News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th September 2004


Christopher Dresser: Design Revolution is a retrospective marking the centenary of the death of the man who was Britain's first professional, independent, industrial designer. Far ahead of his time, Dresser pioneered a new modern style, creating objects for the emerging consumer culture, many of which have become design classics. Dresser worked across a broad range of industries, and the exhibition displays over 200 objects in metalwork, furniture, ceramics, textiles, wallpaper and cast iron, together with other watercolour designs. Among the highlights are a group of geometric teapots designed for James Dixon and Sons, an 'Egyptian' chair of ebonized wood, and a jardiniere made of riveted bands of different metals. From the 1850s to the 1870s, Dresser was unique in Europe, embracing the potential of the machine age to produce beautiful designs efficiently. He created designs for more than 50 manufacturers, including, ceramics for Wedgwood and Minton, metalwork for Coalbrookdale and carpets for Brintons. Dresser made an extended visit to Japan promoting British manufactures in 1876, where he visited artists, metal works and potteries. On his return to England, greatly influenced by the simplicity of what he had seen, Dresser's style was transformed, and he designed minimal, sleek ceramic and metalwork pieces, which are among his most important creations. From then onwards, most of his designs bore his signature, establishing his name as a brand and assuring consumers they were buying 'good taste' - the Terence Conran of his age. Victoria & Albert Museum until 5th December..

Mirror - Christoph Girardet And Matthias Muller is a group of collaborative and solo works by the artists who specialise in creating montages of Hollywood clips and found television footage to suggest what might be going on behind the scenes. 'Mirror' is a new CinemaScope film presented as a double screen projection, inspired by the work of director Michelangelo Antonioni, which creates an atmosphere of 'the in-between' of belonging and isolation: a woman and a man are guests at an evening party - a love affair evaporates, the images shift, objects and people disappear and recompose. 'Beacon' similarly evokes 'the in-between', through the romantic connotations of the sea, as container of history, exotic underworld, and means of escape and travel, by combining travelogue footage and feature film scene settings into a single, imaginary locale. 'Play' is a montage of audiences, in which the onscreen action can only be seen reflected in their facial expressions and gestures, individual behaviour condenses into collective behaviour, and the event is transferred from the stage to the auditorium, so audience members become the actors in an unpredictable drama. In addition, two individual works, Girardet's 'Half Second Hand' and Muller's 'Promises', can be seen at night on the gallery's projection window. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 16th October.

London Open House, the annual scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, boasts a record number of locations this year. 585 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include Dulwich Picture and Courtauld Institute galleries, Royal Observatory and Science Museum Darwin Centre, Hackney Empire and Dominion theatres, St John's Smith Square and the LSO St Luke's concert halls, the Treasury and Foreign and India Office, BBC Bush House, Television Centre and White City Media Village, and Channel 4 building, Westminster Hall and Portcullis House, Foster and Partners and Richard Rogers Partnership offices, Wembley Stadium and St Pancras International construction sites, 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin), King's Library at the British Museum, Mansion House, Reform Club, Lincoln's Inn, City Hall, Lloyds of London, and Royal Courts of Justice. There are also talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Last year, over 350,000 visits were made during the two days. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further details and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from the Other Festivals section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 18th and 19th September.


Timeframes: Lodge Jeapes McGhie - TV Title Pioneers salutes the work of three BBC designers, who played a crucial role in transforming titles of television programmes, from little more than silent film captions, into a creative art. In the 1960s, Bernard Lodge, Alan Jeapes and Charles McGhie were the first to realise the potential of moving graphic sequences combined with sound. In 30 seconds they were able to capture the mood of the programme and engage the viewers. The exhibition is a combination of stills, screenprints, storyboards, lightbox slides and moving images of work by Lodge: 'Dr Who', 'The Late Show', 'Tea Party' and 'Telltale'; Jeapes: 'Thorndyke', 'Famous Gossips' and 'Softly Softly'; and McGhie: 'Late Night Horror', 'Out Of The Unknown' and '13 Against Fate'. When they joined the BBC there were no rules to break, as the department consisted of signwriters who created basic handwritten captions. Lodge, Jeapes and McGhie were art college trained, and used design, animation and experimental visuals to create kinetic solutions. The results were original and creative, and their seminal work has influenced television design ever since. What Saul Bass was to film titles, these three designers were to television - they invented the genre of the title sequence. Kemistry, London EC2, 020 7729 3636, until 30th October.

