Bold Tendencies

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The Live Programme opened with the Philharmonia Orchestra performing The Planets by Gustav Holst, a spectacular astrological portrait of the celestial world, and closed with Gustav Mahler’s psychologically disruptive Symphony No.1, Titan, a powerful meditation on human life and its meaning, the cry of a wounded heart.

There were presentations of Galina Ustvolskaya’s Day of Wrath and Oliver Leith’s good day good day bad day bad day by GBSR Duo; and Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Metamorphosen by Manchester Collective.

We welcomed the return of The Multi-Story Orchestra for three new performances led by Kate Whitley, and opera director Polly Graham’s production of The Silly Little Mouse, a cartoon-opera for children by Dmitri Shostakovich written under the suppressive thumb of a brutal state, starring a beautiful but dangerous black and white cat played by soprano Claire Booth. 

The Philharmonia Orchestra – Gustav Holst, The Planets – 03/06

The Multi-Story Orchestra, Verified – 08 & 09/06

Loud Crowd, Silly Little Mouse – 11/06

James McVinnie – Phillip Glass, Music for Organ – 11/07

Fitzcarraldo Editions Summer Celebration – 29/06

Multi-Story Orchestra, Routes – 06 & 07/07

Davóne Tines – 08/07

The White Review Summer Party – 13/07

Manchester Collective – Strauss, Four Last Songs & Metamorphosen – 15/07

Oona Doherty, Hope Hunt – 27/07

Caleb Femi, Stone Seed – 28/07

Johan Dalene and Nicola Eimer – 29/07

GBSR Duo – Galina Ustvolskaya and Oliver Leith – 19/08

The Multi-Story Orchestra, Into The Deep – 24 & 25/08

Jay Bernard, The Last Seven Years – 01/09

James McVinnie & Maki Namekawa – Philip Glass, The Complete Piano Etudes – 02/09

Jeneba Kanneh-Mason – 07/09

Isata Kanneh-Mason – 08/09

James Dacre – Derek Jarman, Modern Nature – 10/09

The Bittersweet Review Issue II Launch – 13/09

The Philharmonia Orchestra – Gustav Mahler, Symphony No 1 “Titan” – 16/09

With an international readership of 400,000 at its peak circulation during the 1970s, most issues featured the artist’s bold, figurative illustrations. His signature drawing style used thick black outlines, bright spot colours, black and white textures, block text and photomontage.

 Striving to create a visual language for and from the people, Douglas’ use of clearly rendered, emotive imagery is a hallmark of liberation movements across the world.

Emory Douglas (b. 1943, Michigan, USA) lives and works in San Francisco.


The former Minister of Culture and Revolutionary Artist for the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas helped define the aesthetics of protest at the height of the post-Civil Rights era, cementing his status as one of the 20th century’s most influential radical political artists.

Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, the “graphic agitator” was responsible for a wide-range of printed media from posters, notecards, and pins, in particular designing all but one of the Party’s weekly newspaper, with each issue marked by the artist’s bold, figurative illustrations outlined in thick black line and contrasted with bright colours, block text and photomontage.

The clearly rendered imagery became a hallmark of liberation movements around the world as supporters calling for an end to the oppression and subjugation of Black, Indigenous, and other communities sought to project a spirit of shared struggle through a common artistic vocabulary; a visual language of global liberation movements that continues to this day.

Douglas’ work has been shown in institutions across the world, including in the recent major touring exhibition, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2020), Brooklyn Museum, New York (2019), de Young Museum, San Francisco (2019) and Tate Modern, London (2017). His work is in the collection of MoMA and part of their permanent display, Divided States of America

Douglas has exhibited widely in America, including at OSMOS, New York (2022), Los Angeles Contemporary (2018), Gregorio Escalante Gallery, Los Angeles (2017), and Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Philadelphia (2014).

Now retired, Douglas continues to work as a political artist and activist, producing freelance design works discussing topics such as Black on Black Crime and the prison industrial context. Collaborations include with artist Richard Bell (2011-14), director Spike Lee (2017) and the Black Lives Matter Global Network (2018).

They include: Truisms – a series of maxims that are variously insightful, aggressive or comic; Inflammatory Essays – provocative 100-word statements that set sometimes fanatical political sermons against the certainties of common opinion; Living – enigmatic, instructive phrases concerning everyday life; Survival – concise reflections of the fundamental dangers of one’s environment; and Arno – a meditation on living with loss.

