News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd July 2008


Radical Light: Italy's Divisionist Painters 1891 - 1910 examines the work of a loosely knit group of avant-garde artists in northern Italy, in the late 19th century, who came to be known as Divisionists. They mounted a radical artistic response to conditions of economic crisis, political uncertainty and widespread social unrest in post unification Italy. Through 'the investigation of colour in light' the Divisionists sought to challenge the paradoxes of the modern world. Inspired by French developments with pointillism, and fuelled by a desire to increase the luminosity and brilliance of their paintings, these artists developed new techniques applying paint in a variety of dots and strokes. Influenced by the study of optical science, they believed unmixed threads of 'divided' colour would fuse for the viewer at a distance and bring maximum luminosity to their paintings. This technical innovation accounts for the singular intensity of their paintings. Many of the key Divisionists were also politically motivated, and Giovanni Segantini, Giuseppe Pellizza, Angelo Morbelli and Emilio Longoni, among others, adopted Socialist ideas and strove for 'an art not for art's sake but for humanity's sake'. From Longoni's 'The Orator of the Strike' to Umberto Boccioni's 'The City Rises' the exhibition explores the evolution of Divisionism from its early beginnings to the formation of Italian Futurism, which later emerged from this movement. As workers migrated from the fields to the cities, many Divisionists escaped to the countryside producing paintings such as Segantini's 'Spring in the Alps' and 'The Punishment of Lust', Pellizza's 'The Living Torrent', Morbelli's 'For Eighty Cents!', and Vittore Grubicy's eight canvas polyptych 'Winter in the Mountains'. National Gallery until 7th September.

The Fabric Of Myth explores the symbolic function of textiles in classical myth and their thematic influence on both historic and contemporary art. By tracing these narrative beginnings, the exhibition offers insights into the mysterious power of fabric, the celebrity of its makers, and the supernatural component of its production. For centuries weaving was a vital force that homogenised societies, thereby reflecting important principles and beliefs, and the exhibition features embroidery, tapestries, illustrated manuscripts and classical artefacts. Historically, the exhibition explores the theme of classical myths as seen through Greek mythological figures such as the Three Fates, Arachne, Ariadne, Circe and Penelope, in addition to Lord Alfred Tennyson's Lady of Shalott locked in her tower weaving, to the embroideries of Mary Queen of Scots in captivity. It also explores the work of artists who use fabric as a medium to communicate personal and cultural myths, including Delaine Le Bas, William Holman Hunt, Alice Kettle, Elaine Reichek, Bispo Do Rosário, Tilleke Schwarz, Judith Scott, Leonid Tishkov, Michele Walker, Shane Waltener and Annie Whiles. Highlights include Joseph Beuys's 'Felt Suit', which symbolically acts as the embodiment of the artist's personal myth; Louise Bourgeois's 'Spindle', expressing ideas relating to personal restoration; Henry Moore's 'Three Fates', which renders them as sympathetic and reluctant arbiters of life and death; and Ray Materson's miniature embroideries, created while in jail and made by unraveling then reconfiguring the socks of fellow inmates. Compton Verney House until 7th September.

The Last Debutants transports visitors back to the sumptuous, sophisticated and glamorous debutante season of 1958, in an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the last presentations of debutantes to the Queen. For a select group of aristocratic and upper class families 'coming out' had long been a rite of passage, marking the entry of their teenage daughters into fashionable society and the marriage market. The London season began with the girls', or debutantes', formal presentation at court, when, dressed in all their finery, they would file into Buckingham Palace and curtsey to the Queen. This exhibition provides a glimpse into this world, the detailed preparations required for 'coming out', and events that constituted The Season. It reveals the bewildering rules of etiquette, and dizzying schedule of presentations, cocktail parties and dances, with a backdrop of original items lent by former debutantes, complemented by atmospheric audiovisual material. The display features accessories and examples of couture dresses by Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Jacques Heim and Worth worn by the debutantes for evening engagements and their official court presentations at Buckingham Palace. There is even a former debutante from the famous Vacani School of Dancing on hand to teach the art of the perfect curtsey. The exhibition captures the spirit of a world in transition, in which the status of the upper classes became a subject of fierce debate, and sets the scene for change that would see social unrest, political activism and teenage culture. Kensington Palace until 16th October.


