Justin Fitzpatrick

Ballotta

★★★★★

On until 20 January 2024

Harpies drape themselves in pearls and wind their bodies around Art Deco ornaments on Fitzpatrick’s bronzer-gold canvases. Multiple copies of Brian Johnson, the 45-year-old billionaire face of anti-ageing therapy, haunt the room. His empty eyes betray a craving for the elixir of youth so consuming that it can only be satisfied by sacrifice. 

In a bout of dark humour, Fitzpatrick nourishes this extractive dependency and prototypes a human growth hormone home brewing kit. The apparatus is assembled from salvaged Christian devotionalia and comes with an order of kindly nuns who watch over the proceedings. Beads for counting – or prayer – meter out the ritual. The reward for taking part in this experiment of life is ascension to the holy orders. 

This would be a cynical caricature if it weren’t all true. Fitzpatrick’s sculpture and painting follow a rigorous research protocol deep into our molecular-spiritual system. Work by work, they build an ornate map intelligible only after decades of devoted study and even then, only to the divine. There’s no fast promise in this practice, but it’s the only way to reverse art’s schism with the image.


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

When Forms Come Alive at Hayward Gallery ★★☆☆☆

When Forms Come Alive

★★☆☆☆

This exhibition cannot decide if it’s a tourist attraction or a serious examination of sculpture’s relationship with movement.

Material Rites at Gathering ★★★☆☆

Fritsch, Genzken, Oldenburg, Shani, Sherman, Smithson, Thek

Material Rites

★★★☆☆

The instincts are right, but too much makes sense to make sense together.

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.

Paulina Olowska at Pace ★★★★☆

Paulina Olowska

Squelchy Garden Mules and Mamunas

★★★★☆

It should be within the resources of Pace and Olowska’s experience to advance her legend beyond the discretely marketable.

Tommy Camerno, Delirious at Filet ★★☆☆☆

Tommy Camerno

Delirious

★★☆☆☆

What’s left of the show are stage props that feed adolescent imaginations with false memories of the long-finished party.

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

Gray Wielebinski

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.

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