Christopher Aque, Alexandre Khondji

★★★★★

On until 18 February 2024

Despite consisting of only three works, this exhibition is the gallery equivalent of a cryptic crossword. Aque’s photographic diptychs marry views of sea waves at the shore with candid street photographs of men. The colours have faded, as though in cheap holiday snapshots from the 1970s. But that clue is a decoy: the men wear this decade’s casual summer attire. The knee-to-breast close-ups which centre on the men’s groins invite closer inspection and thus lay a false trail of desire in the puzzler’s mind. More hints appear in a sideways glance because while one of the men comfortably sports a wedding ring, the other precariously fidgets with his.

Khondji’s flood barrier installation, the type of steel and rubber construction familiar from Venice, cuts the room in half. The scale and material of this object contrast so starkly with the street scenes and scents of Aque’s portraits that it cues an escape to the beach, paradoxically the origin of the peril, earlier overlooked by the clue-hunter. Finally, the eye finds the solution in the weight of the water and the destructive forces of sex. Aesthetic cognition or crossword puzzles only rarely bring such perverse pleasure.


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

Iris Touliatou, Outfits at PEER ★★★☆☆

Iris Touliatou

Outfits

Outfits

★★★☆☆

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Robert Rauschenberg, ROCI at Thaddeus Ropac ★★★☆☆

Robert Rauschenberg

ROCI

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★★★☆☆

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Entangled Pasts at The Royal Academy ★★☆☆☆

Entangled Pasts, 1768–now

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★★☆☆☆

Who could have thought that these mantras would turn into rote?

Sibylle Ruppert, Frenzy of the Visible at Project Native Informant ★★★★☆

Sibylle Ruppert

Frenzy of the Visible

Frenzy of the Visible

★★★★☆

This is the fodder of DeviantArt and the last year’s AI engines.

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Ksenia Pedan

Revision

Revision

★★★★☆

Pedan’s paintings would rather be anything but.

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Abel Auer

The shadow of tomorrow draws an ancient silhouette

The shadow of tomorrow draws an ancient silhouette

★★★☆☆

Auer is more interested in the fate of painting than humanity and thus stands apart from the army of zealots who make eco art today.

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