News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th October 2005

Commencing

Edvard Munch By Himself focuses on self portraits by the Norwegian artist, and it is the first time that such a large cross section, from all stages of his career, has been brought together. The exhibition comprises 150 paintings, drawings, etchings and sketchbooks, as well as rarely seen photographs. Starting with the first self portrait painted as a 17 year old student at the Royal School of Drawing, Kristiania, the exhibition concludes with the last works produced in seclusion at his house in Ekely in the 1940s. It provides a unique opportunity to survey Munch's career as he recorded himself passing through moments of self doubt, depression, illness and passion. Unlike the studio self portraits of other artists, Munch injected his own likeness into a variety of scenes, including the assassination of Marat, the decapitation of John The Baptist and the crucifixion of Christ. These works capture the Munch's obsession with his own physical and mental well being, concerns shaped by personal experiences, including the deaths of his mother and his elder sister from tuberculosis, and his own weak health and bouts of depression. Included in the exhibition are 'Self-portrait Man with Bronchitis', representative of his preoccupation with his health, and 'Self-Portrait Between Clock and Bed'. Munch's strong use of colour and distortion of the human form became characteristic of the way in which he communicated his feelings as a consequence of his personal experiences. His stark, uncompromising self portraits reflect his close friendship with and admiration for the work of his contemporaries, including among others, Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, and August Strindberg, who advocated the portrayal of the unconscious in their work. Royal Academy until 11th December.

The Cassell Silver is a display of eleven masterpieces of English silver from the 15th to 18th centuries, from the collection formed by Sir Ernest Cassel, including unique pieces of silver associated with some of England's most prominent families. Cassel was a German immigrant, who arrived in England in 1869 with, it is said, a bag of clothes and a violin. Within fifteen years, he had become one of the most successful financiers in Europe, married an Englishwoman, converted from Judaism to Catholicism, and become a friend and financial adviser to the Prince of Wales. Cassel built up a celebrated art collection, an important part of which was the early English silver. The highlights of the display are the Proctor ewer and basin, and the Bell Salt. The ewer and basin, hallmarked London 1592-3, are exceptional examples of Tudor plate with floral decoration within strapwork. The enamelled roundel on the basin depicts the arms of Richard Proctor, Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company, for whom they were made. Ewers and basins, used for washing hands at the table before forks were introduced, were the most prestigious type of table plate in Renaissance Europe, and formed the centrepiece of ornamental buffet displays. The salt, hallmarked London 1597-8, is shaped in the form of a bell, and has pale gilding and strapwork decoration. Salt was of high symbolic importance on medieval and Renaissance tables as the seating of people at the table in relation to the salt represented their social status. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford until 6th November.

Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec: London and Paris 1870-1910 identifies the largely unrecognised exchange of artistic ideas between Britain and France during this seminal period in the development of modern art. The exhibition features more than 100 works, including paintings, pastels, drawings, prints and sculpture. There are about twenty works each by Edgar Degas, Walter Sickert and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that are known to have been exhibited in British galleries at the time. Among the many iconic images is Degas's 'L'Absinthe', not shown in a London exhibition since the 19th century, and 'Interior (The Rape)'. Such works, characterised by their daring technique and colour allied to a choice of starkly modern subject matter, depicting the realities of urban life, elicited powerful responses from a subsequent generation of artists in Britain and France. While Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec are the artists at the heart of the exhibition, it also presents innovative depictions of modern life by other prominent painters, such as Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and James Whistler, as well as now less widely celebrated figures including James Tissot, Henri Fantin-Latour and William Rothenstein. The exhibition reveals the parallels between Toulouse-Lautrec's imagery and that of Sickert and his contemporaries, and looks particularly at the close relationship between intimate paintings of interiors by Sickert, Bonnard and Vuillard, each of them redolent with intense psychological power. Tate Britain until 15th January.

Continuing

From Futurism To Arte Povera: Works From The Marcello Levi Collection is selected from one of the leading collections of contemporary art in Italy. Over sixty years ago, Marcello Levi began with works by members of the Futurist movement, such as Giacomo Balla and Gerardo Dottori, and then became one of the earliest supporters of Arte Povera. His friendship with the artists enabled him to acquire a remarkable series of works that have rarely been shown in public. Arte Povera was a movement founded in the second half of the 1960s. Literally meaning 'poor art', the term refers to the choice of humble materials such as earth, iron, wood and rags, with which the artists aimed to challenge conventional means of creative expression, reduce the artificial gap between art and life and react against the commercialism of the art market. Like Futurism, it emerged at a time of dramatic socio-economic change, against a backdrop of political upheaval and technological expansion. Unlike the earlier movement, however, Arte Povera was internationalist in outlook and sceptical about industrialisation. Among the artists represented here are Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto, together with Kurt Schwitters, whose collages constructed from discarded items such as bus tickets, magazine clippings and other such 'debris' represent a highly innovative approach to materials which may be seen as anticipating that of Arte Povera itself. Also included are works by Modernists such as Man Ray, Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee and Andy Warhol. Estorick Collection, London until 18th December.

