Pablo Bronstein
Cakehole

★★★☆☆

On until 9 December 2023

In this latest series of costume dramas, Bronstein comes to the dinner table. As is typical of his elaborate acrylics, the sights are as ornate as they are comical. In lavish, gilded frames, he falls into the late evening stupor of the cheese trolley, the oyster tray, and… the Mars bar.

Some of these scenes are out of the Fawlty Towers buffet, others belong to Last Year in Marienbad. A couple more that complete this cycle of conspicuous production and consumption show cooks stuck on the set of Metropolis. It’s all as hilarious, as camp, and as inoffensive as ever. Except that we have seen it before, albeit not quite in this order.

How does one assess the mid-career production of an artist who found success in a simple, well-executed idea in his twenties and has hardly allowed it to evolve since? Bronstein, and Herald St’s programme generally, are symptomatic of the natural midlife crisis of mid-range art born out of pre-2008 opulence. Their refusal to change with the wind is likely a virtue. But as the market for Bronstein’s antics ages, so will his tricks. To live out one’s forties in a Regency K-hole would be unbecoming.


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

Soufiane Ababri, Their mouths at Barbican ★★☆☆☆

Soufiane Ababri

Their mouths were full of bumblebees

★★☆☆☆

Ababri’s paintings for the Grindr generation are more cartoonish than they are from life.

Francesca DiMattio, Wedgwood at Pippy Houldsworth ★★★☆☆

Francesca DiMattio

Wedgwood

★★★☆☆

In DiMattio’s giant ceramics kiln, everyday motifs like sneakers and knickers clash into the ornate Rococo stove and the Victorian China snuff box.

Wilhelm Sasnal at Sadie Coles ★★★☆☆

Wilhelm Sasnal

★★★☆☆

Only in flights of anger does this vision come close to becoming believable.

Carole Ebtinger, Esther Gatón at South Parade ★★☆☆☆

Carole Ebtinger, Esther Gatón

phosphorescence of my local lore

★★☆☆☆

Rot overpowered this subject and came for the object next. 

looking to the futurepast, we are treading forward, the Bolivian pavilion in Venice ★☆☆☆☆

looking to the futurepast, we are treading forward

★☆☆☆☆

The contemporary is of no interest to a nation whose future is yet to be dug out from the ground.

Ksenia Pedan, Revision at Cell Project Space ★★★★☆

Ksenia Pedan

Revision

★★★★☆

Pedan’s paintings would rather be anything but.

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