Private View held by Richard Andrews
Late Turner - Painting Set Free reassess the extraordinary body of work during the final period of Britain's greatest painter, when some of his most celebrated paintings were created. The exhibition begins in 1835, the year that Joseph Mallord William Turner reached 60, and closes with his last exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1850. It demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. The show includes iconic works such as 'Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus', 'The Wreck Buoy', 'Heidelberg: Sunset' and 'Peace - Burial at Sea'. Rather than focusing on any assumptions about the pessimism of old age, Turner maintained his commitment to the observation of nature. He brought renewed energy to the exploration of the social, technological and scientific developments of modern life, in works such as 'Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway'. He also continued to engage with the religious and historical themes that linked him to the cultural traditions of his era, such as 'The Angel Standing in the Sun'. Turner consciously developed his style and technique with each subsequent painting he produced. These works were often poised equivocally between finished and unfinished, for example in a series of reworkings in oil of subjects originally published as prints in his 'Liber Studiorum'. From pictures of the whaling industry in the 1840s to 'sample studies' and finished watercolours such as 'The Blue Rigi, Sunrise', Turner constantly sought to demonstrate his appeal to new admirers. Featuring many large-scale oil paintings alongside drawings, prints and watercolour, the exhibition addresses the sheer range of materials and techniques Turner embraced, and demonstrates his radicalism. Tate Britain until 11th January.
Lee Bul is the first solo show in Britain of works by the contemporary South Korean artist. This survey of early drawings, studies, sculptural pieces and installations showcases the visually compelling and intellectually sharp works that have established Lee Bul as one of the most important artists of her generation. Early street performance-based pieces saw Lee Bul wearing full-body soft sculptures that were both alluring and grotesque. Her later female 'Cyborg' sculptures of the 1990s drew upon art history, critical theory, science fiction and popular imagination to explore anxieties arising out of dysfunctional technological advances, whilst simultaneously harking back to icons of classical sculpture. Lee Bul's recent works include sculptures suspended like chandeliers, elaborate assemblages that glimmer with crystal beads, chains and mirrors, poignantly evoke castles in the air. The sculptures reflect utopian architectural schemes of the early 20th century as well as images of totalitarianism from Lee Bul's early experiences. 'Mon grand recit: Weep into stones …' with its mountainous topography is reminiscent of skyscrapers. Scaffolding supports several scale model structures: a looping highway made of bent plywood, a tiny Tatlin's Monument, a modernist staircase that features in Fellini's La Dolce Vita, and an upturned cross-section of the Hagia Sophia. A new work 'After Bruno Taut (Devotion to Drift)' is a suspended sculpture, dripping with an excess of crystalline shapes and glass beads, referencing the exponential growth and unsustainability of the modern world. Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, until 9th November.
Horst: Photographer Of Style is a retrospective of the work of one of the leading photographers of the 20th century. In an illustrious 60 year career, German-born Horst P Horst worked predominantly in Paris and New York, creatively traversing the worlds of photography, art, fashion, design, theatre and high society. The exhibition comprises 250 photographs, alongside haute couture garments, magazines, film footage and ephemera, including previously unpublished vintage black and white prints and 94 Vogue covers. The display explores Horst's collaborations and friendships with leading couturiers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris; stars including Marlene Dietrich and Noel Coward; and artists and designers such as Salvador Dalí and Jean-Michel Frank. It also reveals lesser-known aspects of Horst's work: nude studies, travel photographs from the Middle East and patterns created from natural forms. Detailed studies of natural forms such as flowers, minerals, shells and butterfly wings from the project 'Patterns From Nature', are shown alongside kaleidoscopic collages made by arranging photographs in simple repeat, used as designs for textiles, wallpaper, carpets, plastics and glass. A selection of 25 large colour photographs, newly printed from the original transparencies demonstrating Horst's exceptional skill as a colourist are shown together with preparatory sketches that have never previously been exhibited. The creative process behind some of his most famous photographs, such as the 'Mainbocher Corset', are revealed through the inclusion of original contact sheets, sketches and cameras, and the many sources that influenced Horst - from ancient Classical art to Bauhaus ideals of modern design and Surrealism in 1930s Paris - are explored. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th January..
