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ManiFesten at Trolley Gallery

May 27, 2010 by Kay

Join the Trolley Gallery for an unforgettable dinner party where the set, food and entertainment has all derived from the minds of artists.

Dine on a sculptural construction created by set designer Robert Storey, where individual chairs move towards the ceiling and in turn, the table is lowered towards the diners. Experience bread rolls suspended in mid-air from artist Caroline Hobkinson, who concocted the feast based on the medieval, mythical land-of-plenty, Cockaigne. Curator and artist Ian Giles has organised - and will partake in - performances, featuring artists such as Eloise Fornieles, Edward Fornieles, Kate Hawkins and Tessa Lynch. Then take home one of the souvenir limited edition napkins by artists Hobkinson, Boo Saville and Henry Hudson.

The feasts take place over six evenings from Wednesday 2nd June and with only 12 spaces per night some nights are already sold out - so grab your tickets now from the Trolley Gallery. If you don't manage to get hold of a ticket, you can still enjoy the free public performance before dinner is served.

Read the press release below, or for more information contact the Trolley Gallery.

Boo Saville ManiFesten napkin

Boo Saville ManiFesten napkin

Ian Giles ManiFesten performance

Ian Giles ManiFesten performance

Robert Storey ManiFesten chair

Robert Storey ManiFesten chair


Trolley Gallery is pleased to announce its forthcoming summer group show. Entitled ‘ManiFesten’, over a six day period, the artists selected will respond to the theme of food and eating in the gallery, with a program of performance on the bandstand atop neighbouring Arnold Circus, traditionally a place of music and public interaction. The theme of food, eating and public performance responds to the desire for an unusual approach to the group and summer show format. ManiFesten explores the roles that artists have played both artistically and socially in food and dining, from Rothko’s commission for the Seagram Restaurant, New York to the Futurist Cookbook by Marinetti and the YBAs patronage of St John’s restaurant in London. In this respect the artists selected incorporate these ideas into their own practice, and here work together to create the show’s format.

Trolley Gallery will be transformed into an interactive installation by artist and set designer Robert Storey. Each night 12 members of the public will dine in a site-specific sculptural construction, incorporating the traditional role of chairs around a central dining table, but playing with ideas of scale and the role of encounter and the unexpected. Storey’s work utilizes found materials such as reclaimed wood and household objects such as ladders, to create surreal constructions that can subvert the original, intended or expected use. His work is inspired by artists such as Christoph Büchel, who engages with the viewer by inviting them to partake in an unexpected encounter with the work. Storey creates sets and elaborate and imaginative costumes; for ManiFesten he will create 12 individual chairs that will lift the sitter towards the roof of the gallery, before lowering the ceiling to reveal the table around them as they sit.

Each evening will commence at 7pm with a unique performance outside and near to the gallery, which will be open to the public. The programme has been curated by artist Ian Giles, and will include performances by an exciting selection of up and coming artists in this field: Awst and Walther, littlewhitehead, Tessa Lynch, Edward Fornieles, Eloise Fornieles and Kate Hawkins, as well as Giles himself. The artists will respond to the historical use of the local area for public performance, and will be open to everyone.

The concept of the menu has been created by artist Caroline Hobkinson, who runs gastronomic art tours of the area surrounding the gallery’s location in Shoreditch. Hobkinson has recently created art food concepts for, among others, the Barbican. For ManiFesten she has explored the idea of the Land of Cockaigne, the legendary country of bountiful food and drink described in medieval tales and depicted in the work of Flemish artist Peter Breugel. With the focus on a feast, both visually and gastronomically, the artist has created a three course menu, that will be presented in relation to the theme of unexpected fantasy and inverted proportion of Storey’s sculpture. It will be formulated from the best and most delicious ingredients for, as it is in Cockaigne, the food is plentiful, the ‘skies rain with cheeses’ and ‘cooked fish jump out of the water and land at one’s feet’. As the ceiling is revealed, 12 freshly baked bread rolls will be suspended in mid air in front of the diners mouths, interspersed with cured sausages, followed by a whole oven-baked halibut stuffed with little tiny fish and vegetables, followed by a giant magic porridge pot, in the form of creme brulee.

Guests will take home a limited edition napkin by Hobkinson, as well editions by artists represented by Trolley, Boo Saville and Henry Hudson.

The intention of ManiFesten is to engage guests with an original experience involving artists and food re-located to the gallery environment, and public performance in a readymade location. ManiFesten is itself an edition of 6 nights, with tickets only available in advance direct from the gallery. The total for each ticket is £69 and includes all food, wine and a limited edition artist napkin.

Michael Craig-Martin's Alphabet

May 27, 2010 by Ellie

Just to remind you, Michael Craig-Martin's Alphabet opens tomorrow at Artsdepot and runs until 27th June. Read more about it here or here.


