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Art

Emma Hart – Mama Mia! Whitechapel Gallery

Quite a while ago I wrote a blog on whether the Max Mara prize for women artists was still needed in these days of supposed equality. Well, judging by the output of one recipient, Emma Hart, it was money well spent.

Emma Hart used the time to be in Italy and learn some new techniques with clay, a speciality of some Italian regions, with techniques such as Majolica. The results are simply stunning. They are recognisably Emma Hart’s work, but on another level.

The room at the Whitechapel Gallery  is in darkness apart from the works. There is a calmness to it, even though the works are full of life.

The works are a series of ‘lightbulbs’ that look like faces and cast shadows like eyes. They have, on many of them, measuring marks making them into measuring jugs. And as you look up and into them a whole world appears, joyful and playful. Some have fans going round by them; shapes of knives and forks and spoons somewhere between domestic and scary.

At the after show dinner Hart gave her speech in Italian. It showed further that she had immersed herself in the experience, which few of us really do when offered such an opportunity. The effect has been to make even bolder work; work that moves from one experience to the experience of a much larger place, pushing back the boundaries. These pieces are museum quality.

The photographs I took do not do them justice. If you can get to the Whitechapel, go see.

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Art

Frieze London 2016

Yes, it was Frieze again; the merry-go-round of events to tantalise weary global shoppers.

Amidst all of this: art!

A lot to see and do and to recover from, hence my delay in writing.

The week started with the Tate summer party- great fun and you get to see the Turner Prize nominees, which includes some lovely work.

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   Anthea Hamilton’s Turner Prize Show at Tate

 

 

And the Turbine Hall has the big show on of Phillipe Parreno:

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Phillipe Parreno

So many people there enjoying the show.

Started the Frieze day early on Wednesday at  the Serpentine Gallery for an  opening without the crowds. Well worth getting up to see Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Helen Marten.

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                                                                                                                                                            Marc Camille Chaimowicz

 

Then we went in to see the Fred Cohen collection at Fortnum and Mason– some really lovely pieces scattered around a really lovely shop.

Frieze Contemporary and Frieze Masters- a mass of works worth seeing.

A talk at Gucci on Bond Street- I kid you not, which was an excellent talk about Frieze Masters.

Infinite Mix at the Store on the Strand had an evening viewing. Martin Creed film was the standout video, short and sweet. The party was rocking!

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                                                                                       The Infinite Mix Party

 

And the Whitechapel Gallery was showing the William Kentridge show, which was superb (as was the party). Really wonderful work. Everybody raving about it. A great video installation (and a bad photo of it- sorry, but it was the best I could do).

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                           William Kentridge part of Thick Time

Camden Arts Centre also worth a look.

So much wonderful art in one town. I wish I could thank all the artists. I managed to be the embarrassing fan only once and do the: ‘I love your show’ to William Kentridge at the party. The others got off light!

 

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Art

Max Mara Prize for Women Artists- Still needed after all these years

Whitechapel Art Gallery in London hosted a very exclusive party for the Max Mara Prize for Women Artists 2015-17, the 6th time this prize has been awarded. I did wonder whether there was going to be a goody bag of something Max Mara, one of their coats, perhaps!  But what a fab party.

Then the director of the Whitechapel got up to introduce the proceedings. Iwona Blazwick is a world renowned curator and director. Her speech was on how this prize is still needed. That women make up 70% of the workforce of FTSE 100 companies, but only 7% of board members. That the top prices for art works are all by men. That most galleries have almost all male artists lists. She said it with spirit and wit, but it is very depressing.

I keep hearing people complaining about being discriminated against because of their colour or religion, but 50% of the people of that colour or religion are being doubly discriminated against, usually by members of the group that are complaining that they are being discriminated against. Black men, gay men, religious men, are not immune to being deeply prejudiced against black women, gay women, religious women and all women of any colour, religion or sexuality.

Women are almost invisible in many areas of life. It is unremarkable when a TV programme contains only men and very remarkable (remarked upon) when it contains only women, unless it is a subject only about women such as maternity. But even then men have set themselves up as the masters of gynaecology, obstetrics and reproductive medicine. They have colonised women’s bodies and lives.. I cannot imagine it the other way around, but I think we all need to so that we understand what that is like.

So yes, the Max Mara Prize for Women Artists is needed. It gives the winner 6 months in Italy to be an artist, hopefully free of other financial burdens. Well of course, by the time you have amassed a body of work that is able to be nominated for such a prize you have also amassed a life, such as a home and family which usually, you cannot abandon for 6 months without some complicated arrangements! But it is a wonderful gift, a time of reflection and creation. The result is then displayed at the Whitechapel and in Italy.

The short list comprised some excellent artists. The winner, Emma Hart, was a very well deserved recipient. Her body of work was exceptionally strong among such competition and she has a very good reason to be in Italy to study Majolica (she works in ceramics and photography). So off she will go for a well deserved 6 months free of the usual constraints artists have to juggle to survive, and female artists juggle much more. Really they do. Their work, therefore, should be double the price of equivalent male artists as the production of great work by women is so hard won and rarer due to so many constraints.

Emma Hart  Folkestone Triennial 2014

So thank you to Max Mara and the male director who made the announcement and gave the award and funds for this very needed prize. Thank you very much.