This weekend started with the opening of the fourth Modern Panic exhibition in London.
Curated by James Elphick of Guerrilla Zoo, Modern Panic is a collection of over 70 of the most provocative artists you could hope to find in one place and the first night left no stone un-hurled. There is absolutely nothing bland in this show. Nothing. Be it cake or comic books, everything on display has some way of challenging the viewer to consider more than just the skillful aesthetic. And skillful is the word!
I’ll start with Annabel de Vetten-Perterson. It’s been said but it really is the first thing you hear when people approach her work. “That’s CAKE?!”. I must have heard the phrase 1o times on Friday night. A partially flayed severed deer head has rooted in a chocolate pot and trails a network of dendrite blood vessel roots onto its plinth beneath a serene and somehow playful expression. Very striking. Its single antler is covered with lush green shoots, giving the whole thing a very magical, surreal feeling. I had to smell it a few times to complete the effect. It smelt good.
I’ve been a fan of Buddy Nestor‘s psychic portraits for a while so when I heard his was on the line up I was excited to see them in the flesh. They’re just as striking in reality as they were in the pictures I had seen. Subtle, colourful greys strip away the form of the sitter and create a very pleasing sensation when combined with the loud oozings of colour that throb out of the physical and into the otherwise perceived.
I was really pleased to meet the charming Orli Ivanov and talk to her about her work. Her sculptures set out to immortalize the momentary, the suppressed and the impulsive. They tangibly express the strains of attempt and the Schrodinger-esque dichotomy of hope and desperation that is found only in the ACT, never in anticipation or reflection. Beautiful, honest and charmingly funny.
Throughout the evening several performance art practitioners treated us to more thought provoking displays of creativity and dedication.
Harrie Skully‘s performance was a particular act of endurance, method and dedication.
The artist spent the entire evening in a metal cage not much bigger by volume than her own body, covered by a blanket and at the mercy of her audience. Thought provoking, entirely interactive, well presented and easy to understand without loosing its complexity.
“This performance piece looks at the way we regard those imprisoned because their way of being doesn’t operate within the coding of society. I shall be contained in a metal cage, covered and ‘put to one side’. Taking the imperceptible element of the caged animal, left forgotten, punished for not being human, yet prevented from being animal. During the performance I shall behave as this creature, using the instinct of that beast that lurks with in all to inform my performance, at times expressing the anger and frustration that boils, before once again subsiding into a state of forgotten-ness.”
Jack Cole gave a series of personalized performances in which he invited members of the congregation to channel a bespoke prophecy through the airwaves with the use of an old tape cassette recorder.
The participant was adorned with a fetching red hat and, grasping the place where an aerial was once attached to the radio, channeled the information in the air through the speakers to the ears of the Artist who studiously captured the messages in the form of prophetic postcards. A very original invitation and lots fun to watch.
Among the other performance artists I saw at the event were Amy Kingsmill performing her piece ‘Discarded’ in which she became a doll abandoned on the gallery floor and Andie Macario’s collaboration with Victor Ivanov, ‘Meat Slap’ which saw her repeatedly, mechanically slapped across one bare breast, much to her troublingly suppressed discomfort. Other performers that I missed due to the event being VAST and crammed start to finish were Francesca Fini (performing ‘With an Helmet’), a collaboration by Livy Levingos and Greg Carter called ‘Pig Skin Black Thread’ and Tom Bresolin’s ‘Theatre of Brutality’ with Felicia Kronlof. There was no room for a dull moment. Fully engaging start to finish.
There is a mind bending amount of exceptional visual art on show at Modern Panic IV. I was at the Opening event for the best part of four hours and still don’t think I saw it all. Here are just a few more of pieces I particularly liked..
With so much on offer it is impossible to mention every gem to be discovered in the trove of provocative wonders that is Modern Panic IV.
I seriously recommend going along to the Apiary Studios to see it for yourself.
Modern Panic IV will run from now until Sunday the 17th of November 2013 and is open every day between 11am and 7pm at the APIARY STUDIOS, 458 Hackney Road, London E2 9EG with a £3 Admission | Support The Arts.
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