Alison Turnbull brings together paintings from the recent series of works, 'World in a Chamber', a pictorial investigation into the idea of the botanic garden, by the Colombian born but London resident artist. For some years Turnbull's work has dealt with the varied ways in which we conceive and transform the spaces we inhabit, fusing the representational with the abstract. Previous exhibitions have consisted of paintings that take the language of architectural representation - plans, sections and elevations - as generative starting points. These found drawings are then transformed by colour and by the very specific physical activities that activate the painted surface. In 2002 Turnbull turned to architecture as applied to gardens, how plant collections are organised, and man's attempts to impose control over nature. Typical of this series is a work made after visits to Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight. Derived from two found drawings of the site - one, a guide to the present day garden, overlaid onto the other, a plan of the 19th century hospital that previously occupied the site - the painting incorporates lines and blocks of luminous colour floated on a neutral ground, anchored by fine lines of graphite. Also in the exhibition are 'Black Borders' a new series of works on paper inspired by the botanic garden in Oxford, where there is a planting scheme known as the Black Borders, which contains exclusively black, or almost black, plants. Turnbull takes the idea of the black border as the point of departure for a group of meticulous and intensely worked drawings. ArtSway, Lymington until 20th November.

Rock 'n' Roll Icons: The Photography of Mick Rock spans 40 years of rock photography by the legendary (and suitably named) Mick Rock, once described as 'the photo-laureate of Glam'. Intimate moments from previously unseen footage and iconic images that defined the Glam and Punk eras, are taken from the vast archive of work by the man who 'shot the seventies'. The exhibition is a chronicle of the lives and music of many of rock's seminal artists of the past, such as Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Blondie, Queen and Lou Reed, and contemporary artists and celebrities such as Razorlight, the YeahYeahYeahs, The Killers, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers, Johnny Marr, Maryiln Manson and Kate Moss. It features over 150 images, together with video footage, rare images, out-takes, private recordings and personal interviews with some of the greatest rock legends. Rock was David Bowie's official photographer and also shot many famous album covers such as David Bowie - Space Oddity, Lou Reed - Transformer and Coney Island Baby, Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power, Queen - Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack, and The Ramones - End of the Century. He was also the pioneer of music videos by David Bowie - Life on Mars, Space Oddity and Jean Genie, and was the official photographer for Rocky Horror Picture Show. Urbis, Manchester until 8th January.

Lucy Orta is the first major solo exhibition in the UK of the contemporary artist whose work examines the social bonds within communities and the relationships between individuals and their environments. Lucy Orta's work has been categorised as belonging to the 'jumble sale school' - or more correctly 'car boot sale school' since one piece 'M.I.U. VII' incorporates a lorry. In fact, many of the pieces look like they belong to a disaster emergency response team - I'm sure 'Refuge Wear Intervention London East End' and 'Body Architecture-Collective Wear 4 Persons' were on the pavement outside Kings Cross in July. Orta describes her work as being 'at the intersection of dress and architecture'. This exhibition brings together sculptures, videos, objects and photographs created by Orta over the last ten years, including a diverse range of collaborative projects and performances, installations and social interventions held in cities around the world. A new work on its first outing consists of 23 silver bodysuits attached to canvas stretcher beds that float mysteriously at waist height, like canoes on floodwater. In terms of being an artist reflecting the world around her, could Orta possibly be the contemporary equivalent of Hogarth? The Curve at The Barbican until 30th October.

Kindertotenlieder: Mariele Neudecke is a new work by the German born, British resident artist, who uses sculpture, film and photography to create representations of landscapes, drawing on Northern Romantic ideas. She is perhaps best know for her atmospheric creations of landforms within glass vitrines - a sort of vegetarian alternative to Damien Hirst. The charm of her 'tank works' comes from their combination of the ruinous wilderness of the landscapes with the quaint domesticity of their dolls house setting. Premiering here is a five part moving image installation in response to each of Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children), fusing contemporary visual art with classical music and literature. Mahler's composition was written in 1901 following the deaths of two of his children, setting verse by German Romantic poet Friedrich Ruckert, which evokes emotions of grief, loss and guilt. Neudecker has drawn upon the metaphors of light and weather referred to in Ruckert's verse. She breaks new ground by creating a mysterious, multimedia mausoleum, in which Kathleen Ferrier's recording of the song cycle provides the soundtrack for glimpses of digitally generated vistas. Neudecker's installation unfolds like a sequence of sets for an imaginary opera. In one room a misty, romantic sunrise gradually spreads across the wall. In another, a pinprick of light animates a doorknob, revealing a video of a child playing a field. Elsewhere, a mirror reflects bolts of forked lightning, and visitors can peep around doors to view a vast alpine landscape. Impressions Gallery, York until 28th October.

