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Aleph Contemporary

Aleph Contemporary Ltd

Aleph Contemporary Ltd

Aleph Contemporary Ltd

Aleph Contemporary is a London contemporary art gallery specialising in influential and emerging contemporary art.


169 Piccadilly (5F)
London, W1J 9EH
United Kingdom

By appointment only.

3D Ausstellungen

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    The Aesthetics of Enchantment in Abstract Art

    11 Oct 2022 – 15 Jan 2023

    Nina Dolan, Gordon Dalton, Rebecca Meanley, Laurence Noga, Henry Ward, Mark Wright and introducing Charlotte Winifred Guérard By virtue of its installation and the nature of its context, this is an exhibition that invites sustained looking at individual works, rather than being read as a single, cogent entity.

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    It aways rains in the lakes

    27 Sep 2022 – 30 Nov 2022

    Fiona G Roberts solo show From What to How and Back Again By Paul Carey Kent What is painting good at? In between the limiting cases of extreme photorealism and rigorously controlled abstraction, it excels in generating a back and forth between our awareness of paint and our awareness of subject: there’s something satisfying about how we see simultaneously both what it shows, and how it is made; about how the eye prioritises first one and then the other. That satisfaction is enhanced if we feel that the ‘how’ supports the ‘what’. In Monet, for example, the way the paint is applied suggests the fact that what we actually see when we look at a landscape is light reflected into our eyes. When we experience a van Gogh, we feel the seething passion of his engagement with the world in the energy and rhythm of his brushwork. A 1920’s Léger applies a cubist language to mechanise people as the industrialisation of society picks up pace. Fiona G Roberts’ paintings aren’t much like Monet, van Gogh or Léger, though they are historically informed and aware. You’re more likely to think of Parmigianino, Edvard Munch or Marlene Dumas. But that to and fro is very much her territory: not only do we enjoy the way her work dances between paint and what it depicts, but the manner of that depiction reinforces what she is dealing with. Her subject is straightforward: the human head - most often one, usually cropped close to maximise the sense of intimacy. That said, heads are a complicated, both inside and outside, and there is a grand and inexhaustible tradition of painting them. Roberts’ contribution to the tradition becomes a little more complicated when we ask whether they are portraits. On the one hand, they do always start from particular people, whether encountered in life or in found photographs or in other art. They are not – in the manner of, say, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – imaginary people. On the other hand, they don’t attempt to look like the person in question, nor to capture the particular inner self beneath appearances. Nor do Roberts’ characters engage with the viewer: where a conventional portrait will often return our look, Roberts’ characters seem to be lost in their own thoughts. There may not be a snappy term for it, but she paints non-portraits of real people. Roberts’ aims in these non-portraits is to evoke the feelings associated with individual and collective experience - it isn’t too surprising to learn that her first degree was in Sociology at the LSE. Consider two paintings from 2019. At the individual level ‘Lucent’ might be seen as exploring the vulnerability and anxiety of a teenager coming into the world, the uncertainty of form reflecting the uncertainty of mind, a sense that neither the person nor the image is yet fully formed. Collectively, ‘Love Hurts (147 Women)’ combines skilful use of the bleeding qualities of ink with a wider implication of blood-letting as it shows – not as portraits, but as representations of their range of age and ethnicity – the sobering number of women killed by men in the