News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th May 2005


Diane Maclean: Sculpture And Works On Paper is an unusual attempt by the environmental artist Diane Maclean to convey the sights and sounds that occur deep within the Earth. Eighteen metres long, and composed of eleven separate vertical shafts, a stainless steel outdoor sculpture known as 'Mountain' rises six metres high, with a 'canyon' at the centre, through which visitors can wander. The shafts are inspired by mineral composition, and reveal the molecular and crystal structure of the Earth, showing the beautiful aesthetic qualities of minerals. The sculpture's highly reflective angular steel facets are reminiscent of the surfaces of the cut gemstones and natural crystals it relates to. Peepholes in Mountain show highly magnified photographic images on paper, taken through high-powered microscopes, revealing the composition of minerals such as aerinite, and those found in a newly discovered Martian meteorite. An audio installation within the canyon space allows sounds of geological processes that occur within the planet to echo through the sculpture, adding to the atmosphere of walking through a part natural, part man made cavern. Natural History Museum until 4th September.

Queen Victoria And The Crimea - Treasures From The Royal Library charts the course of the first 'modern' war, and the public reaction to it, through material from the Royal Collection and Royal Archives. In the hundred years between the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the outbreak of the First World War, British forces fought in only one European war - the Crimean War of 1854-56. Improved communication, the advent of photography, the growth of the pictorial press, and the presence of war reporters in the Crimea, allowed the British public to follow the unfolding events of conflict for the first time. In many ways, this had a similar effect of bringing home the reality of war as that of the reporting of Vietnam in America a century later. Queen Victoria took a keen personal interest in the welfare of the soldiers, and at the conclusion of the hostilities she instituted the Victoria Cross, which remains the highest award for gallantry in the British armed forces. The display includes contemporary prints, watercolours, photographs, letters and medals. Documents show the Queen's practical concern for the wounded, sending beef tea, Windsor soap and other provisions to improve their comfort. As recorded in her own sketch on Buckingham Palace notepaper, the Queen visited soldiers at Fort Pitt Military Hospital, Chatham in 1855, and later sent the men handkerchiefs and comforters. Also among the documents on display are letters illustrating the relationship between Queen Victoria and Florence Nightingale. The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until April.

Can Buildings Curate is the first exhibition to explore the role of the gallery setting in the creation of an exhibition. This is particularly timely, since nowadays, many artists make a big deal of the fact that their latest work wasn't just created for a specific show, but for the space in which it is to be viewed. Looking back over the last century, this exhibition considers the practice of, and relationship between, artists, architects and curators. Among the site specifics here are: silicon splatter-sculptures by Neal Rock, colonising neglected areas of the gallery; an 'intervention' by curator Mathieu Copeland and artist David Cunningham in non-gallery spaces; a piece by Michael Asher, who has been creating conceptual, site-specific installation works for five decades; and works by Cerith Wyn Evans and Cai Guo-Qiang, who escape the curatorial limits of the gallery altogether and forge new life in half-forgotten structures. These come together with the designs for latest built work by the architectural office Decosterd + Rahm for the Lucy Mackintosh Gallery; and a collection of 'Indicative Projects', both built and unbuilt, by OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Diller+Scofidio, SANAA (Sejima/ Nishizawa), RSie, AS-IF, Hirsch/Muller and Zaha Hadid, architects who collaborate with artists, curators or art institutions in unorthodox ways. The whole thing is held together by fragments of an archetypal 'White Cube', today's favoured backdrop, which are scattered around the gallery. Architectural Association Gallery, 36 Bedford Square, London W1, 020 7887 4000 until 27th May.


Andreas Slominski is the first solo exhibition in London by the German artist who always shapes the works on view to the location in which they are seen. A notorious prankster, he likes to create an air of artfully manipulated mystery with his work, which is rooted in irrationality and spontaneity, with a dash of Dadaist humour. In his reaction against a world geared to streamlined efficiency and simplicity, Slominski consciously aims for maximum complexity, and uses deliberately labour intensive methods in the engineering of his pieces. He examines everyday activities, and creates preposterous inventions for carrying them out, derived from a fanatical attention to detail (hardly German at all). The other frequent component of Slominski's installations are his custom made traps and decoys, which are diverse in scale and form, depending on the prey for which they are intended - mice, birds, dogs, foxes, leopards or deer. Simultaneously sculptural and functioning objects with potential for brutality, they would work, but that is not the primary reason for their construction, as Slominski aims to ensnare onlookers through their curiosity. A unique opportunity to see objects, interventions and schemes that Slominski has devised specifically for this presentation, and experience the element of surprise that he continually delivers. Serpentine Gallery until 12th June.

World Museum Liverpool is Liverpool Museum reborn, following a 35m project that has more than doubled its size, including the restoration of the former Upper Horseshoe Gallery, destroyed by bomb damage in 1941. This houses World Cultures, which brings together more than 1,500 artefacts from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australasia and the Pacific, reflecting the city's central role in international trade, exploration and the development of the British Empire. The Bug House displays a giant animatronic spider and fly, as well as real insects - many alive and crawling - that can be viewed with video microscopes and web cams. The Discovery Centre features objects from the archaeology and ethnology collections, and visitors can handle real objects up to 5,000 years old, as well as the inevitable computer 'interactives'. The new Aquarium complex shows live fish and other creatures in a range of underwater habitats, including coral reefs and lagoons, tidal mangroves, rocky coastlines and sandy shores. The Natural History Centre explores the world of plants, animals, rocks and minerals through hands on exhibits, from tropical butterflies to a hippopotamus skull, and even a mammoth tooth. The new Treasure House Theatre will stage special events featuring archaeology, ethnology and natural science collections, as well as lectures, and music and dance performances linked to the collection. All together the new galleries are home to 20,663 objects, many of which are on public display for the first time. World Museum Liverpool from 29th April.

Danson House is an 18th century Palladian mansion that has just reopened to the public after a ten year 4m restoration programme funded by English Heritage. The house, designed by Robert Taylor, and once described as "the most significant building at risk in London", has been brought back from the verge of collapse to its former glory. This was a major task, since as well as the basic structural work needed to make the building watertight and sound, many of its original features, such as fireplaces, had been stolen during the 30 years it had been abandoned, and these had to be tracked down and retrieved. This has now been done, and the original plasterwork, colour schemes, decorations and carpets in the main rooms have been restored, and complemented with appropriate 18th century furniture. Highlights include a spectacular spiral staircase, classical wall paintings in the dining room, and an organ made by George England in the library. A second phase of work is now under way to restore the kitchens and servants quarters, and to reinstate the landscape surrounding the house to Nathanial Richmonds's original scheme, which will once again link the house with its vista to the lake and parkland beyond. Danson House, Bexleyheath continuing.

Gregory Crewsdon: Beneath The Roses is a group of twenty photographs from the American artist's Twilight series. They are elaborately staged, large scale tableaux, which explore the relationship between the domestic and the fantastical, between the North American landscape and the topology of the imagination. Although Crewdson describes himself as an 'an American realist landscape photographer', he makes filmic images that strongly reference television programmes such as The Twilight Zone and films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, dealing with fantasy and the paranormal. In the intensely coloured and detailed images Crewdson employs a cinematic, directorial mode of photography, the culmination of weeks of planning and complicated, behind the scenes production, described as 'single frame films'. In one image, a teenage girl stands in the street in just her underwear with shoulders hunched and head hanging low, confronted and shamed by her mother's accusatory and disappointed gaze. In other images, subjects are engrossed in odd, domestic chores, such as carving holes in the living room floor or uprooting a huge tree from the rafters of an otherwise standard bedroom. Several of the images possess narratives that are mythic in proportion, and which seem driven by a sense of quasi-religious task and ritual. Threat is everywhere and danger is a short walk down the garden path. These eerie and evocative photographs recall the films of independent American filmmakers such as David Lynch or Todd Solondz, who explore surreal suburban dysfunction and the terror that lurks beneath everyday life. White Cube Gallery, London until 21st May.

Monarch Of The Glen: Landseer In The Highlands is the first exhibition devoted to the work of the iconic nineteenth century British animal painter. It comprises 83 paintings, providing a unique opportunity to see the full range of Sir Edwin Landseer's work, encompassing literary pictures inspired by the novels and poems of Sir Walter Scott, Highland landscapes painted for his own pleasure, observations of Highland social life and customs, and studies of deer informed by his knowledge as a practising sportsman. A child prodigy, Landseer began exhibiting animal studies at the Royal Academy at the age of thirteen. From his twenties onwards he returned to Scotland annually to paint, shoot and fish, activities that brought him into contact with the Scottish aristocratic families of the day. Many became his patrons, resulting in works such as 'The Death of the Stag in Glen Tilt', 'The Hunting of Chevy Chase' and 'An Illicit Whisky Still in the Highlands'. This led on to Landseer being commissioned to paint Queen Victoria, her family and pets. He rapidly became the Queen's favourite court painter and painting tutor, accompanying her to Scotland to record her life in the Highlands, in works such as 'Queen Victoria Landing at Loch Muick' and 'Prince Albert at Balmoral (Sunshine)'. But it is animal paintings for which Landseer is best remembered, and a large section of the exhibition is devoted to his paintings of deer, including the world famous 'Monarch of the Glen', originally destined for the House of Lords. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until 10th July.