The Lure Of The East: British Orientalist Painting explores the range of British artists' responses to the peoples, cities, cultures and landscapes of the Near and Middle East, from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. The exhibition brings together over 120 paintings, prints and drawings, of bazaars, public baths, domestic interiors, harem scenes and religious sites. It reveals the wealth of Orientalist painting that followed the arrival of steam travel in the 19th century, when artists were drawn to visit and paint hitherto unreachable places, such as Cairo, Jerusalem and Istanbul, often travelling via Spain and Morocco, or through Greece and the Balkans. The exhibition examines how British painters sought to convince their audiences of the authenticity of their images, often by using intensely detailed compositions, and how deriving drama and romance from the Orient was central to their work. It also looks at the long tradition of British sitters being portrayed in different varieties of Oriental dress. Highlights include Gavin Hamilton's 'James Dawkins and Robert Wood Discovering the Ruins of Palmyra', William Allan's 'Slave Market, Constantinople', John Frederick Lewis's 'The Seraff - A Doubtful Coin', David Roberts's panoramic view of the ancient city of Baalbec in Lebanon, Richard Dadd's 'Flight out of Egypt', John Frederick Lewis's 'Hhareem Life, Constantinople', and portraits of Lord Byron by Thomas Phillips, and Lawrence of Arabia by Augustus John. Tate Britain until 31st August.

Foto: Modernity In Central Europe 1918-1945 surveys modernist photography in Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Austria, during a time of tremendous social and political upheaval, presenting some of the most challenging, yet beautiful, experimental photography of the 20th century. The exhibition is unprecedented in scope, comprising around 150 photographs, books and illustrated magazines, featuring the work of more than 100 photographers. Images by internationally recognised masters such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Hannah Hoch, Andre Kertesz, and El Lissitzky, are on display alongside those of historically important contemporaries such as Karel Teige, Edith Tudor Hart, Frantisek Drtikol, Martin Munkacsi and Trude Fleischmann. The works are radical politically as well as aesthetically, and the exhibition contains many of the ideas and iconic images that were to establish photography's status as the avant-garde medium of the 20th century. The exhibition examines the significance of photomontage, experimental camera work and dark room techniques, and the contribution of the modernist approach to photographing the urban and rural landscape in constructing myths of national identity. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, until 31st August.

Rituals : Jason Dodge / Tereza Buskova features works by two artist who work in different media, but share the use of performance, fetishism and narration in their work, to engage audiences and provoke a reassessment of common symbols. Jason Dodge uses found objects, changing their context to reveal unexpected histories that reference past human actions and distant locations. His works on show include ''Ringing through Chimneys', a bell attached to the brush of chimney sweep Jorg Hauseler during the spring chimney cleaning in a neighbourhood in Berlin; and 'Darkness falls on Beroldingerstrasse 7, 79224 Umkirch', a collection of light sources, ranging from light bulbs to matches, which once illuminated a house on the edge of the Black Forest. Tereza Buskova's films explore a personal mythology with symbolic references to liberation, sexuality and East European Folklore, delving into a rich culture of theatre, film, animation, literature and craft. To make her work Buskova begins with improvised tableaux vivant and ritualistic narrative free performance, designing elaborate costumes, props, models and makeup. Here she premieres 'Forgotten Marriage', which was shot in Prague, with performer Zoe Simon and composer Bela Emerson, and a series of related photographic screen prints. Gallery One One One, 111 Great Titchfield Street, London W1, until 24th August.

Gary Hume: Door Paintings is the first ever survey of Gary Hume's long obsession with large scale paintings based on institutional doors. These were first seen in the now legendary Freeze exhibition in 1988, organised by Damien Hirst with fellow Goldsmiths students, which heralded a new generation of British artists. Hume's seemingly abstract compositions, rendered in high gloss, commercial household paint, often in standard DIY colours such as magnolia, on canvas, board and aluminium panels, were inspired by the institutional swing doors of St Bartholomew's hospital in London. Praised for their play on the language of modernist abstraction and the democracy of their motif, the door paintings formed the basis of Hume's artistic development. In 1998 he was commissioned by the Hayward Gallery to make a new work for the outside of the building, and in the early 2000s, the doors reappeared alongside his figurative paintings of people, flora and fauna. The series is made up of some 50 paintings, and this exhibition presents 18 of the most important works, from the mute elegance of the early 'Magnolia Doors' and the 'Dolphin Paintings' of the late 1980s and early 1990s, to the stylised anthropomorphism and brilliant colour of the aluminium panels of recent years. Modern Art Oxford until 31st August.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 10,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Humphrey Ocean, Tony Cragg and Gordon Benson, with the theme Man Made. Highlights include a gallery curated for shock and awe by no longer so enfant but ever more terrible Tracey Emin, featuring works by Mat Collishaw, Louise Bourgeois, Gary Hume, Elke Krystufek, Michael Fullerton, Juergen Teller, Damien Hurst, Rebecca Warren, Sigalit Landau and Rachel Kneebone; and 'Promenade', a monumental sculpture by Anthony Caro in the courtyard. Other artists featured include Gavin Turk, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Keifer, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Ron Arad, along with architects Nicholas Grimshaw, Renzo Piano, Bernard Tschumi, David Chipperfield and Zaha Hadid. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of RB Kitaj, who died last year, featuring some of his greatest paintings and works on paper alongside more recent pieces. The Royal Academy of Arts until 17th August.

