Ghada Amer

QR CODES REVISITED—LONDON

★★☆☆☆

On until 22 December 2023

In The Rules of Art, Pierre Bourdieu scathingly described artists as sign-writers for hire willing to tailor their messages and beliefs to the highest bidder’s wishes. Thirty years on, this critique is outmoded because all art sloganeers the same thing and nobody pays artists anyhow. 

Amer’s textile works weave and print a litany of clichés (“one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”, for example) in unreadable cursive thread trace and overconfidently bold appliqué type. These snippets are so dull to the eye that the gallery reproduced the captions (“my body belongs to me and it does not represent the honour of anyone”) on the wall next to them. This invites a game of proofreading, in hope that Amer maliciously inserted a greengrocer’s apostrophe into de Beauvoir’s mind. But Bourdieu was right, after all: the signs stick to platitudes.


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

A Comparative Dialogue Act, Luxemburg pavilion in Venice ★★☆☆☆

Andrea Mancini, Every Island

A Comparative Dialogue Act

★★☆☆☆

Stage fright is real. Cowardice is another thing altogether.

Lutz Bacher, AYE! at Raven Row ★★★★☆

Lutz Bacher

AYE!

★★★★☆

There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition.

Marina Xenofontos, Public Domain at Camden Art Centre ★★★☆☆

Marina Xenofontos

Public Domain

★★★☆☆

There’s an unfortunate ‘emerging artist’ vibe to this handful of readymade sculptures.

Your Ghosts Are Mine at Palazzo Franchetti ★★★☆☆

Your Ghosts Are Mine: Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices

★★★☆☆

This attempt at building pan-Arabic film aesthetics falls prey to the art technician’s trickery.

Tesfaye Urgessa, The Ethiopian Pavilion in Venice ★★★★★

Tesfaye Urgessa

Prejudice and Belonging

★★★★★

Urgessa’s figures are contorted in love, death, or merely life.

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

Florian Meisenberg

What does the smoke know of the fire?

★★★★☆

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

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