News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th May 2005

Commencing

Castellani And Italian Archaeological Jewellery is the first exhibition to explore in depth the artistic and scholarly contributions to jewellery made by three generations of the Castellani family in 19th century Rome. From the establishment of his workshop in 1814, Pio Castellani's appreciation of the craftsmanship of ancient jewellery, and his desire to improve contemporary Italian craft and design, drove him to pursue the rediscovery of 'lost' arts in jewellery making. These were such ancient techniques as: granulation, the applying of granules of gold to an object's surface; micromosaics, tiny plaques created from hundreds of tesserae, minute pieces of gold, silver or coloured glass; and cameos, biblical and mythological scenes carved into semi-transparent gems such as sapphires and emeralds. Castellani jewellery was at first inspired by Etruscan and early Christian art then being unearthed around Rome, but later went on to embrace Egyptian, Medieval, Renaissance and other classical and historical styles. The Castellani shop by the Trevi Fountain became a compulsory stop on the European grand tour. This exhibition includes over 150 objects, gathered from collections around the world presenting the full range of richly decorated Castellani jewellery, including broaches, necklaces, scarabs, parure and diadems. The Gilbert Collection until 18th September.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after nearly thirty years, has now fully embraced the great British maxim 'if wet in the church hall', with the opening of the Underground Gallery. The park comprises 500 acres of the landscaped grounds of Bretton Hall, designed in the 18th and 19th centuries, in which are displayed changing exhibitions of around 40 works by Henry Moore, Anthony Caro, Eduardo Chillida, Barbara Hepworth, Anthony Gormley and others. Four years ago, the Longside complex was created, when a series of barns were converted to gallery spaces by Bauman Lyons, to house the Arts Council's national collection of modern sculpture. Its temporary space is currently featuring Size Matters, an exhibition that plays with assumptions, illusions and expectation of appropriate scale, in sculpture, paintings and video. Longside was followed by a new building, designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley, which provides a new entrance, plus the inevitable visitor's centre. Now, from the same team of architects, comes the 3.5m 165ft long Underground Gallery, actually a terrace set into the hillside, like an 18th century ha ha, with one wall of glass. The opening show features a retrospective of William Turnbull's 60 year career, and the new space provides the opportunity to include in the display not just outdoor sculpture in bronze and stone, but also Turnbull's more delicate pieces, with paintings, drawings and prints displayed alongside. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield until 9th October.

Avant-Garde Graphics 1918-1934 gives an insight into the development of modern visual communication and design during the inter-war years. It was a moment of radical inventiveness in the history of art and culture in Europe, and the advance of the machine age brought with it mass production and a new sense of internationalism. This 'heroic' period of modernity found a particularly forceful expression in graphic design and photomontage, with new techniques enabling a fusion of typography, painting and photography for artistic, commercial and political ends. The Futurists were pioneers in this field, exploiting the visual dimension of the written word to dramatic effect. Drawn from one of the world's greatest collections of 20th century graphics - that of Merrill C Berman - this exhibition chronicles the evolution of the movement in works by artists related to the Dutch De Stijl group, French Dadaists, the German Bauhaus, Italian Futurists and the Constructivists of Russia and Central Europe. It comprises over 120 posters by artists including Jean Arp, Herbert Bayer, Willi Baumeister, Theo van Doesburg, John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Alexandr Rodchenko, Oskar Schlemmer, Kurt Schwitters and Piet Zwart. Estoric Collection, London until 5th June.

Continuing

Diane Maclean: Sculpture And Works On Paper is an unusual attempt by the environmental artist Diane Maclean to convey the sights and sounds that occur deep within the Earth. Eighteen metres long, and composed of eleven separate vertical shafts, a stainless steel outdoor sculpture known as 'Mountain' rises six metres high, with a 'canyon' at the centre, through which visitors can wander. The shafts are inspired by mineral composition, and reveal the molecular and crystal structure of the Earth, showing the beautiful aesthetic qualities of minerals. The sculpture's highly reflective angular steel facets are reminiscent of the surfaces of the cut gemstones and natural crystals it relates to. Peepholes in Mountain show highly magnified photographic images on paper, taken through high-powered microscopes, revealing the composition of minerals such as aerinite, and those found in a newly discovered Martian meteorite. An audio installation within the canyon space allows sounds of geological processes that occur within the planet to echo through the sculpture, adding to the atmosphere of walking through a part natural, part man made cavern. Natural History Museum until 4th September.

