News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th March 2008


Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution In Photography is the first major retrospective of one of the great figures of early 20th century avant-garde art, and one of its most versatile practitioners. After gaining an international reputation as a painter, sculptor and graphic artist, Rodchenko turned to photography in the early 1920s, convinced that it would become the artistic medium of his era. Featuring over 120 original prints and photomontages, together with posters and magazine designs, this exhibition traces the development of Rodchenko's photography over a period of two decades, during which he created many classic works of Russian and world photography. Pioneering a new vocabulary of bold and unusual camera positions, severe foreshortenings of perspective, and close up views of surprising details, Rodchenko's photography balanced formal concerns with an interest in the social and political life of the Soviet Union. Whether making individual portraits, studies of modern architecture and industry, or pictures of mass demonstrations and entertainments, Rodchenko infused his images with a startlingly dynamic point of view that influenced the growth of an experimental aesthetic in European photography of the late 1920s and 1930s. Applying the principles of Constructivism to photography, Rodchenko employed oblique angles, and used bird's eye and worm's eye points of view, to make buildings, people and machines look like abstract compositions. The exhibition explores life on the streets of Moscow, sports parades and the Soviet obsession with healthy body culture, the spectacle of the circus, and portraits of fellow artists. Hayward Gallery until 27th April.

Mona Marzouk: The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Energy's Evil is the first solo exhibition in Britain of the work of the contemporary Egyptian painter, sculptor and installation artist Mona Marzouk. In her work Marzouk tackles universal themes by reassembling varied influences, including architectural histories, mythology, past civilisations and technology. Revealing an ability to easily combine such diverse sources as Egyptian hieroglyphs and Manga comics, she imagines an alternative to cultural difference - a 'hybridised future'. For this exhibition Marzouk has created a new specific installation 'The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Energy's Evil', a dramatic parody of an ailing mother nature. Tackling issues pertaining to energy as the currency of power and life, it comprises two large scale wall paintings, audio elements, and an animated short film. The piece presents a humorously fantastical, but somewhat sinister zone, where fuels, production facilities, animals and architectural landmarks have become metaphorical fusions. An animated quasi-mammal hybrid, with whale like characteristics, lies washed up on an alien shore, its call spreading an ambience of disillusionment, while elsewhere, an unusual crawler with a multitude of limbs seems to have developed a hump that resembles a certain bridge. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, until 27th April.

Pompeo Batoni 1708 - 1787 provides an opportunity to rediscover the work of the artist who, in his day, was the most celebrated painter in Rome. For nearly half a century, Batoni recorded international travellers' visits to Italy on the Grand Tour, in portraits that remain among the most memorable artistic accomplishments of the period. Equally gifted as a history painter, his religious and mythological works were acquired by patrons and collectors in Britain and Europe. This exhibition, which marks the tercentenary of Batoni's birth, is the first comprehensive presentation of his paintings in forty years. It provides an appreciation of the artistic achievement of 'Italy's Last Old Master,' through 62 of the finest examples available in the public and private collections. Batoni's status as Rome's most sought after painter of both portraits and history paintings, is demonstrated by works never previously publicly exhibited, as well as newly discovered and recently restored works. Highlights include portraits of 'Colonel the Hon William Gordon', 'Sir Gregory Page-Turner, 3rd Bt', 'Sir Humphry Morice', 'Sarah, Lady Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Bt, Thomas Apperley, and Captain Edward Hamilton'; the religious paintings 'The Ecstasy of St Catherine' and 'Bernardo Tolomei Attending a Victim of the Black Death'; and the mythological works 'The Death of Meleager' and 'Truth and Mercy'. National Gallery until 18th May.


Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia charts the artistic and personal relationships of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Francis Picabia, and explores the affinities and parallels in their work, showing how they responded to each others' ideas and innovations. The godfathers of conceptual art, they created the Dada movement in New York during the First World War, and unusually in modern art, remained friends throughout their lives. At the heart of this friendships lay a shared outlook on life, manifested in their works through jokes and a sense of irony, iconoclastic gestures, and an interest in eroticism. Picabia was a painter, Man Ray worked in all media but became celebrated as a photographer, and Duchamp abandoned the life of a professional artist, yet became a revered figure for later artists. The exhibition features seminal early works such as Duchamp's iconic 'Fountain' and 'Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2)'; Picabia's 'I See Again in My Memory My Dear Udnie' and 'Femmes Au Bull Dog'; and Man Ray's 'The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows'. Covering the period to the end of their careers, the show features Duchamp's 'ready mades' and optical experiments, Man Ray's 'rayographs' (cameraless photographs), iconic photographs of the interwar years, and examples of his many objects, and a selection of Picabia's 'monster' and 'dot' paintings. Films by all three artists are also being shown, including 'Entr'acte', which was scripted by Picabia and in which all have cameo appearances. A display devoted to the artists' friendships, includes photographs, letters, books and magazines. Tate Modern until 26th May.

