French government hosts London reception to boost visual arts relationsOctober 12, 2023
For a new generation of artists, sex is back in fashionOctober 12, 2023
Lindsey Mendick, Thank You For Putting Up With Me (2023), Carl Freedman, £11,500-£13,500, sold
Lindsey Mendick’s installation of ceramic handbags bursting open with octopi, snakes and—in the case of Thank You For Putting Up With Me—spiders are presented on plinths designed by the artist and decorated with enlarged images of mould spores. The works are a prompt to look beneath the surface, at the messy reality of life.
Misha Kahn, Caterpillar (2023), The Breeder, €28,000
Misha Kahn’s caterpillar, made from copper, silk embroidery and cast glass also functions as a rather beautiful footstool—shoes off only. Inspired by Kahn’s dog’s close-up view of flora and fauna, the work is installed on a mirrored plinth, giving a glimpse of the bug’s sumptuously rendered underbelly.
Patrick Goddard, Invasion (2023), Seventeen, £25,000, sold to a private American collector
One thousand snails fabricated from steel and attached to the wall with magnets are swarming over Seventeen gallery’s stand. The installation, by Patrick Goddard, satirises and literalises the racist linguistic tropes used by, among others, former prime minister David Cameron to describe migrants crossing the Mediterranean. As gallery founder David Hoyland puts it: “It reflects the anxieties and prejudices around immigration, queer liberation and the ‘other’”.
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Still Life with a Bouquet of Tulips, Rose, Clover and a Cyclamen (around 1609), Johnny Van Haeften, £3.25m
This Dutch still-life includes a hairy caterpillar, which provides a lively counterpart to a limp sprig of forget-me-not. And can you see the damselfly, a symbol of transformation, perched on one of the tulips above?
Jan Van Kessel the Elder, A Flower Still-Life with Butterflies, Insects and Small Songbirds (1669), Koetser Gallery, £300,000
Van Kessel revels in an array of slugs and snails parading around the base of this vase. And there are also bugs and butterflies aplenty amid the rose petals and climbing the stems. Van Kessel’s paintings appealed to collectors of dead specimens (pinned on paper), who could gasp with joy at a picture in which their creepy crawlies come alive.
Jacob van Hulsdonck, Still Life with a Herring, Cheese and other Comestibles (around 1615-20), Johnny Van Haeften, £950,000
One of Van Hulsdonk’s famous “breakfast pieces” also features some less edible delights. A large beetle crawls across the table (behind the bread roll), while flies have settled on the freshly churned butter and a folded white napkin. The half-eaten and abandoned feast is theirs for the taking!