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As the year comes to a close, spanning art, fashion, food, film, architecture and more, Something Curated highlights the best of London culture during 2018, including memorable exhibitions, inspiring restaurant and retail launches, mesmerising performances, and beautiful collections.


The Squash at Tate Britain || Anthea Hamilton

Running from March to October this past year, artist Anthea Hamilton transformed the heart of Tate Britain into an elaborate stage for a continuous 6-month performance. The artist had designed seven costumes in collaboration with Loewe, helmed by Jonathan Anderson, to be worn by the performers. Over 7,000 white floor tiles were laid to span the length of the Duveens and encase a series of large structures that served as podiums for a number of works of art from Tate’s collection.


Blue Mountain School || James Brown  

Founded by James Brown, the mind behind cult store Hostem, and opened in April, Blue Mountain School is an interdisciplinary space dedicated to nurturing engagements between diverse practices. The 6a designed building is host to Mãos, a kitchen, table and wine room, Grace’s, a listening room, Blue Projects, an exhibition space, and Hostem, an open archive. Exploring the extraordinary project shortly after the launch, Something Curated spoke with founder Brown, perfumer Lyn Harris, and chefs Nuno Mendes and Edoardo Pellicano, to learn more.


Martine Syms: Grand Calme at Sadie Coles HQ || Martine Syms  

Presented by Sadie Coles HQ this autumn, in Grand Calmethe LA-based artist Martine Syms deftly mirrored a multitude of modern-day anxieties, placing a digital replica of herself at the centre in eery but increasingly-familiar AI form.  She was there for you to message, interact and, depending on your view, commiserate with.


Eric N. Mack: Misa Hylton-Brim at Simon Lee Gallery || Eric N. Mack

Back in spring, Simon Lee Gallery presented Misa Hylton-Brim, Eric N. Mack’s inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery and his first in London. The exhibition featured a new body of the artist’s signature large-scale assemblages, which oscillated between painting, sculpture, the readymade and performance, at the same time initiating a dialogue between fashion and art.


Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier at The Design Museum || Azzedine Alaïa

This much-praised exhibition of the work of Azzedine Alaïa, one of the greatest fashion designers of the 20th century, opened just six months after his untimely passing. Starting from his early days as a sculptor, right up to his last collection in 2017, the exhibition became a must-see retrospective of a bold, non-conformist and totally original creative.


South London Gallery Fire Station Annexe || 6a architects

In September, South London Gallery opened their new Fire Station annexe, designed by 6a architects. The space has enabled the institution to expand its internationally acclaimed contemporary exhibitions, education and events programmes, furthering its reputation for bringing new work by established and lesser known artists to an area of London with a fascinating local history.


Brat || Tomos Parry

In late March, chef Tomos Parry opened up his own solo restaurant, Brat. The name comes from the colloquial term for “turbot”, in honour of what Parry considers to be the best fish in the world. Inspired by his Welsh roots and Basque cooking style, Parry cooks much of the food over a charcoal fire, like their popular whole fish and chops of beef. Brat has received glowing reviews, and continues to earn gleeful enthusiasm from diners and critics alike.


ASAI SS19 at London Fashion Week || Asai Ta  

For his fourth and final season showing with Fashion East, Asai Ta introduced a number of memorable tailored pieces, a change from his previous work, including an oil slick coat and a wide utilitarian waist belt with flap pockets. Ta featured prints reminiscent of a Chinese porcelain vase, rendered in embroidery and sequins, alongside rainbow coloured tie-dye designs seen on cape tops and voluminous blouses.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018 at Serpentine Galleries || Christo & Jeanne-Claude

A sculpture formed of 7,506 horizontally-stacked oil barrels, painted in shades of red, white, blue and mauve floated on the surface of The Serpentine Lake this past summer, as part of Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018, an exhibition of the famous couple’s outdoor sculptural works. The show combined sculptures, drawings, collages, scale-models and photographs, spanning six decades.


Matchesfashion Townhouse || Ulric Jerome

This past September, online retailer Matchesfashion opened a brick-and-mortar store at 5 Carlos Place in Mayfair. Currently, ships over 400 brands to 170 countries, reaching over 100 million people in a single year. With an aim to make its brand more experiential, the new venture serves as a physical cultural hub complete with shopping, events programming and a broadcasting centre.