Ruination: Photographs Of Rome is an exhibition that brings together a series of arresting images of the architecture of ancient Rome, in its varying stages of decay and restoration, produced by pioneering photographers from the mid 19th century, and their successors in the late 20th century. Rome has been a compelling subject for photographers since the medium's earliest days, which made the recording of exotic architectural topography more accessible, as instanced by Robert McPherson's photograph of the Marcellus Theatre in its ruined glory in 1860. Images of Rome originally served as forms of truthful witness to the artistic splendours of the past. Once valued as replications of antique architecture and sculpture in situ, it is now their extraordinary power as images - their technical and artistic subtlety - that allow them to transcend their function as homages to the city. Contemporary photographers whose works are featured alongside those of the pioneers of the medium include Olivio Barbieri, Richard Billingham, Fiona Crisp and John Riddy. Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, until 6th April.

Masterpieces From The Louvre: The Collection Of Louis La Caze is an opportunity for London to view 16 of the great 17th and 18th century paintings left to the Louvre in Paris by the philanthropist Louis La Caze. The exhibition also provides an insight into the history of taste and collecting, since La Caz was an almost exact contemporary of the 4th Marquess of Hertford, who acquired the great majority of the paintings in the Wallace Collection. It reveals that the choices they made when building their collections could not have been more different. This show juxtaposes their selections, offering a unique chance to compare and contrast, and also to view paintings by Chardin, who is not represented in the resident collection at all. Highlights include one of the masterpieces of 17th century Spanish painting, Ribera's 'Le Pied-Bot (The Boy with the Club Foot)', and Velazquez's 'Infanta Maria Teresa', both making their first visit to Britain, which can be seen alongside other works by Velazquez, Murillo and Alonso Cano; and 18th century French paintings such as Watteau's 'Jupiter and Antiope', Chardin's 'Le Benedicitie, and two of Fragonard's figures de fantasie, 'L'inspiration' and 'l'Etude', together with works by Pater, Lancret, Rigaud, Nattier and Boucher. Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London, until 18th May.

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913 - 2008 brings together rare vintage prints with contemporary classics from Vanity Fair and the Conde Nast Archive. It provides a photographic history of celebrity portraiture, with works of master photographers from Edward Steichen and Cecil Beaton, to Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino. Some of the greatest portrait photographs of the 20th century were taken for, or published in, Vanity Fair. This selection of 150 images features works from the magazine's first period, 1913 to 1936, displayed for the first time with works from its contemporary incarnation, 1983 to 2008. In the first period, celebrated subjects such as Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Louis Armstrong, Noel Coward, Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Anna May Wong and Paul Robeson are shown in portraits by Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, Baron De Meyer, Man Ray and George Hurrell. Since the magazine's re-launch, the works of Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Nan Goldin, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber and Mario Testino are featured, depicting a wide range of subjects from Arthur Miller to Madonna. From the beginning, British, Irish and American authors were profiled and their writings published, and among the vintage portraits in the exhibition are iconic images of H G Wells, James Joyce, D H Lawrence, Rebecca West, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw. Since its reincarnation, iconic cover images featured here include the Reagans dancing, a very pregnant Demi Moore, a formal portrait of President Bush's Afghan War Cabinet, and actresses Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley photographed naked. National Portrait Gallery until 26th May.

Niki de Saint Phalle is a comprehensive survey of the Franco-American painter and sculptor's entire career, with key examples of all phases of her work, and an exploration of her themes and concerns. It encompasses de Saint Phalle's early 'Assemblages' and paintings in the 1950s, based on found everyday objects that she embedded in plaster as a relief, often littered with violent objects such as knives, scissors, nails and blades; her acclaimed 'Shooting Paintings (Tirs)' in the early 1960s, such as 'Portrait of My Lover', where the head has been substituted by a target studded with darts, which developed into works where she embedded pockets filled with paint and foodstuffs within a thick layer of plaster on canvas, and other artists were invited to shoot the paintings in order to make the pictures 'bleed'; her religious altars such as 'Autel O.A.S', and works on the theme of the Bride - white papier mache sculptures of women - in the mid 1960s, which led on to the 'Nanas', very large brightly coloured sculptures of women that, due to their generous size and form, have become iconic and enduring archetypal images of maternity and femininity, and other large sculptural works; a wide selection of graphic work; and late works including the 'Skull Meditation Room', and 'Il Giardino dei Tarocchi', sculptures based on Tarot cards. Tate Liverpool until 5th May.

