News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th April 2007


Luigi Colani: Translating Nature reviews the work of the maverick of 20th century design, who placed organic design on the contemporary agenda. In a career spanning six decades, Colani produced biodynamic designs for cars, boats, planes and consumer goods, as well as creating altenative futuristic concepts for the design of transport and architecture. Indeed, Colani describes himself not as a designer, but as an 'evolutionary biologist'. He emphasised the importance and evolutionary potential of design at an early date, often pre-empting major trends by decades. Colani began his career in the car industry, producing the first all plastic body for Simca. He treated car (and truck, boat and plane) designs as sculptures, not only creating spectacular biomorphic shapes, but enhancing performance through a knowledge of aerodynamics. Setting up his own studio, he applied the concept of sculptural foms, often inspired by nature, and executed in the new medium of molded plastic, to a wide range of objects, from the domestic, including furniture, to the industrial. Large scale projects, some of which have been realised, and some of which remain concepts, have included racing cars, a transatlantic glider, and a 'Judge Dredd' style streamlined truck. Perhaps Colani's best known design is the Canon T90 camera, which spread his biomorphic ideas across the world. The exhibition brings together a collection large scale prototypes, including trucks, aircraft and cars. Design Museum, London until 17th June.

Lynette Wallworth is the first solo show in Britain of works by the Australian artist who creates immersive installations. These rely on activation or participation from the visitor, creating an interplay between image, sound and space, by combining light and transparency with interactive technology. The exhibition brings together three works that employ glass as both an interface for interaction, and a surface for projected video, still photographic and film imagery. Wallworth describes her intention as 'bringing together technological advances and ancient understandings, new media and old practices, electronics and the electricity of human touch'. 'Damavand Mountain' is a video installation based on imagery filmed by Wallworth in Iran, an exploration of the global and governmental forces that shape the lives of the people there. 'Hold: Vessel 1' is comprised of synchronised light and sound, in which the visitor carries a glass bowl across a dark space, and has to 'catch' projected images of underwater life, intended to celebrate the microscopic forms of life. 'Invisible by Night' is a video installation that responds to touch, presenting a projection of a life sized grief stricken woman, whose eternal pacing can be quietly interrupted by the visitor, which Wallworth created in response to the layered history of the site of Melbourne's first morgue. The National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 17th June.

A Slap In The Face!: Futurists In Russia is a comprehensive examination of the Futurist movement in Russia, exploring the energetic, creative and occasionally violent encounter of East and West in the arena of avant-garde art, comparing and contrasting the Russian protagonists with their Italian contemporaries. The exhibition's title refers to the Russian Futurist's sackcloth-bound manifesto 'A Slap in the Face of Public Taste' published in 1912, which established their movement as something very different from their elitist Italian contemporaries. When Marinetti, the founder of Futurism, visited Russia in 1914, his revolutionary zeal was admired by some, but artist Mikhail Larionov suggested he be pelted with rotten eggs. There were many qualities the two movements shared - the enthusiasm for war, the love of technology, the obsession with finding ways to depict rapid motion - but Russian artists like Chagall and Popova also found revolutionary qualities in the simple, the childish and the innocent. The exhibition includes Goncharova's 'Cyclist', 'The Forest' and 'Mystical Images', Kruchenykh's 'Universal War', and Larinov's 'Blue Rayism', together with works full of colour, wit and life by Chagall, El Lissitsky, Malevich, Popova and Rosanova, alongside some of the frenzied creations of Italian Futurists Balla, Boccioni and Severini. Estorick Collection, London, until 10th June.


Surreal Things: Surrealism And Design is the first exhibition to explore the influence of Surrealism on the world of design - theatre, interiors, fashion, film, architecture and advertising. Alongside paintings by Magritte, Ernsta and Dali are some of the most extraordinary objects of the 20th century, from Dali's 'Mae West lips' sofa and 'Lobster Telephone', to Elsa Schiaparelli's 'Tear' and 'Skeleton' dresses, and Meret Oppenheims's 'Table with Bird's Legs'. With nearly 300 exhibits, the show looks at how artists engaged with design, and designers were inspired by Surrealism. Among the highlights are Giorgio de Chirico's set and costume designs for Diaghilev's Le Bal; Dali's 'Venus de Milo aux tiroirs' and 'Arm' chair; Oscar Dominguez's satin lined 'Wheelbarrow' arm chair and 'Fur' bracelet; Marcel Jean's tromp l'oeil 'Armoire Surrealiste' and 'Le Spectre du Gardenia'; Alberto Giacometti's 'Disagreeable object'; Isamu Noguchi's 'Cloud' sofa; a model of Frederick Kiesler's Surrealist room from Peggy Guggenheim's The Art of This Century Gallery in New York; examples of how Surrealist imagery was adopted and popularised in advertising by companies such as Shell and Ford, and in magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar; film clips, including the dream sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Spellbound'; and a study of Monkton, the purple painted Sussex home of the Surrealist patron Edward James. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd July.