UK in one year (most of them knew their killer, hence the title). Those individual and the collective experiences are not separate, of course, but belong on a continuum - ‘the personal is the political’. And the two come together to poignant effect in Roberts’ latest body of work. ‘It Always Rains in The Lakes’ is a series of ‘non-portraits’ of Roberts’ mother, who died recently. They have her red hair, says her daughter, but don’t otherwise resemble her. But Roberts’ mother also stands in for the conditions faced by many women of her era. As Roberts puts it: ‘my mum was an amazing person in so many ways – and very talented in painting and music. But a woman of her generation and class – raised in farming community in the Lake District, married young to a farmer – didn’t have opportunities such as going to Art College. She never had the chance to develop her talents, and that was a huge sadness for women of her class in that generation’. So there is certainly a melancholy – as well as a feminist protest - in the feeling behind this series, and that does come through. The aqueous application of paint or ink suggests the rain of the series title, or tears. But rain is also regenerative, and we can see these faces as celebrations of a life, not simply as memorialising a death or expressing regret for a life that might have been lived differently. That wateriness, then is put to ambiguous ends typical of Roberts: the ‘how’ supports the ‘what’. And there are other ways to read their painterly and somewhat spectral effects. These paintings might relate to memory, and the impossibility of recollecting in full – affectingly so if we know that Roberts’ mother suffered from dementia. They might be about how we can never be completely sure we know the interior world of another person. Moreover, some of these paintings are also patterned with surface irruptions: one might see them as stars, the celestial being very much in accordance with the themes of death, the beyond, the unknown... If that sounds rather definite, not so. Roberts’ ambiguous style extends to her meanings. There’s plenty of space for viewers to read the emotional tenor differently: what matters to Roberts is that emotional readings are available. We can see that in the other paintings in the show, which take her approach in slightly different directions. A and B have a theatrical aspect. Is that a Shakespearian ruff in the former? Does the latter feature a clown? Perhaps those characters are performing their sadness rather than feeling it. C is a smoker in sunglasses: it could be Roberts’ mother, but acting cool in the style of Warhol. ‘Helenus’ looks more thoughtful than melancholy, and the title indicates a mythical dimension: he was a prince described by Homer as the greatest augur of the Trojan War. And D has two figures, or one figure twice, their interaction open to interpretation.  Roberts’ courting of ambiguity is no accident, then, but the way she goes about it does make sophisticated use of what you might call ‘planned accidents’. When working with ink or watercolour, she explains, ‘I spray the ground with water before I start, then spray more as I go – it’s a game of assessing how wet or dry to make it. The exact effects achieved are unrepeatable, which is both exciting and frustrating, but I’ve learned to trust the process.’ Acrylic on canvas operates comparably – spraying with water, putting paint down, wiping it off, letting it dry, making it wet again, deciding which accidents to keep. She sprays oil paint with zest – a non-toxic turps equivalent. When working on Perspex, wiping fully replaces spraying, and the back can be painted to influence the front. Add the various different ground colours used in this show - yellow, orange, green, bistre, the paper’s white – as well as the choice of palette, and the available effects build up nicely. The formal and emotional range emerging from Roberts’ painting pretty much the same thing turns out to be surprisingly broad. August 2022

