News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th January 2005

Commencing

Circling The Square: Avant-garde Porcelain From Revolutionary Russia is a comprehensive survey of the remarkable avant-garde ceramics produced by the extraordinarily unlikely combination of the Imperial Porcelain Factory of Russia and Boshevic Revolutionary designers in the heady times immediately following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Inspired by the promise of a new society, leading artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Rudol'f Vilde, and Kuz'ma Petrov-Vodkin, supplied the factory with bold and innovative designs, often incorporating stirring images and slogans in support of the new regime. "Proletariat of the World Unite" and "Blessed is Free Labour" shown with interlocking axes and scythes, executed in the exquisite colours, finish and standard of the 150 year old Lomonosov factory in St Petersburg, is a culture clash of a dimension rarely experienced. In 1923 the factory started producing an extraordinary range of porcelain with purely abstract designs by the Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich and his students Nicolay Suyetin and Ilya Chashnik. Sadly after the mid 1920s the purity of the vision was lost, replaced by scenes of dreary heroic workers and factory chimneys. In addition to a wide selection of this unique porcelain, the exhibition features a group of design drawings by the leading Russian artists of the early 20th century, many of which have not been exhibited before. The Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House until 31st July.

The Vaughan Bequest Of Turner Watercolours, comprising thirty eight works from throughout J M W Turner's career, makes its annual appearance. When London art collector Henry Vaughan made the bequest in 1900, it was with the stipulation that the watercolours not be subjected to permanent display, since continual exposure to light would result in their fading. Further, he ruled that the collection could only be shown in January, when daylight is at its weakest and least destructive level. The Vaughan Bequest includes works from Turner's early topographical wash drawings of the 1790s, through to the colourful and atmospheric watercolour sketches of Continental Europe, executed in the 1830s and '40s. Despite the fact that modern technology now enables the light levels to be monitored and controlled at all times, the annual January exhibition has become a tradition, where Turner's radiance brightens the greyest Edinburgh day. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 31st January.

Disraeli - A Man Of Many Parts marks the bicentenary of the birth of Benjamin Disraeli, one of the most influential figures of Victorian Britain, with an exhibition that endeavours to illuminate key aspects of his life, career and character.His critical role in shaping Victorian England, his politics and literary aspirations, his complex relationship with his Jewish origins, as well as his intriguing relationship with Queen Victoria, are examined through cartoons, documents, letters, books and original artefacts. The ambience of Disraeli's study in his house, Hughenden Manor, has been recreated with its books, furniture and family portraits. Disraeli was twice Prime Minister, instituted a series of important social reforms, and was formative in shaping the ideology of the modern Conservative party, while maintaining a parallel career as a prolific novelist. His flamboyant persona - the complete antithesis of his political rival Gladstone - which he astutely adopted to further his political ambitions, masked the much more sensitive and romantic nature revealed in his novels. Disraeli was not known by his contemporaries as The Sphinx for nothing. An accompanying programme of lectures and events draw upon the many components of Disraeli's life and career. The Jewish Museum, London until 27th February.

Continuing

Faces In The Crowd - Painters Of Modern Life From Manet To Today turns on its head the presumption that all forward movements in 20th century art were through abstraction, by exploring modernity through realist art. Taking Edouard Manet as its starting point, and moving through figures such as Rene Magritte, Umberto Boccioni, Pablo Picasso, Eduardo Paolozzi, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman, this exhibition traces a history of avant-garde figuration. In doing so, it presents a story that is just as radical as that of the abstract. Manet's vividly realist scenarios or Jeff Wall's cinematic tableaux offer a compelling snapshot of the modern. By contrast, Edvard Munch or Francis Bacon present a tortured or exhilarated inner life. Whereas for Alexander Rodchenko, Joseph Beuys or Chris Ofili, the figure can be a harbinger of change: symbolic, revolutionary or transgressive. This exhibition includes not only painting, but also sculpture, photography and the moving image, with each work pivotal to the story of Modernism. Representations of the human figure are seen as expressions of modernity, becoming ciphers for the experience of modern life; as images of modern life, picturing both the epic and the everyday; or as agents of social change, where avant-garde realism proposes new world orders. Whitechapel Gallery until 27th February.