The Movieum Of London is a new museum that celebrates the British film industry, going behind the scenes to showcase the talent that has produced some of the world's most famous movies, and revealing the creative process that went into their making. Featuring real sets, props and movie equipment, it shows how the contributions of the individual departments come together to create a film, including special effects, animatronics, make up and wardrobe. The displays comprise: The History Of The Studios - Elstree, Pinewood and Shepperton, from the Golden Age to the Golden Compass, an insight into the studios where movie history was made; Real Life Sets, where visitors can step into the action of the sound stage and be part of the movie making experience; From Film Lover To Film Maker, a step by step guide to film making from an initial script to the final edit; Prop Art, some of the most famous props in film making history created and introduced by the most prolific artists of today; From Script To The Screen, the process of animation through the years, from Beatrix Potter, Dangermouse, Bagpuss and Mr Benn to Peppa Pig, original art used in the making of the episodes and films; Chapman Entertainment, exploring the magic of stop motion animation and how Fifi and the Flowertots are brought to the screen; and Comic Artists In Residence, where the characters and page come to life with the artists behind the magic of 2000AD and Garth. The Movieum Of London, County Hall, South Bank continuing.


Weapons Of Mass Communication: War Posters explores the relationship between advertising, publicity and government propaganda and policy, from the First World War onwards. The exhibition examines how the greatest designers and advertisers of the day tried to influence the wills of soldier and civilian alike. In the early part of the 20th century, the best posters were always striking, memorable, direct and often beautiful, but they served to carry the most potent of government messages. By the latter part of the 20th century, the poster had become a significant tool of protest and counter-culture, with shocking and sometimes satirical protest posters used by Peace, anti-Nuclear and anti-Vietnam campaigners. The exhibition includes some 300 works, from the iconic images of Alfred Leete's Lord Kitchener recruitment poster, and Savile Lumley's 'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?', and previously unseen works by pioneering German graphic artists such as Julius Gipkens, Ludwig Hohlwein and Abel Faivre, through Spanish Civil War posters by artists Pedrero and Josep Renau, and the different approaches and themes adopted by each of the allies and Germany during the Second World War, to landmark protest works, such as 'Stop Nuclear Suicide' by FHK Henrion and Peter Kennard's 'No Cruise Missiles Here', and the influential, contemporary graphics of Leon Kuhn and David Gentleman. Imperial War Museum until 30th March.

Jean Prouve - The Poetics Of The Technical Object is the first comprehensive overview of the radical, innovative and influential work of the French designer and engineer to be staged in Britain. Prouve worked as both a designer and manufacturer, producing everything from bicycles for the French resistance to folded sheet steel armchairs, and prefabricated housing in the time of post Second World War reconstruction. He was a pioneering architect who invented High Tech design, and was responsible for the selection of Richard Rodgers and Renzo Piano to design the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the building that firmly established the movement. The exhibition is a comprehensive survey of Prouve's life and work, from his early career as a blacksmith, through the establishment of his factory producing components and structures, to later work as a consultant engineer. Architectural models, drawings, photographs and films are displayed alongside full scale structures, together with over 50 examples of his furniture designs. Prouve's fluid, functional designs developed not only the aesthetic possibilities of aluminium and steel, but also their economic and social applications. The exhibition demonstrates his central role in pioneering the use of metal in the mass production of both furniture and buildings in the 20th century. Design Museum until 25th March.

Victorian Visions: 19th Century Photography offers an insight into the Victorian view of the world through around 40 original photographs, grouped into early works, landscape, documentary, women photographers and portraits. They include images made by major pioneers of photography, such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Lady Hawarden, Roger Fenton, Francis Frith, Robert Howlett and B.B. Turner. Among the highlights are: Julia Margaret Cameron's works echoing Pre-Raphaelite paintings in their romantic subject matter; Lady Hawarden's intense photographs of female sitters, often her own daughters, making use of natural light, reflections and a careful choice of viewpoint and props; B B Turner and Roger Fenton's landscapes, which follow in the tradition of British landscape painting; Paul Martin's photographs of day trippers enjoying the beach at Yarmouth Sands, a new leisure activity made possible by the building of the railways; a selection of carte de visite (small portrait photographs exchanged between friends and stuck into albums) of various eminent Victorians such as Charles Dickens and William Gladstone; and documentary images that record the desolation of the Crimea War, and the groundbreaking nature of Victorian engineering. Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Liverpool, until 16th March.