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Laurence Noga: Poetics of Obsolescence

    04 May 2021 – 04 Jul 2021

    'These found signs without provenance function as humble, anachronic portals to other times. Collected from the artist’s father’s garage, they are fragmented mementos revealing the constructions as stratigraphic layerings of time. Vestiges of things that may once have moved but are now arrested, of anonymous processes and operative systems no longer in use, they reveal the obsolete as registration of the cessation of time’s continuity.' Text by Kamini Vellodi https://alephcontemporary.com/exhibitions/34-the-stifled-cry-archie-franks-miroslav-text-by-sacha-craddock/overview/

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    The Just

    04 Aug 2020 – 15 Oct 2020

    Group Show curated by Dan Coombs Featuring Pat Andrea, Micheal Ajerman, Jacopo Dal Bello, Christy Burdock, Sophie Vallance Cantor, Ben Westley Clarke, Dan Coombs, Archie Franks, Holly Froy, Joana Galego, Alastair Gordon, Peter Griffin, Cristina Ruiz Guiñazú, Zebedee Jones, Lee Johnson, Phil King, Alice Macdonald, Kathryn Maple, Paul Newman, Miroslav Pomichal, Fiona G Roberts, Jaime Valtierra, Grant Watson, Tess Williams

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Bread and Games

    07 Dec 2022 – 12 Jan 2023

    Archie Franks, Rachel Mercer, Miroslav Pomichal Text by Paul Carey-Kent It’s natural to ask of a group show: why these artists? Have they just been lumped together, or are they connected in some way? The participants in ‘Bread and Games’ have been well chosen, as the work of Miroslav Pomichal, Rachel Mercer and Archie Franks can be considered through three shared characteristics. First, they are representational painters for whom the expressive act of painting is foregrounded, whose subjects emerge very visibly from their formal concerns. They don’t paint in the same way, but with a shared intent, such that you see the paint before you see the purpose. That approach might be reckoned old-fashioned when so much current painting is driven primarily by an explicit engagement with subjects, such as gender roles and the politics of identity. Second, the wider practices of all three artists engage directly with the traditional genres - history painting, portraiture, landscape and still life - and the works chosen share a concern with people in the landscape, with the interaction of humanity and the natural world. Third, there’s a congruence of tone: celebratory, but with undertones that recognise darker aspects. There is pleasure, yes, but not without a flip side. The show’s title picks up on that. The phrase can be traced back two millennia to the poet Juvenal, who denounced the Roman people for abandoning their civic duties so long as they received ‘panem et circenses’ - bread and circus games. So the phrase – most often rendered as ‘bread and circuses’ in English but ‘du pain et des jeux’ in French – has come to mean something offered as a means of distracting attention from a problem or grievance. That suggests that these enjoyably painterly and bucolic depictions of cricket, playgrounds and landscapes, much as we might enjoy them, contain aspects of the more serious matters from which we might be distracted. Miroslav Pomichal’s ‘Peasant Revolt’ series emerges out of a somewhat unusual technique you might call ‘integrated layering’: he leaves his initial application of oil paint to dry for six hours to a day - depending on conditions - to reach a point at which the next layer can be blended in a controlled way. That can be contrasted with both the successive layering of paint onto fully dry preceding layers – typical of classical painting – and with the application of paint onto previous still-wet layers, as seen in the spontaneous and immediate plein air paintings of the impressionists. This in-between technique allows Pomichal to achieve a surface which is sculptural yet expressive, and is applied all-over so that the canvas is intensely animated by his brushstrokes. The landscapes Pomichal presents are of walls, fields and skies, something of an opening out from preceding work in which the wall was often dominant. He sees the walls as a metaphor for painting itself, with its ‘heavy materiality, tactility and solidity’ that at the same time ‘aspires to something beyond itself, something immaterial’. They’re also a personal symbol of the artist in his studio looking out on the world: consistent with that, Pomichal explains that at one level he himself is the peasant revolting, the artist acting freely, disregarding the trends and expectations of the day in order to paint as he wishes. The fields brim with so much life that they seem to spill on up into the most striking part of these works: the skies. These are surreal combinations of organic motifs swirling into colourful patterns: not so much heaven on earth as earth in heaven. They resemble both the Northern Lights and the energetic skyscape of van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Pomichal’s fantastical skies have a ludic dimension, and the same can be said of his walls, which take on a cartoonish aspect that echoes Philip Guston. It makes sense, then, that Pomichal often paints them from fish tank architecture – models made for aquaria. There’s a similar quality to the pitchforks and scythes with which the walls are punctuated, evoking somewhat comically the historical rather than personal side of the titular ‘peasant’s revolt’. So where are we in place and time? Pomichal works between London and his native Slovakia, which he identifies with a particular combination of politics and nature, as seen in the agrarian tools ‘raised in violence to hint at the centuries old struggles, not just for class equality, but nationhood’. Pomichal refers to both the 15th century revolutionary assertion of people power in Bohemia, the period of the Hussite Wars; and the Communist rule of Czechoslovakia from 1948-89, derived more problematically from the same impulse of government in the