Mat Collishaw, Raucci/Santamaria, Naples

May 26, 2010 by Ellie


Mat Collishaw has recently opened a show at Raucci/Santamaria Gallery, called 'Superveilance'.

May 14th - July 16th 2010

Press Release: Reflections on the ambiguity between reality and representation, on the never unique value of an image or a word. Mat Collishaw (Nottingham 1966 - lives and works in London) leads the viewer to an unconventional perception of issues related to crime news, myth, history of art, eros, dreams and man’s primitive nightmares. The artist questions the icons of all times, calling for a new vision, sometimes intimate sometimes provocative, moving away from a passive acceptance.[spacer height=10] Introducing a disruptive element that twists or changes reality, without ever neglecting the aesthetic value, he creates a movement of attraction and repulsion, which poses the problem of the very existence of images and their meanings. Since 1993 Collishaw, at that time emerging representative of the Young British Artists, has established a lasting relationship with the Raucci/Santamaria gallery presenting today his fifth personal exhibition titled "Superveilance”. A compound word that has many aspects, playing with the sense of surveillance opposed to the need to rip the veil of appearances. 
So in "The Island of the Dead", inspired by the famous painting of the symbolist Arnold BÀ¶cklin, a 3D program plays the passage of light in the 24 hours from sunrise to sunset revealing, in the blackness of night, the reflection of the beholder. 
The exhibition also includes three tree stumps where instead of the concentric rings used to measure the age of the tree trunks, runs a vinyl record that plays the sound of birds singing and the rustle of leaves. Nature and mechanics are hybridized, the memory of life has a voice through technology.[spacer height=10] In the exhibition two lithophanies on corian which, thanks to the effects of transparency, show a contrast between the image and the value that it assumes in collective imagination. 
A clash that sees the reproduction of the tree "Major Oak", a symbol of Nottingham connected to the figure of Robin Hood. A tree that should be long dead and instead is kept standing with the aid of props and structures, like a tourism billboard: the lights on the back of the trunk and branches pulsate, making a ghostly effect, an X-ray in which twigs take the shape of a tangle of veins. 
"The ecstasy of St. Teresa" instead reproduces Bernini’s sculpture, balanced between religious pathos and erotic thrill; through a system of horizontal backlight, the saint’s profile, as if touched by an unearthly light, slowly appears making material and tangible an ethereal semblance. 
A path which shortens the dichotomy between life and death, physical and spiritual, in which the contemplation of reality becomes distorted, and observation is deceit.


Phillip Allen, Bernier/Eliades, Athens

May 26, 2010 by Ellie

Phillip Allen opens '...the urgent hang around' on 3rd June until 10th July at Bernier/Eliades Gallery, Athens.

PRESS RELEASE: The Bernier/ Eliades Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Phillip Allen. It is the artist’s first exhibition in Greece.

Phillip Allen (b. London, 1967) has gained international acclaim for his revolutionary approach to contemporary painting since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1992. His work reexamines, reverses and reinvigorates pictorial conventions to integrate - and transcend  - traditions of geometric abstraction and landscape painting. Each piece reveals a highly developed individual manner with a kaleidoscopic synthesis of constructed shapes, vividly coloured, in imagined patterns.

At once architectural and biomorphic, molecular and cosmic against a void of suggested infinity, each enigmatic composition is brought to life by the radial motion of a controlled explosion. The result is a new visual syntax that is equally reminiscent of funfair rides, Islamic patterning, starburst galaxies, video games and the Russian avant-garde.

Each painting is framed above and below by a rich band of cumulative impasto. The thickly applied raw oil paint, still shaped as it has come out of the tube on the wooden board, takes on a strong sculptural presence to form a portal between the surface of the painting and the spectator. The materiality of its process-based texture and physical depth emphasizes by contrast the vanishing points in the depth of field on the surface of the board. Looking through this frame into the composition gives the feeling of peering into an imagined garden of paradise as an inner state of being.

A parallel contrast arises between the dollops of inactive paint on the edges and the paint rendered deliberately in the centre by the artist’s brush – raising the fundamental question, when is a painting more than the sum of its parts? The contemplation of each work as a whole warns against any linear reading and the pitfalls of trusting language to decode image – our invented distinctions and relations between content and form are to be read in terms not of matter but of metamorphosis. Ever keen to break his own spells with an explosion of colour, Allen is out to reach the sublime and then to reveal it as a trick of the hand.

The Profit of WOW (Silves Version), 2009, Oil on board, 41 x 51 cmphoto

Beyond Green, 2010, Oil on board, 41 x 51 cmBeyond Green, 2010, Oil on board, 41 x 51 cm

Fatherland Gem (Tyrant of Focus Version), 2010, Oil on board, 41 x 51 cmFatherland Gem, 2010, Oil on board, 41 x 51 cm

Motherland Gem, (Tyrant of Focus Version), 2010, Oil on board, 51 x 61 cmMotherland Gem, (Tyrant of Focus Version), 2010, Oil on board, 51 x 61 cm

The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair

May 26, 2010 by Ellie

Screen shot 2010-05-26 at 12.04.04

The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair makes a return to the Truman Brewery on Sunday 6th June from 12-6pm.

In their own words, 'The 2010 Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair is gearing up to be the  art world’s summer playground with lots of artful dodging and weaving, bartering and frivolity than ever before and serious art bargains to boot!

New! This year! A Wrestling Ring centrepiece featuring bouts of old school wrestling interspersed with some arty in-fighting and inbetween-bout secret auction thrills as this year’s crowds snap up Lucha Libre inspired original artworks from the UK’s most famous artists, the freshest talents and the coolest trend setters. Plus we’re upping the stakes with lots of artful games and gaming.

Over sixty exciting pitches with regular booters Sir Peter Blake, Gavin Turk, Bob & Roberta Smith and Pam Hogg joined by Martin Creed & his band, Billy Childish, Pete Fowler, Oliver Guy Watkins, Ian Dawson and Jessica Albarn, for this year’s fresh and feisty take on what is already gearing up to be the hottest day of the year! Plus! Myriad entertainments from Gabby Young, Revere, Marawa, and the ultimate fun generators The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club! Cool cocktails from The East Room, and epicurean delights from The Bath Pig, La Grotta home made ices, Mrs Marengo’s art cakes and St. John Bread & Wine!'

For more information, visit the ACBF website.

Johnnie Shand Kydd: Photographs of Naples

May 26, 2010 by Kay

Johnnie Shand Kydd's photography of Naples reaches the UK for the first time this summer at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London from 1st July - 12th September 2010.

Titled Siren City, this collection alludes to the mythological history of Naples, in particular the Greek Siren Parthenope. Parthenope threw herself into the sea in despair after failing to seduce Ulysses with her voice and was washed upon the shore of Naples. At one time the city was called Parthenope after this mythological founder of the land. These magical elements of Naples can be seen within Shand Kydd's works, sitting beautifully but paradoxically next to the modern aspects of the same city.

Other Criteria have worked with Johnnie Shand Kydd to produce a publication of his Naples photography, also titled Siren City, as well as prints of selected images within this collection. To see Shand Kydd's prints, click here.

For more information on the forthcoming exhibition, contact the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art or read their press release below.

Easter procession, Procida

Easter procession, Procida 2005 Silver gelatin print 50 x 40 cm
© Johnnie Shand Kydd

Mappatella beach

Mappatella beach 2008 Silver gelatin print 50 x 40 cm
© Johnnie Shand Kydd

Defaced sculpture on fountain, Piazza Mercato

Defaced sculpture on fountain,Piazza Mercato 2007 Silver gelatin print 50 x 40 cm
© Johnnie Shand Kydd



Some fifty striking and evocative black and white photographs of Naples by the acclaimed photographer Johnnie Shand Kydd will be shown at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, at 39a Canonbury Square, London N1, from Wednesday 30 June to Sunday 12 September 2010.  Siren City:  Photographs of Naples by Johnnie Shand Kydd is the first time that these works have been exhibited in the UK following their debut in MADRE, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Naples.

Johnnie Shand Kydd is probably best known for his portraits of his artist friends, especially the YBAs (Young British Artists) such as Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst, before they became famous, many of which can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery.  In 2000 he was invited to spend three months in Naples, a city he had never visited before, known as the Siren City because of the legend of the siren Parthenope who, having failed to seduce Ulysses with the beauty of her song, threw herself into the sea and was washed ashore at the place that was to become Naples.

Shand Kydd says “In time I developed a relationship with the city something akin to a drug habit, returning again and again over the next eight years.  It is not by accident that Naples is known as the Siren City and I had fallen hook, line and sinker under the spell of her seduction.”  He finds it a very sexy city where northern European reserve has no place but which also has a darker side, not only because of corruption and criminality but also through the paganism that is inherent in the city.  He observes that while Naples is tough, dirty, noisy and anarchic, it is a city that never fails to make you laugh.

“Another gift for the photographer is the theatricality of the city which uses every street and piazza as its stage.  Privacy is an utterly foreign concept here with every door open for those outside to glimpse in and those inside to gaze out.  There is no barrier to speak of between the public and the private.  I decided early on to always when possible ask my subject’s permission before taking a picture.  Perhaps the price of this is a loss of spontaneity but the unexpected prize usually turned out to be a wonderfully theatrical swagger.  Soldiers would strike a pose and old ladies reach for their fans with an odd mixture of pride and innocence which reminds me of much nineteenth-century photography when the camera still retained a whiff of the magical.”

