Michael Archer

  • Matti Braun

    Matti Braun had flooded the front section of Showroom, turning it into a little lake. Slices of tree trunk scattered within this pool provided stepping stones by means of which the visitor could get from the door to the small flight of steps leading to the back of the space. There were several possible routes across and a number of places where the beginnings of a pathway led out into the water before petering out. The firm ground and higher level of the gallery’s back space having been reached, a number of patolas—brightly colored, geometrically patterned Bengali fabrics—could be seen on the

  • Jake and Dinos Chapman

    Is there any mileage left in the idea of art as an oppositional practice, a set of moves made against the prevailing culture and its norms from outside its territory? For the Chapman brothers the answer would appear to be no. Why bother to fake an ideological purity when such a thing is an irrelevant impossibility anyway? Their game, rather, is to welcome the apparent inescapability of their situation and to juggle truisms until the viewer becomes disoriented by their dexterousness. You think contemporary art is a con, that it makes pretentious use of half-understood theories, and is deliberately

  • Rut Blees Luxemburg

    Noises carried up from the street below through an open window that is usually closed, shuttered, and covered by a screen wall on which art is hung. But Rut Blees Luxemburg revealed it again as part of the installation of her show “Cauchemar,” which presented five images from the eponymous series of photographs, 2000–2002, shot in Paris and exhibited here within a precisely considered environment. Luxemburg takes her pictures at night using only available light. The long exposure times required for this result in pictures that slow down and hold the viewer’s attention. We are shown ordinary

  • Paul Morrison

    Black was everywhere in this show—in the treated film imagery, in the darkened projection space, and in the painting’s bifurcating forms, which promised to bleed off the canvas and onto the surrounding black walls. What Paul Morrison managed, though, was to hold in abeyance any sense that this darkness was unremitting. Instead, he invited viewers to find from within their own experience whatever color there might be in his starkly black-and-white works. A large painting of tree branches in silhouette against a white ground hung in one space, the walls of which had been painted black. In

  • Richard Wright

    Richard Wright is fascinated by what he calls the “ghosts” of painting’s history. The idiosyncrasies of a Guston or an Ensor, for instance, place them in awkward relation to tradition and prompt challenging questions as to painting’s potential. Wright’s own wall drawings, destined to live only briefly before being obliterated by the next layer of white emulsion, pose equivalent difficulties. This show’s three seemingly familiar elements—an architectural interior, a landscape, and a text fragment (a borrowed song title)—set up a subtle dialogue between the delicacy and restraint of the

  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila

    An assured grasp of film language together with a merciless questioning of subjective coherence means that none of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s films makes for easy viewing. Cumulatively their effect is one of profound discomfiture. Tate Modern’s “Real Characters, Invented Worlds” (which originated at Helsinki’s Kiasma and was shown concurrently at the Kunsthalle Zürich under the title “Fantasized Persons and Taped Conversations”) was listed in Ahtila’s biography as containing “several works.” In reality it provided a substantial survey of her art of the past decade, including a selection of her photographs

  • Hayley Newman

    Hayley Newman is a performance artist. Last year, for example, she spent a week in Matt’s Gallery in London attempting to assimilate and give order to the content of the previous six months’ newspapers. She did so through a succession of actions derived from everyday domestic and work activities. At least, I think that’s what she did. I only watched her for a little over an hour, so I can’t be absolutely sure.

    This is a universal problem. By nature ephemeral and invisible to all but a handful of people fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, performance lives through its

  • As Ondas (The waves), 1996.

    Beatriz Milhazes

    In the edgy sumptuousness of Beatriz Milhazes’s allusions to local flora, Rio’s urban verve and the legacies of Brazilian Baroque sit alongside references to both modernist painting—Brazilian and otherwise—and the traces of colonialist expansion in earlier European art. It’s a seductive and disturbing blend. Organized by Adriano Pedrosa, this first full-scale museum survey brings Milhazes’s paintings from the past decade back to her home city. The emphasis here is on recurrent themes and motifs rather than chronology. A banner project is installed in the Centro Cultural’s

  • Untitled, 2001.

    Richard Wright

    Diverse stylistic references, imagery from art and pop-cultural sources, and play with various conventions of spatial representation all feed into the precise patterns seen in Richard Wright’s paintings. Realized directly on the wall, his works involve the architecture of the space as well as its locale in a confrontation between the act of visualization and the decorative and functional status of the resultant forms. The outcome is a perverse mix, seemingly funny and aggressive, exuberant, demure, and reticently contemplative all at once. This

  • Phillip Allen

    There’s a shape—long, thin, and tapering to a rounded summit—that extends up the center of one of Phillip Allen’s paintings, Beezerspline (Dark Version), 2002. Actually it’s not so much a shape as an area defined by the many overlapping blobs that fringe it. While in Beezerspline and Beezerspline (Extended Version), both 2001, the patches are brightly colored, the blobs here are predominantly browns and blacks, a fact that may in part account for this painting’s subtitle. As for the title, The Beezer was a large-format children’s comic first published by the Glasgow-based firm DC

  • Keith Tyson

    It is easy to see why much of the comment that circulates around Keith Tyson’s work focuses on his interest in science. The techspeak and strings of figures that frequently appear in his innumerable drawings point time and again to the fields of astronomy and particle physics, to the cellular structure of the body, to ideas of randomness, and so on. Yet his drawings have more in common with the doodles that one used to do on the inside cover of one’s science folder at school whenever the lessons got a bit dull. And a child’s penchant for writing his address by beginning with name, house, and

  • Today, 1997.

    Eija-Liisa Ahtila

    When Eija-Liisa Ahtila captured the first Vincent award for European art in 2000, it came as no surprise to those familiar with the visual subtlety and narrative force evident in all of her video work—from the three punchy TV-related shorts Me/We, Okay, and Gray (all 1993) to the two-screen Consolation Service, 1999, a story of interpersonal disintegration and its aftermath singled out by critics at that year’s Venice Biennale.

    When Eija-Liisa Ahtila captured the first Vincent award for European art in 2000, it came as no surprise to those familiar with the visual subtlety and narrative force evident in all of her video work—from the three punchy TV-related shorts Me/We, Okay, and Gray (all 1993) to the two-screen Consolation Service, 1999, a story of interpersonal disintegration and its aftermath singled out by critics at that year’s Venice Biennale. Organized by Kiasma’s Maria Hirvi, these works and others, including Anne, Aki and God, 1998, in which the borders between reality, imagination,