Fokidos: An Element of Whim | Athens

Exemplifying the whimsical nature of their Athenian Artists-run space, Fokidos 21 brings together works by British and Greek artists in an exhibition entitled 'An Element of Whim'.

Eleni Bagaki (b. 1979 in Crete, GR) lives and works in Athens
Richard J Butler (b. 1986, Leeds, GB) lives and works in London
Bobby Dowler (b. 1983 in London, GB) lives and works London and Athens
Tula Plumi (b. 1980 in Herakleion, GR) lives and works in Athens
Nana Sachini (b. 1975 in Thessaloniki, GR) lives and works in Athens
Samara Scott (b. 1984 in London, GB) lives and works in London
Sofia Stevi (b. 1982 in Athens, GR) lives and works in London and Athens


David Murphy: Certain Impacts | PEER

Opening 26th March at PEER, London

From architecture to anthropology, tool-making to trade routes, my practice takes up aspects of inherently human activity that begin with the hand.

David Murphy’s first solo show in London is a presentation of recent drawings and sculpture. These two elements of his practice are a parallel and complementary activity rather than a developmental progression of two-dimensional study to final realisation in three dimensions.

The graphic language of the drawings rehearses and re-rehearses Murphy’s distinctive mark making – pursuing particular motifs that have the appearance of troughs and ridges or tubes and toruses. Using earthy colours of reds, browns and ochre, the medium for these drawings is casein – a traditional form of milk-based fast-drying paint, which Murphy applies using an almost dry, wide, square-ended brush. He often saturates his paper with layers of colour washes before, during or after the brushed marks have been made and the results can have the appearance of woven fabric or organic form observed in microcosm. At other times they can appear to describe vessels, tracks or furrows in a landscape. He works to the edges of the paper so that the drawing takes full occupancy of the sheet, leaving no border between the work and the world.

Murphy’s two sculptural groups in the show inhabit the real space of the gallery floor. Gathering is the title of two works made of steel wire that has been threaded through specially fabricated rings into tangled coils and then painted in red enamel. The gestural twists and turns have a performative, graphic quality like a finely engineered model of a line drawn in space. Their precise execution, however, is the result of Murphy’s experimentation with and knowledge of the material and its meticulous manufacture by hand. The most recent works in the exhibition are three large freestanding sculptures made from individual sheets of thin aluminium, which have each been subjected to repeated hammer blows over many hours. Murphy is both in control of and directed by his medium and tools; with each strike the metal subtly stretches and warps and it is through this process of hand-working that the material is gradually redefined.

David Murphy (born 1983, Newcastle upon Tyne) studied at Newcastle College and Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions include: Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010); Almost Island, TAP, Southend on Sea (2011); Anschlüssel, Fruehsorge Contemporary Drawings, Berlin (2011); Aggregate!, E:vent Gallery, London (2011), Young English Sculptors, Fundaziun Not Vital, Switzerland (2012); Zeichnung ohne Zeichnung, Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin (2013); and New Basics, Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Zuoz, Switzerland (2013). He was artist in residence at M4 Gastatelier, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2010), Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Scotland (2010), and Atelier Concorde, Lisbon, Portugal (2012). He will be artist in residence at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (April-June 2014). He is represented by Galleria Monica de Cardenas in Milan and Zuoz and lives and works in London.



Steve Hurtado


Steve Hurtado, China, 2011, wood, plaster, filler, spraypaint, 32.5 x 32 x 55 cm. Private Collection.


Steve Hurtado, Russia, 2012, Wood and glue, 110 x 55 x 60 cm. Courtesy the Artist.

Steve Hurtado (b. 1979) is a British artist with Bolivian parents. Hurtado makes sculptures that are related to monolithic buildings and communal spaces, using wood and concrete blocks. He makes beautiful drawings that refer to details of these fantastical spaces, as well as overviews of vast projects. Hurtado’s work over the past three years consists of two series. First came the Bunker series: a number of small sculptures that draw from the architectural tradition of maquettes. They are named after (or for) different countries (such as Syria, China, Great Britain and Russia). These carved wooden ‘bunkers’ are painted with many layers of car body filler and paint to create an ambiguous surface that resembles matt plastic or powder-coated metal. The wooden structures sit on plaster ‘hills’, which rest on an unpainted wooden base. Hurtado’s interest in bunkers is rooted in a deep fascination, and concern, regarding the political state of the world, and the secrecy surrounding military operations and surveillance – even in the broader, everyday sense of the latter.