Queen Victoria And The Crimea - Treasures From The Royal Library charts the course of the first 'modern' war, and the public reaction to it, through material from the Royal Collection and Royal Archives. In the hundred years between the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the outbreak of the First World War, British forces fought in only one European war - the Crimean War of 1854-56. Improved communication, the advent of photography, the growth of the pictorial press, and the presence of war reporters in the Crimea, allowed the British public to follow the unfolding events of conflict for the first time. In many ways, this had a similar effect of bringing home the reality of war as that of the reporting of Vietnam in America a century later. Queen Victoria took a keen personal interest in the welfare of the soldiers, and at the conclusion of the hostilities she instituted the Victoria Cross, which remains the highest award for gallantry in the British armed forces. The display includes contemporary prints, watercolours, photographs, letters and medals. Documents show the Queen's practical concern for the wounded, sending beef tea, Windsor soap and other provisions to improve their comfort. As recorded in her own sketch on Buckingham Palace notepaper, the Queen visited soldiers at Fort Pitt Military Hospital, Chatham in 1855, and later sent the men handkerchiefs and comforters. Also among the documents on display are letters illustrating the relationship between Queen Victoria and Florence Nightingale. The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until April.

Can Buildings Curate is the first exhibition to explore the role of the gallery setting in the creation of an exhibition. This is particularly timely, since nowadays, many artists make a big deal of the fact that their latest work wasn't just created for a specific show, but for the space in which it is to be viewed. Looking back over the last century, this exhibition considers the practice of, and relationship between, artists, architects and curators. Among the site specifics here are: silicon splatter-sculptures by Neal Rock, colonising neglected areas of the gallery; an 'intervention' by curator Mathieu Copeland and artist David Cunningham in non-gallery spaces; a piece by Michael Asher, who has been creating conceptual, site-specific installation works for five decades; and works by Cerith Wyn Evans and Cai Guo-Qiang, who escape the curatorial limits of the gallery altogether and forge new life in half-forgotten structures. These come together with the designs for latest built work by the architectural office Decosterd + Rahm for the Lucy Mackintosh Gallery; and a collection of 'Indicative Projects', both built and unbuilt, by OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Diller+Scofidio, SANAA (Sejima/ Nishizawa), RSie, AS-IF, Hirsch/Muller and Zaha Hadid, architects who collaborate with artists, curators or art institutions in unorthodox ways. The whole thing is held together by fragments of an archetypal 'White Cube', today's favoured backdrop, which are scattered around the gallery. Architectural Association Gallery, 36 Bedford Square, London W1, 020 7887 4000 until 27th May.

Andreas Slominski is the first solo exhibition in London by the German artist who always shapes the works on view to the location in which they are seen. A notorious prankster, he likes to create an air of artfully manipulated mystery with his work, which is rooted in irrationality and spontaneity, with a dash of Dadaist humour. In his reaction against a world geared to streamlined efficiency and simplicity, Slominski consciously aims for maximum complexity, and uses deliberately labour intensive methods in the engineering of his pieces. He examines everyday activities, and creates preposterous inventions for carrying them out, derived from a fanatical attention to detail (hardly German at all). The other frequent component of Slominski's installations are his custom made traps and decoys, which are diverse in scale and form, depending on the prey for which they are intended - mice, birds, dogs, foxes, leopards or deer. Simultaneously sculptural and functioning objects with potential for brutality, they would work, but that is not the primary reason for their construction, as Slominski aims to ensnare onlookers through their curiosity. A unique opportunity to see objects, interventions and schemes that Slominski has devised specifically for this presentation, and experience the element of surprise that he continually delivers. Serpentine Gallery until 12th June.

World Museum Liverpool is Liverpool Museum reborn, following a 35m project that has more than doubled its size, including the restoration of the former Upper Horseshoe Gallery, destroyed by bomb damage in 1941. This houses World Cultures, which brings together more than 1,500 artefacts from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australasia and the Pacific, reflecting the city's central role in international trade, exploration and the development of the British Empire. The Bug House displays a giant animatronic spider and fly, as well as real insects - many alive and crawling - that can be viewed with video microscopes and web cams. The Discovery Centre features objects from the archaeology and ethnology collections, and visitors can handle real objects up to 5,000 years old, as well as the inevitable computer 'interactives'. The new Aquarium complex shows live fish and other creatures in a range of underwater habitats, including coral reefs and lagoons, tidal mangroves, rocky coastlines and sandy shores. The Natural History Centre explores the world of plants, animals, rocks and minerals through hands on exhibits, from tropical butterflies to a hippopotamus skull, and even a mammoth tooth. The new Treasure House Theatre will stage special events featuring archaeology, ethnology and natural science collections, as well as lectures, and music and dance performances linked to the collection. All together the new galleries are home to 20,663 objects, many of which are on public display for the first time. World Museum Liverpool from 29th April.

