Plant lights, urban acoustics and postmodern dance: arts and culture in March


ArtReview editors on exhibitions, performances and conferences to follow this month

White Cube: installation of the Ibrahim Mahama exhibition © CATPC

Ibrahim Mahama, Judgment of the White Cube
The White Cube in Lusanga, until April 17, 2022

The art world is not the exclusive property of wealthy societies in the northern hemisphere. But while artists from the Global South have increasingly shown around the world, the contemporary art infrastructure in their own localities has long been minimal. In 2020 however, the Congolese Plantation Workers Art League (CATPC) created its own White Cube – a pristine art space in the middle of a former colonial-era oil palm plantation, land that the group has, in recent years, acquired in order to manage it sustainably for local use. Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama captured international attention with his jute building wrappings at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and Documenta 14 in 2017, repurposing these worn-out disposable emblems of the global commodity trade in symbolic centers of the world. art. For Mahama’s first institutional solo exhibition in Central Africa, his jute cocoa sacks will envelop the White Cube itself, surrounded by a new sustainable agriculture, bringing the old global economy of exploitation of agriculture and l world art in a new dialogue. JJ Charlesworth

Larry Achiampong, Guide, 2022, again. Courtesy of the artist and Copperfield London

Larry Achiampong, Guide
Turner Contemporary, Margate, March 12 – June 19, 2022

Distances between places of origin and the experience of the diaspora, and the history of colonialism and the postcolonial present, are underlying themes in the work of British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong, whose videos of these years have been woven between Achiampong’s childhood past growing up in Britain as the son of immigrants, to the Afro-futuristic narrative world of his Relic Traveler project. Achiampong’s largest solo exhibition in the UK will feature a recently commissioned feature film, Guide, which follows the travels and encounters of ‘the Wanderer’, a young woman traveling on foot from north to south England during an unspecified pandemic. The show will also include videos from the Relic Traveler series, collages, sound works and a selection of works by gallery namesake JMW Turner, locations related to the Wanderer’s journey through England – all brought together in Achiampong’s expansive reflection on nature belonging and identity, past and future. JJ Charlesworth

Mhamad Safa, BlastFoam computational fluid dynamics modeling of a Blastwave, obstructed by concrete structures. Edited video screen capture, 2022. Courtesy of Synthetik Applied Technologies

Countersonics: radical sound imaginaries
The Showroom, London, March 8, 2022, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Currently on view at the London Showroom, Haig Aivazian’s solo All your stars are just dust on my shoes features two films that write new history for our age of broadcast media and surveillance, via Olympic basketball, the first Gulf War and heat maps of NSA headquarters (read Salena Barry’s review here). As part of the exhibition’s lecture program, find sound theorist Gascia Ouzounian and architect Mhamad Safa (whose recent research has focused on urban acoustics in the context of aerial warfare in Beirut) in conversation exploring the relationship between trauma and listening: how can sound become a mode of resistance and of constructing counter-narratives? In Liang Khong

Courtesy Welcome Collection

rooted beings
Wellcome Collection, London, March 24 – August 29, 2022

What can we learn from the humble mushroom? Indeed, can we even become “more grounded, mindful, flexible and benevolent – ​​and achieve plant-based enlightenment”? Step into the undergrowth in the Wellcome Collection’s rooted beings, which considers the behavior of plants and fungi – as well as our relationship with them through time, including the impact of colonialism on the natural world and indigenous knowledge. The exhibition – curated by Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz with Emily Sargent – draws on the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as well as new commissions from Patricia Domínguez, Eduardo Navarro, RESOLVE Collective and Sop. (And while we wait for the show to open – read our interview with fungus and capitalocene columnist Anna Tsing – “stories of environmental collapse can paralyze people, but they can also open us up to the world and foster new new sensibilities”, she tells us). In Liang Khong

Christian Rizo, A house. Photo: ©Marc Domage; courtesy of Sadler’s Wells

dance reflections
Sadler’s Wells, Royal Opera House and Tate Modern, London, 9-23 March 2022

“If art is precious as a reflection – of a time, a place, a creation – then dance is just as important as literature or cinema, even if its audience is smaller”, Voice of the village dance critic Deborah Jowitt once wrote. Some of these valuable reflections are foregrounded in this multi-location dance festival supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, which this month features a range of postmodern dance classics (a loose term encompassing practices shedding traditions of the ballet and classical dance) and contemporary offerings in London. Amid iconic pieces of dance history, expect Lucinda Childs’ 1979 minimalist To dance, a collaborative work that sees the legendary Judson Theater choreographer respond to a composition by Philip Glass with a cinematic response from another minimalist artist, a certain Sol LeWitt; testifying to that same collaborative spirit of 1980s New York, is Trisha Brown’s Set and Reset (1983), originally developed around the notion of memorized improvisations and deployment to music by Laurie Anderson with costumes and set design by Robert Rauschenberg, which is revisited here by two troupes, the edgy Rambert and Candoco ( founded by Abigail Yager, a former member of the Brown Society). Meanwhile, more recent creations feature Ola Maciejewska’s research-based homage to the groundbreaking experiences of visionary Loïe Fuller; Katerina Andreou’s solo BSTRD, a minimalist trance-like meditation on movement to pulsating house music; without forgetting a duet by SERAFINE1369 from London with Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, a solo by Boris Charmatz “on the edge of sleep” and the disturbing and theatrical by Christian Rizzo lodge (2019) (the list goes on). As for the lamented size of the dance audience, I now leave that in your hands. Louise Darblay

Anne LeTroter, Mobile PA2020. Courtesy Frank Elbaz Gallery, Paris

Anne LeTroter, The Volunteers, pigment-medicine
Bétonsalon, Paris, until April 23

Bétonsalon is a Parisian art center that deserves to be more widely known, not least for its location in the 1950s flour warehouse used by the adjacent Grands Moulins de Paris, both converted into a university campus. Another reason could well be the Anne Le Troter exhibition, the result of the artist’s immersion in the Marc Vaux photographic collection (kept in the Kandinsky Library of the Center Pompidou) which includes 130,000 plates documenting the world of Parisian art from 1920 to 1970 as well as administrative documents. Known for her sound installations – one of her most recent was inspired by archives of sperm donors making themselves known to women seeking to conceive – Le Troter uses this vast pool of images and documents to create a piece polyphonic channeling the voices of some of the artists and activists documented in the archives – Marie Vassilieff, Max Beckmann, Kiki de Montparnasse and Paul Éluard among them – to the “living art workers” whom the artist has invited. From this conversation emerges a historical journey retracing the social and medical realities of the artistic milieu, diffused in space via cascading wiring and hybrid sound outputs. A timely meditation on health, work and community. Louise Darblay


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