Prising open the corners of the Cube: Open Cube curated by Adriano Pedrosa at White Cube Mason’s Yard

One Stop Arts

Open Cube brings together the work of 17 artists selected from an open submission and curated by Adriano Pedrosa, a former co-curator of São Paulo Biennale. Spread across two floors with distinct themes, this could easily be two exhibitions.

4/5 stars, Harriet Dopson, 21st August 2013
White Cube Mason’s Yard, until 21-Sep

The ground floor of Open Cube at White Cube Mason’s Yard addresses the ideas of “inside” and “outside” the gallery space, inspired by Brian O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube, The Ideology of the Gallery Space. Downstairs, in contrast, is a focus on more formal qualities with geometric abstraction and a recurring theme of the circular.

The ground floor is dominated by Nada Prlja’s floor-to-ceiling Peace Wall. The black, chalk board-like wall is covered with messages in German, kid’s drawings, photocopies and paint. What appears to be the end point of some community project is, however, a reproduction. This wall was created after Prlja’s Peace Wall which was part of the 2012 Berlin Biennale. The project challenged the financial divide between the upper and lower city road Friedrichstrasse (a walk away from the former Berlin wall). Here at Open Cube Pedrosa takes a controversial and originally raw work and brings it into the commercial and isolated space of the White Cube. It is an interesting experiment which really highlights the differences between “inside” and “outside” of the white cube – perhaps it is through this effort that Pedrosa is trying to prise open the corners of the cube?

Having described Prlja’s Peace Wall as dominating the ground floor, you may be surprised to learn that in the middle of the same room is a full-scale crumbling column. Made out of reclaimed construction materials, the column still oddly seems to have some kind of precious heritage sentiment attached to it that I can’t shake, as inside the walls of the White Cube the weight and prestige of the exhibit seems to exaggerate it further – perhaps that’s the point.

The ground floor also deals with another very strong political symbol: currency in Martin John Callanan’s photographic series The Fundamental Units. In contrast, Matt Ager’s delicate work Fine doesn’t quite fit in with the bold works of the of the room and his work is perhaps best appreciated above the stairway, in his work Ish, which seems to question you as you make your journey downstairs. The artists Daniel de Paula reflects Ager’s reflective mood in Toward the Great Labyrinth, a documentation of a walk which the artist took until he completed the same titled book by Hélio Oiticica. Another poetic work is Helen Barff’s display of pockets which have been separated from their cloth and filled with concrete or plaster – one of the few indexical works which feels very suited to the small room of the lower ground floor lobby.

The remainder of the lower ground floor space is a harmony of shapes, material and senses. It is extraordinary to think that the exhibition was formed through open submission with no given theme when experiencing this space. Frank Ammerlaan’s huge treated corrugate-steel disk Day’s End appears to watch over the exhibition, setting the tone of the works; the tone is circular, from the circular hole in the table of Nuno Direitinho’s table in Dialogue on Tides, to the circles of Rowena Harris’s wire mobile of photocopies and the endless loop of Nicky Teegan’s sound work Prayer Battery. There is also a richness of materials such as the thick yellow of Sarah Bernhard’s work with bee pollen and the Amish quilt which is spread over a steel structure in Caitlin Yardley’s Black Refract. The works in this room really bounce off each other and it is impossible to account for them all here. It is really is enjoyable to discover these new works, especially as this platform, White Cube gallery is usually for a select few.

It is perhaps here that I should pause on Pedrosa’s concept of an open and transparent cube, which was the purpose of the open submission. It undoubtedly is a triumph to see so many artists have the chance to exhibit together, although I do question how far the boundaries are really being pushed as out of the 2,900 applicants (the only requirement was to be available for an interview in March) over half of the artists who exhibited have studied or are currently studying at RCA or a UAL college. This does feel disappointing if Adriano Pedrosa really was aiming to challenge the “inside” and “outside” of the gallery world. Regardless, the exhibition is an ambitious summer show which really is worth seeing for the strength of both themes and the thoughtful curation of each room – especially in the lower ground floor gallery.

