Cui Jie

Thermal Landscapes

★☆☆☆☆

On until 4 November 2023

Cui’s acrylics are what today’s megacities would look like if the characters of the 1960s cartoon The Jetsons had free reign over architecture. The skyscrapers are so tall that it would make no difference to a street-level observer to make them any taller. There is no sky anyhow and the structures have no Earthly foundations, either. There are stripes and checks on the canvas edge for scale, but they have no key. It’s a futuristic vision, except Abu Dhabi and Shanghai already built it.

But it’s the prehistoric Flintstones – the jet family’s contemporaries in the animation studio – that get the final word because ‘architectural’ models of giant animals dominate the canvases and the buildings. There’s a mega-giraffe, a skyscraper-sized rooster, a cathedral-like rabbit. Dino, the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur, must be close by too.

For all the liberties Cui takes with architectural conventions, this attempt to bring a simulacrum of the natural world together with the megapolis is unsustainable. The exhibition thus feels like a lecture on climate change sponsored by the designers of The Line, Saudi Arabia’s dystopian plan for a 110-mile linear city in the desert.


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

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

Deimantas Narkevičus

The Fifer

★★☆☆☆

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

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.

Gina Fischli, Love Love Love at Soft Opening ★★★★☆

Gina Fischli

Love Love Love

★★★★☆

What good it is to be best in show when the competition is lame, crooked, or outright fake?

Iris Touliatou, Outfits at PEER ★★★☆☆

Iris Touliatou

Outfits

★★★☆☆

These gestures remind the gallery that it is a social space. Unfortunately, they also inadvertently point to its sorry end.

Vlatka Horvat, The Croatian Pavilion in Venice ★★☆☆☆

Vlatka Horvat

By the Means at Hand

★★☆☆☆

This closed circulation project speaks to and agrees with only itself.

Aria Dean, Abattoir at ICA ★★★☆☆

Aria Dean

Abattoir

★★★☆☆

Visuals of her own making overpower the artist.

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