News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th December 2011

Commencing

Hidden Heroes - The Genius Of Everyday Things examines the ingenuity of a group of seemingly run-of-the-mill everyday objects. The exhibition looks at the inspiration involved in items whose design and purpose are so well matched that they remain uncelebrated, but heavily used, in the fabric of our lives. The 36 inventions which deserve their moment in the spotlight include the ring binder, rubber band, spring clothes peg, sticking plaster, paperclip, Velcro, umbrella, zip and ballpoint pen. The featured inventions are presented alongside original sketches and drawings by their inventors, illustrating the process from idea to final object. Patent specifications and original advertisements reveal the efforts made to establish each product. Many of the objects have remained unaltered since their invention, demonstrating a simple, ingenious design. In some cases, the success of each product reflects changes in cultural and industrial history: the pencil suggests the spread of education and writing; the tin can illustrates the industrialisation of food production; and Post-it Notes have proliferated in tandem with computers, staging a final stand for scribbled communication in a digital age. Among the stories contained within the exhibition are: how a descending aeroplane may have inspired the design of bubble wrap; how an engineer hired to install electrical fittings at the British Museum invented the rawlplug; how a packed coat rack could have inspired the wire coat hanger; how a request by Napoleon for the preservation of food for his troops led to the eventual development of the tin can; and how the tea bag may have been discovered accidentally when customers dipped unopened packets in hot water to test quality of a tea shipment. Science Museum until 5th June.

Galleries Of Ancient Egypt And Nubia is a £5m redevelopment designed by Rick Mather Architects and Metaphor Design, which has created a suite of 6 galleries that present a chronological journey covering more than 5,000 years of human occupation of the Nile Valley. This expanded space allows for considerably more of the collection to be seen, grouped around 6 themes: Egypt At Its Origins, dominated by two limestone statues of the fertility god Min, which are among the oldest preserved stone sculptures in the world, and featuring the ceremonial 'Two-Dog' palette - a double-sided cosmetic palette of the type used for grinding eye paint; Dynastic Egypt And Nubia, the centrepieces of which are the Shrine of Taharqa, the only pharaonic building in Britain, and an entire Pan-Grave burial assemblage; Life After Death In Ancient Egypt, with the nested coffins and mummy of Djeddjehutyiuefankh, funerary models, amulets and canopic jars, surrounded by faithful reproductions of tomb paintings; The Amarna 'Revolution', with fragments of wall and floor paintings depicting Akhenaten and Nefertiti in their palace in the new capital; Egypt In The Age Of Empires, revealing the lives of the community of the masons, craftsmen and artists who built the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, through thousands of limestone ostraca; and Egypt Meets Greece And Rome, charting the changes brought about in Egypt by Greek and Roman invaders, with funeral portrait statues and wooden mummy portraits. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, continuing.

Painting Canada: Tom Thomson And The Group Of Seven features some of Canada's most famous landscape paintings created in the early part of 20th century. The exhibition comprises 122 paintings, not seen in Britain since 1925, as well as Tom Thomson's sketchbox. Tom Thomson and J E H MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston and Franklin Carmichael met as employees of the design firm Grip Ltd in Toronto, and were joined by A Y Jackson and Lawren Harris, The group often met at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto to discuss their opinions and share their art. Their mission was to engage with the awesome Canadian wilderness, a landscape previously considered too wild and untamed to inspire 'true' art. Harris and MacCallum collaborated to create a studio building that opened in 1914 to serve as a meeting and working place for the group. The exhibition presents a journey across Canada, from East to West, framed by Tom Thomson's electrifying sketches and paintings of Algonquin Park, and Lawren Harris's other-worldly paintings of the Arctic and the Rocky Mountains. Between these two 'poles,' is a selection of the group's best work, paintings that bear some similarities to the landscapes of the Scottish Colourists. A special feature of the show is the juxtaposition, wherever possible, of the initial sketch with the finished canvas. One room is devoted entirely to a display of these vibrant sketches, which represent one of Canada's most impressive contributions to 20th century art. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 8th January.

