Coming Attractions: June Gallery Previews

The return of Craft/Work's monthly exhibition previews column heralds burning footballs and erased borders from Grear Patterson, Francis Alÿs, Wolfgang Tillmans, and more

Grear Patterson, As the sun sets in the west (2016), Photo by Prudence Cuming, Courtesy the artist and Marlborough Contemporary, London

Grear Patterson, Marlborough Contemporary, London

In 1993, Tony Scott’s film True Romance ended with its two leads, Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, badly wounded but arm in arm, driving off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Inspired by the Quentin Tarantino-scripted movie, Grear Patterson’s new solo show at Marlborough Contemporary in London will transform the gallery space into an immersive tropical scene, populated by banana trees, sun loungers, and several very large sunsets.

Working with photography, oil paints, and found materials (including parachutes, boat sails, and wedding tablecloths), Patterson’s sunsets exploit the romantic associations bestowed upon the phenomenon by popular culture to create a series of simple yet peculiarly evocative scenes, at times almost abstract in their uncluttered visual austerity.

Twenty-eight year-old New York School of Visual Arts graduate Patterson first garnered recognition as a member of the Still House collective, at first primarily as a photographer shooting analogue film without digital enhancement. With previous works inspired by the film Stand By Me, Patterson has a keen eye for the psychic resonances held by popular culture and once claimed that his favourite artistic subject was “true love from the perspective of an eleven year-old.”

Grear Patterson, True Romance, is at Marlborough Contemporary, London, from 24 June

Francis Alÿs, David Zwirner, London

Between 2010 and 2015, the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez saw its homicide rate drop from a frankly terrifying 3,057 to an almost normal 311. The former “global murder capital” has cleaned up, thanks in part to a network of civil society organisations focusing on youth career opportunities and high tech innovation. When the Pope visited the town earlier this year, he found a city transformed, albeit still scarred.

Belgian artist Francis Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1986 and for many years the simple act of observing and walking down the streets around him formed a central part of his practice. His forthcoming exhibition of new works for David Zwirner, the artist’s third solo show for the Mayfair gallery, is focused on – and was largely created in – Ciudad Juárez over the years of its regeneration from 2010 to 2015. Including video, paintings, doctored postcards, and drawings, Ciudad Juárez Projects offers a portrait at once dark and playful. At its centre will be a major new video installation, Paradox of Praxis 5: Sometimes we dream as we live & sometimes we live as we dream, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico which follows the artist as he kicks a flaming football through the night time streets of the Mexican border town.

Francis Alÿs, Ciudad Juárez Projects, is at David Zwirner from June 11

Kaleidoscope: Mystics and Rationalists, Modern Art Oxford

This year, Modern Art Oxford celebrates its half century. Founded in the mid-60s by the architect Trevor Green, the past fifty years have seen the city’s former Museum of Modern Art develop into one of the country’s foremost exhibitors of contemporary art over the course of groundbreaking shows from 1992’s popular Robert Doisneau Retrospective to Jake and Dinos Chapman’s notorious defacement of a collection of 80 Goya prints, The Rape of Creativity in 2003. To celebrate their golden anniversary, the gallery presents a year-long revolving presentation, “a shifting prism on an illustrious history founded upon the vision of artists.”

From June 11th to 19 August, Modern Art Oxford presents Kaleidoscope: Mystics and Rationalists. The exhibition takes its name from Sol LeWitt’s first Sentence on Conceptual Art, “Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.” It promises to explore new forms of knowledge through new modes of expression, featuring works by Amy Sillman, Yoko Ono, Sol LeWitt, Dan Graham, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Dorothy Cross, Daniel Buren, and Karla Black. From 31 July, the kaleidoscope will then begin to turn around to its next phase, It’s Me to the World.

Kaleidoscope: Mystics and Rationalists is at Modern Art Oxford from 11 June

Wolfgang Tillmans, Maureen Paley, London

From the ninth of June, the exterior walls of Maureen Paley will become a billboard. “Don’t let an older generation take you and your friends out of Europe” one poster will read. “No man is an island. No country by itself” goes another. Born in Remscheid, Westphalia, but based in London for over twenty years, Wolfgang Tillmans was the first artists from outside of England to win the Turner Prize, in 2000. His posters for the referendum express the artist’s desire to maximise “turnout among younger voters” as well as his conviction that the EU is “flawed and problematic institution, but on the whole it stands for a democratic worldview, human rights and favours cooperation over confrontation.”

The question of borders continues inside the gallery itself, with the downstairs room dominated by a vast, unframed print of the open water of the Atlantic Ocean, a place where international datelines, timelines, and frontiers, meet and cross. The State We’re In, A will be displayed side by side with an attempt to find a perspective transcending national borders taking its view from the Northern and Southern European Observatories.

The show will be Tillmans’ eighth at Maureen Paley. Along with the aforementioned works, the artist will also continue his Truth Study series, started at the gallery in 2005, in which cuttings and other materials are arranged on a loose installation of tables in order to present a kind of snapshot of the state of the world as it stands. The exhibition provides an opportunity for visitors to (re)acquaint themselves with Tillmans’ impressive body of work before his major survey exhibition at the Tate Modern next year.

Wolfgang Tillmans is at Maureen Paley from 9 June

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