Mountains And Water: Chinese Landscape Painting is a display exploring the traditions and qualities of Chinese painting. The Chinese term for landscape is made up of the two characters meaning Mountains and Water. They represent a natural balance of male and female elements in the universe, with Mountains the male Yang element, and water the female Yin element. Mountains were also associated with religion because of their proximity to the heavens: looking at paintings of mountains was therefore thought to be good for the soul. Landscapes were not painted from life however, but were idealized and imaginary. The exhibition includes works painted onto ceramics, fans and mounted as albums, though most of the paintings are in the form of hanging scrolls. These scrolls were not intended for permanent display, but were unrolled in a ceremonial act for special viewings. This is partly due to the delicate nature of the ink and colour used, which would fade if exposed for too long. Connoisseurs of Chinese painting did not view the work from a distance, but approached close to 'read the painting' as it was revealed one scene at a time. Paintings often incorporate both calligraphy and poetry, as men of culture were expected to be accomplished at all three of these 'excellences'. Inscriptions on paintings sometimes describe how or when a painting was produced or for whom. Artists often collected miniature mountains, carved out of different stones, to place on their desk as an inspirational reminder of the natural landscape, and examples of these are included in the display. British Museum until 28th August.


Turner Whistler Monet examines the influences and relationship between three giants of nineteenth century art - JMW Turner, James McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet - each of whom changed the course of landscape painting. Whistler and Monet were friends and both acknowledged the profound influence of Turner, adopting and working their own variations on themes developed by their artistic predecessor. Turner's atmospheric effects, often reflecting the smoke and fog filled air caused by pollution, gave rise to Whistler's Thames 'Nocturnes', in which he chose to veil the ugliness of industrial London by painting it at night, and both Turner and Whistler informed Monet's revolutionary paintings that contributed to the development of Impressionism. This exhibition focuses on their water paintings, with over 100 views of the Thames, the Seine and the city and lagoon of Venice, often with the sun piercing through the haze of post industrial pollution. It is a rare opportunity to see works that were highly controversial in their own day, but are now seen as some of the most poetic and evocative images ever produced. They employ the full range of media - oils, watercolours, pastels, etchings and lithographs - and are often in series, where the artist has returned to the same view to capture it under different lighting conditions. Tate Britain until 15th May.

You Are Here: The Design Of Information examines how we communicate without words, exploring the history of information design, and decoding the ingenious use of visual information that guides us through our daily lives. From medieval pilgrim maps, 18th century orreries and Florence Nightingale's pioneering use of diagrams in relaying information to the military authorities during the Crimean War, to today's weather maps, medical models, planetaria, pictograms, aircraft instrument panels and explosion of digital imagery on computers, televisions and phone screens, this exhibition celebrates innovative and inspiring examples of visual information systems that have helped us to understand our world. It includes pioneers both familiar and unknown, from the 16th century, such as Robert Recorde, the man who invented the = sign, through the 18th century, with William Playfair's invention of the pie chart, and the 19th century, with Charles Booth's innovative colour coding system in his Poverty Map of London, to the work of modernist heroes, such as Herbert Bayer, Ladislav Sutnar and Buckminster Fuller, and totems of daily life, like Harry Beck's iconic 1930s London Underground map (from which most transport system maps are derived) and Jock Kinneir's 1960s British motorway signage system. Design Museum until 15th May.

SuperCity: Will Alsop's Vision For The Future Of The North, inspired by the way the built environment of the North has been regenerated in recent years, ponders on possible changes to come. Architect Will Alsop imagines what cities of the future could look like, how they might work, and how they could change the lives of those who live in them. He considers a situation in which the M62 corridor is a singular entity, a huge coast to coast SuperCity, 80 miles long and 15 miles wide, where city limits are blurred, and its inhabitants live in Liverpool, shop in Leeds and go clubbing in Manchester. Using the latest forms of advanced transportation, the SuperCity residents could wake up by the Mersey and commute to an office overlooking the Humber, while air travel from a central hub puts the world on their doorstep. The exhibition is a visual and mental journey in which architectural visions are tested against the needs and realities of the region, examining what impact it would have on the traditional definition of a city and the people who work, rest and play in such a radical new landscape. Featuring large scale sculptural forms created by Alsop, it surveys the complete spectrum of city life, from housing and working to transport, food chains and leisure spaces. Among these are Stack, a vertiginous tower that proposes a new way of housing 5,000 people with provision to learn, work and play; and Pier, a vast structure and multi-sensory experience with every shop, transport link and service expected of a modern city. Urbis, Manchester until 15th May.