reviews

  • Gustav Metzger, Historic Photographs: No. 1: Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, April 19—28 days, 1943, 1995/2009, black-and-white photograph mounted on Foamex board, rubble. From the series “Historic Photographs,” 1990–. Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones.

    Gustav Metzger

    Serpentine Galleries

    AFTER A DECADE of producing abstract paintings, Gustav Metzger began a new phase of his career when, in 1959, he wrote his manifestos of “auto-destructive art,” aiming to harness the destructive powers of modernity for aesthetic experimentation. Importantly, such writings were from the start presented alongside formal pronouncements of intent: for instance, Cardboards, 1959, a group of found, flattened boxes; and Bag, 1959, a clear plastic bag, also found, filled with cast-off packing materials and fabric. The ancillary quality of these objects highlighted the processes in industrialized capitalism

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  • Phillip Lai

    Stuart Shave/Modern Art | 6 Fitzroy Square

    Right from the start, you could be certain only that there would be no certainties. Just inside the door of this show, on the floor of the gallery’s lobby, Phillip Lai had installed Untitled (all works 2009). On and around a low pile of foam slabs of various sizes and thicknesses were four wine bottles, a couple of balls, and a baseball bat—a temporary resting place, perhaps, for a gregarious though security-minded vagrant. All of the objects are cast in sponge foam, but they are imperfect, looking as if parts of their surface layers have been left in the mold; the balls in particular seem almost

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  • Fergal Stapleton

    V22 | Dalston

    In a 2007 review, and prompted by Fergal Stapleton’s choices of title (Planet of the Clowns, 2006, for instance, or This Is Mars, 2007), critic Andrew Bonacina drew a suggestive comparison between this artist’s illuminated three-dimensional works and orreries, models (sometimes illuminated) of the solar system. The title of Stapleton’s mixed-media installation at V22, If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul, 2009, had no apparent astronomical connection, but its form and its use of illumination suggested a continued investment in the planetary motif.

    At the gallery’s

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