London

Tagsmart weekly discovery: Laudi Abilama’s Arabian Pop

Born in 1986 in Surrey, Laudi Abilama spent most of her life in the United Kingdom where she received her BA in Arts and Media from the University College of Creative Arts.

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At the age of 20, she moved back to Lebanon to be part of the rise of contemporary art in the region. Much of her work is based on portraits and iconic imagery; representing personalities and images that have at some point influenced or touched her.

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Orientalism and Arabism have greatly influenced her work. She is influenced by what is currently popular in the Middle East and by how Arabism is misrepresented in the West. She often focuses on stereotypes within Arab society and critiques them in subtle ways.

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Abilama mixes her own pigments, integrating into her images subtle, spontaneous, uncalculated traces of oriental forms, created much in the same way they were hundreds of years ago. Living in the United Kingdom for such a large part of her life has allowed Abilama to look at the Middle East with a more critical eye, as she describes her work as Arabian Pop

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She exhibits in Beirut, London and Dubai, and her work is acquired internationally. She has participated in many collective shows, namely the Sursock Museum’s Salon d'Automne and at Sotheby’s as part of their ‘Shubbak’ Festival in London.

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Tagsmart weekly discovery: Anita Klein’s celebration of the ‘dailiness of life’

Born in Sydney, Anita Klein studied at both Chelsea School of Art and Slade School of Art, where she was awarded the Henrique Scholarship in 1982 and 1983 and gained BA (Hons) in Fine Art and an MA in printmaking. In 1985, Klein was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers.

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Her intimate, life affirming work comes as a welcome breath of fresh air. There are no desperate attempts to shock, expose or outrage. Klein’s personal celebrations of everyday living are rendered with humour, sensitivity and beauty, revealing a joyful delight in the ‘dailiness of life’.  

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Her art is an archive of personal moments that everyone can identify with. Witty, charismatic, warm and poignant, she is one of Britain’s finest and most prominent artists and printmakers of the 21st century. Through her beautiful and confident use of line and space, she creates images and memories which are universally understood.

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Klein has exhibited across Europe, America, India and Australia, including at the ICA and the Royal Academy of Arts, and has received numerous awards and commissions. She was the President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers from 2003 to 2006 and her work is featured in numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Arts Council, The British Museum and University of London.

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Her current exhibition at Cambridge Contemporary Art presents recent works featuring her grandchildren, angels and paintings she created in her studio in Italy. On Saturday, September 30, Klein will be holding a talk at the gallery from 2 pm about her practice and inspirations behind her work.

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The exhibition will be held until October 1. Admission is free, but due to limited space in the gallery please register for the talk here.

Mario Testino auctions his art collection at Sotheby’s London

On September 13, Mario Testino will auction 41 items from his personal art collection with Sotheby’s to benefit Museo MATE, the nonprofit cultural centre he founded in Lima, Peru. 

Testino is a voracious admirer and friend of many of the artists represented in the sale — from Richard Prince to Cindy Sherman to Wolfgang Tillmans —making this a rare auction that represents more than acquisitions. No wonder the title of the sale is “Shake It Up”. 

According to Testino, “it’s a big exercise to detach yourself from your belongings in order to satisfy greater ambitions. I’ve been collecting for over 25 years and I’ve never ever sold anything. Today is the first time that I’ve decided to sell something because I can see a reason to sell. It’s allowing me to give back to the community that gave me everything.”

Testino explains he came to know and love some of the works with which he’s parting: “in the art world, sometimes it’s not enough to like something; you have to be puzzled by it. You hang it on a wall and every time you see [it], you discover something new. Sometimes I would find a work and I felt it was difficult, but then I’d come back to it after some time and I’d understand it and love it. I think that culture has a particularly important role in society: we learn how to look at things differently, and it pushes our boundaries—that’s what art does.”

Renowned artists from 45 different nationalities will be represented across the auction, including Richard Prince, Georg Baselitz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rudolf Stingel, Sterling Ruby, Gilbert & George, Adriana Varejão and Cindy Sherman.

The exhibition is on view from September 8 through September 13, 2017 at Sotheby’sGallery, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA.

John Marchant Gallery presents Ruth Marten

The Birds is US artist Ruth Marten’s third solo exhibition in the UK and brings with it her trademark intrigues and pleasures. Vintage prints and photographs constitute the supports for a cornucopia of fantastical, visual sauts de basque, as Marten delves into the picture surfaces – collaging, rearranging, drawing and painting – ascribing whole new narratives with marvellous precision and verve.

