Kickstart the new year with inspiration from these international art shows and exhibitions
PORTRAIT OF AMERICA
This month, Berlin’s Buchmann Galerie presents a collection of two bodies of photographic work by Joel Sternfeld – ‘Stranger Passing’ and ‘To Joseph Palmer’. The former series of images comprises individual portraits taken between 1985 and 2001 in America, depicting people from different walks of life going about their day-to-day business. The latter is a selection of imagery dedicated to people with beards. Joseph Palmer was a 19th-century New England farmer who grew a long beard during a time when beards were socially unacceptable, and his choice caused him to spend 15 months in prison. Together, these collective images of individuals help to describe larger aspects of American society.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Singaporean photographer Sean Lee presents ‘Two People’ at The Arts House. His images explore the relationship between his parents. These intimate frames of everyday life in the Lee household capture moments of love, dependency, compromise and sacrifice. Each image encourages the onlooker to contemplate the complexity of family relationships and what it means to love.
‘Romancing the Skull’ at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia explores humankind’s obsession with the symbol of the skull with works from as early as 1493 to the present day. The exhibition looks at how it has been used to represent our own mortality, piracy, rebellion, and political and social issues. It also looks at how festivals such as Mexico’s Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) have embedded the symbol into popular culture.
MIND OVER MATTER
The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia hosts the Australian premiere of ‘Ensemble 2013’, created by Australian-born, Paris-based artist Mel O’Callaghan. ‘Ensemble 2013’ comprises a two-screen video installation in which the human body is tested to its limits. The short video is projected onto a 20-metre space across the two screens, with one depicting a single man and the other featuring his opponents who keep him at a distance using a powerful fire hose. As the man slowly begins to walk toward his opponents, the installation serves as a symbol for resilience in the face of violence.
FAITH AND IDENTITY
Until 20 January, catch Victor Ehikhamenor’s impressive solo exhibition at the Tyburn Gallery in London. ‘In The Kingdom of This World’ sees Ehikhamenor expand on his work from the Nigerian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Using various mediums, he explores the interactions between religions in the Edo State, formerly the seat of the Benin Empire, using symbolic imagery from both Catholicism and traditional Edo religion.