interest of the peasant class. So celebration and trauma are both in play here. Now the walls come into focus as castles or cathedrals, the dominant structures of medieval times; and those corn-filled fields might evoke the vast agricultural production of Slovakia’s neighbour, Ukraine – ‘the breadbasket of Europe’ – and its perilous current position. Rachel Mercer is interested in action and sensation, which she generally seeks to capture – contrasting with Pomichal’s method - within a day, or else she paints over her previous iteration. She finds that reworking rather than retouching avoids her slipping into the formalised placement of classically choreographed figures. Mercer’s approach resonates with the increasing speed of our lives - the sense of a moment in space capturing action and movement. She cites studying the economical mark-making of Chinese brush painting, Berthe Morisot and Gwen John’s sensitivity and lightness of touch, and the dynamic and sometimes calligraphic brushwork of Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach (whose pupils taught her) as key influences. The results foreground abstract qualities, but Mercer’s desire to paint life keeps her work figurative.  Mercer has previously focussed on social relationships and people she knows. Currently she is making two series in parallel, set in the contrasting leisure destinations of a shopping centre and a children’s playground. The playground features here, an ideal place to observe bodies in motion – the more so as children are close to their sensations, and are learning through their actions in a way you’d be hard-pressed to see in adults. Mercer paints in the studio out of memory and observational drawings which act as notes rather than preparatory studies. Working from a photograph, she has found, can overwrite her more three-dimensional and tactile memories and also provides too many details and colours - whereas memory acts as a helpful filter. She does not want to be distracted from such sensory memories as of the tactility of friction through clothing - or of metal on skin, as you go down the slide. Colours must be similarly intuitive: ‘if I find I’m thinking about the colour’, she says ‘the painting is probably not going so well.’ All of which may explain the freshness and air of spontaneity which characterises her work. So are we in a land of pure pleasure, in the Arcadian setting of the park? Not entirely...  ‘I don’t want the subject of leisure and children to look sickly sweet’, says Mercer. Consistent with that, we rarely see their faces fully. ‘As soon as you have an outward gaze it can look too posed and engaging. I want to capture the awkwardness. That’s part of making it a believable action.’  These are not idealised figures: we might sense that the children will grow up to become the surly adolescents and consumption-driven adults seen in shopping centres.  Archie Franks used to work somewhat like Pomichal, building up his paint towards what Sacha Craddock, identifying both painters as Soutine enthusiasts, has called ‘a slippery, sometimes deliberately tawdry, language’. Recently Franks has moved more in Mercer’s direction: lighter, thinner, more fluid. He attributes that to deliberately ‘painting against himself’, avoiding established habits to open up the way he paints by ‘thinking through each conceptual element of the picture and having to match what you’re doing with the paint effect for that’. He has also started to use pastels as a primary medium, and feels that has moved his oils on, too, ‘away from quite gloomy colour into something more vibrant’ - though he also uses a covering of spray paint ‘to knock things back, almost like a glaze’. ‘Bread and Games’ includes both oils – worked up from photographs, preliminary drawings and watercolour sketches – and pastels. As for subject matter, Franks has concentrated on still life in recent years, exploring the intersection of consumerism with the more brutish side of Britishness through paintings of, for example, beer taps, fairgrounds, Punch & Judy and a Full English breakfast. Those allude to the more poisonous and divisive aspects of national identity, which found an outlet in Brexit. Now Franks has turned to cricket, seeing that as an attractively antagonistic, unfashionable art subject, more against the grain than trendy football. He bases his images on the most ‘chocolate box’ views from a book of ‘Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds’. Superficially, that makes for a nostalgia-tinged view, the effect reinforced by Frank’s dreamily naturistic palette. And yet… Cricket as a leisure activity is part of our consumer culture, in which mode traditionalists might argue that its virtues are being corrupted by the fast food equivalent of increasingly short limited-over formats. The elements are not always set fair: the light is poor in ‘Late Season Game’ and an almighty storm is surely brewing in ‘Cricket in the Parks’. The figures are ghostly presences, consistent with Franks recollection that ‘as a kid I was a cricket nut’ – but one who fell out of love with the game as a teenager. So these are indeed ghosts of his past: the nostalgia is haunted. Franks arrives at a position neither straightforwardly celebratory nor wholly negative. It’s reminiscent of Philip Larkin’s view: in The Whitsun Weddings’ summary train journey across the nation ‘An Odeon went past, a cooling tower, / And someone running up to bowl’ but Going, Going worries that ‘the whole / Boiling will be bricked in… / And that will be England gone…’ Larkin is as ambiguous as Franks: he’s gloomy, but seems to relish that, and also finds moments of transcendence. These three artists together might be reckoned to reverse Larkin’s movement: the beauty of nature and the freedom of play are on the surface, and not without transformative moments. Yet there are troubling undercurrents: some darkness lies at the heart of the celebration. Aleph Contemporary at The Bindery, 53 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8HN

