Browsing Category: conceptual art

  • Martin Creed, Work No. 1197 (2012)

    It is not clear what Work No. 1197 set out to achieve. But few could misunderstand just what it was they had to do, or what happened. At inestimable numbers of people came together to ring all manner of bells. They met in churches, galleries, schools and theatres. You could even try this at home. …

    July 27, 2012
  • Adolf Krischanitz, Barhocker (1986)

    With its dark, stained and somewhat splayed feet this stool looks solid enough. But it was still not clear that sitting there was permitted. It was, after all, part of an exhibition. It had its own plaque on the wall and, indeed, I was reading the very details relating to this piece, when I turned …

    November 24, 2011
  • Mocksim, Contra-Invention (2010)

    To those who say, I could have done that when faced with contemporary art, here is a project that you really could have done. The catalogue provides instructions. Mocksim’s show comprised some 200 photos of illegally parked cars. 1) check the parking ticket; 2) visit the Penalty Charging Notice website; 3) enter a code; and …

    August 30, 2011
  • Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want

    In her much-talked about retrospective, the first piece of art is not by Tracey Emin. Nor does it seem much like a work of art. Despite the frame, it is clearly also a letter from her father. Halfway through the show is another work in which the art is hard to discern. This is a …

    June 9, 2011
  • Zineddine Bessaï denied entry into UK

    Bloody immigrants, coming over here and taking part in contemporary art group shows about the geopolitical relationship between Algeria, France and the UK! As if to highlight the inequalities of that relationship, graphic artist Zineddine Bessaï was this month refused a visa to attend the launch of his own show at Cornerhouse. The Manchester gallery …

    April 21, 2011
  • Gordon Matta-Clark, Reality Properties: Fake Estates (1973)

    Reality can seem a debatable term. But is worth considering that the word came into use in the 1540s as a legal reference to a fixed property. Of course, the word realty still means possession. So you could make a case for Fake Estates being a realist artwork par excellence. Because Matta-Clark took ownership of …

    March 11, 2011
  • Gordon Matta-Clark, Splitting (1974)

    Novelist Philip Roth is known for having said: “When a writer is born into a family, that family is finished.” And this work by Gordon Matta-Clark suggests a comparable model for artists. The house which he literally saws in two is described in a caption to the film of the event as a “typical family …

    March 6, 2011
  • Carey Young, Counter Offer (2008)

    Not everything that gets hung on a wall purports to be art. Certificates, contracts, constitutions; all these have at one time or another been framed and put on display. Counter Offer is hardly an aesthetic statement. It comes across as a legalistic exhibit, a founding document of the type which reminds you how much weight …

    February 27, 2011
  • Mary Kelly and Ray Barrie, Habitus, 2010

    According to a 2003 book, there were 3.6 million Anderson Shelters in use during WWII. They must have been a common sight, as common as catching a glimpse of your parents having sex. Mary Kelly, b.1941, has spoken of the War as a political ‘primal scene‘ for people of her generation. And so into this …

    February 23, 2011
  • Carey Young, Follow the Protest, 2009

    Good news comes by phone, as the old adage goes. It has even been said more recently that it’s good to talk. So visitors to Carey Young’s show may already be keen to pick up this phone. In a gallery context it promises even more excitement. As Alex Farquharson points out in a highly informative …

    February 19, 2011