This is epitomised in Cadets outside Café Gambrinus, an elegant café near the Royal Palace where Oscar Wilde whiled away the time during his stay in the city after his release from prison (fig. 1).  Shand Kydd says “I have always thought that the Neapolitan responds to the camera lens in a very unique way.  There is no coyness.  These cadets know that they look splendid and respond to the camera accordingly.”  The photographer found Father, daughter and dog, Via dei Tribunali “the ultimate Neapolitan cliché, but too good to resist” (fig. 2).

Girl on a swing (fig. 3) shows a makeshift swing set up in a square with two boats bearing the names ‘Napoli’ and ‘Roma’ on their sides.  Shand Kydd loved the way that even a child’s swing illustrates the centuries-old competition between the Italian states and noted the feather in the hair of the girl, a typically Neapolitan theatrical touch.  Boys retrieving ball from balcony reflects how football and religion spar for pre-eminence in the city (fig. 4).  Goal posts are painted on anything regardless of architectural importance.  Images reflecting the religious aspect of Neapolitan life include Easter procession, Procida which shows six children with a Noah’s ark, inside which are live pheasants, ducklings and song birds (fig. 5).  Procida is the least famous of the three islands in the bay of Naples, the others being Capri and Ischia.

The beach plays a prominent role in Neapolitan life.  Mappatella beach depicts the most popular beach on the waterfront of the city (fig. 6).  (‘Mappatella’ means the bag in which all beach and picnic equipment is carried.)  As Shand Kydd observes, “At weekends in high summer, this beach defies belief.  Thousands of Neapolitans flock to this tiny space to waste away the hours.”  Girl with hoola hoop, Piazza Vittoria depicts a scene on another packed beach on the waterfront at exactly midday as she stands directly inside the shadow cast by the hoola hoop (fig. 7).  Three boys, Mappatella beach reminds the photographer of the gestures to be found in the works of Italian old masters (fig. 8).  “The body language of these three boys is exactly what you would find in a painting by Caravaggio”.

It is a tradition for newly-weds to head for the waterfront for their wedding photographs and it is not uncommon to see five or six couples simultaneously going through their paces in a complex choreography whereby they never quite get in each other’s way.  In Bride putting on stockings, Piazza Vittoria (fig. 9), the bride had just been standing with her groom in the shallow water and is being helped back into her stockings.  “Pure Fellini!” is how Shand Kydd describes it.  In Stockings for sale, street stall off Via Toledo, with its stockings and funeral notices, Shand Kydd saw a perfect image of those age-old bedfellows, sex and death (fig. 10).

Shand Kydd observes: “While we in the north have been taught to worship at the altar of heritage, the Neapolitan exhibits as little respect for the beauty of his surroundings as he does for any form of official authority.  No building is too grand or beautiful to escape being vandalised or structurally brutalised.”  For example Defaced sculpture on fountain, Piazza Mercato shows a Renaissance sculpture that has been both disfigured and enhanced (fig. 11).  Paint has transformed the face of the statue into an image of intense grief.  The square in which the fountain stands was once the traditional place of execution in the city, and the head of this statue no longer exists, having been smashed and removed.

Amongst some of the more exotic aspects of Neapolitan culture evoked in Shand Kydd’s pictures is Patricia playing Lotto (fig. 12).  Patricia is a ‘femminiello’ and Shand Kydd explains “A femminiello is not a transsexual but a man who has breast surgery but nothing further.  They usually make their living by prostitution but also play an important role in local society, often being used as babysitters.  Lotto is an extremely ancient and complex ritual based on numbers which has been a passion in the city for centuries.  The femminielli have traditionally presided over the lotto though this is now becoming rarer.  His/her role is almost shamanistic, acting as a conduit between the spiritual and corporal worlds.”

Influenced by neo-realist filmmakers such as Luchino Visconti, Shand Kydd set out to be honest about the city and to avoid the Naples usually depicted in lifestyle photographs.  The results are gritty, real, humorous and affectionate portraits of people and objects entirely at home in their setting and without stereotypes.  Siren City is a fitting tribute by an accomplished photographer to the Naples he has grown to love.

COMPETITION: Vote for Birkin!

May 24, 2010 by Ellie

The Sovereign European Art Prize, as recently posted on this blog, is inviting you to vote for one winner from this year's finalists. David Birkin's 'Diptych' (2009) from his ongoing series Confessions has been nominated. If you'd like to vote in favour of his work, please click here.

The finalists' gallery will be on exhibition at the Barbican Centre, London from the 9th - 20th June 2010 and is open daily to the public from 10am-8pm.


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