Private View held by Richard Andrews
Terror And Wonder: The Gothic Imagination offers a glimpse of the fascinating and mysterious world of the terrifying and the macabre. Marking 250 years since Horace Walpole's 'The Castle of Otranto' caused a sensation and inspired the new genre, the exhibition celebrates the many literary masterpieces produced in Britain ever since, as well as modern interpretations of the Gothic in popular culture today. Rare objects including posters, books, film and even a vampire-slaying kit, reveal the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives. The exhibition features the original manuscripts and rare and personal editions of such iconic Gothic works as Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', as well as the work of contemporary writers influenced by the genre, including Angela Carter, Mervyn Peake, Clive Barker and Sarah Waters. Highlights also include the dark and Gothic-inspired artworks of influential painters, including Henry Fuseli, William Blake and Philip James de Loutherbourg, contrasted against modern art and photography, costumes and movies, from the Chapman Brothers to Stanley Kubrick. Tracing Gothic fiction's journey, the exhibition explores how this literature has been an important reflection of society's attitudes, angst and fears. From the dark days of the French Revolution, when writers pushed boundaries with shocking novels such as 'The Monk', to the explosion of Gothic in the 20th century and its influence on the art and culture we enjoy today, the display questions the continuing fascination with the dark and the monstrous. The British Library until 20th January.
Sense And Sensuality: Art Nouveau 1890 - 1914 explores the drama and spectacle of contemporary life at the turn of the 20th century. The show embraces the at times risque sensuality of Art Nouveau, featuring a wide range of works from sculpture, graphics and books, to ceramics, glass and furniture. Early examples include Felix Vallotton's original poster 'L'Art Nouveau', the first public presentation of the name; and Aubrey Vincent Beardsley's 'Salome' prints, which many believe to be the first true works in the style. Masterpieces by Alphonse Mucha, Maurice Bouval, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Francois- Raoul Larche, Paul Francois Berthoud, Jean-Joseph Carries and others, make this an exceptional display of fin de siecle art and design. The period 1890 to 1914, which saw the rise and fall of Art Nouveau, has often been depicted as an age that represented the end of many things, but it was also an age of beginnings. It was a turbulent time: millions of people migrated to rapidly growing cities, becoming urban dwellers in a modernised environment. This exhibition explores this intense emotional maelstrom, focusing on personal and sexual liberation, women and the rise of feminism, youth revolution, the questioning of organised religion, eroticism and an exploration of mythology, novel art forms, psychology and dreams, narcotics and the concept of mass manufactured art. Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts, Norwich, until 14th December.
Anselm Kiefer is the first major British retrospective of the work of one of the most important German artists of the latter part of the 20th century. The exhibition presents the epic scale of Anselm Kiefer's artwork and the breadth of media he has used throughout his 40 year career, including painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Kiefer has created a number of pieces specifically for this exhibition, showcasing his continued interest in seeking new challenges and producing ever more ambitious works. Kiefer's fascination with history and the work of past masters permeates his subject matter. From mythology to the Old and New testaments, Kabbalah, alchemy, philosophy and the poetry of Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, Kiefer's work wrestles with the darkness of German history and considers the complex relationship between art and spirituality. His technical use of materials such as clay, ash, earth, lead, fabric and dried flowers amongst others, adds further symbolism and depth to his work. Highlights include photographs and paintings from the controversial 'Occupations' and 'Heroic Symbols' series recording Kiefer's re-enactment of the Nazi salute in locations across Europe, made in the belief that one must confront rather than supress the experiences of history; paintings from his 'Attic' series including 'Father, Son and the Holy Ghost' and 'Notung', depicting renderings of wooden interior spaces based on the studio space he was occupying in Walldurn-Hornbach; and monumental architectural paintings, such as 'To the Unknown Painter', reflecting on the neo-classicist buildings of Hitler's architect Albert Speer. The exhibition considers the key themes and the diverse, personal iconography that Kiefer has created in his work and the influence of place on his pieces. Royal Academy until 14th December.
Constable: The Making Of A Master explores the sources, techniques and legacy of the work of one of Britain's best loved artists, revealing the hidden stories behind the creation of some of his most well known paintings. The exhibition juxtaposes John Constable's work with the art of 17th century masters of the classical landscape whose compositional ideas and formal values he revered. The display brings together over 150 works, comprising oil sketches, drawings, watercolours and engravings, including such celebrated works as 'The Hay Wain', 'The Cornfield', 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' and 'The Leaping Horse', plus oil sketches Constable painted outdoors directly from nature, which are unequalled in capturing transient effects of light and atmosphere. Constable was schooled in the old masters, meticulously copying their work and reflecting on their compositions in his individual style. On display are paintings including 'Moonlight Landscape' by Rubens and 'Landscape with a Pool' by Gainsborough, which inspired his early work. Constable made a number of close copies of the old masters, and Claude's 'Landscape with a Goatherd and Goats' and Ruisdael's 'Windmills near Haarlem', as well as etchings and drawings by Herman van Swanevelt and Alexander Cozens, are displayed alongside Constable's direct copies, many of which are brought together for the first time since they were produced almost 200 years ago. In the last decade of his life Constable and the engraver David Lucas collaborated on a series of mezzotints after his paintings, and a group of these prints are shown together with the original oil sketches on which they were based. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th January.