“The Birds, a survey, came about as the result of the abysmal campaign and election in the US which instilled in myself and my friends a strong desire to fly away. Easier said than done, hence the immersion into the realm of birds! Fortunately that world is deep and wide with innumerable interfaces with our own so, whether reflecting natural history of an utterly absurd scenario, there is much material here to play with.” 

The Birds is the continuation of a body of work that Marten instigated ten years ago with Histoire un-Naturelle, shown with the John Marchant Gallery in London; with Gallery Hosfeldt in NYC and, most recently, with Fountains and Alligators at Cologne’s Galerie van der Grinten. 

For Marten’s upcoming exhibition at the Eagle Gallery, all her works will be certified with Tagsmart’s DNA Tags and accompanied by a secure Certificate of Authenticity, guaranteeing proof of ownership and provenance for collectors.

The Birds will be on show until September 30.
159 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AL

Tagsmart weekly discovery: Sara Shamsavari’s global identity

Born in Tehran in the midst of the Iranian revolution, multi-disciplinary artist Sara Shamsavari overcame childhood cancer while she and her family fled persecution.

Raised in London and educated at Camberwell School of Art and Design and Central Saint Martins, her experiences inspired her exploration of identity and engendered a profound desire to make a difference through art.

At a time of increased division, conflict and polarisation around the world, Shamsavari’s works explore and celebrate global identity. While each of her photographic series has a distinct focus, together, they all seek to encourage a deeper understanding of our nuances as human beings in contrast to the current popular narratives that misrepresent, malign and often succeed in dividing and ‘othering’ those in the minority.

London Veil was her first series, portraying young women wearing the hijab on the streets of London, Paris, New York and Toronto.

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Her series Britain Retold: A Portrait of London is an exploration of British identity as known by the diverse communities living in London.

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She has also contributed to series such as The Dandy Lion Project by curator Shantrelle P. Lewis, which challenges its audience to rethink the outlook of black men perpetuated in the media today.

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With a belief that artists can be leaders in social and spiritual progress, Shamsavari seeks to encourage both participants and viewers in transforming the way we view society and ourselves.

Shamsavari’s work has been featured across various media and publications including BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Elle, i-D and Dazed & Confused. Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums and public spaces and she has delivered a number of talks at cultural institutions, including Tate Britain and Southbank Centre.

Tagsmart's Non-Executive Director Robert Suss #3 on Christie’s 'Top 100 art collectors Instagram accounts' list

Robert Suss is also a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and Co-Founder of the Frank-Suss Collection, which contains more than 1,000 works by emerging and mid-career artists from ‘countries undergoing significant social, economic, or political change’. 

His account is a mixture of socialising, additions to his collection, and holiday shots.

Follow him! https://www.instagram.com/robertsuss/

Adam Lee's ‘This Earthen Tent’ exhibition at Beers London

Adam Lee works from his studio in the hills of the Macedon Ranges, Australia, and he works mostly with traditional painting and drawing materials. His work references a wide range of sources including historical and colonial photography, biblical narratives, natural history and contemporary music, film and literature to investigate aspects of the human condition in relation to ideas of temporal and supernatural worlds.

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Lee’s This Earthen Tent exhibition at Beers London presents a new series of work in which he continues to explore pilgrimage and the experience of lamentation as a metaphor for the experience of painting. 

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Themes of family, shelter, and a sense of protection tend to represent the works, evoking a sense of ethereality or nostalgia, but ultimately reflecting his fascination with our longing for home, however evasive or mysterious that may appear.

As viewers, we quickly become aware of Lee’s interest in archaic figures and a tendency toward folkloric and fantastical imagery. From the idyllic to the pastoral, his paintings include shrine and tabernacles, funerary scenes or pilgrimage groups, often circulating around the hermit as a metaphoric figure or unknowing protagonist.

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Lee’s works are often accompanied by a sense of regeneration. It seems time converges; the past, future and present become one, and narratives become complex and uncertain.

Adam Lee: This Earthen Tent will be on display until September 30.

‘Dahan: Contemporary Monk Painting’ at the Mall Galleries

Born in China in 1967, Dahan remembers how his appetite for painting was so strong as a child when he collected minerals from the nearby Wuyi Mountains to draw and paint on the walls and floors of his home.

But it wasn’t until after he studied and taught as an artist that Dahan felt shaken by the spirit of Buddha, becoming ‘enlightened’ through a visit to an eminent monk Master Yuan Yin. He became a monk in 2002 and his art transformed.  

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The 23 paintings in the exhibition at the Mall Galleries demonstrate the artist’s transition from the preoccupations of a ‘layman of earthly ties’ – which included ‘anxieties, powerlessness and confusion of urban dwellers’ to the Zen paintings of a pastoral hermit.

His Zen painting style of natural environments integrates Chinese and Western landscape aesthetics, but the colours and hues he chooses aim to express emptiness. He draws with Zen, to explain the mountains, rivers, earth, universe and stars, with the hope that it fills viewers’ hearts with Dharma joy.

His most recent work aims to depict the awe he has for Buddhism and guide viewers through their own spiritual search.

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Dahan said: “I wanted to come to the UK to learn and communicate and to see how the British public will react to my work. The UK was one of the first countries to complete the industrial revolution, it is highly-developed, has a world-class education system and a reputation for excellent manners. Britain also has a host of extremely talented artists, such as the Pre-Raphaelites, Gainsborough, Constable, Turner, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and David Hockney. My experience here may also bring inspiration and revelation to my future artistic creations.”

Dahan: Contemporary Monk Painting will be on show until August 26.

Tagsmart weekly discovery: Elizabeth James’ quest for the untold beauty in the ordinary

Born in Croydon to mixed heritage-parents, Elizabeth James’ love of art has been a prominent part of her life. Captivated by the way black and white blends together and the shades of grey in between, her practice of the arts began exploring the use of pencil and charcoal. 

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It wasn’t until 2004 that James took what seemed to be a giant leap and started to use colours and paint with oils, which eventually led to her love for photography.

Looking down the lens like a form of escapism and in a quest for the beauty in the ordinary, James often shoots focuses on texture, shadows and reflections, capturing the visual rhythms in the natural flow. 

In 2014, James’ work from the Colour in Motion series was exhibited in the Works on Paper Art Fair at the Science Museum, at Gordon Ramsay’s London House in Battersea Square, and at the Stratstone of Mayfair Aston Martin showroom for the launch of the new Aston Martin Vanquish. In the same year, James was voted as one the top 5 artists at The Other Art Fair.

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Last year, James opened her own gallery, Elizabeth James Gallery, in South Norwood, to showcase the best of Croydon’s contemporary art. Hosting exhibitions with guest artists and workshops, selected artists are also occasionally invited to create art by the gallery window.

The gallery is hosting a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Summer of Love in 1967. The Croydon Summer of Love show represents the culturally and politically charged period of time through art. Exhibiting artists include Angela Crow, Bernard Gary, Tom Bushnell, Zoe Akroyd Parker and Jessica Le Gary. The exhibition will be on display until August 28.

Tagsmart weekly discovery: storytelling through Gillian Hyland’s photographs

Irish photographer Gillian Hyland describes herself as an image-maker and storyteller. Her work is based on her own poems and depicts characters in human dramas and isolated emotional situations. Frozen in time, solitary and vulnerable moments are presented in glorious technicolour and timeless sets. 

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“It’s not about creating a pretty picture, for me it’s the intention that lies beneath it that is truly worthwhile. I’m drawn to the thinking mind behind the face, the subject’s eyes holding a story in their gaze, that is what I aim to capture through my photographs.”

Hyland stages theatrical environments where her characters’ emotions are emphasised by playing with colours, symbols and aesthetic settings. The resulting images are not a literal description of a memory but an ambience, enabling the emotional core and mood to shine through.

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Having worked in publishing, fashion, film and television and creating imagery for editorials, commercials and advertising campaigns, Hyland has evolved into her own distinctive style and released her first fine art series, Words in Sight, in 2014. 

Since then her photographs have been exhibited around the world and received several awards, including Royal Arts Prize, International Photographer of the Year, Travel Photography Society Award, Sony World Photography Award, Magenta Flash Forward Award, La Quatrieme Image, AX3 – American Aperture Award, Moscow International Photo Award, PX3 – Prix de la Photographie and the PDN Curator Awards.

Her most recent body of work, the Windows Into Havana series, reveals experiences and emotions from her trip to Havana, Cuba. Playing with the notion of nostalgia, each image suggests a larger narrative and taps into our understanding of feelings and beliefs. The series explores Hyland’s sense of self and society and aims to engage and trigger an emotional response from the viewer.

Currently showing at Sunny Art Centre until September 4, Hyland has been shortlisted for the Sunny Art Prize 2017. Her works Eyes Shut and The Hearts Shadow have also been selected to be exhibited during the photo festival in Kuala Lumpur in the WhiteBox Gallery, opening on September 9.

Marit Geraldine Bostad exhibits at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art

Marit Geraldine Bostad describes her paintings as “intuitive, rich in colour, and passionate”. Her work is largely emotional and has a significant process behind it, eliminating the unnecessary and capture only the essence of the subject, resulting in strong, dynamic, abstract compositions.

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This Thursday, August 10th, Bostad presents her richly coloured and textured works, imbued with a fresh, youthful approach and positivity, alongside Liz Tran and Gary Komarin, in the Body Electric exhibition at the Madelyn Jordon Fine Art

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While diverse in methodology, technique and intent, the three artists share a passion for a vibrant, high key colour palette which imparts a celebratory energy to their work. With range and depth, the exhibition defines how the artists are advancing contemporary art practice through time-honoured modes of art-making. The show runs until September 9th.

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Originally an Art Director with 10 years of visual projects within film, illustration and concept building, Bostad has exhibited her work in Oslo, London and New York. Since her debut at The Other Art Fair in London in 2016, she has received substantial attention curators as well as galleries throughout Europe for her vibrant, joyful and contemporary abstract paintings. 

Dan Hillier at Sunday Upmarket

Tagsmart artist Dan Hillier will be this Sunday, August 6th, at the Sunday Upmarket, at The Old Truman Brewery. He will be there with a stack of 2-for-1 prints and some one-off/ and small edition colour pieces. 

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The artist has just announced he will also be creating the art for Othon’s upcoming album The God Within. You can read more about the project here.

Dan Hillier has developed a unique style, combining Victorian sensibilities with a fascination for animal attributes, and characterised by depictions of illusory human-animal hybrids, intertwined with late-1800s imagery. His beautiful, classically rooted images find power in their unsettling effect, as they seamlessly blur distinctions normally implied by reality.

Tommy Clarke at the Bosham Gallery from August 5th

Tommy Clarke has taken some of the most extraordinary aerial photographs around the world, and he is now firmly established as one of Britain’s most collectable photographers.

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By hanging out of helicopters to capture mesmerising shapes and colours from the air, Clarke gives his images a very distinct and recognisable style. His vivid aerial photographs of beaches, salt lakes and bubbling geysers make earth look like abstract art.

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Following his successful solo exhibition Up In The Air last autumn, he will be now showcasing his work at the Bosham Gallery from August 5th until October 1st. 

He has recently launched a collection of beachwear based on his photographs with M&S Menswear and will be opening his own gallery in South London soon.

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In the meanwhile, check out his most recent interview with Aerial Cornwall here.

Tagsmart was here: Adrián Villar Rojas, Soul of a Nation and Dreamers Awake

From the Series ‘The Theatre of Disappearance’
Adrián Villar Rojas

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Adrián Villar Rojas calls into question the supremacy of any particular artwork. For his first exhibition in London since 2013, the Argentinian artist presents a life-size marble reproduction of the legs of Michelangelo’s David. The simplicity and beauty of the replicated 15th-century sculpture contrast with two adorable kittens smooching by his feet.

This piece is concurrent with exhibitions on the rooftop of The Met in New York, the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria and the NEON Foundation in Athens, Greece. 

Marian Goodman Gallery, until July 21
5-8 Lower John Street, W1F 9DY


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

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“The biggest achievement of this exhibition is the recovering of the talented legion of artists who have been kept out of the American canon of genius in a way that is utterly unjust,” says Jonathan Jones of The Guardian. Art from the 1950s is predominantly represented nowadays by American icons such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. 

Above is a painting April 4, which marks the first anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King with a cascade of purple tears. This piece is by Sam Gilliam whose artistic genius was forgotten until only recently, now in his 80’s. But Gilliam’s art is not the only artwork to come out the woodwork, there are copies of The Black Panther magazine to self-portraits of Barkley Hendricks entitled Brilliantly Endowed and Frank Bowling’s unforgettable paintings. 

Tate Modern, until October 22
Bankside, SE1 9TG


Dreamers Awake
Eileen Agar, Leonora Carrington, Lee Miller, Dorothea Tanning, Leonor Fini, Francesca Woodman, Hannah Wilke, Louise Bourgeois, Rosemarie Trockel,  Kiki Smith, Paloma Varga Weisz, Mona Hatoum, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, amongst others

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This exhibition of more than 50 contemporary and emerging artists, as well as well-known Surrealist figures, artfully riffs around what it means to live inside rather than gaze upon a female form.

The show explores surrealism through the eyes of women, such as Mona Hatoum who subverts the objectification of the female form with Jardin Public (1993) or Claude Cahun who plays with gender identity as a fluid construct in her iconic black and white self-portraits from the 1930s.

White Cube Bermondsey, Until September 17
144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

Tagsmart was here: Sculpture in the City 2017

Every year contemporary sculptures by internationally renowned artists are taken out of their natural habitat and placed in surprising corners of London’s financial district, Square Mile. With this year being the largest to date, with 16 artworks taking up residence amongst some of London’s most famous buildings, our team had a little wander around the city and picked our favourite pieces.

Nathaniel Rackowe’s Black Shed Expanded at Bury Court 

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This piece, which recently featured at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, is a large-scale urban shed structure, seemingly mid-explosions upside-down, exposing its illuminated interior. It stands out amongst the London skyscrapers which surround it, the force of the light emanating from within, it seems to be ripping it apart. This work is in line with Rackowe’s usual practice, combining light and movement with urban infrastructure and industrial products. 


Gavin Turk’s Ajar at the St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Gardens 

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This random open doorframe in the middle of a park has been left on display from last year’s Sculpture in the City and is rather intriguing. Why a door frame in an open space? Is it opening or closing? Do we walk through the door frame? Why is the handle so low down? Why has it been left open? Is it a portal through time? The door leads to never-ending questions and possibilities, and yet, it also leads to nothing. It is a playful homage to William Blake’s famous doors of perception as we are invited to walk through Turk’s door into the enchanting realms of the imagination and beyond. So, if you need a time out of the office head down to Bishopsgate!


Kevin Killen’s Tipping Point at The Leadenhall Building

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Using the city streets to guide him, Killen has mapped out the urban landscape of Belfast with a series of light arrangements. The artist captures accidental, unexpected, spontaneous and playful fleeting moments of movement with his camera. He then deconstructs and visualises these images with the use of neon lights. The intricacy and experimentation of his work are highly impressive. When looking at this colourful installation, you would never guess that such thought has gone into its creation, would you? His translation of urban settings into kinetic light pulses is just beautiful!


Damien Hirst’s Temple in Cullum Street 

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The anatomical model of a male torso, with the musculature and organs exposed, stands 21-feet high near one of London’s oldest markets, Leadenhall Market. This piece, made in 2008, is reminiscent of many other Hirst sculptures, such as The Virgin Mother, which was one of the largest bronze statues in the world at the time. The famed artist’s obsession with anatomy and death is clear throughout his work, whether with people or animals. Standing under this sculpture, you come to realise that we are human and beneath our skin, these organs reverberate keeping us alive. Quite scary!


Karen Tang’s Synapsid at Fenchurch Street Station

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Reminiscent of a mutated, radioactive monster, this piece is rather playful and interactive. But what is it actually? An alien, some animal form, a monster? The neon greens and blobby segments evoke some kind of sci-fi evasion where extraterrestrials descend from space and rampage through London’s city centre. Tang’s works often reference science, sci-fi, architecture and city life.

Street artist Bambi uses our synthetic DNA Tags on her artworks

Street artist Bambi, whose works are displayed in the streets of London as well as the homes of celebrities such as Kanye West and Rihanna, now uses our authentication solution, beginning with her Lie Lie Land edition.

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The original located in the Borough of Islington, this stencil depicts the famous dance move made by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the award-winning movie La La Land. This political piece references the eyebrow-raising moment Theresa May and Donald Trump held hands at a press appearance in Washington.

Her tagged silkscreen prints are now available at Joseph Fine Art and the Endangered Editions websites, all accompanied by our Certificates of Authenticity and Provenance Record. 

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According to Bambi, “Tagsmart is a great way for me to ensure that my work remains mine, as buyers can trace its history and establish with absolute certainty its authenticity. Their triple lock system assures me that my prints and paintings are secure forever.”

For more information, please visit her page on the Tagsmart platform.

Tagsmart was here: Harland Miller, Alison Mc Kenna and (many) others

O Canada! 
Fiona Ackerman, Andy Dixon, Kim Dorland, Scott Everingham, Thrush Holmes, Erin Loree, Erik Olson, Justin Ogilvie, Andrew Salgado, Andrea Willamson and Etienne Zack 

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The gallery, which began with pop-up exhibitions in Vancouver in 2008, maintains an exhibition programme with a partially Canadian focus. Led by Director Kurt Beers, who is himself Canadian, the exhibition celebrates the 150th birthday of Canada and provides the first opportunity for the gallery to host an exhibition with exclusively Canadian artists.

Intentionally circumventing any overriding theme, O Canada! finds commonalities between the 11 artists based solely on their heritage, raising questions as to whether there truly is some sort of collective, cultural consciousness or aesthetic tradition.

BEERS London, until August 19
1 Baldwin Street, EC1V 9NU


A Harmony of Opposites
Alison Mc Kenna

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John Marchant Gallery presents British artist Alison Mc Kenna’s first solo exhibition, A Harmony of Opposites. McKenna creates a sense of space and energy, ‘trying to find a simplicity and a charge’. By introducing the idea to accept and use imbalance, her works render the viewer slightly unsteady, searching for symmetry and order.

A number of the works on display were created in Andalusia and the white light of the south is evident throughout the show. A sense that is heightened by the hazy impressions created by the bursts of black charcoal and sporadic dabs of blazing colour.

John Marchant Gallery, until July 29
159 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AL


One Bar Electric Memoir
Harland Miller

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Harland Miller is both a writer and an artist, practising both roles over a peripatetic career in both Europe and America.

In 2001 Miller produced a series of paintings based of the dust jackets of Penguin books. By combining the motif inherent in the Penguin book, Miller found a way to marry aspects of Pop Art, abstraction and figurative painting at once, with his writer’s love of text. The ensuing images are humorous, sardonic and nostalgic at the same time, while the painting style hints at the dog-eared, scuffed covers of the Penguin classics themselves. Miller continues to create work in this vein, expanding the book covers to include his own phrases, some hilarious and absurd, others with a lush melancholy.

White Cube Mason’s Yard, until September 9
25-26 Mason’s Yard, St. James’s, SW1Y 6BU

A Taste Of Art

To commemorate the London Food Month, a month-long celebration of food conjuring up over 400 events across the city, we have gathered a selection of artists from around the world who focus on and involve food in their work. The creators of these pieces use the physicality and history of food to give their art meaning, both obvious and subliminal.

Food was created for consumption through the use of our mouths, but not everybody has the capability of digesting with their eyes. So put the paintbrushes, cameras and tools aside, and open your brain-buds to the sweet and savoury side of the art realm!

Vik Muniz’s Valentina, The Fastest, from the ‘Sugar Children’ series (1996)

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Vik Muniz has often used food to realise his impressive works. In a meticulous process and using a wide range of materials like sugar, chocolate and caviar, the artist recreates well-known images such as masterpieces or photographs. Viewed from a distance, the similarity of his works to its originals are striking. However, when seen up close the images turn the viewer’s attention to its symbolic meaning through the contextual use of materials. For example, for the Sugar Children series, Muniz took pictures of local children while on holidays in the Caribbean. Upon returning home, he recreated these images by arranging sugar on black paper. Embedded with irony, the sugar connotes both the essence of childhood and the hard labour of the local trade.


Chloe Wise’Moschino English Muffin (2015)

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Chloe Wise uses food as a recurring motif in her work. This artwork is a replica of a Moschino bag but made of English muffins, urethane, oil paint, leather, hardware and butter container. From Wise’s Bread Bags series, the artist playfully parodies high-fashion designer logos using bread as a symbol of status and wealth and hints to the uselessness of beautiful objects. It seems the artist is making a play on the word consumption meaning both indulging in food and overspending on superficial and unnecessary belongings. She elegantly comments on current societal trends and hierarchy in a fun and trendy fashion, managing to make highly expensive, chic and timeless bags look so good that it also undermines their value and draws attention to the meaningless nature of trends. The viewer is made to question: do I really need this or do I just want it?


Pope.L, Claim (Whitney Version) (2017)

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Pope.L (aka William Pope.L) has a long history of enacting arduous, provocative, absurdist performances and interventions in public spaces. Featured in this year’s Whitney Biennial. Claim is a giant pink cube with 2,755 slices of real bologna sausage nailed to it, slowing rotting over time and stinking up space, each affixed with a black and white photocopied snapshot of a person. From day one, the oily juices from the food were cooling into small basins that run along the floor, so the meat was not really rotting but actually curing, referencing the curing or healing of people. It is a recognition of people as human beings and not numbers. As the meat cures, the photograph is contorted, making the viewer question who are these people and if it really matters?


Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Soup/No Soup (2012)

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Rirkrit Tiranvanija uses human interaction as his primary material. And what better way to bring people together than through a mutual love for food? For the prelude of La Triennale 2012’s opening, Rirkrit was invited to transform the main nave of the Grand Palais into a festive, large-scale, twelve-hour banquet composed of a single meal. The artist creates innovative initiatives to involve the public into the art making process, bridging the gap between public and private art and negating the notion of art as an upper-class enjoyment.


Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield – A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan (1982)

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The area we now know as Battery Park City and the World Financial Center was once used by Agnes Denes’ to create her one of her most notorious works. Over a six-month period in 1982, Denes planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of rubble-strewn landfill. She explains: “Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept. It represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It was an intrusion into the citadel, a confrontation of high civilisation. Then again, it was also Shangri-la, a small paradise, one’s childhood, a hot summer afternoon in the country, peace, forgotten values, simple pleasures.” Denes is a pioneer in Land Art and highlights the controversies such as world hunger through her expansive and impressive installations.


Peter Anton, Pink Confetti Cake (2012)

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Peter Anton is an American artist and sculptor whose primary focus is food, with an emphasis on sweets and chocolates. The artist has a particularly interesting way of creating his artwork whereby he first needs to experience it through taste, smell and touch, to then thoroughly dissect his subject before depicting it. This intricate observation of his subjects shines through in his works which could fool anyone into believing they’re real, if not for their oversized nature. His nearly obsessive focus on all things sweet may be a hint to the human need and want for things which were once better enjoyed in moderation. An example is how through history in many cultures following a religious occasion a sweet would be offered as a special treat, however now people come up with any reason to consume sugar… Or just no reason at all.

Philip Mould & Co. and Tagsmart... Yep, that just happened!

We are delighted to have been featured in Melanie Gerlis’ column in the FT Collecting supplement this past weekend announcing our strategic partnership with British and Old Masters dealer Philip Mould and his prestigious London gallery.

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A selection of the gallery’s artworks will be marked with Philip Mould-branded tags, and accompanied by its Certificate of Authenticity and secure digital record. The first artworks to be tagged will be by Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris.

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Philip Mould OBE explains that “there is now an increasing need to inject security and confidence into the art market. The art world, particularly 20th-century art, is in peril of fakery.”

The leading art specialist and co-presenter of BBC’s Fake or Fortune? will also contribute his extensive knowledge in art conservation, restoration and issues of authenticity to the ongoing development of Tagsmart’s products and services. Tom Toumazis MBE, Chairman of Tagsmart said: “To have the opportunity to work with the Philip Mould gallery and also welcome Philip as one of our Strategic Advisors is a significant step in the development of our business.”

Who said ‘Flower Power’ is dead? Celebrating the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London’s most iconic flower festival, inspires millions through showcasing the best in garden design and has blossomed on us at Tagsmart too! In celebration of the event, now in full bloom until Saturday, May 27, here are our favourite flower-themed contemporary artworks:

1. Alex Katz’ White Roses 9 (2012)

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In a 1968 interview, Katz described his paintings of flowers as an extension of the cocktail party scenes he often painted. He remarked that the flowers are also ‘overlapping volumes’, which cover one another as they advance into the painting’s pictorial space. By selecting flowers as a subject, Katz sought to introduce a greater degree of movement in the work without literally representing something in motion, focusing on the unfolding form of a rose bud. And indeed, White Roses 9 offers a composition of volumes and spaces that dance across the surface of the canvas. Painted rapidly and assuredly, the flowers oscillate between states of awkwardness and grace typically associated with the human body. Katz’s roses, with their fleshy petals and serrated leaves, are aggressive and fierce, contradicting the serene association that flowers typically summon. (Source: Guggenheim Bilbao)


2. Takashi Murakami’s Blue Flowers & Skulls (2012)

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Perhaps Takashi Murakami’s most emblematic motif, these smiling flowers came into the artist’s work when he was preparing for his entrance exams for the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts. He then embraced the form over nine years teaching college students to draw flowers, even though as he once said, “I didn’t like flowers.” Blue Flowers & Skulls explores one of the central dichotomies of his art—between joy and terror, his optimistic as an artist and his pessimistic perspective on postwar Japan. This contradiction is symbolised by the contrast of bright smiling flowers and menacing representations of skulls. Both oppositional and parallel, the flower and the skull are reminders of the fragile vibrancy of life and the inexorable passing of time. (Source: Gagosian)


3. Beatriz Milhazes’ Gamboa Seasons Summer Love (2010)

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Influenced by the tropical climate and vegetation of Brazil as well as by the urban vibe of Rio de Janeiro, Milhazes combines traditional imagery and cultural clichés with plain geometric forms and structured compositions, creating dynamical and unexpected works. (Source: Galerie Max Hetzler)


4. Michael De Feo's Untitled (Last nude Playmate Kristy Garett by Sasha Eisenman for Playboy, Jan-Feb 2016) (2016)

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Inhabiting a space between fine art, street art, and appropriation, Michael De Feo’s (a.k.a. The Flower Guy) iconic flower symbols and graphic interventions began appearing on New York City streets as early as 1993. Re-working fashion imagery from magazine ads to bus shelter billboards by painting cascades of multicoloured petals onto the printed images, De Feo brings new life to his source material in a way that is both subversive and joyful. (Source: Danziger Gallery)


5. Marc Quinn’s The Archaeology of Desire (2009)

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Marc Quinn’s monumental Archaeology of Desire is based upon a naturalistic Phalaenopsis, a genus of the orchid family. The fine, papery petals defy the properties of the bronze medium in which they are cast to appear almost weightless and ethereal. The work belongs to a series of sculptures and paintings through which Quinn has explored the concept of ideal beauty achieved, especially, through genetic modification. On an immense scale, the delicate petals take on an ominous presence, resembling the wings of a Phalaena moth from which the flower takes its name; the lower part, in turn, assumes the appearance of pincer-like mandibles on the threshold of inertia, poised to snap shut, pierce and penetrate. The title of the work also hints at the sculpture’s latent sexual connotations; the heart of the flower’s anatomy is its reproductive organ, which lures insects for pollination. So, in turn, does this part suggest the human female genitalia. (Source: Marc Quinn)


6. Mat Collishaw’s Orchid 1 (2005)

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Of all the images with which he seduces and confounds the viewer, Mat Collishaw’s Infectious Flowers are probably his most beguiling achievements. On first encounter, we are struck by their exquisite colours and shapes, but closer inspection reveals their imperfections. The petals are not perfectly formed – areas are ravaged by, and almost pulsating, with a disease. In this way, the viewer becomes both seduced and horrified. Collishaw was inspired by the story of a 19th-century dandy who became so obsessed with flowers that he decided to lock himself away in his mansion that was filled with only his plants. His opulence became so much that the flowers became diseased, a parallel to the sickening of his mind.


7. Gerald Machona’s The Edelweiss (2013)

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One of the most notable aspects of Gerald Machona’s work is his innovative use of foreign currency (particularly decommissioned Zimbabwean dollars) as a medium. Initially, Machona started using the material in an attempt to convey the difficulties of the hyper-inflationary environment that Zimbabweans were living under until recently. But in 2008, it also became an interesting way to explore some of the underlying issues of class, migration and nationalism and the feelings of estrangement associated with the experience of “foreignness” while living in South Africa.


8. Banksy’s Flower Thrower (2003)

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This stencilled image may be Banksy’s most famous work. At first glance, it looks like a rioter about to throw a molotov cocktail. However, this ‘rioter’ is throwing a bouquet of flowers instead. By substituting flowers for a weapon Banksy makes us think about peace in a place we wouldn’t expect to find it. The work is surprisingly hopeful and upbeat.


9. Anya Gallaccio’s preserve ‘beauty’ (1991–2003)

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Anya Gallaccio is known for her work with organic materials such as flowers, fruits and sugar. Her installations often change over time as they decompose, sprout new life, or melt. In preserve ‘beauty’ 2000 gerberas are sandwiched between huge panes of glass and left to wither and rot. Gallaccio has described gerberas as a ‘disposable commodity’, mass-produced all year round. preserve ‘beauty’ was first displayed in the window of a London gallery, where it became a metaphor for her perception of the male-dominated art scene. (Source: Tate)


10. teamLab’s Floating Flower Garden (2015)

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With its roots anchored overhead, more than 2,000 suspended flowers float in a white bubble. As if endowed with a conscience, the flowers rise when the spectator approaches, and then descend once again. Offering a way to restore our sense of unity with nature, the interactive installation takes inspiration from a zen kôan in which a zen priest, in the 13th-century, left his meditative retreat in the mountains to teach the path of awakening. One day, he pointed to a flower in a garden and said: “The Heaven and I come from the same roots. Everything around me and myself is made of the same substance.”