reviews

  • Isa Genzken

    Whitechapel Gallery

    IN THIS RETROSPECTIVE of Isa Genzken, which opened in April at London’s newly expanded Whitechapel Gallery, the sheer range and depth of her work becomes clear, registered not in spite of but in the reeling effects of its many glitzy surfaces. Firmly establishing the artist as one of the leading innovators of the past thirty years, the selection of works made since the late 1970s brings into sharp focus the powerful logic at the heart of her practice. True, there are myriad media and materials—sculpture, photographs, collages, paintings and not-paintings attached to the wall, small models, and

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  • John Riddy

    Frith Street Gallery | Golden Square

    In the critical writing on John Riddy’s photography, a divergence of interpretation emerges. For some, his images embody “spatial illusion and dreaming”: They reverberate “with what is not shown or displayed” and demonstrate “photography’s capacity to conflate time and its ability to evoke the history of a place.” Others read the photographs rather differently, as “relentlessly hard-nosed and formal” documentaries that lack “any sense of nostalgia.”

    So is Riddy a romantic or a realist? That such an uncertainty can exist is a function of the extreme subtlety of this photographer’s image-world.

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  • “Voodoo”

    Riflemaker

    True story: I took a disaffected, directionless high school senior to the opening of “Voodoo,” and, wildly enthused by this show, she applied to art school the next day. That’s how inspirational this gem of a group exhibition was. “Voodoo: Hoochie Coochie and the Creative Spirit” roughly coincided with Nicolas Bourriaud’s grand Tate Triennial, a twenty-first-century mission statement on the future of curating filled with large-scale, theoretically au courant works. In contrast, “Voodoo”—crammed floor to ceiling with some fifty-five works dating from the nineteenth century to the present—represents

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  • Michal Helfman

    Cardi Gallery, London

    An ideal title for Israeli artist Michal Helfman’s recent show might be “Mirage,” since it seemed to revolve around the distortion and inversion of images. Upon entering the ground floor of the gallery, visitors were greeted by a sequence of jagged mirrors, cut and arranged low on a wall to evoke a range of desert mountains. Above this work hung a glowing yellow “sun” too Pop to be realistic; it was, in fact, an Eero Saarinen–esque Tulip table mounted horizontally and loosely covered with a yellow tablecloth. This installation, titled The Lesson, 2009, extended into an adjacent room, which was

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