Original review

ART STUFF on a train # 13: ‘ Minimum Values’

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

White Cube’s Masons Yard summer show includes six of Martin John Callanan’s striking series ‘The Fundamental Units’

White Cube’s Masons Yard summer show includes six of Martin John Callanan’s striking series ‘The Fundamental Units’. Callanan uses thousands of exposures via a 3D optical microscope at the National Physical Laboratory to achieve intensely detailed (400 million pixels) images of the lowest denomination coins, here printed at over 50 times life-size. This elevation of the near-worthless reveals the construction and traces of circulation invisible to the naked eye. It also has a mournful aspect, as many of lowest value coins (Callanan has captured 16 of the 166 currently in use) will doubtless be withdrawn from circulation soon enough. As you can see at www.greyisgood.eu, Callanan has good form for obsessive projects, such as taking 2,000 photographs of floors in important buildings with restricted public access .

‘The Fundamental Units’ reminded me of a similarly-sourced but psychologically contrasting series : Moyra Davey’s late 80s series of 100 ‘Copperheads’, which concentrate on one coin – the US one cent – to show the range of scratching, rusting and tarnishing inflicted on the most famous American. These, focusing on one national economy at a time of recession – and currently on display at Tate Liverpool during the next recession – become harder to read as the damage tends towards abstraction. But then, isn’t the whole convention of money an abstraction of sorts?

Originally posted on FAD

Open Cube, White Cube – Evening Standard exhibition review

Evening Standard

Curator Adriano Pedrosa pulls off a neat balance with this open submission show: the works feel raw but undaunted in these august surroundings.

Critic Rating 4 star.

Open submission shows can be sprawling affairs, so Open Cube is a rarity: Brazilian curator Adriano Pedrosa has culled 17 artists from 2,900 applications to create an enjoyable and coherent show. Part of its novelty lies in subverting its setting. White Cube is usually an elite stage where works fetch thousands of pounds. But Pedrosa has invited gatecrashers, most young and based in London, to take over.

Building site detritus: Adriano Amaral’s untitled column (2013)

This mischievous frisson would count for little if the work didn’t stand up to the grand galleries but it does. Upstairs there’s a sense of protest and of economic and cultural decay through Adriano Amaral’s classical column made from building-site detritus, and Nada Prlja’s reconstruction of a graffitied edifice she created in Berlin last year. Downstairs, abstraction reigns, with beautiful echoes between the works’ geometric forms and a homespun modesty in their materials. Caitlin Yardley combines textiles like an Amish quilt with rigid metal frames, while Nuno Dereitinho’s humble table and mirror are transformed into a playful illusion, seeming to hover over the floor.

Pedrosa pulls off a neat balance: the works feel raw but undaunted in these august surroundings.

Ben Luke, London Evening Standard 24 July 2013
http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/exhibitions/open-cube-white-cube–exhibition-review-8729546.html

Fundamental Units at White Cube Mason’s Yard, 12 July – 21 September 2013

White Cube Mason's Yard

São Paulo-based curator Adriano Pedrosa curates an attempt to “infiltrate the hierarchies of the gallery system” by inviting any interested artists to submit works through an open submission process involving an interview and selection system that closed in February 2013. Featured artists include Slade graduate Martin John Callanan and Camberwell graduate Venisha Francis-Hickson.

Open Cube, White Cube Mason’s Yard, 12 July – 21 September 2013

Open Cube, White Cube, Mason's Yard alt="Open Cube, White Cube, Mason's Yard"

Download the press release (PDF)
Download gallery information guide (PDF)
Watch Adriano Pedrosa talk about the exhibition
Buy the catalogue

White Cube Mason’s Yard is pleased to present ‘Open Cube’, an international group exhibition organised by São Paulo-based curator Adriano Pedrosa. Invited by the gallery to curate an exhibition, Pedrosa launched a process of open submission via Art Agenda in January 2013, under the title ‘Call for entries: ‘Open Cube’ at White Cube Mason’s Yard’. The only requirement was that the artist needed to be available for an interview in London with the curator, in March 2013. ‘Open Cube’ received over 2,900 applicants, of which Pedrosa interviewed 38 and selected a final group of 17 artists.

Taking his cue from Brian O’Doherty’s seminal book Inside the White Cube, the Ideology of the Gallery Space (1976), Pedrosa’s exhibition challenges the identity of White Cube as an organisation, as a physical space and as a concept, questioning the complex relationships between existent notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, value and economics. By opening up the curatorial selection process beyond his own networks and meeting with artists who were previously unknown to him, Pedrosa confronts what he perceives to be the standard gallery practice of seemingly closed systems that exist in the criteria for staging exhibitions.