Viewed in an era of acute ideological debate, where our exchange of words has never been more fraught, contested and misunderstood, Holzer’s work stands more powerful and relevant than ever.

Jenny Holzer (b. 1950, Ohio, USA) lives and works in New York.


For more than forty years Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, carved stone or an electronic sign, is text.

Celebrated for her inimitable use of language to provoke public debate and illuminate social and political justice, she works with both original and appropriated texts to deconstruct how personal and political meaning is created in various systems of power such as patriarchal, heteronormative, imperial or corporate consumer-oriented societies.

Starting in the 1970s with a series of DIY posters, and now through large-scale LED artworks and light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice creates a powerful tension between the realms of feeling and knowledge, rivalling ignorance and violence with humour, kindness, and courage.

Holzer has presented solo exhibitions at the world’s leading cultural institutions and galleries as well as high-profile permanent and temporary commissions that include in major state and corporate buildings, as national monuments and in well-known cityscapes, public and private landscapes. 

Recent large-scale projects include at Guggenheim Bilbao, (2019), Rockefeller Center, New York (2019), and Tate Modern, London (2018); recent permanent installations of her work include the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea (2019), The United States Embassy in London (2018), Louvre Abu Dhabi (2017) and the New York City AIDS Memorial (2016).

Holzer represented the USA and won the Golden Lion for her presentation at the Venice Biennale in 1990. She has received several other prestigious awards, including the Art Institute of Chicago’s Blair Award (1982), the Order of Arts and Letters diploma of Chevalier from the French government (2002), and the Barnard Medal of Distinction (2011). In 2023 Holzer received the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award in recognition of her groundbreaking and prolific practice.

Emanating periodically from the pipes is Irving’s first sound work, Bell Tower. Coming from a past of playing saxophone, he interprets a new sound reminiscing on the work of Charles Mingus’ “Moanin”, with the main solo played by Ronnie Cuber, and Jimi Hendrix’s powerful blues track, “A Train’s a Comin”. Irving combines the salvation train metaphor with personal reflections on the importance of care, love, and memorial in times of loss and a fight for liberation. 

Speaking equally to the language of the “Underground Railroad” – the network of brave abolitionists who worked together to engineer the extraction of enslaved peoples from the Southern states in the U.S. during the 19th century – Memorial to Labor offers solidarity to global issues of racism, racial equality and evokes music as a unifying power across past, present, and future.

Kahlil Robert Irving (b. 1992, San Diego, USA) lives and works in Saint Louis, Missouri and abroad.


Kahlil Robert Irving’s referential sculptures, presented as intricate mixed-media objects and large-scale installations, are informed by and reflect the physical and digital debris of Black life in America. Working primarily with ceramic and digital culture, his work is a layered exploration of Black life, death, remembrance, celebration and survival.

Interested in the formal qualities of urban environments, Irving treats his materials as vessels of conflicting social histories and uses his work to explore historical and contemporary processes of colonialism, commerce and white supremacy. These stories, and the communities they entail, are reflected in Irving’s references to littered city streets, architectures of control and the overwhelming mediascape of digital life.

In 2018 Irving’s first large-scale exhibition took place at Wesleyan University’s Centre for the Arts, Middletown, USA. Selected exhibitions include the Singapore Biennial (2019), New Museum, New York (2021) and MoMA, New York – his first museum solo exhibition – in partnership with the Studio Museum Harlem (2022). 

Irving is the recipient of prestigious awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2019) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2020). His work is in the collections of institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA, the Riga Porcelain Museum, Riga, LV and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA.

In 2023 Irving will present new commissions for the Contemporary Art Centre, Cincinnati, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, and The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. He will present solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, and Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas.

Speaking directly to the escalating climate crisis, Poulson’s installation is both an exploration of coal’s relationship to class and urban space in Luanda, as well as a broader political provocation.

How much for the coal? addresses the inequality endemic to fossil fuel extraction and its global effects, laying bare the difficulty of resolving catastrophes engendered by wealthier countries in nations still reliant on crude materials as a fundamental means of survival. 

Sandra Poulson (b. 1995, Lisbon, Portugal), lives and works between London and Luanda.


Sandra Poulson’s work looks at the political, cultural and socio-economic landscape of Angola to analyse broader relationships between history, oral traditions, class and global political structures.

