quick update: LDN >25

i’m currently suffering badly from a punishing hangover. except i don’t drink alcohol. so it’s just the result of punishing my body with an all-night raggahton/boombahton/dance-ahton, arriving home at 6:30 am. i haven’t had one of those for a while and, let’s face it, i’m not as young as i used to be. [although the girl i’m sharing a dorm with did the same and she’s still sleeping, so bully to her]

tomorrow will be the start of my ISEA2010 experience, so my wrap up of london is going to have to be brief. [sorry lucas, you’re wrong about me being thorough now].

so, pretending that i’m entering a competition on a cornflakes pack, here are most of the london galleries i saw in 25 words or less:


national gallery, 18C
discovered gainsborough’s late landscapes. beautiful active figures in the environment. also drank in chardin, vigee le-brun and the french rococco titillation.

tate britain: mike nelson’s coral reef
largely uninterested by banner’s planes – kids posing underneath them, repulsive. getting lost in nelson‘s labyrinth was thrilling: FPS game + inception -styles. redeemed orwell st.

MOT: ongoing program
i like this revolving project. good selection of works – especially brian’s twitter treatise on sculpture: daily tweets transcribed onto shutter door, transferred to a weekly poster.

chisenhale: 27 senses
nordic responses to kurt schwitter’s hütte. excellent theme, great space, nice works underpinned by drawing – humourous merzbau, interesting video about an exile and intriguing spatial projection.

whitechapel: alice neel, chapman bros, john latham
alice’s paintings were divine and the accompanying video accentuated them. chapmans’ story was good, etchings 7/10. john latham, new discovery – love his knowledge processes.

not that there’s a whole lot on in london right now – summer holidays has everyone shut. perhaps for the best, considering my short stay.

oh, and to add to that, i drank so much excellent coffee over those two days, that i was at once wired and embarassed for melbourne and its rapidly-declining scene. sorry.

images: major lazer from maddecent.com
s. mark gubb at concrete hermit. never laughed so hard at a gallery.

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london: wednesday.


the last couple of days have been like a dream come true, really: art, coffee, art, coffee. as a result, my reporting is a bit behind.

on wednesday, with my inimitable art-pal, john dodds, i took in the V&A, the saatchi gallery and a weird place called chelsea futurespace (which i’m not going to go into, but it was kinda weird and all display-home).

V&A: 1:1 architecture spaces.

this was the exhibition highlight of the day, really.

a series of 1:1 spaces designed/built by architects as investigations into small spaces. there were 2 in a designated area for the show, with the rest dotted around the collection, perfectly responding to the various galleries and sections*.

all of them were great – you can see them here:
and here

but there was one in particular that totally floated my boat people and i’m going to devote the rest of my laptop battery to it: the bookshelf space.

the space, called Ark, by Rintala Eggertsson Architects is kind of a well-made, solid, ikea open bookshelf x 4, facing in on itself. the ‘walls’ are enclosed using books, the ground floor opens into the bookshop, whilst the roof meets the floor of the library upstairs. in between is a spiralling space of booky goodness! oh my lordy i almost fainted with overwhelm of all the books. i find going into book shops and libraries hard enough – i often need a chaperone in readings.

of course, john and i took the opportunity to do a quick little intervention into the space, rearranging the books to make a whole shelf of the conqueror by jan kjæstad – a massive paperback with a distinctive cover.

i loved the obvious idea of a place of literature, where knowledge is the foundation of space (something that john latham would have gone a bit goo goo about).

i also loved also the idea that this situation – a site and non-site of shifting space as the same time. and that small spaces were being created and filled in by books. and that no book was more or less important than another.

the whole colour palette of the place also had me gabbling – the exterior, with the exposed pine beams and then the out-facing pages were all the same colour, because they were all the same ‘stuff’. wood and paper together again.

and then on the inside, the colour explosion was so pleasing to the eye – in a way that something more contrived would just make me wanna vomit. part of me wanted to spend hours in there, organising all the spines by colour. but then the whole bottom floor would probably be orange 🙂

the smell of the place was so comforting and homely. it reminded me of all my favourite bookstores and the times i’ve spent with friends just wandering, head tilted, perusing.

