23 July 2012

Pursuit of Perfection

Timed to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics, South London Gallery’s new exhibition ‘Pursuit of Perfection: The Politics of Sport’ opens on Friday.

Included in the exhibition, displayed individually and in groups on plinths and the floor, piled on top of each other like rubbish, are 2,529 trophies from every genre of sport, dating from the 1970s onwards, and collected by Aleksandra Mir for her work Triumph.   Inspired by a friend who had been a famous athlete in his youth and who kept mementos of his achievements as he was visibly ageing, Aleksandra placed an ad in the local newspaper in Palermo, Italy, asking the general public for their old sports trophies.  Triumph explores the power of the trophy, both a coveted symbol of accomplishment and a garish, mass-produced item of little real value.  The work is also a powerful visual statement of our tendency towards nostalgia, and the temptation to wallow in memories of past youth, vitality and joy.

Aleksandra Mir
Triumph, 2009
2529 trophies
copyright the artist

'Pursuit of Perfection' continues until the 14 September and also includes work by Michel Auder, Roderick Buchanan, John Gerrard, Lucy Gunning, Janice Kerbel, Jonathan Monk, Ariel Orozco and Paul Pfeiffer. 

A selection of Aleksandra’s collages, from her series The Dream and The Promise, featured in the most recent issue of P.E.A.R.  In these, the artist combines religious iconography with that of space travel, to ask what would happen if angels and astronauts shared the same sky. 

17 July 2012

Mogadishu - Forgotten Pasts and Distant Futures

Over the course of its history, Mogadishu has been influenced by the diverse cultures of its various rulers, residents and visiting traders; a combination of influences that strongly informed the city’s subsequent social, cultural and physical characteristics. However, Mogadishu’s pre-civil war architecture and built form largely owes its morphology to the region’s former colonial power, Italy, the last of the European powers to join the ‘scramble for Africa’.

Forgotten Pasts and Distant Futures is an installation that charts the urban transformation of Mogadishu, from the late 19th century to the first few decades of the 20th century. The unique, site-specific presentation in Swiss Cottage Library – one of London’s iconic modernist buildings – allows, for the first time, a broader audience to engage with this aspect of the city’s history. The project is designed and curated by P.E.A.R. co-editor Rashid Ali.

6 July 2012

Bold Tendencies

This summer, on the top floors of a disused multi-storey car park in Peckham, Bold Tendencies is again showcasing new sculptural commissions by six international artists.  On the very top level of the car park, works are sited in the open air, exposed to the elements and responding more to the urban landscape of Peckham and panoramic vistas of London than the brutalism of the structure itself. Underneath, though, on a lower level, the work of the Glaswegian artists Mary Redmond offers a visceral response to the weighty concrete of the car park.

Redmond positions found objects together with manipulated industrial materials that have been shaped, bent and painted.  There is a consideration to this assemblage that belies the low-key materiality and hints at a narrative that is yet indecipherable.  The weight of the concrete sits heavily on the bowed forms which are held in a delicate balance, close to collapse.  The poignancy of this installation is both physical and emotional.

Bold Tendencies 
continues until Sunday 30 September 2012
Thursday - Sunday 11am - 10pm
Level 7-10, Peckham Multistory Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, Peckham, London, SE15 4ST

3 July 2012


Rashid's project 'Mogadishu - Forgotten Pasts and Distant Futures' opens tonight at the Swiss Cottage Library.  We'll have images very soon!  Hope to see you there.