White Conduit Projects, 1 White Conduit Street, London N1 https://whiteconduitprojects.uk
White Conduit Projects is unusual in both location – in the middle of Islington’s bustling street market – and its programme. The gallerist, Yuki Miyake, is Japanese and her imaginatively varied exhibitions always have a link to her home country. Sometimes that’s straightforward, providing a welcome chance to see the work of Japanese artists unlikely to be shown elsewhere in London except, perhaps, at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (Yuki collaborates closely with both Daiwa and the Japan Society). Other connections are less straightforward: contemporary artists’ interpretations of the fan; photography by Karen Knorr and paintings by Lisa Milroy, on both of whom Japan has been a long-running influence; African artist Januario Jano working with kimono fabric; and Helen Maurer and Angela Moore’s littoral photographs inspired by how, in Japanese mythology, the river represents the threshold between real-life and the spirit-world. Two years ago I worked with Yuki on ‘Super Flatland’, which examined Japanese and European conceptions of flatness. And today Yuki is opening ‘Yobitsugi: Beyond Repair’, again co-curated with me, in which ten artists use breakage and error as a creative spark. That’s in the spirit of Kintsugi (‘golden joinery’), the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer so that the breakage is valued as part of the history of the object, rather than something to be disguised. Naturally you can expect asahi beer and sake at the opening, another refreshing difference. In Bouke de Vries’ Fragments of Memory the apparent breakage of a soy bottle (once used for import) takes the form of a displaced map of Japan, putting earthquakes, climate change, personal trauma and Covid into the mix of potential meanings.
London’s gallery scene is varied, from small artist-run spaces to major institutions and everything in between. Each week, art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent gives a personal view of a space worth visiting.