Continuing

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius Of Illumination provides a rare opportunity to see richly illuminated manuscripts previously belonging to the kings and queens of England. The exhibition comprises 154 colourful and gilded handwritten books, dating from between the 9th and 16th centuries. The manuscripts offer unique insights into the lives and aspirations of those for whom they were made, enriching understanding of both the monarchy and the Middle Ages. Many documents played an active role in the development of kings and knights, and provided moral and practical guidance, as well as lessons in history, politics and geography. A critical part of the nation's cultural heritage, these manuscripts have survived in astonishingly good condition, retaining their vivid colours and gleaming gold detail. English kings from the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors commissioned and owned luxurious handwritten copies of Christian texts. These included small, handheld prayerbooks for personal devotion, and large, lavish Gospel books and Bibles given to royal foundations for display and liturgical use. Their magnificence reflects both the status and wealth of their owners and the desire to glorify God by adorning his Word with the most precious of materials. A range of manuscripts aided monarchs in understanding and presenting their status as royalty. Genealogical rolls and historical chronicles underpinned their right to rule, while coronation books documented the formal ceremony authenticating their authority. Accompanying objects providing context for the manuscripts include a life size standing king from the Bristol Cross; a 15th century stone shield carved and painted with the arms of England; the skull of a medieval lion previously kept at the Tower of London; and a tapestry depicting the dead body of the Trojan hero Hector. The British Library, until 13th March.

Gainsborough's Landscapes: Themes And Variations is the first exhibition in 50 years devoted solely to the 18th century artist's landscape paintings and drawings. For Thomas Gainsborough, portraiture was his business, but landscape painting was his pleasure. The landscape paintings and drawings reveal his mind at work, the breadth of his invention, and the quality of his technique. Gainsborough sold relatively few of his landscape paintings, and none of his drawings, but he regarded them as his most important work. These paintings do not represent real views, but are creations 'of his own Brain', as he put it. A limited number of rural subjects exercised his imagination from one decade to the next, changing as he developed an increasingly energetic 'hand', or manner of painting, and becoming ever grander in conception. This exhibition includes some of Gainsborough's most famous and popular works, including 'The Watering Place', together with less well known works such as 'Haymaking from Woburn'. The paintings show Gainsborough returning to the same themes again and again, and demonstrate the longevity of each theme, and the degree of experimentation that was involved in the search for the perfect composition. The evolution of Gainsborough's style is traced from early naturalistic landscapes in the Dutch manner, enlivened with small figures, to grand scenery that is dramatically lit and obviously imaginary, such as the 'Romantic Landscape'. The sketches drawings that accompany the paintings clarify the development of Gainsborough's constructed vision, revealing how his style evolved. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 22nd January.

Terence Conran - The Way We Live Now explores the unique impact on contemporary life in Britain of the designer, retailer and restaurateur. Through his own design work, and also through his entrepreneurial flair, Terence Conran has transformed the look of the British home. He has established a design studio and an architectural practice with a worldwide reach. He was the founder of Habitat and a pioneer of the new restaurant culture driven by a passion for simplicity. The exhibition explores Conran's impact, whilst painting a picture of his design approach and inspirations. It traces his career from post war austerity through to the new sensibility of the Festival of Britain in the 1950s, the birth of the Independent Group with its flare for the avant-garde and the Pop Culture of the 1960s, to the design boom of the 1980s, and on to the present day. The show opens with a collection of Conran's own pieces from the late 1940s and 1950s, when he was welding steel chairs himself, designing textile designs, ceramics and magazine covers. The Habitat story includes the reconstruction of one of the room sets shown in the Habitat catalogues that were so influential in the 1960s and 1970s. Conran's role in professionalising the practice of design is charted by the work of the various Conran Design studios, which undertook projects as diverse as lighting, furniture, kitchenware, packaging, architecture and retail design. Conran's approach to food is traced by a look at the many restaurants that he has designed and opened. A recreation of Conran's study from his home in Barton Court offers a glimpse into his private world. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 until 4th March.

Building The Revolution: Soviet Art And Architecture 1915 - 1935 examines Russian avant-garde architecture made during a brief but intense period of construction that took place following the revolution. Fired by the Constructivist art that emerged in Russia from around 1915, architects transformed this radical artistic language into three dimensions, creating structures whose innovative style embodied the energy and optimism of the new Soviet Socialist state. The exhibition juxtaposes large scale photographs of extant buildings with relevant Constructivist drawings and paintings, and vintage photographs. The drive to forge a new Marxist - Socialist society in Russia gave scope to a dynamic synthesis between radical art and architecture. This was reflected in the engagement in architectural ideas and projects by artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Liubov Popova, El Lizzitsky, Ivan Kluin and Gustav Klucis, and in designs by architects such as Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginsburg, Ilia Golosov and the Vesnin brothers. European architects including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn were also drafted in to shape the new utopia. Their novel buildings - streamlined, flat-roofed, white-walled and with horizontal banded fenestration - appeared alien among the surrounding traditional low-built wooden structures and densely developed 19th century commercial and residential blocks. They left a distinctive mark not only on the two most prominent cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, but also on other urban centres such as Kiev, Ekaterinburg, Baku, Sochi and Nishni Novgorod. The photographer Richard Pare has documented these iconic buildings over the past two decades, providing an eloquent record of the often degraded condition into which the buildings have fallen. Royal Academy of Arts until 22nd January.