if you’re in to books, in even the slightest way, go see this space at the V&A.

saatchi gallery: newspeak.

newspace too – i didn’t get a chance to pop in last time i was in the hood, so i’m grateful for the opportunity to do so. for the most part, the show was frightful. i haven’t had such a violent opposition to works in a while – there was some real shite there. but, there was also some excellent work, and some obvious themes being investigated, which was intriguing and enlightening. even if i didn’t like the particular works investigating those themes.

new british artists (still mostly painters, according to the saatchi kids – maybe because painting is still the prime-market) are mostly looking at human disfigurement and apparition.


not part of this show, i loved two works in the two large project galleries: richard wilson’s 20:50 – a beautiful, reflective space made from the gallery filled with oil. the reflection was slightly disconcerting, the smell even more so. and as atmospheric and moody as the work was, i also ended up feeling angry that it somehow vindicates the disaster of oil-space c/- British Petroleum. I felt the need to make the work political by chucking a stack of animals in there to float and then see how beautiful it looked. not that it has anything to do with mr wilson’s formal concerns, i guess.


the other beautiful work was john wynne‘s pianola composition for 300 speakers – a stack of various speaker boxes, mostly beautiful old ones, with a pneumatic automated playing system that cardiff-miller and meireles would have been proud of.

there were a few other good works, namely the pixel rug and guillotine by rupert norfolk and the boys in the corner by littlewhitehead.

it was great to see the gallery in the flesh – i hadn’t ever seen it. i expect it will be a fairly regular visit for me when i’m in london town now.

*almost funny anecdote about the studio mumbai work: you have to remove your shoes for this exhibit, and while we were putting them back on, we were accosted approached by education staff from the gallery to survey our response to the show. she kinda messed with the wrong sinatra, ‘cos when she asked about how i would describe the show to a friend, little did she know that my friends are all pretty well-versed in architecture/art vernacular and i started rattling on about interstitial spaces and textured experience. ha! what wanker i am.

ark images are from the V&A site and REA.

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london days

I’m in london for a few days before some exciting times at ISEA2010 and ars electronica.

Francis Alÿs – A Story of Deception, Tate Modern

I found this title a strange one, considering Alys ongoing concern with action, movement, borders and points of intersection. More than ‘deception’, he acknowledges the ‘myth’ in all art.

Despite this small bug bear, the show itself was fabulous.  If you’re in London and you haven’t see this work, you really should, Alÿs is an artist whose work on the concept of territory/lines of division is incredibly important.

Paradox of Praxis I. Video documentation of Alÿs encircling the centre of Mexico City pushing a block of ice around until it melt. It is the most common image of his work (and one that is also at the deception and procedure exhibition), but it’s still a great image, important in terms of his modus operandi and his ongoing idea of ‘sometimes doing nothing leads to something‘ – the subtitle of the work.

Patriotic tales with Rafael Ortega.
A fixed-frame video document of an action in a public square around a pole (with a very sharp shadow that divides the space well) in which a man leads a single and increasing flock of sheep. Of course i couldn’t help but think about artist lucas ihlein‘s Goat Walks for the West Brunswick Sculpture triennial. so the highlight was also kind of for him too.

The green line
Another seminal work of his, but it also feels like one of the most important works I’ve seen. ever. I am trying to not overstate it, but I think it is the work of our time.

Based on the 1949 partition, where Israeli moshe dayan took a green pencil and the British Mandate a red pencil and drew out their front lines on a 1:20,000 map of jerusalem. But what did that mean, in real terms?
Francis alÿs walked across that armistice area, with a tin of green paint with a hole in its lid, demarcating a border that divided Israeli and Palestinian alike in loaded visual terms.