Virginia Woolf: Art, Life And Vision explores the life and achievements of one of Britain's most important and celebrated writers of the 20th century. Virginia Woolf was a very significant thinker, who played a pivotal role at the heart of modernism. The exhibition, featuring over 140 items, comprising painted portraits, sculpture, photographs, drawings, personal objects and rare archival material, explores her achievements as a novelist, intellectual, campaigner and public figure. The display looks at Woolf's early life, literary interests, her fascination with London, awareness of modernity, and her developing feminist and political views. These are brought into focus through letters to and from her friends and acquaintances, extracts from her personal diaries, and original books that were first printed through the Hogarth Press, which she founded with Leonard Woolf in 1917. Highlights of the display include portraits of Woolf by her Bloomsbury Group contemporaries, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry; a collection of photographs by Beresford, Man Ray, and Beck and McGregor who photographed her for Vogue; one of Picasso's 'Weeping Woman' drawings created specifically for a Spanish Civil War fundraising event in which Woolf took part; and the letters that she wrote to her sister and to her husband shortly before she died. The exhibition also features portraits of those she was closest to, including a selection of intimate photographs recording her time spent with friends, family and literary peers. National Portrait Gallery until 26th October.
Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for 6 miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include Illuminasia, combining the craft of traditional Chinese lanterns with modern lighting, in the historic Winter Gardens, featuring ´The Mysteries Of China´, ´The Blackpool Experience´, ´The Planetarium´, ´Land Of The Giants´, ´Under The Sea´ and ´The Wonders Of The World´, complete with a 13 metre high model of Blackpool Tower; Alice's Garden, drawing on the story of Alice In Wonderland with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and a magical water garden; Dynamo, with multiple and ever changing spinning colours in a whirlwind of light; and Brain Box, a giant interactive walk through light box showing how the brain functions; plus old favourites renewed and improved. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 9th November.
Enduring War: Grief, Grit And Humour examines how people both at home and on the front line coped with life during the First World War: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. With personal objects, such as letters, a handkerchief bearing lyrics for 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary', and schoolboy essays reacting to airship raids over London, as well as recruitment posters, magazines and even a knitting pattern for balaclavas, the exhibition considers themes such as humour, faith, comradeship and family, and looks at the contribution so many made to the war effort. Key items in the exhibition include a letter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his mother describing his worries about his son serving at the Front, written in the light of his belief in Spiritualism; a letter written from the Trenches by the poet Isaac Rosenberg; and the original manuscripts of other well known war poets, such as Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier'. Exploring the importance of humour during the war as a way to express or mask anxieties, the exhibition includes a selection of caricatures, cartoons, humorous Christmas cards, a romance novel set in a munition factory and trench journals, magazines full of in-jokes and dark humour created at the Front to lift the troops' spirits. In a poignant conclusion the exhibition explores the grief expressed over the millions of lives lost during the First World War: a soldier's last letter home as he goes into battle, alongside manuscripts of Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', Vaughan Williams' 'A Pastoral Symphony' and Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen'. The British Library until 12th October.
Joan Fontcuberta: Stranger Than Fiction is the first major exhibition in Britain of work by the contemporary Catalan artist. It is an eye-opening collection of photographs and artefacts in which Joan Fontcuberta subtly questions the use of the photographic image as evidence, by combining visually compelling and mischievous narratives with an acute, deadpan humour. Using the visual languages of journalism, advertising, museum displays and scientific journals, these convincing yet subversive works are an investigation into photography's authority and our inclination to believe what we see. The exhibition features some of Fontcuberta's best known works, including photographs, film, dioramas, scientific reports and related ephemera. A youth under the Franco dictatorship and an early career in advertising piqued Fontcuberta's interest in the use of the photographic image as a storytelling tool, which developed into a life-long creative interrogation of photography's veracity. In constantly shifting his methods to encompass new developments in photographic practice, Fontcuberta remains one of the most innovative practitioners in his field. With highlights including astonishing photographs of mermaid fossils and incredible reports on mysterious fauna, the display presents six conceptually independent narratives from Fontcuberta's body of work, a visual universe in which the real and the imagined combine to startling effect. Science Museum, London, until 9th November.
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.