The Anderson Collection Of Art Nouveau provides an opportunity to see a unique collection of objects in a complementary setting. Sir Colin and Lady Morna Anderson were passionate collectors of Art Nouveau furniture, jewellery, glassware, textiles, metalwork and ceramics in the 1960s, and amassed one of the finest private collections of its kind, which they later donated for public display. The items demonstrate the quality of craftsmanship produced on the Continent and in Great Britain around the turn of the 19th century. The collection, shown in its entirety, includes glass by Lalique and Tiffany, posters by Alphonse Mucha, ceramics by Minton and Royal Doulton and furniture by Louis Majorelle and Emile Galle. The continental Art Nouveau style developed very much in parallel with the Arts and Crafts Movement in Great Britain, and the exhibition illustrates the cross-currents between the two styles. The house in which it is shown, designed by M H Baillie Scott in 1900, is one of best surviving examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement, though the interiors clearly show the influence of Art Nouveau, from the stained glass windows that incorporate flowers and birds, to the flowing carved wooden frieze of mountain ash in the main hall. A perfect partnership. Blackwell, Bowness-on-Windermere until 3rd October.

Poo - A Natural History Of The Unmentionable tells visitors everything they ever wanted to know about poo, and more besides, with lots of disgusting details to delight kids. Based on Nicola Davies's new book of the same title, with illustrations of Neal Layton, it features everything from professional poo eaters to faecal farmers. Sensitive visitors turn away now, as there are 'interactives' which inform the senses about the different types of animal poo by recreating their smells. The exhibition examines those species whose success depends on poo, from the giant otter that uses its faeces to mark its territory, to the Egyptian vulture that eats its own poo to make itself more attractive to the opposite sex. It also shows how information about an animal such as its species, its diet and how much water it drinks, can be found from its poo. This even applies to extinct species, as the fossilised poo (coprolite) of a Tyrannosaurus rex shows it was a carnivore. Looking at disposal, the exhibition reveals that most poo gets eaten, for which the scientific name is 'coprophagy'. The most efficient coprophage is the dung beetle (of which there are over 7,000 different kinds), which is capable of finding poo before an animal has finished producing it, and in the tropics, can completely remove a normal portion of human dung within an hour. Take a pair of surgical gloves and a clothes peg for your nose. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring until 28th November.

The Queen's Working Wardrobe Memories Of Royal Occasions 1945-1972 is an exhibition of dresses on loan from The Queen, recalling some historic events and state visits from the first half of her reign. They display diverse styles and fashions, reflecting the different aspects of her life and work. The earliest is Princess Elizabeth's Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform, from when she joined the ATS during the Second World War. As Head of State, The Queen wears evening dress under her robes when she opens Parliament, and these are represented by a Norman Hartnell gown in ivory satin, with gold beading and embroidery, worn when she opened the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington in 1963. Certain occasions dictate style, and observing Papal protocol when meeting Pope John XXIII at the Vatican during a state visit to Italy in 1961, she wore a full length black lace dress, with matching veil. The Queen is equally careful in choosing outfits for lighter occasions such as a nautical blue and white suit from when she knighted yachtsman Francis Chichester at Greenwich in 1967 after his solo voyage around the world. Representing the many entertainment functions she attends, is a dramatic off-the-shoulder black velvet evening dress worn when she met Marilyn Monroe and Bridget Bardot at the Royal Film Performance of The Battle Of The River Plate in 1956. Colourful dresses are often chosen for state visits, such as an organdie evening dress with pink silk bows and embroidered with Mayflowers, the floral emblem of Nova Scotia, worn to a banquet in Halifax during her 1959 tour of Canada. Kensington Palace until July.

Treasures From Tuscany - The Etruscan Legacy offers an insight into an ancient, highly sophisticated Pre-Roman civilisation, whose lands occupied the area between present day Rome and Florence. The exhibition comprises nearly 500 treasures from the finest collections in Tuscany, never seen in Britain before. The artefacts include gold jewellery, ceramics, sculptural figurines, armour, decorated sarcophagi and cinerary urns, terracotta and carved architectural reliefs, and rich tomb finds of bronze, amber, silver and ivory, from temples and sanctuaries. The quality of the workmanship and sensitivity of composition of these exhibits reveal a highly civilised and literate society. The Etruscans were talented builders, craftsman and engineers, who developed much of the art and technology associated with the Romans. In particular, they excelled as goldsmiths, using the decorative techniques of filigree and granulation, producing work of such quality that it has seldom been rivalled. Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh until 31st October.

