Private View held by Richard Andrews
Saloua Raouda Choucair is the world's first major retrospective exhibition of work by the Lebanese artist, and celebrates her contribution to international modernism. Comprising over 120 works, many of which have never been seen before, this exhibition brings together paintings, sculptures and other objects made by Saloua Raouda Choucair over six decades, reflecting her interests in science, mathematics and Islamic art and poetry. Choucair is a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East and is becoming recognised as an important figure in the history of global modernism. A rare female voice in the Beirut art scene from the 1940s onwards, her work combines elements of western abstraction with Islamic aesthetics. It is characterised by an experimental approach to materials alongside an elegant use of modular forms, lines and curves drawn from the traditions of Islamic design. The exhibition focuses on Choucair's sculptures from the 1950s to the 1980s, created in wood, metal, stone and fibreglass, as well as key examples of her early paintings such as 'Self-Portrait' and 'Paris-Beirut'. Choucair often created works in discrete series, reflected here in her 'interforms', such as 'Sculpture with One Thousand Pieces', which comprise seemingly simple cubes or blocks that house intricately carved and highly complex internal forms; 'duals,' consisting of two carefully interlocking parts; and a modular 'poems', made from individual pieces that stack together in a flexible way, much like the stanzas of Arabic poetry. Constantly challenging the form, Chouair thought of many of her works as being in constant flux: structures to be altered by the viewer, the elements or her own additions and subtractions over time. Tate Modern until 20th October.
Paul Nash showcases works and correspondences by one of the most original British artists of the first half of the 20th Century. Paul Nash captured an age old idea of England, steeped in mystery and magic, in the forward thinking language of modern art. His paintings of rural Britain's standing stones, lonely copses and grassed over forts are full of eerie surrealist expanses, jarring juxtapositions and semi-abstract forms. The exhibition includes Nash's important early wood engravings and etchings, photographs, prints, collage, correspondence and illustrated books. Highlights include 'Tree Group', 'Promenade', 'Dyke by the Road' and 'Garden Pond', wood engravings that demonstrate Nash's importance as one of the leading British landscape artists of the time; 'Tyger, Tyger', a collage depicting a colour engraving of a tiger set against a photograph of a ruin in the Forest of Dean; examples of Nash's most important illustrated books, such as 'Places', 'Genesis', Shakespeare's 'A Midsommer Nights Dreame', 'Mister Bosphorus and the Muses', and 'Urne Buriall and the Garden of Cyrus', many of which are personally inscribed; and personal letters that provides a fascinating and personal view into friendship and artistic patronage in the 1930s and 1940s. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 30th June.
Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan brings together more than 300 works work made by artists who have received little or no tuition, but produce work for the sake of creation alone, without an audience in mind, and who are perceived to inhabit the margins of mainstream society. 'Souzou' has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written one way, it means creation, and in another it means imagination. Both meanings allude to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world. In this exhibition, Souzou refers to the practice of 46 self-taught artists living and working within social welfare facilities across Japan. The artists have been diagnosed with a variety of different cognitive, behavioural and developmental disorders or mental illnesses, and are residents or day attendees of specialist care institutions. Located within the complex intersections between health and creativity, work and wellbeing, mainstream and marginality, the exhibition is presented in 6 overlapping sections that explore the processes of making, meaning and the larger social and cultural context of Outsider Art in Japan. Language' and 'Making' offer an introduction to some of the characteristics commonly ascribed to Outsider Art; while 'Representation' and 'Relationships' delve deeper into the subject matter represented within the work; and 'Culture' and 'Possibility' question some of the preconceptions about Outsider Art and move towards a wider understanding of its diversity. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1, until 30th June.
Gert & Uwe Tobias features the collaborative works of the identical twin Romanian-born contemporary artists. Gert and Uwe Tobias paint, sculpt, make collages, wall paintings, traditional woodcuts and draw with a typewriter. Their works are full of strange characters and creatures drawn from eastern European folk art, combined with diverse influences, from abstract art of the early 20th century to German post-war painting. The Tobias brothers' giant woodcuts and wall paintings draw on modernist geometric abstraction, however they combine line, shape, colour and typography with the narrative images and patterns of folk art, using decorative motifs such as flowers, plants, patterns, embroidery and domestic objects. Their collages are like stage sets on which splashes of pigment and found images of animals or humans are assembled in a performance, and playfulness combines with violence as body parts are fragmented across the picture surface. Their figures also metamorphose into plants or birds, which, macabre yet innocent, lend a surreal dimension to the Tobias' imagery. These elements are often placed against a grid or flat painted background to create dramatic and surreal tableaux. The Tobias brothers have created an installation incorporating the tradition of modernist stage design with geometric shapes and lines in bold colours extending from the works across the walls. There are also new ceramic works, made by taking mass-produced crockery, and adding ceramic extrusions and coloured glazes to everyday plates and vases, creating new and unexpected expressionistic sculptures. The Tobias brothers have produced a unique woodcut exhibition poster, continuing a tradition of creating a woodcut to mark every one of their solo exhibitions. Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1, until 14th June.