Following the Bunker series, Hurtado began exploring the idea of stadiums when ‘Olympic fever’ swept through London, on the street as well as in the national press, about the designs and chosen architects. The Olympics penetrated, and therefore democratized, an arena of discussion usually reserved for a small, academic elite. Hurtado’s Stadium series reveals a pivotal moment in his technique and intellectual relationship with materials, as he shifted from wood to concrete blocks, which are carved and attached to one another with construction rebars. Indeed, the considered use of multiple materials adds depth to the work, without being anything less than essential.

Both bunkers and stadiums are designed to hold large numbers of people (in relation to the building size). However, at first it would appear to be very different entities – the hidden versus the exposed, war versus entertainment. However, one can note that both contain something quite unquantifiable, and that is a high state of human emotion and anxiety. And thus in observing these works we are reminded of our human condition, and how feeling very alive – whether through fear, tension, suspense or joy or sadness – having, as Virginia Woolf wrote in To The Lighthouse, a ‘moment of being’ – surpasses specific emotions. It is no co-incidence that great art, too, should make us feel that way.

Hurtado’s language has great subtlety in terms of what socio-political sentiments might be at the root of his investigation, although the formal style of the work is far from unassuming. It is informed to some degree by the Brutalist tradition – an influence that may have come from an intimate knowledge of London’s architectural and cultural landmarks such as the Southbank Centre and the Hayward Gallery. In addition to this, the visual aesthetic of the work is Judd-esque in the uncompromising minimalist forms, and the play of rhythmic empty volumes. Furthermore, it seems a strange co-incidence that the West Texas town of Marfa that Judd converted into his sculpture playground after becoming disillusioned with New York was largely made up of an abandoned army base – for example, the series of stark and Spartan hangars which now house site-specific installations by Dan Flavin. It seems that the Minimalist mentality and military architecture have more affinity than at first meets the eye.

Hurtado re-interprets the meaning and appearance of bunkers and stadiums, both individually laden with a canon of accepted and expected architectural form, to create sculptures that transcend the label of mere maquette, in that they are far from serving as solely illustrations of a much larger concept for a building. The works are so because of the fine craftsmanship and exacting proportion, which imbue them with gravitas. The proportional relationships are thought out so as to complement the sculpture at hand, not the building. The concept of the life-size building is in fact merely a means to an end – that being a challenging (for artist and viewer), yet concisely executed body of work, and the emergence of a new sculptural environment.


Tillman Kaiser

TillmanKaiserTillman Kaiser, Untitled, 2011, Egg-tempera and silkscreen printing on canvas, 135 x 100 cm, Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr.


Tillman Kaiser, Dünger II, 2012, Egg-tempera, silver gelatin, on paper on canvas, 43 x 33 cm, Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr.


Tillman Kaiser, Lampion, 2013, Cardboard, dispersion, 56 x 46 x 46 cm, Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr.

Tillman Kaiser is a sculptor and a painter, merging both practices most notably in his wall-hung works where different shaped canvases are composed so as to create kaleidoscopic geometric forms. Kaiser overlays his canvases with paint and photographs to create strange and psychedelic patterns. The photographs are developed on matte paper and their subjects revolve around the abstraction and manipulation of light, which is created by placing different objects close the camera lens, for example pieces of paper or a glass ashtray. The painted areas are applied with textured egg tempera. The paintings create hypnotic optical illusions and flirt with the traditional rules of perspective, as well as being seductive enough in their surface texture to attract the viewer to carefully consider the formal aspects of the work.
 Kaiser makes large and small paintings, the smallest being powerfully dense and a complementary counterpart to the larger works, which are more open and rhythmic in composition.



Monika Sosnowska

Monika Sosnowska

Monika Sosnowska, The Ramp, 2012, Painted steel, 210 x 380 x 210 cm. © The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd


Monika Sosnowska, Untitled, 2012, Steel and lacquer. Photograph © Lothar Schnepf, Cologne

Monika Sosnowoska manipulates and distorts architectural features that are drawn from institutional or industrial buildings, with astonishing and poetic results. The works pictured are replicas of parts of a factory building in Poland: gates and a ramp. Sosnowska bends and twists and folds the metal so the function of the object is lost, and we see the forms in an entirely new way.