British Surrealism & Other Realities: The Sherwin Collection presents key works from the collection of Dr Jeffrey Sherwin, arguably the finest collection of British Surrealism in existence, comprising some 300 items assembled over 20 years, which has until now has remained hidden in his Leeds home. The exhibition includes works by Anthony Earnshaw, Roland Penrose, Henry Moore and Emmy Bridgwater. These are supplemented with a set of original manuscripts, photographs, posters, rare Surrealist volumes and curiosities. In addition, the Surrealist works are contextualised with a broader collection of modern art from Gaudier-Brzeska to Damien Hirst. Among the highlights are works by John Banting, the Bloomsbury Group artist who also designed for the stage; the scandalous paintings, constructions and documents created by Conroy Maddox, from an atheist conviction, including 'Denouement'; and Eileen Agar's 'The Angel of Mercy', a simple plaster head with incredible attitude, together with abstract forms in watercolour like war paint. MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Middlesborough, until 17th August.


Pont: Observing The British At Home And Abroad celebrates the work of the very British cartoonist Graham Laidler, who used the pseudonym Pont. Though he died at the early age of 32, Pont left a rich legacy of witty observations on 1930s Britain. He was most famous for drawing 'The British Character', a series of over 100 cartoons which appeared in Punch, in which he wryly observed the idiosyncrasies of the British. Some of Pont's cartoons show how much Britain has changed, while others reveal 'tendencies' of the national character that are as true now as when Pont drew them 70 years ago: 'A Weakness for Oak Beams', 'Love of Keeping Calm', 'Tendency to leave the Washing Up till later' and 'The Attitude to Fresh Air' are just a few such gems. Many of his drawings were packed with tiny jokes in every corner, and readers pored over them at length. One group even formed a Pont Club, which met weekly to discuss his cartoons. As well as a master of the half and full page cartoon, his smaller drawings are triumphs in miniature, revealing comic glimpses of daily life that are still recognisable today. The exhibition includes some of Pont's most famous drawings, as well as sketchbooks, journals and other material never previously exhibited. The Cartoon Museum, London WC1, until 27th July.

London Festival Of Architecture is a celebration and exploration of the city's buildings, streets and spaces. It is the biggest event of its kind in the world, with over 600 events taking place, encompassing exhibitions, lectures, public space installations, guided walks, bicycle rides, boat tours, parties, design workshops and debates. The theme of the festival is Fresh! - seeking to inspire visitors to take a fresh look at London, to indulge in fresh thinking, to enjoy the fresh talent on show, and the fresh air of the walks and rides. The activities over the month of the festival will move across five key Hubs: Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge; Canary Wharf, Stratford and Greenwich Peninsular; King's Cross, Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden; Southwark and South Bank; and Clerkenwell and the City of London, with large scale public events taking place in a different Hub each weekend. These include cycle tours of subterranean London, lectures on how commerce and food have shaped the city, the area around Somerset House being turned into a huge living room, talks by some of the country's top architects, a temporary lido created in Southwark, and the opportunity to look around buildings not usually open to the public. Across London, 20th June to 20th July.

China Design Now explores the recent explosion of new design in China, together with the impact of rapid economic development on architecture and design in its major cities. The exhibition captures the dynamic phase as China opens up to global influences, and responds to the hopes and dreams of its new urban middle class. It displays the work of Chinese and international designers, focussing on architecture, fashion and graphic design as well as film, photography, product and furniture design, youth culture and digital media. Around 100 designers are featured, more than 95% of whom are Chinese. The display focuses on three rapidly expanding cities, and their particular design specialities. Shenzhen, a new city born in the 1980s, which is now the nation's centre for graphic design - an industry unknown in China before the 1990s - is shown through experiments with the latest technologies in poster and book design, and the recent wave of new consumer and lifestyle magazines. Shanghai, where consumerism and urban culture have combined to produce a fashion and 'lifestyle' centre, features fashion by Han Feng, Lu Kun, Ma Ke, Wang Wiyang and Zhang Dah, and products aimed at design conscious youth: album covers, skateboards, designer toys, mobile phones, T-shirts and trainers. Beijing, where monumental architecture for the Olympic Games is transforming the skyline, is represented by Herzog & de Meuron's 'birds nest' stadium, Zhu Pei's Digital Beijing information centre, Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren's China Central Television headquarters, and projects by Ma Yansong, Wang Hui, Atelier Deshaus and standardarchitecture. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.