In Cloud Country: Abstracting From Nature - From John Constable To Rachel Whiteread is a unique anthology from the 18th to the 21st century that examines what has inspired generations of artists to make observations from nature that lead them to formal or symbolic abstraction. Whether it is atmospheric phenomena, the linear or textural qualities of the botanical world or their political and metaphoric potential, artists' studies from nature offer a breathtaking range of abstractions. These artists have made studies of plants and of land, sea or skyscapes, and then translated what they have seen or felt, into a staggering array of different artistic strategies. The 18th century watercolourist John Sell Cotman uses pencil to capture the dynamism of light falling on trees by a riverbank; the fleeting volumes of cumulous clouds are trapped by John Constable in his intense oil studies; Henry Moore uses the branches of a tree to make vein like traceries of lines; Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone uses drawing to resurrect the tree that has been subsumed in a domestic plank of wood; and Rachel Whiteread takes a symbol of the Arts & Crafts movement, the Tree of Life, and translates it into a contemporary icon. The exhibition brings together some 60 works on paper by some of the world's most acclaimed artists including Thomas Girtin, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Joan Miro, William Morris, Julian Opie, Chris Ofili and JMW Turner. Harewood House, Harewood, Yorkshire, until 30th June.
Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things brings together key designs that have shaped the modern world, revealing intriguing insights found in exceptional, although everyday, items. Six stories are presented offering a diverse look at design, tracing the history and processes of contemporary design. The show includes furniture, product, fashion, transport and architecture, alongside a selection of prototypes, models and specially commissioned films. National Identity looks at the objects that define a nation, such as the phone box, road signage, the post box, the London 2012 logo and a Euro coin. Plastics examines the dominance of plastic in our lives with examples of luxury through to everyday plastics from the last 75 years. Modernism provides a snapshot of a remarkable and dynamic period of design, shown through furniture, products, textiles and architecture, alongside contextual images and documents. An Archetype focuses on the invention and evolution of the design classic The Anglepoise Lamp. A Designer In The Spotlight features the work of contemporary designer Jasper Morrison, whose Handlebar Table is on display for the first time. Style Through The Decades is reflected through fashion from the 70s to the 90s and charts the shift of the shopper from Carnaby Street to Kings Road to Bond Street. Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1, until 29th January.
Sebastiao Salgado: Genesis is the 3rd long-term photographic exploration of contemporary global issues by the Brazilian photojournalist. This epic exhibition is the culmination of 8 years work, exploring 32 countries, and features 216 of Sebastiao Salgado's black and white documentary photographs. They capture some of the furthest and wildest corners of the world, drawing together images of landscapes and wildlife, alongside indigenous communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures, showing rare insights into their lands. The images chart a journey to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society. They present a pictorial depiction of the lands and lives of a still pristine planet, portraying the breathtaking beauty of a lost world that somehow survives, revealing what is in peril, and what must be saved. The display embraces the dark heat of the Brazilian rainforest, the icy light of Siberia, an Ecuadorian dawn, and dusk in the Galapagos, and range from the cold of a Patagonian winter to the heat of the Sahara. During the years in which Salgado travelled around the world to produce this collection of images, he often stayed with the people he photographed, and many of the places represented are important research areas particularly for studying the variety of species biodiversity. The exhibition follows the 5 themes: Sanctuaries, Planet South, Africa, Northern Spaces, and Amazonia and Pantanal. Natural History Museum until 8th September.
Bellini, Botticelli, Titian…500 Years Of Italian Art traces the transition from religious to non religious art, and explores themes that cross the centuries. The exhibition of over 40 paintings, displayed chronologically, includes works of striking quality and originality covering the period from 1400 to 1900, some of which have not been on public display for more than a century. It includes landscapes, portraits and devotional works from the Renaissance, including Giovanni Bellini's 'Madonna and Child', Sandro Botticelli's 'The Annunciation', Bartolomeo Veneto's 'Sta Catherine', Titian's 'The Adulteress brought before Christ' and 'Head of a Man' (both originally one large painting), Cavaliere d'Arpino's 'The Archangel Michael and the Rebel Angels', Carlo Dolci's 'Salome', Grammatica's 'Madonna with Child and St Anne', Domenichino's 'Landscape with St Jerome', Andrea Casali's 'Triumph of Galatea', Luiga da Rios's 'Overlooking a canal', Federico Andreotti's 'The Violin Teacher', and Francesco Guardi's 'View of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice'; religious and mythological scenes by Luce Giordano and Francesco Solimena; and depictions of Vesuvius and views from Naples by Pierre-Jacques Volaire and Gaspare Vanvitelli. Compron Verney, Warwickshire, until 23rd June.
Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon And The Photographer is the first showing of this installation in its completed form. Constructing 365 hand-puppets from book images clipped and glued to fabric forms, Geoffrey Farmer has populated the gallery with this recently completed puppet calendar 'The Surgeon and the Photographer'. In 2009, on a rumour that a well known second-hand book store in Vancouver would soon be closing, Farmer acquired several hundred books, which he used to create the collaged forms. The figures are arranged in small and large groups, suggesting crowds or processions, portraits of days and months through the 90m long space. Each puppet is an individual character, with its own story, created in its own way - one a sketch come alive, another, an animated statue - and viewed from different angles they reveal different moods. At the end of the gallery, Farmer projects a newly commissioned, computer-controlled montage, 'Look in my Face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell….'. The montage is comprised of selected whole images, before being cut to construct the figures. The images are matched to a sound library and organised by both chance and predetermined categories. Farmer's process-orientated approach, which is both intuitive and research-based, draws on storytelling, dreams, popular culture, literature and theatre, influenced by the sculptural, collage and assemblage traditions of Hannah Hoch and Robert Rauschenberg. The Curve, Barbican, London until 28th July.
Murillo & Justino de Neve: The Art Of Friendship celebrates the relationship of the canon of Seville Cathedral and the Spanish Baroque painter. Don Justino de Neve was a friend and patron of painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo, and his commissions made a significant contribution to Murillo's body of work. This exhibition brings together over 30 paintings documenting their relationship. To provide a suitable setting, a section of the gallery's enfilade has been transformed into an evocation of a 17th century Sevillian church. Three large lunettes are hung at height, with 'The Immaculate Conception of the Venerables Sacerdotes' forming the high altarpiece, the first time that it has been reunited with its striking altar-frame in Britain. The display includes 'The Baptism of Christ', 'The Infant Saint John the Baptist with the Lamb', 'The Penetent Saint Peter', 'Three Boys', 'Invitation to a Game of Argolla', a self portrait, and a portrait of Justino de Neve. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 19th May.
Murillo: Painting Of The Spanish Golden Age is an accompanying exhibition comprising works by Bartolome Esteban Murillo and his workshop and associates, Francisco Meneses Osorio and Juan Simon Gutierrez. Highlights include Murillo's 'The Marriage of the Virgin', 'The Adoration of the Shepherds', 'Joseph and his Bretheren' and 'Rest on the Flight into Egypt'. The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1, until 12th May.
Vikings! explores and challenges conceptions of what has become a mythical period in Scandinavia. The exhibition features more than 500 objects from the Viking period, including jewelry, weapons, carvings, precious metals and household items from the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm, which have rarely been seen outside Scandinavia. Recent archaeological discoveries have shed new light on the Viking Age, challenging commonly held views of this key period in European history. The traditional view of the Vikings - stereotypes of raiders wearing horned helmets - has been replaced by a more complete picture. The exhibition explores the power of mythology and the symbolism of Viking ships; offers insights into domestic life and death rituals; and reveals evidence of astonishing Viking workmanship in jewellery, metalwork, textiles and objects made from glass, bone and amber. Highlights include the earliest Scandinavian crucifix, a trefoil brooch of silver and gold with animal ornamentation, pendants representing the pagan Norse Gods, a silver thorshammer pendant with filigree ornamentation, and an animal-head brooch made from bronze, silver and gold. By bringing together these unique objects with new research, the exhibition reveals who the Vikings really were, and creates a vivid picture of how they lived more than 1,000 years ago. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 12th May.
Schwitters In Britain is the first major exhibition in Britain to examine the late work of one of the major artists of European Modernism. The exhibition focuses on Kurt Schwitters's British period, from his arrival in Britain as a refugee in 1940 until his death in Cumbria in 1948, and comprises over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures, many shown for the first time in over 30 years. Schwitters was a significant figure in European Dadaism who invented the concept of Merz: 'the combination, for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials'. Whether those materials were string, cotton wool or a pram wheel, Schwitters considered them to be equal with paint. He is best known for his pioneering use of found objects and everyday materials in abstract collage, installation, poetry and performance. Schwitters's collages often incorporated fragments from packaging and newspapers reflecting British life, such as the London bus tickets and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts wrappers used in 'Untitled (This is to Certify That)'. Highlights include an early example of Schwitters's unique concept of Merz in the assemblage 'Merz Picture 46 A. The Skittle Picture', the sculpture 'Untitled (Birchwood Sculpture)', and 'Anything with a Stone'. In 1945 Schwitters relocated to the Lake District, and inspired by the rural Cumbrian landscape, began to incorporate natural objects into his work, as shown in small sculptures including 'Untitled (Opening Blossom)', and his last great sculpture and installation, the Merz Barn. Tate Britain until 12th May.