Danson House is an 18th century Palladian mansion that has just reopened to the public after a ten year 4m restoration programme funded by English Heritage. The house, designed by Robert Taylor, and once described as "the most significant building at risk in London", has been brought back from the verge of collapse to its former glory. This was a major task, since as well as the basic structural work needed to make the building watertight and sound, many of its original features, such as fireplaces, had been stolen during the 30 years it had been abandoned, and these had to be tracked down and retrieved. This has now been done, and the original plasterwork, colour schemes, decorations and carpets in the main rooms have been restored, and complemented with appropriate 18th century furniture. Highlights include a spectacular spiral staircase, classical wall paintings in the dining room, and an organ made by George England in the library. A second phase of work is now under way to restore the kitchens and servants quarters, and to reinstate the landscape surrounding the house to Nathanial Richmonds's original scheme, which will once again link the house with its vista to the lake and parkland beyond. Danson House, Bexleyheath continuing.

Concluding

Matisse, His Art And His Textiles: The Fabric Of Dreams is the first exhibition to explore the relationship of textile designs to Matisse's paintings. Textiles were a primary source of inspiration to Matisse throughout his life. He started acquiring fabrics from an early age, and accumulated an extraordinary collection, from traditional French fabrics to Persian carpets, African wall hangings, Moroccan embroideries and jackets. The exhibition is a selection of Matisse's fabrics and costumes, together with some 30 paintings, and a number of drawings and prints to which they relate. Alongside a display of brilliantly coloured silk swatches from Bohain are the sober low key still lifes that Matisse produced in his early years as a Beaux-Arts trained painter working within a northern tradition. The fabric that liberated Matisse in the most radical phase of his career was a length of flowered, cotton 'toile de Jouy', seen in many works, particularly 'Still Life with Blue Tablecloth' and 'Portrait of Greta Moll'. When Matisse began painting in Nice, he turned his studio into a private theatre, where models in Arab robes and turbans, silk sashes and harem pants, posed on divans, carpets and cushions in front of screens draped and dressed with lengths of fabric. Later he was galvanised by Kuba fabrics from Zaire, small raffia strips and oblongs woven into geometrical patterns that he called 'African velvets', which lie behind his last great invention, the paper cut-outs. Royal Academy of Arts until 30th May.

Gregory Crewsdon: Beneath The Roses is a group of twenty photographs from the American artist's Twilight series. They are elaborately staged, large scale tableaux, which explore the relationship between the domestic and the fantastical, between the North American landscape and the topology of the imagination. Although Crewdson describes himself as an 'an American realist landscape photographer', he makes filmic images that strongly reference television programmes such as The Twilight Zone and films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, dealing with fantasy and the paranormal. In the intensely coloured and detailed images Crewdson employs a cinematic, directorial mode of photography, the culmination of weeks of planning and complicated, behind the scenes production, described as 'single frame films'. In one image, a teenage girl stands in the street in just her underwear with shoulders hunched and head hanging low, confronted and shamed by her mother's accusatory and disappointed gaze. In other images, subjects are engrossed in odd, domestic chores, such as carving holes in the living room floor or uprooting a huge tree from the rafters of an otherwise standard bedroom. Several of the images possess narratives that are mythic in proportion, and which seem driven by a sense of quasi-religious task and ritual. Threat is everywhere and danger is a short walk down the garden path. These eerie and evocative photographs recall the films of independent American filmmakers such as David Lynch or Todd Solondz, who explore surreal suburban dysfunction and the terror that lurks beneath everyday life. White Cube Gallery, London until 21st May.

Turner Whistler Monet examines the influences and relationship between three giants of nineteenth century art - JMW Turner, James McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet - each of whom changed the course of landscape painting. Whistler and Monet were friends and both acknowledged the profound influence of Turner, adopting and working their own variations on themes developed by their artistic predecessor. Turner's atmospheric effects, often reflecting the smoke and fog filled air caused by pollution, gave rise to Whistler's Thames 'Nocturnes', in which he chose to veil the ugliness of industrial London by painting it at night, and both Turner and Whistler informed Monet's revolutionary paintings that contributed to the development of Impressionism. This exhibition focuses on their water paintings, with over 100 views of the Thames, the Seine and the city and lagoon of Venice, often with the sun piercing through the haze of post industrial pollution. It is a rare opportunity to see works that were highly controversial in their own day, but are now seen as some of the most poetic and evocative images ever produced. They employ the full range of media - oils, watercolours, pastels, etchings and lithographs - and are often in series, where the artist has returned to the same view to capture it under different lighting conditions. Tate Britain until 15th May.