If there is a theme, it seems to be birds, starting with John Baldessari’s large penguin that greets you as you arrive, then Kathleen Ryan’s figures which could be parrots sitting recycled street furniture, Tracy Emin’s monuments to birds which represent angels, but could also be devils (think of Alfred Hitchcock) and Elmgreen & Dragset‘s vulture asking the question ‘who is watching who?’, not far from which is one of Barry Flanagan’s trademark hares dancing on an anvil.
There are temporary structures to explore by Dan Graham and Conrad Shawcross which perhaps have a link to the shifting-space theme of the current exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, and a child-like holiday home by Richard Woods which has no opening doors or windows. Is it keeping you out – or keeping someone in?
Frieze Sculpture has been in Regent’s Park during the summer, a precursor to the main fair which arrives this week, with works by international artists standing above the yellow dried grass from this year’s heatwave, raising lots of questions and leaving many of them unanswered.
Other work includes Sean Scully’s stack of steel blocks, a tall conical needle commissioned by Cornell Council for the Arts in New York and James Capper’s bright orange and cream industrial devices which feel as if they should be at an industrial or nuclear plant, rather than in the middle of a highly-populated city – what is inside them, and what are they used for?
To what is Tim Etchells referring in the last work ‘Everything is lost’? Is this a commentary of the state of modern politics in the UK as the country moves towards Brexit next March?
Perhaps most spooky is Yoan Capote’s ‘Stress’ where five concrete blocks form a column joined by bronze casts of real teeth – including his own wisdom teeth. Explain that!