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The London Open 2018
Whitechapel Gallery, London
THIS free triennial exhibition, featuring 22 artists working across painting, sculpture, performance and video, addresses burning issues related to the changing urban context, the environment, technology, gender, race representation, political activism and post-colonial histories.
Their creative inquiries and agendas employ a variety of formal languages and what's on show is a kaleidoscope of challenging propositions, with excellent and powerful work by women artists to the fore.
Among them are semi-figurative, semi-abstract paintings by Gabriella Boyd, Rachael Champion’s disturbing installation New Spring Gardens and Hannah Brown’s entrancing landscape work The Field Next to Tesco to Be Built On, while Rachel Pimm's unsettling Hardcore Deposition, with its accent on expanding waste, a particular curse of capitalism, has a similar political intent.
There are tender and beautifully composed photographs of nudes by Elizabeth Tomlinson and Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s optimistic Civil Rites — reminiscent, in spirit, of Giuseppe Pellizza’s memorable The Fourth Estate.
Renee So’s talismanic Woman, perhaps inspired by the Palaeolithic Venuses of Willendorf and Dolni, is a challenging statement in a society enslaved by debasing instant gratification.
Elsewhere Larry Achiampong's video Relic 1, imagining Africa post the devastation of present-day neocolonialism, makes an impact.
“Artists that stand for what is happening now and who have the authority and sensitivity to speak on behalf of others and whose work genuinely engages with the subjects explored in it,” says curator Emily Butler of the selection criteria for the exhibition.
Runs until August 26, opening times: whitechapelgallery.org
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