A daily bulletin of news & opinion

19 July 2014


Malta Arts Festival 2014

This week saw the opening of the 9th edition of the Malta Arts Festival, which takes over some of the Mediterranean island’s most prestigious venues such as the open-air theatre Pjazza Teatru Rjal and the newly restored Fort St Elmo. Performers from Croatia to South Africa are staging productions alongside the best Maltese artists for the three-week event featuring 18 shows and diverse workshops. This weekend’s highlights include atmospheric dance performance Hide and Seek by Spanish choreographer Iván Pérez and on Sunday, Fecha de Caducidad, a contemporary circus performance based on the themes of journey and discovery.

At venues across Malta, see website for details. Until 2 August.


Two Different Times, One World

Shanghai-based painter Pu Jie is holding his debut exhibition in Singapore this weekend but the artist should feel right at home as the works are on show at the local Singaporean outpost of Shanghai’s ShanghART gallery. Two Different Times, One World is a collection of 17 pieces that echo the increasing complexity of Chinese identity as the state transitions from a Communist to a Capitalist economy. Western pop-art styles inform Jie’s vibrant colour palette and have influenced pieces such as “Head Is Her”. The painting features an image of a girl in deep contemplation yet interrupted by orange, red, green and yellow triangles tiled over the top, inviting the viewer to ponder life’s fragmented inconsistencies. 

ShangART, Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road #02-22. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00-19.00. Until 24 August.


Jenny Saville

This weekend in London there’s still time for art lovers to catch the closing week of British artist Jenny Saville’s first ever solo exhibition at the Gagosian gallery. Saville, known for her monumental oil paintings, examines perceptions of the human body with a particular focus on women. She rose to fame in the early 1990s under the stewardship of Charles Saatchi and as part of the Young British Artists (YBA) collective that also launched the careers of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Rather than her trademark portraits of unflinchingly stark scenes, Saville’s latest pieces are abstract and inspired by an ancient Egyptian rubbish dump at Oxyrhynchus. Head to the Gagosian this weekend for a modern take on ancient life depicted on a Herculean scale.

Gagosian gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00-18.00. Until 26 July.


Japan Film Festival of San Francisco

Beginning this weekend in the Bay area is the second annual Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, part of the wider music and culture-focused J-Pop Summit festival taking place throughout the week. Films are on show at the New People cinema, where audiences can enjoy a compact but richly varied line-up that includes seven US premieres. This Saturday, catch Count Five to Dream of You from director Yuki Yamato featuring Japanese pop stars Tokyo Girls Style making their screen debut. The following Saturday will have a showing of the critically acclaimed Pecoross’ Mother and Her Days, a profound yet humorous story about the life of a middle-aged manga artist.

New People cinema, 1746 Post Street. See website for full schedule. Until 27 July.


Cold Beat: Over Me

San Francisco is famous for offering sanctuary to the weird, the wonderful, and those forward-thinking idealists who just don’t fit in. Cold Beat are all of those things and the band that began as a solo outlet for multitalented visual artist, video-director and Grass Widow-bassist Hannah Lew, have produced a beautifully unfussy debut album, Over Me, that combines buzzsaw guitar lines, angelic vocals, and a creeping sense that despite the upbeat sound – everything is distinctly not ok. Lew touches on dark themes such as personal battles with depression and the growing colonisation of her rough’n’ready neighbourhood by an onslaught of moneyed tech geeks, and marries them to curiously summer-ready pop songs that retain San Francisco’s messed up garage sound. Let’s hope the mess is allowed to stick around.

‘Over Me’ is available to buy now.


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