Kudu || Amy Corbin & Patrick Williams

Fronted by Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams, Kudu offers a menu rooted in the pair’s South African heritage, with dishes like braai cauliflower served with raisin purée and purple kale, and the mussel potjie with seaweed gnocchi. Amy grew up working in hospitality is daughter of Chris Corbin, of Corbin & King, while Patrick, who heads up the kitchen at Kudu, was previously sous chef at Paradise Garage.


XENOS at Sadler’s Wells || Akram Khan  

Meaning ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner,’ XENOS takes place where humanity stands in wonder and disarray, on the border between East and West, past and present, mythology and technology. The production reveals the beauty and horror of the human condition and seeks to express tales of loss, hope and redemption, through a movement language that shifts between classical kathak and contemporary dance.


Ahead of the Curve at 2 Willow Road || Studio Frith

Displayed in the celebrated architecture of 2 Willow Road, the former home of Ernö and Ursula Goldfinger, the show invited a series of women designers to respond to a collection of works by twentieth century female artists. Prominent artists such as British painters Bridget Riley and Prunella Clough served as inspiration for the contemporary female creatives showing their work, including Ilse Crawford, Lyn Harris, Gitta Gschwendtner, Nina Chakrabarti, Roksanda Ilincic and Kitty Travers.


Strange Days: Memories of the Future at 180 Strand || Massimiliano Gioni

The Store X and the New Museum teamed up for a large-scale collaboration, Strange Days: Memories of the Future, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director of the New Museum, in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory. The exhibition featured important and celebrated film and video works, with many of the pieces on view in London or the UK for the first time. Weaving images and sounds into polyphonic, dreamlike compositions, the works on view blended the present with memories of the past and premonitions of the future.


Berenjak || Kian Samyani

Opened this autumn in Soho is Iranian-inspired restaurant Berenjak, founded by Kian Samyani who previously served as the head chef at Gymkhana in Mayfair. Samyani’s first solo project is influenced by the style of the homey, hole-in-the-wall kebab houses in Tehran, but with an English twist. The focus of the cuisine re-creates signature Iranian dishes but uses seasonal British produce to give it a fresh perspective.


Make Me Up at BFI Film Festival 2018 || Rachel Maclean

Iconoclastic and alluding to the Suffragette attack on the Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery, artist Rachel Maclean’s most ambitious film to date is a feminist science fiction on a mission to destroy the exploitative tradition of patriarchal art criticism. Siri and Alexa are among two fortunate young women to have been made over at a pastel-coloured hyperreal beauty clinic. It’s presided over by Figurehead, a demonic pedagogue who is intent on educating her girls on art’s construction of female beauty and taking it to the next level with her high-tech remodelling of all feminine imperfection.


Memory Palace at White Cube || Franz Ackermann, Etel Adnan, Darren Almond & More

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Don’t miss the group exhibition ‘Memory Palace’ at #WhiteCube #MasonsYard, which is on display until 15 September 2018 and seeks to inspire reflections on the forms and themes of memory. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . Featuring #MichaelArmitage, #GeorgBaselitz, #AnselmKiefer, #IbrahimMahama, #JulieMehretu, #MagnusPlessen and #DorisSalcedo on the lower ground floor of the gallery, these artists have an important role in voicing silenced or contested memories, while art’s ability to collapse historical time allows us a fresh perspective on the sweep of history. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ . Images: 'Memory Palace', White Cube Mason's Yard, 11 July – 15 September 2018 © the artist. Photo © Stephen White Courtesy White Cube

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Over the summer, a major group exhibition Memory Palace launched across White Cube’s two London galleries. Indicative of the ethos at the White Cube, this significant group exhibition included more than ninety works by over forty artists. Curated by the White Cube exhibitions team around the theme of “memory,” the show included pieces by Franz Ackermann, Etel Adnan, Darren Almond, and more.


Lee Bul: Crashing at The Hayward Gallery || Lee Bul

Taking over the entire Hayward Gallery this past summer, Lee Bul: Crashing – the artist’s first major solo show in London – brought together 118 of her works from the late 1980s to the present day in order to explore the full range of her pioneering and highly inventive practice. Bul draws on diverse sources that include science fiction, 20th century history, philosophy and personal experience, whilst making use of deliberately ‘clashing’ materials that range from the organic to the industrial.


Feature image: Pipilotti Rist at Strange Days: Memories of the Future, 180 Strand (via The Store X)

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