The works in the ground-floor gallery are concerned with the concept of the ‘white cube’ and the ‘open cube’ itself, of public and private spaces, as well as value and currency. The works in the lower ground-floor gallery present different forms of abstraction – constructivist and geometric and also organic, amorphous, fluid types – yet many of these run counter to traditional modernist abstract idioms. The 17 artists included in this exhibition, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, The Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, UK and USA, have created work that seeks, as Pedrosa says, ‘to contest these national boundaries as well as the very identity of White Cube itself.’

In the accompanying catalogue, which includes transcripts of the interviews Pedrosa conducted with the 17 selected artists, he suggests that the ‘Open Cube’ is a transparent cube and sets out to reveal what goes on behind the gallery doors. Pedrosa is himself interviewed by Pablo Leon de la Barra, in order to expose his own methods and the motivations behind this exhibition. The publication is fully illustrated and will be available in September 2013.

Open Cube Catalogue

Artists:

Matt Ager was born in 1985 in England and lives and works in London. He recently completed a residency at Skowhegan School in Maine, USA and is currently part of the postgraduate programme at the Royal Academy Schools in London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Classic Poncho’, The China Shop, Oxford (2013); ‘A Nod’, Space in Between, London (2012); ‘OVERTHIN’, Gallery Primo Alonso, London (2011) and ‘DUMBO Arts Festival’, Brooklyn, USA (2010).

Adriano Amaral was born in 1982 in Brazil and lives and works in London. He is currently studying for an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. Recent exhibitions include ‘WIP Show’, Royal College of Art, London (2013); ‘Embaixo da Terra o Cèu de Novo’, Transversal Gallery, São Paulo (2012); ‘Solo Objects’, Arco Madrid (2012) and ‘Nova Escultura Brasileira’, Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro (2011).

Frank Ammerlaan was born in 1979 in Sassenheim, The Netherlands and lives and works in London. He holds a BA in Fine Art from Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy, Amsterdam and an MFA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London (2012). Awards include the Land Securities studio award, Degree Show, Royal College of Art (2012), a residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Calasetta, Italy (2013) and the Royal Award of Painting, The Netherlands (2012). Recent exhibitions include ‘Painting without Paint’, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen (2012); ‘Day’s End’, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam and ‘Stereopsis’, The Drawing Room, London (2012).

Helen Barff was born in 1974 in England and lives and works in London. She holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and Art History from Goldsmiths College, London (1999) and an MA in Drawing from Camberwell College of Arts, London. Residencies include Greatmore Studios, Cape Town and Gasworks Gallery/The Triangle Arts Trust, London (2008).Recent exhibitions include ‘Brood’, Bend in the River, Gainsborough (2011); ‘Things from the Thames’, Bearspace, London (2005); ‘Trident Way’, Departure Gallery, London (2010). Site-specific projects include ‘Route 12:36’, South London Gallery: Artwork on bus routes 12 and 36, London (2000).

Sarah Bernhardt was born in 1989 in Canterbury, UK and lives and works in London. She received a BA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Recent exhibitions include ‘Co-Respondent’, Transition Gallery, London (2013) and ‘The Sand Between God’s Toes’, Pie Factory, Margate (2012).

Martin John Callanan was born in 1982 in the UK and lives and works in London. He holds an MFA from The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (2005) and is currently a Teaching Fellow in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Along Some Sympathetic Lines’, Or Gallery, Berlin (2013); Whitstable Biennale (2012); Horrach Moya Gallery, Palma (2012) and ‘Deed Poll’, a performance at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2012).

Nuno Direitinho was born in 1981 in Portugal and lives and works in London. He holds a BA in Fine Art Photography from the Glasgow School of Art (2011) and is currently doing his MFA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Voies Off’, La Galerie a Ciel Ouvert, Arles, France (2012); ‘Emergents DST’, Teatro Circo de Braga, Portugal (2011) and ‘3+1’, Assembly Gallery, Glasgow (2011).

Venisha Francis-Hinkson was born in 1989 in England and lives and works in London. She holds a BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design from St. Francis Xavier College (2009) and a BA (Hons) in Drawing from Camberwell College of Arts (2012). Recent exhibitions include ‘Future Map 12’, CSM Lethaby & Window Galleries, London (2013); The Learning Resource Centre, Camberwell College of Arts (2012) and ‘Peek Show’, The Biscuit Factory, London (2011).

