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:

Gray Wielebinski, The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low at ICA ★☆☆☆☆

Gray Wielebinski

The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low
The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low

★☆☆☆☆

I knew that it was possible to understand art and life less after seeing an exhibition. I didn’t, however, imagine that experiencing Wielebinski’s work twice would only compound such damage.

Hannah Tilson, Soft Cut at Cedric Bardawil ★★☆☆☆

Hannah Tilson

Soft Cut
Soft Cut

★★☆☆☆

Tilson’s styled self-portraits are an affectation that will take many years of practice to pay off.

Trevor Yeung, Soft Ground, at Gasworks ★★☆☆☆

Trevor Yeung

Soft Ground
Soft Ground

★★☆☆☆

It’s stressful enough to fuck in the forest for fear of passers-by or the police; imagine having to also look out for curators.

Bhenji Ra, Biraddali Dancing on the Horizon at Auto Italia ★☆☆☆☆

Bhenji Ra

Biraddali Dancing on the Horizon
Biraddali Dancing on the Horizon

★☆☆☆☆

Such work was once a mere grift. Now, it is an outright stitch-up.

Florian Meisenberg, What does the smoke know of the fire? at Kate MacGarry, ★★★★☆

Florian Meisenberg

What does the smoke know of the fire?
What does the smoke know of the fire?

★★★★☆

Meisenberg’s paintings are either the product of a conspiracy or documents of a conspiracy theory.

Deimantas Narkevičus, The Fifer at Maureen Paley ★★☆☆☆

Deimantas Narkevičus

The Fifer
The Fifer

★★☆☆☆

In the age of the decolonial, this is as quaint as it is outmoded

×