Izabella Scott

  • Isaac Julien, Victoria Miro, and Erin Manns in front of a Sarah Sze painting at Victoria Miro Gallery. All photos: Izabella Scott.
    diary October 19, 2021

    Swing Time

    “THAT’S WHAT ARTWORKS ARE BEST FOR, aren’t they?” said Grayson Perry, posing in front of a painting by Sarah Sze. “Backdrops for photos!” It was Monday of Frieze week, and the British artist appeared at Victoria Miro’s “intimate dinner for eighty,” hosted inside its vast Islington space, as his alter ego, Clare, in pink Mary Janes and turquoise tights. After admiring Perry’s large silver necklace—a mini version of his sculpture Chris Whitty’s Cat, 2020—I ate pink macaroons, spied Zadie Smith, and papped Isaac Julien against another of Sze’s electro-dystopic abstractions.

    I’d arrived at Miro from

  • View of “Break Down: 20 Years,” 2021. Photo: Ben Westoby.
    picks May 24, 2021

    Michael Landy

    During the pandemic, I began watching hypnotic YouTube compilations in which ordinary things—a cheese grater or a toy—are crushed in a hydraulic press. The objects buckle or splatter and turn into mousse.

    Over two weeks in February 2001, Michael Landy, then aged thirty-eight, publicly destroyed everything he owned. Here, a surreal documentary video finds a team of twelve assistants in blue boiler suits moving around a 100-meter conveyor belt that threads through a former department store on Oxford Street. The assistants weigh, log, and sort every item owned by the Young British Artist—7,227

  • Cooking Sections, Salmon: A Red Herring, 2020–21, removal of farmed salmon from the institution’s menu, cyclorama, powder-coated steel, silk, ETC ColorSource CYC lights, ETC Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr lights, sound. Installation view. Photo: Lucy Dawkins.

    Cooking Sections

    If you have the chance to see a whole salmon at the fish market, observe its tail: It will likely be small and withered. This is because most salmon have never used their tail fins—have never swum upriver or propelled themselves through an ocean. In fact, they have never left the nets they are grown in.

    Most commercial salmon is produced by corporate aquaculture giants in Chile, Norway, Scotland, and elsewhere. The farms suspend metal nets in the sea, pack them with thousands of fish, then quickly fatten the salmon with fish-meal pellets. But aquaculturists had to face an inconvenient fact:

  • Eduardo Navarro, Breathing Drawing, 2019, ink on paper, 9 x 12".
    picks December 07, 2020

    Eduardo Navarro

    Rasping respirations pound through the galleries that host “(breathspace),” Eduardo Navarro’s solo show here. At once oceanic and mechanical, the titular sound piece recalls both waves lapping at distant shores and the ominous pump of a ventilator. The Argentinian artist, who predominantly works in performance—his so called “treatments” have animated nonhuman entities from clouds to octopi—originally conceived of the gallery as a giant lung in which visitors could lie back and sync their breathing with that of other guests. In March, of course, Covid-19 made physical togetherness and breath

  • Invernomuto and Jim C. Nedd, PICÓ: Un parlante de África en América, 2017, HD film, color, sound, 61 Minutes.
    picks November 22, 2020

    “PICÓ: Un parlante de Africa en America”

    Barranquilla and Cartagena, the vibrant port cities of Colombia’s north Caribbean coast, were once slave-trading posts during Spanish rule. Since the 1950s, a music and dance culture emerged, manifesting in fluorescent, mobile sound systems called picós, apocryphally named after the pickup trucks that transport them to parties along the coastline. This history is the subject of an hourlong documentary, on view here, by the Italian artist duo Invernomuto in collaboration with the Afro-Colombian visual artist Jim C. Nedd., currently on show at Auto Italia South East in London.

    Filmed in 2017, PICÓ:

  • Imran Perretta, the destructors, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 23 minutes 35 seconds.
    picks February 03, 2020

    Imran Perretta

    Imran Perretta’s video the destructors, 2019, opens at a youth center in East London, where three young Muslim men occupy the deserted rooms, sites of both refuge and uncertainty in a United Kingdom starved by a decade of austerity measures. Paint peels off the walls, smoke leaks into the basement, and water floods the hallways. Three soliloquies written by Perretta are heard across a split screen flickering between the actors, who speak their lines alone in classrooms or conduct strange team-building exercises, such as gyrating together in a knot or inching through an obstacle course of rubber

  • Latif Al Ani, Portrait of an Iraqi lady, Baghdad, 1961, 1961, inkjet print on Hahnemühle fine art photo rag pearl 320 gsm paper, printed 2019, 23 1/2 x 23".
    picks December 09, 2019

    Latif Al Ani

    Latif Al Ani’s retrospective opens with a self-portrait. It is 1957, and the Iraqi photographer, at twenty-five years old, appears with a Rolleiflex strung around his neck while a crooked mountain range near Iran hardens the skyline behind him. Although pivotal to Iraq’s young photographic history, Al Ani has only somewhat recently gained a reputation as its “founding father.” After that self-portrait, he would go on to document the country over the next two decades, capturing, in buoyant depictions of everyday life, a period of sweeping political change and modernization which he now describes