Something Curated highlights the unmissable arts and culture happenings taking place across London this December, from Nigerian-British designer Mowalola’s debut exhibition at NOW Gallery, to a much-anticipated Hannah Diamond performance, via artist John Booth’s Christmas card workshop.
Silent Madness, at NOW Gallery || Mowalola (6 Dec 2019 – 19 Jan 2020)
Silent Madness is an immersive installation that marries Mowalola’s unique Nigerian punk-inspired aesthetic with her passion for musical expression. The result is a surrealist stage setting emerging from an explosion of colour accompanied by a multi-channel soundtrack curated by the visitor. The gallery walls, floor and windows will be draped in swathes of fabric bearing a print designed by Mowalola specifically for the exhibition. The exhibition aims to disrupt and question preconceptions of normality whilst challenging traditional discourse surrounding African sexuality encouraging visitors to shed the pressures of convention and live life by their own terms.
Library of the Unword, at Southbank Centre || Joo Yeon Park (5 Dec 2019 – 29 Mar 2020)
Joo Yeon Park’s Library of the Unword commemorates the 30th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death. The exhibition features an installation, Twenty Times a Thousand (2019), in response to Beckett’s poem Echo’s Bones (1935). The work comprises over a hundred mixtures of mirrors and a ‘disembodied voice’ written as circles using graphite and ink on Korean manuscript paper. The term unword in the exhibition title, borrowed from Beckett’s German Letter of 1937, recalls Beckett’s goal as a writer to ‘bore one hole after another in it, until what lurks behind it – be it something or nothing – begins to seep through’.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries, at South London Gallery || Rafael Pérez Evans, Jonas Pequeno, Samuel Fordham, Xiuching Tsay & More (6 Dec 2019 – 23 Feb 2020)
Since 1949, New Contemporaries has held a vital role in the UK’s contemporary art scene and helped to launch the careers of a cross-section of some of the most internationally renowned artists of recent history. This year, works by 45 artists will be on display covering themes from global and personal politics, exemplified by Roei Greenberg’s photographs taken along the Israeli/Syrian border and George Stamenov’s re-imagining of post-Soviet era Bulgaria; class and community, explored in Emma Prempeh’s film shot in her grandmother’s house; and gender and sexuality, highlighted in Louis Blue Newby’s remake of David Cronenberg’s 1996 psycho-sexual thriller ‘Crash’, and Taylor Jack Smith’s animations which look at male identity.
Artist of the Year 2019: Kang Jungsuck, at Korean Cultural Centre || Kang Jungsuck (10 Dec 2019 – 15 Feb 2020)
The Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) presents their ‘2019 Artist of the Year’, Kang Jungsuck, in his first London solo exhibition. Taking the Futurama exhibit shown at the 1939 New York World’s Fair as a departure point – which reimagined the world 20 years into the future – Kang adopts the exhibit’s multi-perspective model. Reintroducing three ‘creatures’ that populated his earlier BALTIC exhibition, a Lilliputian, Self-driving Car and a Human, Kang explores how objects can contain, or be produced from, multiple, intertwined perspectives. Positioning the mainstream within an artistic context, Kang observes how changes caused by technological advancements can affect our own perspectives, prompting us to question the future possibilities of such a multi-dimensional world.
Parsifal, at Almine Rech || Erik Lindman (Until 18 Jan 2020)
Almine Rech hosts Erik Lindman’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery. Parsifal offers a selection of paintings and sculptures developed simultaneously over the past four years. Reflecting on his work, Lindman writes of the show: “A grouping of recently executed large-scale paintings will be presented in dialogue with smaller paintings on panel started four years ago. They are haunted by rotting vocabularies, disingenuously suggesting associative landscapes. Subtle chromatic plays and visible, direct brushstrokes remained that I would have once painted over, like spraying perfume to hide the corpse of expression these images once ﬂirted with but now uncomfortably embrace.”
Film & Performance
Hannah Diamond, at Fire London || Hannah Diamond (5 Dec 2019)
PC Music’s Hannah Diamond shares her new single ‘Invisible’, taken from her highly anticipated debut album Reflections, a flawless collection of heartbreak pop ballads. Produced by A. G. Cook and EASYFUN, ‘Invisible’ is a kaleidoscopic synthscape which explores the heartbreak of knowing a lover has moved on, ‘Invisible’ reckons with the challenge of how to be alone: “Deep down, I know, she’s with you and so I’ll just be on my own tonight.” As the lead single from her debut album Reflections, ‘Invisible’ represents the heart of Hannah’s new era, which is finding resilience and strength from heartbreak.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, at Peckham Levels || Richard O’Brien (3 Dec 2019)
Originally produced for the London stage in 1973, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was Richard O’Brien’s musical tribute to B-movies, sci-fi, 50s rock, and Hammer Horror, as filtered through the transgressive and camp attitudes rock-opera and punk. A huge success, the play caught the attention of 20th Century Fox, who fast-tracked a low-budget theatrical adaptation. Featuring most of the creative team and cast of the original production – including Tim Curry reviving his much-acclaimed performance – The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a flop when originally released in September 1975. Now one of the most beloved and enduring camp classics of all time, Rocky Horror has become a cultural phenomenon.
John Booth Hosts Alternative Christmas Card Workshop With Caran D’ache, at MasterPeace || John Booth (5 Dec 2019)
The one-off creative workshop will give guests the opportunity to design and create their very own Christmas cards, gift tags and wrapping paper in artist John Booth’s signature style. The London-based illustrator, ceramicist and textile designer will guide class-goers through the creative process using the best of Caran d’Ache’s famous drawing and painting tools. The two-hour session will be an experiential journey through Booth’s creative process as he encourages you to bring your vision to life with colour, texture and energy.
Air_morphologies, at Delfina Foundation || Helena Hunter & Mark Peter Wright (5 Dec 2019)
Air_morphologies promises an evening of critical discussion, performative presentations and live VR demos with Delfina UK Associate duo Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright) in collaboration with the Digital Maker Collective. During their residency at Delfina Foundation Matterlurgy are working with the materiality of air, focusing on the composition of pollution particles, their causes, effects and morphological agency. The event will include conversations on how art and aesthetics interacts with toxic materials; what kind of stories might be deployed through technologies such as virtual reality; and how geopolitics are located in atmospheric thinking and being.
Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair: The 5th, at ICA || Dan Mitchell (7 Dec 2019)
Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair (ASP) will present its fifth edition at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. The 2019 event includes over 80 UK and international independent publishers. ASP features artist self-publishers only and seeks to highlight practices that avoid the restrictions and market dominance of much of contemporary arts publishing. The publications aim to be accessible, free from the value systems that typically dominate the circulation of artworks through institutions or galleries. The ideas, images and texts evident in the publications are produced and published by artists who understand the freedoms – and restrictions – of the printed page.
Feature image: Still from Silent Madness by Mowalola at NOW Gallery (via NOW Gallery)