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Without Borders'

    01 Jul 2020 – 15 Jul 2020

    Alastair Gordon’s most recent exhibition Without Borders, curated by John Silvis, is featured on Aleph Contemporary’s online platform starting July 1, 2020. Gordon’s new paintings are informed by his ongoing investigation of the collage medium in the privacy of his studio and vast archive of sketchbooks. He states that the genesis of this new direction manifested itself in the form of a question: “What would I make if I didn’t have the pressure of an exhibition deadline or the expectations of art collectors?” Enter the reality of new normal—the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing rules provided unprecedented time in the studio—prompted him to take fresh liberties with his work. The paintings that materialized from this exercise push the collage process front and center, making it the definitive aesthetic of these complex and raw paintings. The directness of the frenetic mark-making, applied fragments of drawings and oil paint, astutely captures the experience of shifting realities amidst a global pandemic. The images in Without Borders began two years ago during a trip to Calais, France, where he led workshops for refugee artists in the Jungle Camp. Working with rudimentary art materials and the detritus of the refugee shelter, his collages transmitted the energy of this context. By tearing up older works and re-imagining an unscripted approach to painting, his collage paintings are imbued with a poignant immediacy.

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Echoes of Englishness

    23 Nov 2022 – 31 Dec 2022

    Ghosts are powerful. Our memories, both personal and universal, shape our culture and our perception of it. The political and cultural positions of our age appear to emerge from a collective understanding or rather misunderstanding of England - of what it was and what it ought to be, by both people on the left and right of the political spectrum. With the Danny Boyle Olympic ceremony in 2012 bandying about icons of the UK or England to feel good about ourselves; Elgar, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, the Queen and Paddington bear, all exist as a kind of English lexicon to provide comfort and security in our national identity. Since Brexit, figures and icons symbolising England have become more divisive, locked within a cultural war. These paintings are about a sense of what it feels like to embody Englishness collectively, as well as about personal memories and obsessions of my own. Ultimately, we are conditioned by echoes of Englishness, whether we like it or not. ~ Archie Franks

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'REFLECTIONS'

    20 Sep 2020 – 20 Dec 2020

    Ben Westley Clark, Oliver Dorrell, Joana Galego and Paul Newman

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'WAVELENGTHS - ABSTRACTION ON PAPER'

    30 Nov 2020 – 15 Jan 2021

    Works On Paper Nina Dolan, Rita Evans, Barbara Nicholls

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Circling Forces'

    05 Feb 2021 – 15 Apr 2021

    ′′ I take a remote, original point of creation, where I presume formulas for human animal plant, rock and for the elements, for all circling forces at the same time. Art is like creation, and applies on the first and last day." Paul Klee, Diary, 1916

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    BAFFLE

    01 Jul 2021 – 30 Sep 2021

    HENRY WARD The canvas you are working on modifies the previous ones in an unending, baffling chain which never seems to finish. What sympathy is demanded of the viewer? He is asked to 'see' the future links. (Philip Guston)

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    ENZO MARRA - 'DELUGE'

    01 Mar 2020 – 15 Mar 2020

    Enzo Marra’s practice successfully brings together a painterly interest in the haptic qualities of paint and canvas with a cartoonish and idiosyncratic vocabulary. While thoroughly contemporary, Marra’s style, subject matter, and technique recalls the tension between figuration and abstraction, heavy texture, and irreverent iconology of Phillip Guston’s postwar work. Indeed, Marra’s work has a further connection to that of Guston, much of his oeuvre functions as a critique of present-day culture and society.

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'The Stifled Cry'

    05 Apr 2021 – 30 Jun 2021

    Archie Franks and Miroslav Pomichal

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    TESS WILLIAMS

    16 Mar 2020 – 31 Mar 2020

    'SIRENS'

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Dan Coombs - 'Unfolding Man'

    01 Apr 2020 – 15 Apr 2020

    Dan Coombs: 'Unfolding Man' 2019

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Insider/Outsider

    04 Dec 2021 – 03 Feb 2022

    Curated by Alistair Hicks

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    GORDON DALTON - 'Birdhouse Blues'

    01 May 2020 – 15 May 2020

    GORDON DALTON

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Variations on Worldmaking'

    15 Jun 2020 – 30 Jun 2020

    Jacopo Dal Bello Solo show

    neueste Werke

    • Archie Franks

      Lasagne
      46 x 56 cm (h x w)
    • Archie Franks

      Waitrose Flat Peaches, 2022
      31 x 46 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 200
    • Archie Franks

      The Most Exciting, 2022
      31 x 45.5 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1400
    • Archie Franks

      Skull and Crossbones Train, 2022
      31 x 46 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1200
    • Archie Franks

      Pyramid Stage, 2022
      20 x 26 cm (h x w)
      Oil on board
      GBP 750
    • Archie Franks

      M & S Pier, 2022
      20 x 26 cm (h x w)
      Oil on board
      GBP 750
    • Archie Franks

      Punch and Judy, 2022
      46 x 61 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1800
    • Archie Franks

      Jonah and the Whale, 2022
      46 x 61 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1600
    • Archie Franks

      Ghost Train, 2022
      31 x 41 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1200
    • Archie Franks

      Horror Express, 2022
      20 x 26 cm (h x w)
      Oil on board
      GBP 750
    • Archie Franks

      Ghost Stories, 2022
      31 x 46 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1400
    • Archie Franks

      Afternoon Session, 2022
      46 x 61 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 2200
    • Archie Franks

      Watching the Game, 2022
      46 x 61 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 2200
    • Archie Franks

      Tea Break, 2022
      61 x 81 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 3000
    • Archie Franks

      Out, 2022
      41 x 65 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
    • Archie Franks

      Last Season's Game, 2022
      30 x 44 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
    • Archie Franks

      Dodgems, 2022
      61 x 87 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
    • Archie Franks

      Cricket in the Park, 2022
      35 x 50 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 1800
    • Rachel Mercer

      Radiate Absorb, 2022
      100 x 120 cm (h x w)
      Oil on Canvas
      GBP 2500
    • Rachel Mercer

      Strange Weather, 2022
      72 x 52 cm (h x w)
      Oil on paper laid on canvas
      GBP 1500