Buddha's Word: The Life Of Books In Tibet And Beyond brings together some of the world's oldest Buddhist manuscripts and art from around the world. The exhibition follows the journey of Buddha's words in three different spaces. In the first, a Himalayan Buddhist Altar demonstrates an exploration of the text as sacred object, as a relic of the Buddha. The second shows how Tibetan books are made and analysed, investigating the long history of printing in Tibet and the recent discoveries made by scientists and scholars about the pigments used. The final section traces the journeys taken by Buddha's word from India, across Asia, to places such as Sri Lanka and Japan, Mongolia and Taiwan, taking different material forms in different places. Many of the artefacts, statues, prints and manuscripts in the exhibition have never been on public display before. These include some of the oldest illuminated Buddhist manuscripts dating back to the 11th century, as well as specimens of skillfully illuminated wooden covers; a quartet of scroll paintings brought back from the infamous Younghusband Expedition; and a gift from the 13th Dalai Lama. This exhibition tells the story of the transformation of Buddha's words, from palmleaf, to paper, to digital dharma. It focuses on books, not just as objects of learning and study, but as relics of the Buddha, and sacred objects in their own right. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge, until 17th January.
The Art Of The Brick endeavors to turn the humble LEGO building brick into works of art. Nathan Sawaya's exhibition is created with millions of LEGO building blocks and is unique in its scope, with 80 sculptures ranging from new conceptual pieces to three dimensional replicas of iconic classical artworks. The results look rather like pixilated images of the real things. Highlights range from a full size man ripping his chest open with his insides spilling out and a semi submerged swimmer, through a 7ft pencil, a hand reaching out from a computer screen to hit the keyboard and a 20ft dinosaur, to Michaelangelo's David, the Venus de Milo, the Creation of Adam, taken from the Sistine Chapel, Rodan's Thinker and Edvard Munch's The Scream. Incidentally, that's 16,349 bricks for David, 18,483 for Venus, 1,948 for Adam, 4,332 for the Thinker and 3,991 for The Scream. Whether this can actually be described as art (and whether Sawaya is actually an artist or simply a snake oil salesman) is up to the viewer. The display brings to mind Gunther von Hagens's Body Worlds, although it is slightly less alarming. To paraphrase Johnson, it may not be art done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all. Old Truman Brewery, Loading Bay, Ely's Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London E1, until 4th January.
Ming: 50 Years That Changed China explores a pivotal period that transformed China during the rule of the Ming dynasty. In the years between 1400 and 1450 in China bureaucrats replaced military leaders in the hierarchy of power, the emperor's role changed from autocrat to icon, and the decision was taken to centralise, rather than devolve, power. China's internal transformation and connections with the rest of the world led to a flourishing of creativity from what was, at the time, the only global superpower, evidenced here through gold, silver, paintings, porcelains, sculpture, ceramics, silk hanging scrolls, weapons, costumes, furniture and textiles. This is the first exhibition to explore the great social and cultural changes in China that established Beijing as a capital city and the building of the Forbidden City - still the national emblem on coins and military uniforms today. As well as the imperial court, the exhibition focuses on archaeological finds from three regional princely tombs: in Sichuan, Shandong and Hubei covering southwest, northeast and central China. Four emperors ruled China in this period, and the exhibition includes the sword of the Yongle Emperor, "the warrior"; the handwriting of the Hongxi emperor, "the bureaucrat";the paintings of the Xuande emperor, "the aesthete"; and portraits of the officials who ruled while the Zhengtong emperor was a boy. In addition to the costumes of the princes, their gold and jewellery, and furniture, the exhibition also covers court life, the military, culture, beliefs, trade and diplomacy. British Museum until 5th January.
The Influence Of Furniture On Love is an exhibition of works made in response to the rooms of a 17th century farmhouse by a selection of artists who have stayed there. The title of the exhibition is taken from an unpublished essay by the economist John Maynard Keynes entitled "Can we consume our surplus or the influence of furniture on love", discussing whether it is possible for the rooms within which we live to "suggest to us thoughts and feelings and occupations". The Grade II Listed farmhouse, which was built reputedly from timbers of ships salvaged from the sinking of the Spanish Armada in 1588, has hosted many hundreds of artists since the Wysing organisation was founded 25 years ago. Artists live, sleep and eat there, and together they discuss the works that they are developing during residencies and retreats. The exhibition features works by An Endless Supply, Ruth Beale, Juliette Blightman, Ben Brierley, Céline Condorelli, Jessie Flood-Paddock, Luca Frei, Gil Leung, Seb Patane, Florian Roithmayr, Phil Root, Laure Prouvost, Cally Spooner, The Grantchester Pottery, Philomene Pirecki , Elizabeth Price, Mark Aerial Waller, Neal White and Lisa Wilkens. Wysing Arts Centre, Fox Road, Bourne, Cambridge, until 2nd November.