The video is still poignant and the associated documents are quite profound. His investment of poetic action into such a highly political situation is its true value and the work’s subtitle: sometimes doing something poetic can become political. sometimes doing something political can become poetic, is an even more inspiring maxim that continues from sometimes doing nothing…

Paintings: abukir and an unknown painting of a puddle.
Alÿs’ small paintings are beautiful objects, which extend his actions/investigations. these two in particular stuck with my all afternoon and both look at ‘the line’ from two completely different perspectives. They illustrate the difference between old ideas of site and the concept of ‘situation’. Abukir shows a hillside town divided by a wall. The hard, static wall defines a site with such rigity – there is no place for fluidity, greyness, ambiguity or flexibility in such a place. It is fixed.

I couldn’t find the name of this painting and all the images from the Tate online collection have been removed, but is my second favourite work of the show. It is so unassuming, but I think it really highlights the ideas and the ethos of the artist perfectly.

It is a painting of two objects: a chest of drawers (marked A) and a bucket on its side (marked B), from which a puddle of water has spilt (marked C). the water floods between both objects and their reflections not only appear, but overlap in the water. The water blurs the line between where the edge of one object ends and another begins – it dissolves the structural edge and creates a space in which both objects are included, despite being ‘separated’. Separateness and territory are ideas that become murky and underrated, possibly.

look i found her red coat…


i’m SO obsessed with this cherbic little electro-dubstep-jazz-futurist wunderkind that i just HAD to post this.

james blake. he is fucking brilliant and this song CMYK is playing 24/7 for me at the moment. either in real time, or in the depths of my sonic memory.

but it’s not just this song. others like the bells sketch, and air and lack thereof are haunting and lynchian. and his remixes (untold/mount kimbie) are fucking brilliant.

and, just like alex turner from arctic monkeys/last shadow puppets – such genius so young! 22 years old! what is it in the UK water? damn.

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my list of london things for simon


my friend simon is going to london, and he asked me to make him a list of things to see while he’s there (although i’m sure there’ll be hardly any time to squeeze most of them in).

i thought i’d share it here, as i have other lists. and that way other friends in london can go check things out – or they can also recommend things to do whilst he’s there 🙂

have a great time simon! i’ll be re-living it vicariously through you, you know…

anish kapoor at the royal academy.

for the love of god, you should see this. it will be amazing. and while you’re in the area, a bit of white cube mason’s yard never hurt anyone. well, not much.

monmouth coffee.
Seven Seeds Espresso

as much as i love my crew at brother/seven seeds, sometimes i do miss my double espresso for £1 at monmouth. the one at borough is ok, but covent garden (on monmouth st) is best. the girls there are so friendly.
oh, and for decent food and a place to hang in central london after 7pm, princi on wardour was the new surprise last time. packed, all the time, but so fun. and open, you know, late.

michael jackson memorabilia at the O2 bubble.

This Is It is surprisingly amazing and although i still wouldn’t consider myself a ‘fan’, i came away from the film with a sense of sadness and awe about a man with such talent and such trouble. simon, i don’t even need to tell you why you need to go, do i?

calling out of context at the ICA.

i wish i was going, but i’m hoping that it’s the first of many festivals, to which i can go. from the ica site:

Calling Out Of Context is a new festival of experimental music and sound. For nine days our main gallery becomes a performance space; the upper gallery a working recording studio; and the theatre hosts gigs, workshops and discussions. The festival features more than 40 performers and groups, revealing the vitality and relevance of the sonic avant-garde”

simon, this will be your penance for not going to electrofringe. 😉

you should meet my friend charlie gower. he’s crazy into music. italo disco is his #1 penchant, but he has the most eclectic taste of anyone i know. he used to do mo’ wax nights in shoreditch and you guys would totally have a rad time gettin’ all music geeky on each other.

st andrews studios in hackney – especially transition gallery. cathy and alex at transition always put on great shows that you should check out.

chloe early at stolen space. her work is pretty spectacular. the gallery around the corner from the new rough trade in shoreditch/truman brewery. which is not as good as the old rough trade, but you’ll have to go there. you know how it is.

oh, and the tate modern. of course.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

london proxy required: hussein chalayan sample sale

it is one of my life’s ambitions to own a piece by hussein chalayan.
i’m so not high-end sample size and nothing would probably suit me, but by god i would love to be here.

can somebody please go on my behalf please? ta.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx