The July Monthly is introducing a new feature where we ask people what in the world of the arts has caught their attention recently. In other words, what has “floated their boat”. We asked Tamsin Hong, an arts curator, who The Monthly interviewed when she was working at Belfast’s Naughton Gallery (she now works at Tate Modern in London), and here is her list.
5 July – Ali Chahrour’s “May He Rise and Smell the Fragrance” at Lilian Baylis Studio as part of the Shubbak Festival.
Charour drew from Shiite grieving practices to produce May He Rise… which he created with Hala Omran, Ali Hout and Abed Kobeissy.
Charour performance draws attention to the dualities of the human experience, as we explore death we draw attention to life, strength to frailty, exuberance to stillness. Omran’s striking voice reverberated across the theatre to the sounds of Hout and Kobessy’s multi-instrumental talent. An unforgettable performance, we were delighted with a Q&A session afterwards to further investigate Charour’s practice and approach.
9 July – Hanane Hajj Ali’s “Jogging” at the Gate Theatre as part of the Shubbak Festival. With equal measures of wit and devastation, Hanane Hajj Ali uses the motif of jogging as a way to explore her experiences and understanding of being as a woman in her 50s in Beirut. Hanane Hajj Ali uses spoken word and action to amplify story-telling and destabilise the division between myth and fact in the intimacy of a small theatre.
14 July – Patricia Guerrero’s “Catedral” as part of the Flamenco Festival at Sadler’s Wells. Guerrero’s performance was breath-taking and deserved the standing ovation it received. She was supported by three other flamenco dancers, a guitarist, two percussionists, a flamenco singer and two opera singers. The stage was reimagined as a cathedral with Guerrero releasing layers of constraints symbolised by each layer of her costume.
Until 8 September – “Kiss My Genders” at the Hayward Gallery. “Kiss My Genders” was particularly interesting to me in terms of gender performativity and ways in which non-binary, trans and intersex communities have used performance as a way to examine socially-defined concepts of identity. “Kiss My Genders” is an exquisitely comprehensive group exhibition showing a broad range of approaches in this field.
Until 8 September – Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern. I felt bereft that my art history education did not include such an extraordinary Modernist as Goncharova but I was thrilled to learn about her in this exhibition which I am now shamelessly promoting because I believe everyone should know her name.
What I found astounding about Goncharova is the breadth and strength of her practice, which includes painting, drawing, stage-design, textiles, advertising and also performance. As the leader of the Russian avant-garde, she’s not only a pivotal artist of her time but also one who’s work continues to have resonance. This exhibition is a rare opportunity to indulge in so many of her works and archival material at once which have travelled from across Europe, Russia, USA and Australia to be here in London.
Until 5 January 2020 – “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” at Tate Modern. First and foremost, this exhibition is so much fun and definitely one to Instagram, as Eliasson’s work plays with light, reflections, colour, geometry and movement.
Critically, it speaks to the urgency of the climate crisis. Eliasson’s studio have also taken over our Terrace Bar in a manner I feel Belfast’s specialty coffee shops would approve: with a new locally sourced, organic and vegetarian menu and really tasty filter coffee (which I learned is better for the environment than espresso-based coffee).
See The Monthly’s interviews with Tamsin Hong at the links below