Bhenji Ra
Biraddali Dancing on the Horizon

★☆☆☆☆

On until 17 March 2024

Seeing the proliferation in galleries of long, sparse, indulgent, and hookless video installations that obliquely refer to the ancestral practices of unspecified, distant peoples, one might suspect that this trend in ‘radical’ filmmaking is the work of a conspiracy. Ra’s thirty-minute montage of washed-out wide shots lacks as much in action as it does in structure. Landscapes from a Philippine village wash over the screen and occasionally play host to livestock and human figures performing yogic-like dance movements. A colour-field sequence with designer subtitles relays fragments of a conversation between a grandmother and grandchild, the sense of which is ungraspable in the cut. The sign-reader’s desire is only obliquely rewarded by a prolonged scene, shot through a lens smeared thickly with Vaseline, in which a group of people allegorically adore a trans beauty queen.

Generously, one could compare such work to meditation. It might, at a push, be a piece of instructional diplomacy. But the gallery’s deployment of “a pedagogy of decolonial choreography” and branding the artist’s hometown of Sidney “Gadigal land, Eora Nation” break the spell. Such work was once a mere grift. But when it is this boring and has so deeply captured even the most cynical of art institutions, it is an outright stitch-up.


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

Julia Maiuri, Yesterday & The End at Workplace ★☆☆☆☆

Julia Maiuri

Yesterday & The End

★☆☆☆☆

One can only imagine that some unconscious loathing of postmen motivated this project.

Co Westerik, Centenary at Sadie Coles HQ ★★★☆☆

Co Westerik

Centenary

★★★★☆

Westerik catches his figures in deep contemplation in front of the mirror, in the gynaecologist’s chair, or even mid-orgy.

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, Bad Luck Rock at Josh Lilley ★★☆☆☆

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman

Bad Luck Rock

★★☆☆☆

This is a poor man’s version of history or a philistine collector’s absolution.

Nicola Turner, Edward Bekkerman at Shtager&Shch ★★☆☆☆

Nicola Turner, Edward Bekkerman

The Song of Psyche: Corners of a Soul's Otherworlds

★★☆☆☆

Who opens a space in Fitzrovia only to fill it with such drivel?

Michael Andrew Page, Claustrum at Project Native Informant ★★★★☆

Michael Andrew Page

Claustrum

★★★★☆

Page’s tent, brain, and the cathedral take the same form for a pretty good reason.

Atiéna R Kilfa, Primitive Tales, at Cabinet ★☆☆☆☆

Atiéna R. Kilfa

Primitive Tales

★☆☆☆☆

An uninspired re-staging of the artist’s Camden Arts Centre show.

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