Time: Tattoo Art Today features original artworks by some of the world's most influential contemporary tattoo artists. The exhibition presents specially commissioned works from 70 tattoo artists including Ed Hardy, Horiyoshi III, Paul Booth, Rose Hardy, Chris Garver, Ami James, Morg, Theo Mindell, Fillip Leu and Mister Cartoon, curated by fellow tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe and publisher Miki Vialetto. Each artist created a completely new work on the theme of Time, working with any medium and on any canvas apart from their usual surface of skin. The resulting collection ranges from oil painting, watercolours and traditional Japanese silk painting to paint layering on real skulls, airbrush and bronze sculpture. Time and all it infers (such as life and death) is a classic, common motif in tattoo art, expressed through a vast variety of iconographic combinations. For example, the popular inkings of butterflies, blossoms and the handled cross signify life, while memento moris such as skulls or the goddess Kali denote death. Many of these symbols are present in the striking original pieces displayed here. Somerset House, London, until 5th October.
Mondrian And Colour is the first major exhibition to consider the significance of colour during the early career of the 20th century Dutch artist. The exhibition traces Piet Mondrian's use of colour as he moved from depicting reality in studies of the Dutch landscape to pioneer something completely new and controversial in abstraction. In addition to his influence on the development of abstraction in painting, Mondrian's influence stretched to the worlds of fashion and design. Bringing together around 50 paintings, the show demonstrates that Mondrian's abstract works were not simply mathematical exercises in form, but also expressed his search for a new universal harmony. Colour underpinned Mondrian's work, from the early days painting landscapes in the Netherlands, to the later works where colour was separated from its function of creating shading or volume. His most famous works, the 'grids' use simple lines and the primary colours red, yellow and blue to create this 'universal harmony', separating colour and subject from reality, transforming the material world into something spiritual. Major works in the exhibition include 'The Red Mill', 'Composition with Red, Blue, Black, Yellow and Grey' and 'Composition with Blue and Yellow'. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate, until 21st September.
Art And Life: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, William Staite Murray, 1920 - 1931 features early works by two painters at the forefront of the 20th century Modern British movement. The exhibition focuses on Ben and Winifred Nicholson's prolific output during their ten year marriage, and considers their work in the context of a unique artistic influence and friendship with contemporaries Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and William Staite Murray. It offers a rare opportunity to see the couple's parallel views of the same landscapes, seascapes, still-lifes and portraits. Grouped by location, the show focuses on their time spent painting in London, Lugano, Switzerland, Cumberland and Cornwall, and features work by the artists they encountered and painted alongside. The exhibition presents over 80 works, 15 of which are being displayed publicly for the first time, including Ben's 'Still Life' and Winifred's 'Flowers in a Glass Jar'. Ben and Winifred's approach was influenced by fellow artists and friends. Ben and Christopher Wood often painted the same landscapes and their paintings of Northrigg Hill are displayed alongside Winifred's earlier painting of the same scene. A chance meeting with Alfred Wallis in St Ives led to the artists painting side by side, and works such as 'The Schooner the Beata, Penzance, Mount's Bay' and 'Newlyn Harbour and Four Luggers and a Lighthouse' provide a fascinating contrast to the group's oils and drawings. Throughout the show there are ceramics by the avant-garde potter William Staite Murray, including 'Cadence' and 'Persian Garden'. Inspired by the Nicholsons in his approach to aesthetic pottery, his works are as much influenced by their art, as their paintings are by his pots. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 21st September.
Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter is a retrospective that captures the wide range of work by an influential and inspirational artist and designer, who seems to have 'fallen out' of the history of 20th century British design. Born in 1904 in Chile, Peggy Angus moved to London with her family when she was a young child, and at just 17 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, based on her accomplished illustrations. In 1933 Angus moved into Furlongs, on the Sussex Downs near Lewes, and her home became a meeting place and creative hub for Eric Ravilious, John Piper and many other artists, who, as well as creating their own work, were invited to contribute to the interior decoration of the house itself. Throughout her life, Angus was an important mentor, teacher and collaborator for a great number of artists. The exhibition includes her early illustrations, portraits, such as Eric Ravilious, Helen Binyon, and her husband J M Richards, landscape paintings, sketch books, furniture, and her Modernist design work with wallpapers and tiles, together with films and photographs of her abstract wall tile murals created in a number of public buildings in the 1950s. Towner, Eastbourne, until 21st September.