Alia Farid
Elsewhere

★★★☆☆

On until 4 February 2024

Sixteen scruffy, hand-embroidered rugs show street scenes in garish reds and oranges. The images are wonky and lack perspective, as though they were recorded by a six-year-old. Writing stitched in Spanish, Arabic, and English explains these views: a restaurant, a pharmacy, a mosque. Slogans and lines of poetry find space between the edifices. “Del rio al mar libres vamos a andar” – a liberation call familiar from recent news – appears twice. The gallery text finally reveals that these works pay homage to the Palestinian diaspora of Puerto Rico.

An exhibition could hardly be more topical, although this is a coincidence. But it is, inevitably, also the show’s downfall. Is this East London gallery calling for Palestinian liberation from a Caribbean island with memorabilia made in Iraq because these artefacts demand it? Or is the exhibition a political reflex that has the art world celebrate Farad’s subject position? 

This question is heartless but cannot be unasked. The intentions are explicit but there is no answer in the work. Presented this way, the artist’s cause and the object become enmeshed in a bland, yet exotic mess. 


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Alvaro Barrington, Grandma’s Land at Sadie Coles ★★★☆☆

Alvaro Barrington

Grandma’s Land

★★★☆☆

The party slumps into a half-voiced political complaint and never recovers. This is what happens when instead of living culture, we ‘celebrate’ it.

Michael Simpson at Modern Art ★★★★☆

Michael Simpson

★★★★☆

In this meditation of surface disguised as a study of objects, neither is a truer likeness of the events.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss at Sprüth Magers ★★★★☆

Peter Fischli and David Weiss

★★★★☆

A police procedural turns into a drinking game of Foucauldian power analysis.

Nick Relph, Fils, ta vision! at Herald St ★☆☆☆☆

Nick Relph

Fils, ta vision!

★☆☆☆☆

There’s little for the eye to hang on and none of the punk culture of Relph’s earlier practice emerges from the works.

Ithaca at Herald St ★★★★☆

Christopher Aque, Alekos Fassianos, Luigi Ghirri, Jessie Stevenson, George Tourkovasilis

Ithaca

★★★★☆

This show drips with affectation that wouldn’t survive a minute tomorrow.

Tommy Camerno, Delirious at Filet ★★☆☆☆

Tommy Camerno

Delirious

★★☆☆☆

What’s left of the show are stage props that feed adolescent imaginations with false memories of the long-finished party.

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