A World To Win - Posters Of Protest And Revolution looks at a century of posters agitating for political change. From the 'Votes for Women' campaigns of the early 20th century, through campus demonstrations in the 1960s, to the recent 'Occupy' movements, political activists around the world have used posters to mobilise, educate and organise. Making or displaying a poster is in itself a means of taking political action, while for many social and political movements posters have represented an important form of cultural output. Themes of protest and political participation have gained a powerful contemporary resonance in the wake of the Arab Spring and the global financial crisis. This display of posters, bills, placards and polemical papers covers a century particularly redolent with protest. The imagery of radicalism goes beyond political party or ideology, and at times, adversaries use the same motifs. For instance, propaganda by the Nazis, the Soviets, and later the Hungarian revolutionaries employ strikingly similar images of hulking labourers smashing up the establishment. A section on 'subvertising' exhibits protesters' doctoring or parodying of corporate logos to administer a good kicking to multinational companiess. This display is a quiet reminder of the power of clever design. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd November.
Ming: The Golden Empire examines the era that was the starting point of modern China. The exhibition comprises a collection of around 150 original artefacts that introduce key aspects of the Ming dynasty, the world's largest, wealthiest, most cultured, and most populous empire, focussing on the remarkable cultural, technological and economic achievements of the period. Exquisite luxury items and rare objects reveal the wealth and opulence of the Ming imperial court, which lasted 276 years, from 1368 to 1644. These include the iconic blue and white porcelain with which the Ming period is synonymous, as well as sumptuous silk textiles, gold and jades, and rare examples of elaborately enamelled cloisonne. A richly coloured painting from the early Ming illustrates the symbolic grandeur and geometrical order of Beijing's newly-built Forbidden City, the imperial seat for emperors and their households for the following five centuries, and the world's largest palace complex. Artworks by leading painters reveal the preoccupations of Ming society's cultural elite, from courtesans to dreams of escape from official life. The Ming was also a period of social transformation, resulting in a thriving consumer culture in which many forms of visual art and handicraft flourished. Beautiful furniture, musical instruments, Buddhist artefacts and items of personal adornment bring to life the elegant tastes and concerns of this gilded age. Investigating the prosperous Ming economy and its effects on social order and cultural systems during the 16th and 17th centuries, the exhibition also reflects on the legacy the Ming has left Chinese culture. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 19th October.
American Impressionism: A New Vision explores the impact of French Impressionism on American artists in the late 19th century. The exhibition brings together nearly 80 paintings by some of America's most celebrated artists, such as James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt. It also features the work of a number of significant artists who are less well known in Britain, among them Theodore Robinson, Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, Edmund Tarbell and John Twachtman. Paintings by the major French artists Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot and Edgar Degas demonstrate how closely the Impressionists worked with their American colleagues. The exhibition reflects the impact of Impressionism on both Americans working abroad in the 1880s, and those working at home in the following decade. Cassatt and Sargent, who cultivated friendships with Monet and Degas, participated in the development and promotion of this revolutionary new way of painting. More than any other American artist working in France Mary Cassatt helped to shape Impressionism through her friendships with Degas and Morisot, participating in four Impressionist exhibitions. In America, Hassam, Chase, Tarbell and Twachtman adapted Impressionism by responding to the new subject matter, compositions and colours of the movement in scenes depicting their native country and creating a new vision for an American audience. Their subjects included New York parks, East Coast beaches, New England villages and the image of the American woman. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 19th October.
Primrose: Early Colour Photography In Russia examines colour experiments and developments in photography spanning the 1860s through to the 1980s. In tracing these technical and artistic advancements, the exhibition also moves through the social history of Russia itself. The display features over 140 works looking at different periods and their prevailing photographic aesthetics. The earliest photographs are from when tinting of prints with watercolour and oil paints was undertaken by hand. Initially used for portraits, this technique was extended to architectural, landscape and industrial subject matter. In the early 20th century, under the patronage of Tsar Nicholas II, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky travelled the country to capture its vastness and diversity, while nobleman Pyotr Vedenisov provided valuable insights into the lifestyle of the Russian elite. After the Revolution, photomontage, such as those by Varvara Stepanova, became central to the state agenda allowing for the communication of new Soviet myths to a largely illiterate population. The later works of Alexander Rodchenko, featuring pictures of sporting and art events taken in a pictorial style, provided a way to express his disillusionment with the notion of a Soviet utopia. In the mid-1950s photography moved closer to everyday reality as seen in Dmitri Baltermants' pictures. At the same time hand-tinted portraits began appearing, taken anonymously, as private photo studios were still forbidden. Referencing these anonymous studio portraits Boris Mikhailov looked to expose Soviet ideology through humour and stereotypical imagery. Photographers Gallery, 16 - 18 Ramillies Street, London W1,until 19th October.