Somerset House Courtyard Ice Rink, is now as regular a Christmas feature in London as the Holiday Season outdoor skating arena at the Rockefeller Center in New York (although the skating is possibly not as stylish). The rink, covering 9,000sqm and capable of accommodating some 2,000 skaters a day, has been installed in the courtyard at a cost of around £300,000. It is open from 10am to 11.15pm, and as darkness falls, the courtyard is transformed, with music playing, and illumination from flaming torches and architectural lighting on the building's 18th century facades, together with a 40ft Christmas tree at the north end. Both skaters and spectators can enjoy the traditional fare of baked potatoes, hot chocolate and mulled wine in the rinkside cafe. Tuition is available for beginners, and ice guides can accompany inexperienced skaters. The rink is open throughout the Christmas and New Year period, closing only on Christmas Day. This year London has gone skating crazy and there are also Ice Rinks at Hampton Court, the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich and Marble Arch. Somerset House until 30th January.

Queen Alexandra And The Art Of Photography provides an insider's view of the lives of the royal families of Europe from the 1880s to the First World War. Queen Alexandra, the consort of King Edward VII, was a talented artist and the most celebrated royal photographer of her time. Her interest in photography began in 1885, after George Eastman presented her with one of his new roll-film cameras. Over the next 20 years she went on to take part in several Kodak exhibitions. Queen Alexandra's photographic albums, often embellished with watercolour decoration and annotated with impromptu anecdotes, are unique personal diaries that provide a detailed record of the life of the British royal family and their European relations. In addition to the albums and photographs, the display also includes the Queen's Kinora, an early machine for viewing short films.Treasures From The Royal Library is a selection from the collection that has been located here since the reign of William IV. In addition to over 50,000 printed books, the Library contains coins and medals, orders of chivalry, prints, maps, fans, and one of the finest collections of Old Master drawings in the world. As works of art on paper are easily damaged by exposure to light, they cannot be on permanent display. The current selection includes drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein.The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until 25th April.

Designing Modern Life - A History Of Modern Design is an ambitious exhibition that explores how design has transformed daily life over the last century. By reconstructing innovative projects that dominated future developments in design, the exhibition shows how ingenious designers have harnessed advances in materials and technologies, as well as cultural, social and behavioural changes, to transform the way we work, rest and play. These include the model modern apartment designed by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand in 1920s Paris; a London Transport underground platform of the 1930s, showcasing its pioneering graphics; one of the rooms designed by Arne Jacobsen for his showpiece SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in the 1950s; and a 1960s office equipped by Dieter Rams. The exhibition also deconstructs the design histories of specific objects, including the book - from pioneering 1930s Penguin paperback to contemporary books designed and made by Irma Boom - the humble chair, album covers and recent phenomena such as the website. A specially created installation by Spanish designer Marti Guixe of 'Statement Chairs' features items that are both pieces of furniture and commentaries on modern design. In addition, each month a design guru selects 10 examples of good contemporary design costing no more than £10. Design Museum until 27th November.

The London Look: Fashion From Street To Catwalk, celebrates the wit and style of London fashion, by bringing together over 200 exhibits by more than 70 designers spanning the past two centuries. As well as the garments themselves, the exhibition presents London fashion through sound recordings, photographs and archive footage of fashion shows and designers at work. Photographers, models and make-up artists talk about their work, alongside a rare film screening of a 1963 Mary Quant fashion show, and fashion photography by Terence Donovan, Sarah Moon, Nick Knight and others. Charting the growth of the city's fashion industry from the late 1940s, items on display range from a silk satin couture evening dress painted with roses by Norman Hartnell (1948), through a floral printed trouser suit by Biba (1973) to a Vivienne Westwood tailored men's suit with matching ermine cape and crown (1987). London's long pre-eminence in tailoring is reflected in suits and overcoats from 19th century Savile Row tailors. London's street styles, from the Teddy boys of South and East London, through the Mods of Carnaby Street, to the Punks of the Kings Road, have their moments of sartorial glory remembered. Finally, the story comes up to date with contemporary clothing and accessories, including men's outfits by Burberry and Paul Smith, alongside dresses by Alexander McQueen, Catherine Walker, Stella McCartney, John Galliano and Giles Deacon. Museum of London until 8th May.

