TO BEGIN

On 23 March last year, many of our illustrious cultural institutions slipped into a coma. From an ignorant, late, selfish and corrupt government came the new global mantra, a word that was to define the spine of life – lockdown. Not a word to inspire hope, with its distinct connotation of incarceration, and with thousands of people already in solitary confinement. And so, families got reacquainted, Mubi made a fortune, Scrabble apps boomed, and people, a lot of people, died; alone. Soon, as supermarkets broke into a run with the massive provision of deliveries, we learned a new game of grab-the-slot as we over-filled our hungry cupboards while increasing numbers of hungry people depended on the shameful necessity of food banks. New suppliers were the only strangers we met, no close contact with others; no falling in love; no touching; even difficult to recognize a friend in Maschera. Of the subsequent eight months, life is numbed by the double grotesque of the obscenity of our government and the ruthless opportunism of disease. The future hangs on a thread.

It seems almost irrelevant to think of art in this deep slough of despondency but what did the major creative institutions do to raise our spirits? Firmly closed until July at the earliest, one could only visit in imagination: Picasso was an enforced academician in the dark at the RA. Kara Walker’s monumental fountain echoed in the Tate Turbine Hall with the ghosts of victims of empire; the wind in the trees in moonlight was stilled in a doomed Hayward Gallery. While some organisations worked hard to stay alive with activity programmed every day; others went to sleep to have nightmares about a scorched future. National museums fashioned ill-conceived schemes to offer limited access to exhibitions. Plans were made for lucky museum visitors to book tickets to have a predetermined walk down the red route of curatorial choice complete with dwell points to allow a pause in being patronized. And here we are again; specially for lockdown 3, for the price of a monthly subscription to Netflix you can book a place in your own living room to view a video of Artemesia. Meanwhile the closed doors allow time to plan the passage of furlough to zero and the further transfer of major national assets to a market view of culture. For the time being we find ourselves in a dark, dark place longing for a humanised future.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

While most galleries have opted for viewing rooms it seems to us, as a natural extension of our programme of collaborations, to make sense to light up the dark or empty spaces that are sleeping. The gallery as readymade. Long overdue, we are proud to present in the virtual context of a major national institution, the work of AMIKAM TOREN, one of the most influential artists in the country. Israeli by birth but a British citizen for over fifty years and now in his mid ‘70s he is here the subject of an astonishing clandestine retrospective. It could be said that his is an art that generates an enrichment of the mundane through self-sacrifice; by submitting the object to destruction or reduction, or by extrapolating from its function and form, he extracts its physical matter to use as material for its own richer representation. In this simultaneous act of destruction and creation it is clear that anything can fulfil a useful function within art. Now we have a chance to explore the range of extraordinary work to which TOREN has applied his alchemy. We hope you share our enthusiasm for this celebration of possibility and surprise.

︎︎︎ To Guide
︎︎︎ To Exhibition





A PROJECT DEVELOPED BY ANTHONY REYNOLDS GALLERY
IN COLLABORATION WITH BOYARSKY MURPHY ARCHITECTS


ANTHONY REYNOLDS, NADINE LOCKYER, SCARLETT  DALTON,
NICOLA MURPHY, NICHOLAS BOYARSKY, IRIS CHEN, CHIARA MENEGHELLO
digital consultancy MICHAEL HOLLAND