Lady Mary Wortley Montague celebrates the life of one of the most influential women of the 18th century, described by one of her contemporaries, Joseph Spence, as "the most wise, the most imprudent, loveliest, disagreeablest, best natured, cruellest woman in the world". Lady Mary Wortley Montague was a key figure in the introduction of the smallpox inoculation in England, a practice she came across while living in Turkey. She left her husband and spent many years travelling across Europe, where she embraced the cultures of the countries she visited. A close friend of the women's rights campaigner Mary Astell, she fought resistance to new ideas, and led a defiantly non-conformist lifestyle. Intelligent, witty and sometimes eccentric, Lady Mary composed hundred of letters throughout her life, commenting on both her experiences, and the work of other writers of the period, such as Alexander Pope, Samuel Richardson and Jonathon Swift. Centred on a portrait of Lady Mary by Jonathan Richardson, this exhibition brings together a selection of paintings and prints depicting the lady herself, her family, friends and adversaries, alongside a selection of their original letters, providing a vivid picture of 18th century society and cultural life. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 3rd June.

Camouflage explores the story of the development of military camouflage, and its adoption into popular culture, from the First World War to the present day. It explains how the introduction of aerial surveillance led to the need to camouflage guns, equipment and buildings, how artists sought to confuse U-boats by painting ships in 'Dazzle' zig-zag patterns; why camouflage uniforms were adopted world wide in place of the colourful uniforms of the 19th century; and how over recent decades, through art, design and fashion, the original use of camouflage has been subverted to make the wearer stand out rather than disappear. Among the military exhibits are some of the hand painted disruptive pattern uniforms made for the first camouflage unit set up by the French army in 1915, dummy heads created by the sculptor Henry Bouchard, which were held up above trenches to locate German snipers during the First World War; the original 'Dazzle' plans and ship models; an armour plated fake tree used as an observation post; and rubber bear feet issued to agents landing behind enemy lines to disguise their shoe prints. Other diverse items featured in the exhibition include Andy Warhol's camouflage prints, as well as art by Alain Jacquet and Boetti; couture by John Galliano, Philip Treacy, Jean Paul Gaultier; urban camouflage designs by Adelle Lutz for David Byrne's film True Stories; and a costume created by Gerald Scarfe for the English National Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Imperial War Museum until 18th November.

Alvar Aalto: Through The Eyes Of Shigeru Ban is the first major UK retrospective of the work of the Finnish architect who was a landmark figure of 20th century architecture and design, ranking alongside Modernist masters such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. The exhibition is designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, renowned for his original use of materials, and explores the themes linking these two influential architects, demonstrating how they share an organic approach to design. Both architects combine traditional materials with modern technology and experimented with the idea to provide an individual human touch to pre-fabricated housing structures. It examines the development of Aalto's architectural ideas and style, featuring models, drawings, photographs and artefacts from 14 of his key projects, built mainly in Finland, Denmark, Russia and the USA. Spanning six decades, featured projects include Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Villa Mairea, AA-System Houses, Experimental House, North Jutland Art Museum and the development of the urban centre for Seinajoki. Shown alongside Aalto's original models and maquettes are newly commissioned analytical models of his buildings produced by Shigeru Ban Laboratory, Keio University, Tokyo. Also displayed are recent photographs of Aalto's buildings taken by American photographer Judith Turner, which shed new light on his work. In addition, the exhibition showcases Aalto's wide ranging product designs, including his famous stacking stool and other furniture, as well as glassware, light fittings and textiles. Barbican Art Gallery until 27th May.

Durer To Friedrich: German Drawings From The Ashmolean, spans four centuries and comprises 40 drawings by a range of the most celebrated German Old Masters. The works of 16th century artists Altdorfer, Durer, Grunewald and Holbein are displayed alongside later artists from the 19th century, including Friedrich and the Nazarenes. Highlights include Albrecht Durer's 'Youth Kneeling before a Potentate' (thought to be a self portrait of the artist); Matthias Grunewald's 'An Elderly Woman with Clasped Hands', the most striking of his few drawings to have survived; the costume study 'Figure of a Woman in Contemporary Dress' by Hans Holbein the Younger, used by Ruskin in his Lectures on Landscape to teach students the rules of drawing; 'Portrait of a Man' by Hans Burgkmair, who played a significant role in the development of the chiaroscuro woodcut; and from two centuries later, Caspar David Friedrich's 'Landscape in Bohemia with a View of Mount Jeschken', characteristic of his early sepia style where the washes were applied in a single layer on top of the original pen drawing; and Friedrich Overbeck's 'The Prophet Elijah Casting his Mantle over Elisha', drawn as part of a plan to produce an illustrated Bible. The Ashmolean, Oxford until 20th May.