Deutschlandscape - Epicentres At The Periphery is a fantasy landscape, a room high photographic collage, comprised of a wide range of contemporary style architectural projects: homes, schools, offices, a community centre, a hotel - even a car park and a sewage works. This dramatic 80m long panorama shows 38 projects from across Germany that have been completed since the year 2000. The display explores the deliberate shift in focus by architects from metropolitan urban centres to the areas on the urban fringe. At the core of all these projects is the intent to enliven and reinvent suburban areas, exploit overlooked spaces, and to regenerate derelict post industrial landscapes, within the urban margins and in provincial towns. It eschews the city centre grand projects for the smaller innovative designs, often squeezed in between existing buildings or adapting abandoned structures. Most of the projects have challenged or subverted tough planning laws to produce inspiring results on limited budgets. Among the most eye catching schemes are the town house wrapped in timber with a chequerboard pattern of windows and a bedroom that slides outwards like a giant filing cabinet drawer; a suburban house with exterior walls made from gabions (40,000 rocks held in metal cages); and a swimming pool built inside a disused colliery. In addition to the panorama there are terminals on which visitors can explore individual schemes in detail. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th January.

Concluding

The World's Most Photographed examines the lives and legends of ten well known figures from history: Muhammad Ali, James Dean, Mahatma Gandhi, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Adolf Hitler, John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Queen Victoria. By unearthing photographs that have previously been lost, suppressed or hidden, or those that were simply allowed to slip from view, the exhibition explores the nature of celebrity and iconography, going beyond the carefully constructed public image, to reveal more about the personalities and lives of the sitters. Around 100 photographs juxtaposing iconic pictures with unknown ones, lay bare a little of the real people. Among the surprises are a series of macabre photographs of James Dean in a funeral parlour, unreleased for over 30 years; the story of a schoolboy who outwitted 'Colonel' Tom Parker, scooped the world's press and sold his unique snaps of Elvis in the school canteen; an illustration of how Mahatma Gandhi manipulated his appearance to bind his nation, and used photography to challenge and undermine the British Empire; the single image that threatened to destroy the career of Marilyn Monroe; and the how John F Kennedy's frailties and infidelities were concealed, and the myth of 'Camelot' was created and sustained. National Portrait Gallery until 23rd October.

Bodies And Antibodies: Paul Tecklenberg is a series of new works that draw upon the aesthetics of x-rays, microbiology and brain scans. Tecklenberg uses the old fashioned photographic technique called the photogram, which is based on shining light through real objects placed in front of light sensitive paper, to record their negative photographic silhouettes. This process captures the exact shape and density of the subject, just like an x-ray. The effect is shadowy and ghostly in atmosphere, yet the detail is beautifully accurate. This two part exhibition includes a site specific installation in the Laundry Room at Wollaton Hall, where Tecklenberg has concentrated on 'beneath the stairs activities'. To interpret this, he has used clothing to create images that have an eerie quality about them. They are life size and seem to have a human presence, and each has a name such as Agatha and Hildagarde. The images evoke a wide spectrum of thoughts: ghosts, Miss Haversham, sensuality, illicit affairs, improper relationships - and just clothing hanging up to dry. The Yard Gallery, Wollaton Hall and Park, Nottingham until 23rd October.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is the largest and most comprehensive retrospective of work by the legendary French photographer ever staged in Britain, featuring over 200 photographs. Cartier-Bresson had an early passion for Surrealism, and in the 1920s trained as a painter. He began taking photographs as a hobby in Africa in 1931, continuing on his return to Europe, before travelling to New York and Mexico, and from the mid 1930s began to be exhibited and published. A reticent figure who craved anonymity, he never staged photographs, instead he waited for what he famously called the 'decisive moment', when the click of the camera captures a moment of unexpected drama. This technique even applied in his portraits, with spontaneous pictures of Arthur Miller, Francis Bacon, Pierre-August Renoir, Samuel Beckett, Henri Matisse and Jean-Paul Sartre. Cartier-Bresson was a great photojournalist, covering many seminal events of 20th century history, including the Spanish Civil War, the liberation of Paris, and Mao's takeover of Beijing. However, it was in his capturing of the minutiae of everyday life, such as the man leaping over a huge puddle behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, revealing the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary, which made him one of the most influential photographers of the century. A selection of Cartier-Bresson's drawings from the 1970s and 1980s is also included in the exhibition, alongside scrapbooks, original books and reviews, and photographs of Cartier-Bresson taken by friends, together with his beloved Leica camera. Dean Gallery Edinburgh until 23rd October.