Great Escapes examines and illustrates some of the extraordinary escape attempts made by Allied servicemen from German prisoner of war camps in the Second World War. It compares fact - much of which seems too far fetched to be true - with the fictional versions seen in the films The Wooden Horse, The Great Escape and Colditz. The ingenuity employed in engineering the escapes themselves - be it tunnelling under, or flying over the walls - and subsequent survival - supplying clothes and identity papers to avoid recapture - is revealed. The exhibition includes the first public display of objects recently excavated from the original tunnels. Among the exhibits are forged identity tags and papers, rubber stamps carved from boot soles, a Monopoly game used to smuggle in hacksaw blades, tins from Red Cross parcels converted to shovels, and German currency concealed inside records. Also on display are replicas of the wooden vaulting horse used as the cover for tunnelling at Stalag Luft 111, and the glider constructed but never actually used at Colditz. In addition to the original artefacts, interactive and hands-on displays allow children and adults to try on disguises, forge an identity pass, crawl through an escape tunnel, find out facts about escape attempts, and use their ingenuity to plan their own escape route from Colditz. Imperial War Museum, London until 31st July.

Concluding

Outside In is an interactive Christmas installation by Theatre-rites that explores the sights, sounds and magic of winter. Sophia Clist has created an enchanted environment, with a sound composition by Craig Vear, which takes visitors on a winter wonderland journey to the Antarctic and back. A series of simple white columns reveal hidden objects, emit frosty arctic sounds and whisper wintry poems, coaxing visitors into a multi-sensory adventure. This beautiful space invites visitors to see winter anew. You can come in from the cold and expose yourself to the elements without catching a chill. Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall until 16th January.

Raphael: From Urbino To Rome is, surprisingly, the first major exhibition of paintings and drawings by the great Renaissance painter to be held in Britain. In little more than a decade, between 1500 and 1513, Raphael transformed himself from a competent master of provincial church decoration into one of the greatest painters who ever lived, whose compositions influenced Western art up to the 20th century. This exhibition follows Raphael's dramatic stylistic evolution from his origins in Urbino to the works he produced under the patronage of Pope Julius II in Rome. It meticulously explores the meaning and historical context of his works, reveals the techniques he used, and how these developed, with early cartoons and sketches of alternative compositions alongside the finished paintings. Drawing on collections world wide to complement the gallery's unrivalled holding of Raphael's early works, including the recent controversial acquisition 'The Madonna of the Pinks', the exhibition features a number of paintings never seen in Britain before. Highlights include 'The Holy Family with the Lamb', 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', The Vision of a Knight' and 'The Entombment', plus the 'Alba Madonna' from National Gallery of Art in Washington, the 'Conestabile Madonna' from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the 'Saint George' and 'Saint Michael' from the Louvre in Paris and the 'Self Portrait' from the Uffizi in Florence. National Gallery until 16th January.

A Site For Un-building is Alec Shepley and Steve Dutton's take on urban geography, domesticity and architecture. Model rooms made of plywood stack up to create high-rise towers, in which propped up photographs of city landscapes, and looped video performance works, intermingle. Their constructions are deliberately disjointed - 'built and unbuilt' - reflecting the fact that nothing stands up or holds together any more. Shepley and Dutton's DIY nightmares are a 21st century version of the 19th century romantic folly, but instead of thinking of the ruin as the remains of something long gone, their idea is that the ruin might be of a site connected to a sense of change and renewal, of something in progress. They are interested in 'ruin' as something that is failing to keep a hold on itself - an on-going mistake or miscalculation that nevertheless reveals new formations. With their constructions, and the multitude of 'found' objects that appear amongst the installation, Shepley and Dutton are asking if the model domestic spaces that they have created are depictions of ruin, or merely the base material for the ruination of the space. Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown until 15th January.