Thursday, January 21, 2016

Exhibition overload but it was wonderful!

In December I was fortunate again to get back to London for 2 weeks; the timing really for husband's work and to meet up with family but I did manage to 'cram' in a number of exhibitions.  I'm mentioning them here in a post more to remind myself rather than to critique them in any great depth.
I started another sketchbook on my travels and I've included some photos of pages where I could not photograph.

Ai Weiwei's work at the Royal Academy was great to see from his marble grass and pushchair to his bicycle chandelier.  Despite being packed out the day we visited, everyone was very quiet and subdued as they walked around his pieces.  I loved the settings chosen for his work particularly the chandelier and stacked rods.  When we left Sydney he was in the news there receiving donations for the contentious lego block installations but I believe the chandelier will also feature, so it will be interesting to see this in a new location.

 "The Fabric of India" exhibition at the V&A was wonderful - a major overload of pink, gold and orange.

Couldn't take photos but made so many notes of traditional patterns and dyeing/ weaving techniques, and of contemporary Indian designers to check up later.

At the Tate Modern I took in the Alexander Calder exhibition from his wire portraits and figures to his better known mobile installations.

It was the shadows created by the installations that appealed to me and I tried to sketch them repeatedly.  The closer I looked the more I appreciated the balance and movement created in the mobiles through open and closed links - very tempting to touch!

Another exhibition on in the gallery at this time that I loved, included pieces from their permanent collection and some on loan, called "Making Traces".  These works were full of layering of paint, techniques and even layered collages torn back.
Part of a series entitled "Pavement Karaoke" by Laura Owens
Features layers of impasto and fake 'drop shadows' to give the illusion of depth
detail from "Pavement Karaoke"
 I loved the torn graffiti look to this huge canvas:
Christopher Wool
detail from above
The last piece reminded me of something I'd seen in an Anthropologie store earlier that day.

This abstract textile was inside the store and caught my eye.  It was only closer that you could see it was made out of cloth and staples like layers of fabric had been ripped off the wall.

 Incidentally I love to see that shop's display windows - way too expensive but the displays are great.

Anthropologie on King's road, Chelsea

I hadn't seen much of Frank Auerbach before going to Tate Britain other than a few of his portraits but I was amazed by the colour in this show.  The sheer volume of paint used in his work almost gives it a sculptural quality but his colour combinations - red with green and orange/coral with blue were amazing.

The British Museum also got a visit - to the Celts: art and identity exhibition.


So many sketches and notes taken but still couldn't resist getting the catalogue. The lighting and layout was wonderful with swathes of voile at ceiling height guiding your passage through the exhibits. For pieces so old the shine and the detail was breathtaking.  It was fascinating to see how these ancient designs and jewellery styles influenced the designers of the Arts and Crafts movement for one.

For those who have never been before, the Saatchi Gallery on King's Road, Chelsea is so worth a regular visit and this time was no disappointment.  The space and light inside set off the pieces well and you get the time to study everything without crowds around.  Plus it's free!
"Illusory Body" 2014 byAnna Sorokovaya

One place I had never been to before was the William Morris Gallery at Walthamstow
 and I was so pleased I managed the rather long tube journey out there.  The gallery is in one of his family's previous houses there, a rather grand stately house and grounds, and has a great permanent exhibition of his life and work along with numerous samples of his designs and technical detail of the printing process.  I bought some gorgeous postcards of his designs hand drawn and coloured in part.  You'll find some more information about William Morris here.
There is also a room for invited artists' exhibition and while I was there pieces by Bob and Roberta Smith (aka Patrick Brill, a rather brilliant contemporary UK artist) adorned the walls.  Check him out if you're not familiar - reminds me of Rosalie Gascoine's road signs a bit.

Off Piccadilly area is the White Cube gallery at Mason's Yard and I came here to see "Losing the Compass", an exhibition which focussed on  "the rich symbolism of textiles and their political, social and aesthetic significance through both art and craft practiceas traces the poetic and subversive use of the textile medium through works by Mona Hatoum, Mike Kelley, Sergej Jensen, Sterling Ruby, Rudolf Stingel, Danh Vo and Franz West, wallpaper by 19th century English designer, craftsman and socialist William Morris and a series of quilts made collectively by the Amish and Gee’s Bend communities in USA during the late 19th and early 20th Century."

It is always great to see textiles in an 'art gallery' setting but not sure if it really lived up to the hype here.
So many seen but, oh, so many yet to see....


ferinn said...

You did pack in a lot.I live in the UK and have to admit I've seen none of them! I find getting to and from London a chore and a day always seems to eat time so you never do as much as you hope.

Max the Lobster said...

I did the Fabric of India and the Ai Wei Wei exhibition in one day , exhausting and it took me a week to get over it. You chose some good ones to see.