reviews

  • Zarina Bhimji, Yellow Patch, 2011, still from a color film in 35 mm transferred to DVD, 29 minutes
    43 seconds.

    Zarina Bhimji

    Whitechapel Gallery

    The title of Zarina Bhimji’s latest film, Yellow Patch, 2011, gives away no secrets, and having watched it, viewers are none the wiser. We know it was shot in India; that Bhimji has been researching it for years; that it is about “the history of trade and migration between India and Africa.” The catalogue tells us so. And yet such explanations don’t dispel our transfixed bafflement as we imbibe its nearly thirty minutes’ worth of footage. We see the old Port Trust offices in Mumbai, with their piles of fraying paperwork and aimlessly whirring fans; gorgeously decaying mansions in Gujarat, with

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  • View of “Sarah Lucas,” 2012.

    Sarah Lucas

    Situation

    There’s the briefest phase during early puberty when one’s hapless ignorance of firsthand sex is combined with an obsessive curiosity for all its obscene details, weirdly accompanied by a childish revulsion toward the whole stinking business. This is that awkward age when the frankest of questions (“What is cunnilingus?”) find their way to the dinner table, followed by the inevitable “Do you guys do it?” and the equally inevitable squeals of horror if even the most liberal of parents attempt a response. Terror and hilarity mix in fine proportion, fueling more queries, fits of laughter, and

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  • Hanne Darboven, 24 Gesänge opus 14, 15 a, b (detail), 1984, felt-tip pen on paper, postcards, greeting cards, sound, dimensions variable.

    Hanne Darboven

    Camden Arts Centre

    German Conceptual artist Hanne Darboven offers an intriguing combination of cool Minimalism and curio-shop chic. Beginning in the mid-1960s, her “daily writing” took the form of journals, letters, and jotted numbers, dates, and doodles that she arranged into a series of grids and store-bought day planners, organized via basic systems of calculation: 9 x 11 = 99 is the title of one major work on view here, from 1972. The walls of three rooms at the Camden Arts Centre were covered with framed sheets of paper containing the handwritten dates, numerical systems, and serial inscriptions typical of

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