Edward Burra is the first major show for over 25 years of the work of one of the most individual British artists of the 20th century. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to reassess Edward Burra's extraordinary creativity and impressive legacy. Burra made modernist paintings in an eccentric style that had something in common with those of Stanley Spencer - but without the religious references. Sailors in dockside watering holes, Harlem strip joints, lorries and motorbikes were his kind of subjects. Burra's preferred medium was watercolour, but the results are not like the watercolours of other artists. His paintings are vital, crowded with detail, their urban men and women flattened and cartoonish in a gaudy palette, yet surprisingly, Burra remains something of a footnote in art history. This exhibition of over 70 works features some of Burra's best known images of everyday people at leisure in cafes, bars and nightclubs, and explores the influence on him of jazz music and cinema, as well as examples of his fascination with the macabre (including dancing skeletons) and dark sides of humanity, together with his later more lyrical depictions of the British landscape. In addition, the show also examines Burra's role as a designer for the stage, including ground-breaking sets and costumes for Frederick Ashton and Ninette de Valois, particularly a front cloth for Don Quixote. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 19th February.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Winter Cirque featuring a Wheel of Death a final Battle of Fire; Carter's Steam Fair traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 3rd January.

Concluding

Rashid Rana the first major British show by the most prominent and original contemporary artist working in South Asia today. The works in this exhibition blur the divide between two and three-dimensional forms, to challenge the viewer's understanding of the world in which they live. Photo sculptures, large-scale photo mosaics, installations and new video work subvert perception of size and structure, and look deeper into the relationship between the fragment and the bigger picture. The exhibition explores three themes: Dis-location, examines domesticity, displacement and everyday objects, through a series of heavily pixellated photo sculptures that manipulate our ideas of representation and reality, including 'The World Is Not Enough' a portrait of an undulating seascape, whose beauty is at odds with the micro-imagery of waste and urban decay that are woven together to create it; Between Flesh and Blood, dissects the body and physical relationships, including 'What Lies Between Flesh and Blood', which presents deeply textured, serene abstracts, reminiscent of Rothko, but viewed more closely reveal each is composed of an intricate mosaic of thousands of tiny images of wounds and skin, collected from disparate sources including fashion magazines, pornographic websites and medical journals; and An Idea Of Abstract, a re-engagement with formal concerns, including 'Desperately Seeking Paradise II', which appears to depict a panoramic skyline of an imaginary city with high-rise buildings, but close-up, is revealed to be thousands of smaller images depicting houses in Lahore, the city where Rana was born and is currently based. Cornerhouse Manchester until 18th December.

The Poster King: Edward McKnight Kauffer features the work of the artist who produced some of the most iconic and influential commercial imagery of the early 20th century. Edward McKnight Kauffer was a remarkably versatile artist who drew inspiration from a wide variety of styles, ranging from Japanese art to Fauvism, Vorticism and Constructivism, and encompassed painting, applied art, interior design and scenography. However, it was his celebrated posters, created for clients such as London Underground and Shell during the inter-war years, for which he remains most famous. Kauffer's pioneering work in the field of graphic design ranks alongside the achievements of fellow avant-garde figures such as T S Eliot, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, all of whom, like Kauffer, had roots in the United States, yet established their careers in London. In 1915 Kauffer received a commission to design publicity posters for the Underground. The originality and vibrancy of these images led Kauffer to receive commissions from a variety of companies and publishing houses over the following two decades, including Fortnum & Mason, Lund Humphries and Chrysler Motors. With a finger on the pulse of the latest artistic trends, Kauffer's special genius lay in his ability to adapt the language of the avant-garde to the needs of advertising, creating works that were not simply visually striking, but also rich in artistic merit. In addition to the renowned graphic work, the exhibition includes a nucleus of lesser- known paintings and prints, as well as a selection of photographs, working drawings and original designs. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 18th December.

Word And Image: Early Modern Treasures explores intercultural exchange in the Early Modern period from 1450 to 1800. The exhibition focuses on the interaction between word and image, looking at themes including travel, translation, and the traffic of goods and ideas, principally through books and art. It offers the chance to see an eclectic and unusual combination of items, including a 17th century volume on the history of Lapland complete with pictures of skis and shamen; a 1589 map of the world; a beautifully illustrated early work of Egyptology; prints of Jesuit missionaries in China wearing local dress; icons of the Grand Tour, such as the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoon; plus early dictionaries, travel narratives and translations. The highlight of the exhibition is Albrecht Durer's 15 woodcuts from 'The Apocalypse', based on various scenes from the late 15th century Book of Revelation, the most famous of which is 'the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse', alongside its precursor 'The Nuremberg Chronicle'. University College of London Art Museum, Gower Street, London, until 16th December.