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Exhibition Review Whitechapel open to what's happening now

MICHAL BONCZA recommends an exhibition of dynamic art reflecting the mindset of artists in a global capital

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.

Renee So and Elisabeth Tomlinson
Renee So and Elisabeth Tomlinson

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.

 Jess Littlewood
Rachael Champion. Pic: Jess Littlewood

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.

Gabriela Boyd and Andrea Luka Zimmerman
Gabriela Boyd and Andrea Luka Zimmerman

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.

Job done.

Runs until August 26, opening times:



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