Rodrigo Garcia Dutra was born in 1981 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and lives and works in London. He holds an MA Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, London (2009) and is currently studying for an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London (2014). Awards include Fundacão Bienal de São Paulo, Programa Brasil Arte Contemporanea. Recent exhibitions include ‘Notes to Self’, Royal College of Art, London (2013); ‘Outras Coisas Visiveis Sobre Papel’, Galerie Leme, São Paulo (2012); ‘Theory of a City or the Possibilities of an A4′, ISCP, New York City (2011) and ’17 Ingredients: Measures of Autonomy’, BASH Studios, London (2009).

Rowena Harris was born in 1985 in Norfolk and lives and works in London. She holds an MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmiths College, London (2010) and a BA in Fine Art from University College Falmouth, UK (2008). She is the founder and editor of a bi-annual art publication called ‘Misery Connoisseur Magazine’. Recent exhibitions include ‘Cold Compress’, Drei Gallery, Cologne (2012); ‘No More Icons’, Rod Barton Gallery, London (2012); ‘Believing in Things’, Van Horbourg Gallery, Basel (2011); ‘New Contemporaries’, ICA, London and The A Foundation, Liverpool (2010).

Alan Magee was born in 1979 in Ireland and lives and works in London. He holds an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Awards include Florence Trust Studio Residency, Arts Council of Ireland and Travel and Mobility Award. Recent exhibitions include ‘Endogenous’, Maria Stenfors Gallery, London (2012); ‘Agents of change’, Studio 1.1, London (2012) and ‘Our Lives as Things’, Occupy Space, Limerick, Ireland (2011).

Fay Nicolson was born in 1984 in Derby, UK and lives and works in London. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London (2006) and an MFA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London (2011). Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Work with Material’, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna (2013) and ‘Bad Signs’, PLAZAPLAZA, London (2012). Group exhibitions include ‘A Small Hiccup’, Grand Union, Birmingham (2013); ‘Take Me Out’, Limoncello Art Projects, The London Art Fair (2013) and ‘Manifesta 8’, Murcia, Spain (2010).

Daniel de Paula was born in 1987 in Boston, USA and lives and works between Itapevi, São Paulo and Paris. Recent exhibitions and residencies include ‘Espaáos Independents ñ a alma è o segredo do Ègocioí’, Galerias Funarte de Artes Visuais, São Paulo (2013), Citè Internationale des Arts Residency, Paris (2013) and ‘Da prûxima vez eu fazia tudo diferenteí’, Pivù, São Paulo (2012).

Nada Prlja was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and lives and works in London. She holds a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Skopje, Macedonia and an MPhil research degree from the Royal College of Art, London. Recent exhibitions include the ‘7th Berlin Biennale’ (2012); Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain (2010) and International Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana (2009). Recent public presentations include Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2013); ICA, London (2011) and Tate Britain (2009).

Nicky Teegan was born in 1987 in Ireland and lives and works in London. She holds a BA in Visual Arts Practice from IADT, Dublin (2009) and an MA in Fine art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (2012). She is a founding member of Ormond Studios, Dublin. Recent exhibitions include ‘MA Fine Art Show 2012’, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (2012); ‘SWITCH/OVER’, Wimbledon Space, Wimbledon College of Art, London (2012) and ‘Invite or Reject’, Chicago Loop Alliance, Chicago, USA (2011).

Jacopo Trabona was born in 1989 in Italy and lives and works in London. He graduates this year with an MA from Chelsea College of Art, London. Recent exhibitions include RIVAlutACTION, Riva Lofts, Florence (2012); ‘B x H x Me’, A + A Gallery, Venice (2012); ’95 Young Talents Collective’, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice (2011) and Cava delle Rosselle, Grosseto, Italy (2011).

Caitlin Yardley was born in 1984 in Australia and lives and works in London. She received an MA from Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia (2007) and an MFA from Goldsmiths, University London (2012). Recent exhibitions include ‘Changing direction after entering at an angle’, Goldsmiths, University of London (2012); ‘Peripheral Orbit’, Acme, International Residency Studio, London and ‘An Intimate Distance’, Venn Gallery Project Space, Perth, Australia (2011).

Curator:

Adriano Pedrosa is an independent curator, editor and writer currently based in São Paulo. He has curated numerous international exhibitions and was adjunct curator of the 24th Bienal de São Paulo (1998) with chief curator Paulo Herkenhoff, co-curator of the 27th Bienal de São Paulo (2006) with chief curator Lisette Lagnado and co-curator of the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011) with Jens Hoffmann. He has published extensively on contemporary art in numerous catalogues and magazines and is the founding director of PIESP-Programa Independente da Escola São Paulo.

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