Focusing on the contrasting architectures, livelihoods and infrastructure of contemporary Luanda, Poulson’s practice draws heavily on personal research and inherited societal memories of colonial Angola and its civil war to dismantle contemporary narratives through semiotic and archaeological studies.

Poulson is a Masters student in Fashion at the Royal College of Art and holds a Bachelors in Fashion Print from Central Saint Martins. She is the recipient of the MullenLowe NOVA Award and the Central Saint Martins Dean’s Award (2020).

Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at ARCO, Madrid (2021) and Lagos Biennial (2019), and has had screenings at the Guggenheim, New York (2021), Salts, Basel (2021), and Boda Boda Lounge (2020), a video art festival that takes place across more than fifteen spaces in the African continent. 

In 2021 Poulson exhibited in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, first at Firstsite, Colchester, and later at South London Gallery. In 2022 she presented her first solo exhibition in London at V.O. Curations and a site-specific commission for ACNE Studios in Stockholm.

Poulson will represent the British Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2023 with a new commission as part of the group presentation, Dancing Before the Moon, curated by Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay and Sumitra Upham.

Together colouring stories of movement and cultural exchange with references to international commerce and the instability of global supply chains, Best Before End nods to the increasing effects these abstract networks have on our daily lives. 

Open at specific times of the day, Best Before End invites audiences to receive one of these drinks and contemplate associated notions of care, migration, community and ritual in times of crisis. Otherwise locked shut, the installation creates a tension between these conditions and the failure of global systems of economic scarcity to uphold the space for community-oriented practices in our daily lives. 

Abbas Zahedi (b. 1984, London, UK), lives and works in London.


Abbas Zahedi’s interdisciplinary practice blends contemporary philosophy, poetics and social dynamics with sound, sculpture and other gestures. With an emphasis on how personal and collective histories interweave, Zahedi’s interest lies within the connections found or formed around specific contexts.

Through a non-approximate approach, which foregrounds the multiple specificities of a cite/site, and those beyond sight, Zahedi invites others into an ongoing conversation, enunciating his practice through careful gestures. Having spent time in London’s spoken word scene, as well as performing as an MC, Zahedi often utilises sound to forge a connection to a sense of social intercourse.

Zahedi has presented solo exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (forthcoming 2023), CAPC – contemporary art museum of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FR (2022-23), Anonymous Gallery, New York, USA (2022), Belmacz, London, UK (2021), Chelsea Sorting Office, London, UK (2020) and South London Gallery, London, UK (2020).

In 2022, Zahedi was awarded the Frieze Artist Award for his project Waiting With {Sonic Support}. Other selected projects include with Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK (2022-2023), Barbican, London, UK (2022), Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2021), Neurofringe, London, UK (2020 – ongoing), The Mosaic Rooms, London, UK (2021) and Brent Biennial, London, UK (2020).


Gray Wielebinski (b. 1991 Dallas, TX, USA) lives and works in London, UK. In Wielebinski’s expansive practice, incorporating installation, video, drawing, performance, collage, sculpture, and more, he explores intersecting themes such as mythology, power, identity, nationhood, desire and memory. Reconfiguring and transforming iconography and visual codes, his work interrogates preexisting frameworks and belief systems and proposes alternatives. 

Recent exhibitions include Love and Theft, a solo show at Gallery 12.26 West in Los Angeles, CA (2023); Raw Nerves at Hannah Barry Gallery, London (2022); Frieze London 2022 with Hales Gallery; Love at Bold Tendencies, London (2022); Testament at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London (2002); Oil and Water (2021), a solo show at Hales Gallery in London; By Any Means, his first curated show at VO Curations in London in 2021; and Two Snakes, a solo show at 12.26 Gallery in Dallas, TX (2020). 

Recent residencies include at V.O Curations and City and Guilds in London in 2021 and 2019 respectively and at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong in 2018. His work has been written about extensively, including in ArtForum, The Art Newspaper, Tank, AQNB, Ocula Magazine and the Hammer Museum Graphite Magazine. His debut monograph, 100 Baseball Cards, was published with Baron Books in 2022. Wielebinski will have his first institutional solo presentation at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in Fall 2023. Wielebinski’s work is in the collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Library & Archives, CA, USA, and the Benton Museum of Art, Claremont. CA.

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