Journey To The New World: London 1606 To Virginia 1607 marks the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America. After an eventful voyage three small merchant ships arrived in Virginia, and on 13th May 1607, 104 men and boys landed to begin work on a fortified trading outpost called James Towne. Drawing on archaeological evidence and artefacts unearthed since 1994 at the site of the original settlement, together with documents and objects from London, the exhibition charts the crucial role of Londoners in the founding of the United States of America. It is a tale of daring survival, of hope and despair, conflict and failure, tragedy and triumph, and shows how ordinary and extraordinary men, women and children helped to create a new nation. It also tells of how the expedition changed forever the lives and culture of the Native American Indians already living in what was to become Virginia. Through bodices and beads, coins and cups, prints, charts, maps, astronomical and maritime instruments, it reveals the colonists' diet, health and lifestyles, their relationship with the local indigenous peoples, and their attempts to manufacture goods for trade. Tracing the story of Jamestown and the Virginia colonies from their birth to eventual prosperity with the development of the tobacco trade, it looks at the hidden story of hardship, adventure and big business behind the founding of the United States. Museum In Docklands, West India Quay, until 13th May.


Citizens And Kings: Portraits In The Age Of Revolution 1760 - 1830 examines the radical shift that occurred in portraiture, both painted and sculpted, in response to the Enlightenment and the revolutions in Europe and America. These years saw dramatic transformations in the world order as new ideas and wealth vied with the old order of absolute monarchies. The exhibition consists of 150 works, ranging from the kings and queens, through the revoluitionary heroes and the rising beorgoisie, to Enlightenment thinkers, writers and artists. It includes works by the great innovators of portraiture, David and Goya, as well as their contemporaries such as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Roslin, Mengs, Vigee Lebrun and Singleton Copley and their successors, including Ingres, Gros, Lawrence, Chantry and Runge. The development through the period in both style and subject is perhaps best illustrated through Ingres's 'Napoleon on the Imperial Throne' and 'Louis-Francois Bertin' - Emperor to newspaper editor. Among the iconic works are: Goya's 'Ferdinand VII', Lawrence's 'George IV', Shubib's Catherine the Great', Zoffany's 'Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons', David's 'The Death of Marat' and The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries', Stuart's 'George Washington', Reynolds's 'Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse' and 'Joseph Banks', Copley's 'Samuel Adams', Boizot's bust of Marie-Antoinette, Pigalle's sculpture 'Voltaire Naked' and Houdon's bust of Benjamin Franklin. The Royal Academy of Arts, London until 20th April.

Callum Innes: From Memory brings together a selection of some of the most significant works by one of Britain's most prolific and rigorous artists, and offers an opportunity to trace the development of his paintings over the past fifteen years. The work of Callum Innes is the result of repeated application and removal of paint from the canvas. Although the final result is calm and authoritative, his paintings nevertheless bear traces of the controlled chaos of their production. He works in series, and examples of 'Identified Forms', 'Isolated Forms', 'Repetitions', 'Monologues', 'Resonances' and paintings made with shellac are included in the exhibition. The 'Monologues' are monumental works made by brushing turpentine into a simply painted ground and dissolving the paint into an expressive, associative torrent. In the shellac paintings Innes draws on the oppositional qualities of shellac and paint to make luminously associative imagery. A major part of the exhibition is devoted to the series of 'Exposed Paintings', in which the canvas is divided geometrically into fields of dense and dissolved paint, and unpainted ground. The exhibition reveals how this series has diversified over time. In a new sequence of paintings, Innes exploits the possibilities offered by dissolving violet into and against black in a range of differently proportioned horizontal bands. Modern Art Oxford until 15th April.

Canaletto In England: A Venetian Artist Abroad 1746 - 1755 brings together over 50 of the paintings executed by Canaletto during the nine years he spent in London, which re-launched his artistic career. Canaletto's views of England are often panoramic, but are also precise to the last brick and flagstone - and include many local characters. Yet at the same time, each scene is saturated in a distinct (and slightly un-English) quality of light, as he brings a rather idealised vision to bear on his new home. The Thames is seen by Canaletto as a huge commercial version of the Grand Canal, and beyond the river's boundaries, a rural idyll, where he painted suburban the villas of the aristocracy and medieval castles. Highlights include 'The City seen through the Arch of Westminster Bridge', 'The Old Horse Guards from St James's Park', 'The City from the Terrace of Somerset House', 'Westminster Bridge with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames', 'Syon House', and 'Warwick Castle, The South Front'. Canaletto also continued to paint Italian views and capricci (fantastical scenes combining Italian and English features) during this period, and these are also included in the exhibition. Highlights include ' The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco on Ascention Day', 'Rome, The Arch of Constantine from the South', 'Capriccio of a Ruined Gothic Chapel by a Sluice Gate' and 'Capriccio Renaissance Triumphal Arch seen from the Portico of a Palace'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London until 15th April.