Sosnowska endows her works with a strong rhythm, indeed one could say her work, at its best, is rather musical. The work avoids being reduced to the allegorical, or an illustration of Eastern European/ Soviet history, due to Sosnowska’s sharp interest in form and scale, and the unique way in which she subverts these within her transformative process. Sosnowska’s approach to sculpture shows a sensitivity to the notion of inside vs outside, and positive vs negative space – the fine balance of these elements contribute to the unexpected subtlety of the work.


Elisabeth Wieser: Trespass | Charim Events, Vienna

curtains (new)

Elisabeth Wieser (b.1986) is a German artist who makes site-specific sculptures, complemented by drawings and collages. Often alluding to claustrophobic shelters or vessels, and using a human scale, the works assimilate fantastical habitats. Wieser’s sculptures are elegant, mysterious and evocative of memory. In all parts of her work she explores dreamlike, and sometimes Brutalist, architecture. Furthermore, she is engaging with the way that humans understand the inter-relations between their body and its surroundings. The dark theatricality and oblique narrative typical of Wieser’s work is offset by a sensitive use of materials, which are gracefully combined. Wieser uses cheap materials (such as cardboard, paper, Styrofoam and plaster) to imitate something more hardwearing. This is born from the tradition of trompe l’oeil and set design, while an appreciation for such materials is clearly influenced by Arte Povera. The shadowy compositions and the consistent lack of a figurative presence in the work results in a ghostly uneasiness. Things are not what they seem: the works are forbidding and their structures do not reveal themselves. In the drawings and collages, one cannot, for example, determine whether the walls are mirrored or transparent; whether the exposed supports are inside  or outside the structure.


In recent months, Wieser has been developing structural concepts that revolve around: tunnels, entrance vs. exit, and moving from one space to another. The words ‘threshold’, and indeed the title of the exhibition – ‘trespass’ – have been key in her research. The notion of travelling from one space to another opens up many interpretations – the transition from being awake to asleep, the real to the imaginary, the present to the future.

Although over the last year Wieser has been making sculptures that became increasingly site-specific, this is the first time that she has made sculpture that is not free-standing, but instead depends (physically and conceptually) on its surroundings. Marking the end of her university career, the work she presents is not only a sculpture, but also an architectural intervention, recalling the work of Gordon Matta-Clark. For this sculptural installation, entitled Trespass, Wieser has built something of an architectural folly: a double archway, supported by columns and covered by tilted roof. Between the arches a new space manifests itself – a cave-like room. Within this ‘room’, Wieser is integrating artificial, diffused light in her work for the first time. This adds a subtle yet eerie atmosphere, and enhances the sensation of moving from one space to the other. A striking element of the sculpture is the forbidding ‘door’ that leans precariously against the first arch and seems to mimic woodwork patterns. We are thus invited in, and the space becomes a shelter. However, we are also aware that the door could be closed and trap the viewer.

Trespass refers directly to certain architectural details and dimensions pertaining to the layout of the exhibition space. On the one hand, this creates a rhythm that is harmonious with the space, for example, an additional sculptural column offers newfound symmetry to the room. On the other hand, Wieser’s intervention is disorientating, due to the manipulation of positive and negative space, and the angled walls and roof. The installation creates three separate spaces: before entering, under the construction, and after exiting. This echoes that fact that the gallery space itself is divided into three parts, by two columns. These columns ‘disappear’ at the mercy of the intervention. Thus the gallery seems physically unstable, demonstrating Wieser’s capacity to transform a relatively straightforward space into something complex and multi-layered.

This is Wieser’s first solo exhibition, after taking part in group shows in England, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

The exhibition is curated by Nina Neuper and Alma Zevi


Julian Wild


Julian Wild, Rightangle Ragwort, Polished and powder-coated stainless steel, 140 x 140 x 70cm. Courtesy the Artist.