Mediterranean: Between Reality And Utopia reveals how international photographers, both contemporary and historical, have used many different styles as they endeavoured to capture the essences of this diverse region. Stretching from Alexandria to Athens, Barcelona to Beirut, and Tangier to Tel Aviv, the Mediterranean unites the three continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. The sea acts as both a bridge and a divider between nations, across which culture, ideas, trade, religions, people, power and economics have moved throughout history. Since the beginning of photography the Mediterranean has been a location travelled to, and depicted by, countless photographers. Those whose work is on display include: Edouard-Denis Baldus, Gabriele Basilico, Bleda and Rosa, Christophe Bourguedieu, Martin Cole, Dimitris Constatin, Louis De Clerq, Ad van Denderen, Eric Fischl, Gunther Forg, Julie Ganzin, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Rosell Meseguer, Vesna Pavlovic, Mark Rader, Guy Raz, Xavier Ribas, Youssef Safieddine, August Sander, Sebah and Joallier, Efrat Shvily, Joel Sternfeld, Enrico Verzaschi, and Secil Yersel. The Photographer's Gallery, London until 3rd October.


Mariele Neudecker: Over And Over, Again And Again features recent works by the German born, British resident artist, who uses sculpture, film and photography to create representations of landscapes. She is perhaps best know for her atmospheric creations of landforms within glass vitrines - a sort of vegetarian alternative to Damien Hirst. There are two new vitrine works in this exhibition: 'There Go I' and 'Over and Over, Again and Again', commissioned by the Metrological Office. Both display jagged mountain ranges, composed of peaks and grottos covered with trees, and cloaked in the perpetual fog and snow of Neudecker's chemical compositions, very much in the tradition of the German Romantics. Another tank piece, 'I Don't Know How I Resisted The Urge To Run' is an eerie petrified forest just waiting for some Brothers Grimm fairytale to begin. 'Another Day' is a record of the simultaneous rising and setting of the sun on opposite ends of the globe - South East Australia and the Western Azores - displayed on a double sided lightbox. 'Winterreise' (A Winter's Journey) is a filmic response to Schubert's song cycle, the iconic work from the German Romantic 'Lieder' tradition. Neudecker has created a short film for each of the 24 movements, using locations based on the sixtieth degree of latitude that experience snowscaped winters: the Shetland Islands, Helsinki, Oslo and St. Petersburg. Tate St Ives until 26th September.

Lasting Impressions: Collecting French Impressionism For Cambridge is the inaugural exhibition in the Mellon Gallery, which forms the centrepiece of the £12m courtyard development (similar in concept to that of the British Museum) designed by John Miller. Roofing over the central area has created an additional 3,000 square metres of space, providing education rooms, a ceramics study centre, the inevitable cafe and shop, and a ground floor area that can accommodate talks, concerts and a variety of other activities. The exhibition features paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints and sculpture by all of the major Impressionists. Works by Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, Gauguin, Seurat, Boudin, Cezanne and Signac are featured, together with a large group of works by Degas, representing all aspects of his career, and all of the different media in which he worked. Highlights include pairs of paintings that show Pissarro's skill as a painter of snow; Monet's as a painter of the sea; contrasting views of Brittany by Renoir and Monet, both painted in the same year; and Degas oil paintings, ranging from a rare early landscape to his scene of two women 'au cafe', plus three of the unique waxes from which his bronze sculptures were cast. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge until 26th September.

Unlocking The Archives: 500 Years Of Seeing The World is the inaugural show of a £7.1m Lottery funded scheme which has opened one of the world's largest collections of geographical knowledge to the public for the first time in 174 years. A new study centre at the Royal Geographical Society, designed by Craig Downie, provides space for displays from the collection, comprising over two million items, including maps, photographs, books, journals, artefacts and documents, which tell the story of 500 years of geographical research and exploration. It also includes a library, reading room and archive storage up to the best contemporary standards. Among the relics from the golden age of exploration in the 19th and early 20th centuries in this exhibition are The South Polar Times, edited by Ernest Shackleton during Captain Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to Antarctica; Dr David Livingstone's watercolour sketches made the first time he saw the Victoria Falls in Africa, together with notes about the flora and fauna; a prayer wheel used by geographical 'spies' to surreptitiously record data on the first trigonometric survey of India; Charles Darwin's journals from his voyage on HMS Beagle; and the first photographs ever taken depicting Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East; plus more recent items, such as maps used for the D-Day Landings, and the diaries and photographs of Lord Hunt from the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. A new treasure trove joins the existing institutions in Exhibition Road. Royal Geographical Society until 17th September.