Xie Nanxing
Hello, Portrait!

★★★★☆

On until 16 December 2023

At the very first glance, Xie’s sizeable canvasses look like the kind of crass abstractions that routinely fill the walls of galleries in need of a cashflow injection. A moment later – and this says nothing of the work’s commercial allure – they reveal a clef, a code by which one finds that they are, in fact, portraits of figures lost between brushstrokes, renders, and planes.

Looking at these paintings is a little like wearing an augmented reality headset over only one eye: here is the figure, here is the artefact. This one is lost in a canvas within a canvas. Another one you only know from a laptop screen. That one is how you’ll dream when your data plan runs out.


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

Mohammad Ghazali, Trilogy: Then… at Ab-Anbar ★★★★☆

Mohammad Ghazali

Trilogy: Then…

★★★★☆

Repetition and framing are photography’s greatest tricks.

Avery Singer, Free Fall at Hauser & Wirth ★★☆☆☆

Avery Singer

Free Fall

★★☆☆☆

This show would be better without the baggage of the artist’s personal story and even better without the Twin Towers altogether.

Open Group, The Polish pavilion in Venice ★★★☆☆

Open Group

Repeat After Me II

★★★☆☆

The applause was rapturous. A sense of tragedy, however, was altogether missing.

Diego Marcon, Dolle at Sadie Coles HQ ★★★☆☆

Diego Marcon

Dolle

★★★☆☆

Idle work became indistinguishable from leisure, vegetative time-passing from family life.

RE/SISTERS at Barbican ★★☆☆☆

RE/SISTERS

★★☆☆☆

Too many deadpan landscape photographs turn intrigue into fatigue and into paralysis.

RM, A Story Backwards at Auto Italia ★★☆☆☆

RM

A Story Backwards

★★☆☆☆

Having forgotten what the ‘dramatic’ in art stands for, visual artists today too often mistake hacked theory for stage directions.

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