Julian Wild’s sculptures, although often composed of heavy steel, recall the lightness of a pencil drawing. Fittingly, Wild refers to the sculptures’ existence as ‘indeterminate drawings’ or ‘doodles in three-dimensions’, the viewer can continue the line in their imagination – an infinite number of ‘endings’ are possible.

Wild’s sculptures are constructed to be seen in the round, their appearance changing dramatically when seen from different angles. The action of viewer considering the sculpture from multiple viewpoints creates an engagement with the sculpture, making us aware of our physical structure. Wild is unusual in today’s sculptural climate in that he is closely involved in the production of his work, only seldom employing assistants. This is an important aspect to consider in his oeuvre as it means that the artistic value of the work lies not merely in the concept – as in the case of much contemporary sculpture – but also in the physical act of making. Indeed, Julian’s creative process, while well thought-out, also has an instinctive dimension: he almost always decides on the final shape or composition of a piece during the process of fabrication.

A prevalent source of inspiration for Wild is the macrocosm and microcosm of natural and organic forms, such as plants, seeds, and trees, Wild subverts these ‘traditional’ art references by painting his works in jarring colours and setting them against natural, outdoor settings. Wild’s work is captivating and vibrant: his sculpture addresses balance and tension, and the juxtaposition between materials and meaning.


Art Licks Weekend | London

Ilona Sagar_2

Ilona Sager, Aphasic materials, (film still), 2013

Launching this year, the Art Licks Weekend 2013 will be a three-day event for which young galleries, not-for-profit projects, artist-run spaces and independent curatorial projects will be open to the public with special events and exhibitions of work by emerging artists.

The Art Licks Weekend is a unique event that will encompass the most exciting artistic talent and innovative ideas in London; celebrating the creative energy of this young art scene. The festival will concentrate on those pockets of artistic activity in east and south London where some of the most interesting exhibitions, events, screenings and performances take place – including Bermondsey, Bethnal Green, Deptford, Elephant & Castle, Hackney, Hackney Wick, Haggerston and Peckham.

The dominant picture of the capital’s creative sector does not represent the wealth of projects happening amongst younger artists and curators in spaces outside of central London. Art Licks launched in 2010 and has since grown to provide an essential platform and voice for the lesser-known and under-represented activities that form the grassroots of visual culture in London.

It is important that these initiatives and individuals are supported and their contribution to the diverse cultural landscape of London is celebrated as they form the future of its art scene. The Art Licks Weekend represents such galleries and spaces that are risk-takers and have set themselves up on their own initiative often with little or no funding, delivering programmes that are exciting, relevant and innovative.

4-6 October 2013 from 11am-6pm daily, with a Press Preview on Thursday 3 October, 6-9pm

For full lists of participating artists and galleries/spaces, requests for interviews, and any other information please contact Holly Willats:


Camilla Emson


Camilla Emson, Constellation (detail), cotton, bleach and linen, 115 x 70 cm. Courtesy the artist.


Camilla Emson, Reflection/2 Glass Heads, glass and felt, variable dimensions. Courtesy the Artist.

Camilla Emson’s dynamic studio practice takes place alongside undertaking post-graduate training in somatic experiencing. She explains that while her work is very much about intuition and physicality, she enjoys using her intellect to engage with the stimulating and shifting knowledge base of psychology and creative therapies. Emson’s concerns are process-based and she works instinctively with tactile materials.

Emson is currently working on two main series of work: she had been glassblowing for two years, exclusively using transparent glass and experimenting with closed, rounded and asymmetrical forms that she manipulates with pliers while the glass is still molten to create scar-like effects which are simultaneously disturbing and beautiful in their patterns.

The body of work she is creating alongside this consists of canvas’ that she herself stretches across large wooden supports. She then proceeds to splash them – Pollock-style – with bleach. The random forms created on the surface of the canvas are what she then works upon with embroidery. Using an unusual needle found in India last year, she creates rhythmic, looping gestures across the canvas, which could be likened to something that is growing, or decaying. During the process Emson sometimes unravels areas of her embroidery, leaving lines of small holes – memories of the canvas that might subtly allude to our relationships with the past. Emson works with a subdued and elegant palette of greys – some of which take on a more pink or blue or yellow tone, endowing the works with depth and certainly responding to the fabric works of Eva Hesse, Rosemarie Trockel and Louise Bourgeois.