger’s subtle-as-a-sledgehammer exploration of voyeurism – the theme of the Venetian master’s Diana and Actaeon (1556–59) – has grabbed the headlines: visitors are put in the position of voyeurs themselves, as they peer into a bathroom constructed in the gallery where a naked model bathes. But Shawcross’s take on Diana as an anthropomorphic machine and Ofili’s large-scale paintings, reminiscent of the fantastical canvases of Ken Kiff RA, are just as memorable.
Mark Wallinger, 'Diana', 2012. © The artist, courtesy Anthony Reynolds Gallery. Photograph, The National Gallery, London.
The three artists present their costumes and set designs for the pieces the choreographers have devised for the Royal Ballet. Wonderful wide-format films of dancers rehearsing are projected in one of the rooms (the music emanates around the gallery spaces) and in a film in a separate space the poets involved discuss their new works.
Julian Opie, 'Woman in high heels with telephone', 2012. Vinyl on wooden stretcher. © Julian Opie and Lisson Gallery.
Until 25 August
London-born artist Julian Opie has a highly distinctive pictorial style: people are paired down to thick graphic outlines filled in with unmodulated areas of colour, becoming emblems of everyday types.
In his latest exhibition at the Lisson Gallery,
on view until the end of August, the culture of the City looms large: a man in a pinstripe suit and a high-heeled woman, respectively clutching a laptop and a smart phone, make an appearance.
But Opie’s abiding interest is not social groups but how we perceive the world around us, and LCD animations of French landscapes extends his aesthetic to the natural world.
Regent’s Canal Festival
13,14 and 15 July
You may have heard The Canal and River Trust’s Tony Hales on the Today programme on Thursday morning
waxing lyrical about the recent renaissance of the country’s canal system.
A perfect illustration of its value comes this weekend with London’s Regent’s Canal Festival,
which takes place across the waterway from Mile End – which hosts a pavilion showing 70 contemporary artists – to Little Venice, where a mini Venetian Carnival is taking place.
John Stezaker, 'Siren Song V', 2011. Collage, 25.7 x 20.3 cm. Courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London. Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
13 July - 9 September
The Photographers’ Gallery’s annual Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
is the country’s most prestigious award for the medium. This year’s nominees include South African Pieter Hugo, whose series Permanent Error documents the lives of slum dwellers in the Ghanaian capital Accra; Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi, known for ethereal images of the natural world; British artist John Stezaker, who makes witty and surreal collages of found photographs; and conceptualist Christopher Williams, whose series Kapitalistischer Realismus, named after the German art movement of the mid-60s, features images of cameras and other technical equipment.
Stezaker has proved the most influential of late, judging, for instance, by the many young imitators on view in the current survey ‘Out of Focus’ at the Saatchi Gallery
and stands a good chance of winning. But rarely, it seems, does the obvious candidate win the Deutsche Börse. Make up your own mind by visiting the exhibition of the nominees’ works,
which takes place in the gallery’s impressive Soho space that has been recently renovated and expanded.
Peter Blake, 'London- Westminster Abbey- Animalia', 2012. Silkscreen print on 410gsm Somerset Tub Sized. Edition of 100 and 10 APs. Signed and numbered by artist. Sheet size: 66.6. x 65.2 cm. Image size 50 x 50 cm. Peter Blake
11 July - 1 September
Following the opening of a major exhibition of his work at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery,
the celebrations of Peter Blake’s 80th birthday continue with shows at two West End commercial galleries, both of which take the capital city as their theme.
Paul Stolper, near the British Museum, presents the London Suite,
twelve characteristically witty silkscreens that collage large groups of unlikely figures on London streets, from superheroes flying around Piccadilly Circus to assorted international dance troupes parading up Regent’s Street.
In a second exhibition at the Fine Art Society on New Bond Street the artist becomes curator in ‘Things I Love’,
selecting works solely from London-based artists.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine