News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th March 2008

Commencing

Science Museum Library and Archives has reopened after a £2.5m reorganisation, which has seen the construction of a new state of the art facility near Swindon, which holds the Library's original works by great scientists and engineers from the 15th century to the present day. The Library's collection on the history and biography of science and technology is held at a revamped space within Imperial College Library at South Kensington. The reopening on two sites secures the long term future for the collection, which was founded in 1883 and currently contains over 600,000 items. Among the priceless treasures that can now be viewed by both scholars and the general public are: a signed copy of the first edition of Albert Einstein's 'General Theory of Relativity'; Sir Isaac Newton's 'Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica', which laid down his theory of gravity; the first Latin translation of 'Ptolemy's Amalgest', which reintroduced theories of astronomy and planetary motion in a geocentric system; the only known copy in the world of Andrew Snape's 'Snape's Purging Pill for Horses: with his Cordial Pouder, and Ointments'; Nasa's final flight plan for Apollo 11 and the first moon landing, signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin; the archive of James Watt, spanning subjects from chemistry to Christianity; original drawings by Charles Babbage, whose 'calculating engine' laid the foundation of modern computing; and the papers of Barnes Wallis, including material relating to the Dam Busters 'bouncing bomb'. Science Museum Swindon, Wroughton, Swindon and Imperial College Library, South Kensington, continuing.

Hugh Stoneman Master Printer is a retrospective of a career of over 30 years, during which Stoneman was renowned for his unique collaborations with other artists. Working in dialogue with painters, photographers and sculptors, Stoneman ensured that, through the intrinsic artistic qualities of print media, their work found new relationships between image and material. What made Stoneman unique was the breadth of his experience. An expert in etching, photogravure, woodcut, linocut, letterpress, and lithography, he put the complex knowledge and arcane equipment of the old time master printer - the copper plates, ink, scrim, wool blankets, dampened paper, presses - at the disposal of the most experimental contemporary artists. These ranged from Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Sandra Blow and Ian McKeever to Eve Arnold, Gary Hume, George Shaw and Grayson Perry, as well as some significant European and Middle-Eastern figures such as Arturo Di Stefano, Cesar Galicia and the Estate of Iraqi politician, Kamil Chadirji. The exhibition revisits some of Stoneman's key collaborations, and showcases his ability to work in an extraordinary range of expressive styles. Stoneman was mainly concerned with portfolios of prints containing sequences of linked images that gather their own inner momentum, likened to 'small but complete, portable exhibitions'. Tate St Ives until 11th May.

The Agony And The Ecstasy: Guido Reni's Saint Sebastians provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all together six of the seven St Sebastians painted by Guido Reni in the 17th century. The paintings from Madrid, Genoa, Rome, Ponce in Puerto Rico and Auckland in New Zealand can be seen in one room, alongside one of the best known works in the permanent collection (the seventh is in the Louvre and is too fragile to travel). Reni's paintings of the saint are remarkable as they respond to a religious subject by means of a sexually charged image. He painted several versions of St Sebastian following two main prototypes (or poses), and scholars have long debated the exact relationships between these canvasses. As well as providing the chance to compare and contrast the different versions, the exhibition sets out to establish the provenance of the works, and reveals the results of recent technical analysis, dispelling myths about copies, and also describes significant advances in what is known of early 17th century Italian patronage, painting, and cultural reputations. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 7th May.

Continuing

Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution In Photography is the first major retrospective of one of the great figures of early 20th century avant-garde art, and one of its most versatile practitioners. After gaining an international reputation as a painter, sculptor and graphic artist, Rodchenko turned to photography in the early 1920s, convinced that it would become the artistic medium of his era. Featuring over 120 original prints and photomontages, together with posters and magazine designs, this exhibition traces the development of Rodchenko's photography over a period of two decades, during which he created many classic works of Russian and world photography. Pioneering a new vocabulary of bold and unusual camera positions, severe foreshortenings of perspective, and close up views of surprising details, Rodchenko's photography balanced formal concerns with an interest in the social and political life of the Soviet Union. Whether making individual portraits, studies of modern architecture and industry, or pictures of mass demonstrations and entertainments, Rodchenko infused his images with a startlingly dynamic point of view that influenced the growth of an experimental aesthetic in European photography of the late 1920s and 1930s. Applying the principles of Constructivism to photography, Rodchenko employed oblique angles, and used bird's eye and worm's eye points of view, to make buildings, people and machines look like abstract compositions. The exhibition explores life on the streets of Moscow, sports parades and the Soviet obsession with healthy body culture, the spectacle of the circus, and portraits of fellow artists. Hayward Gallery until 27th April.

Mona Marzouk: The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Energy's Evil is the first solo exhibition in Britain of the work of the contemporary Egyptian painter, sculptor and installation artist Mona Marzouk. In her work Marzouk tackles universal themes by reassembling varied influences, including architectural histories, mythology, past civilisations and technology. Revealing an ability to easily combine such diverse sources as Egyptian hieroglyphs and Manga comics, she imagines an alternative to cultural difference - a 'hybridised future'. For this exhibition Marzouk has created a new specific installation 'The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Energy's Evil', a dramatic parody of an ailing mother nature. Tackling issues pertaining to energy as the currency of power and life, it comprises two large scale wall paintings, audio elements, and an animated short film. The piece presents a humorously fantastical, but somewhat sinister zone, where fuels, production facilities, animals and architectural landmarks have become metaphorical fusions. An animated quasi-mammal hybrid, with whale like characteristics, lies washed up on an alien shore, its call spreading an ambience of disillusionment, while elsewhere, an unusual crawler with a multitude of limbs seems to have developed a hump that resembles a certain bridge. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, until 27th April.

Pompeo Batoni 1708 - 1787 provides an opportunity to rediscover the work of the artist who, in his day, was the most celebrated painter in Rome. For nearly half a century, Batoni recorded international travellers' visits to Italy on the Grand Tour, in portraits that remain among the most memorable artistic accomplishments of the period. Equally gifted as a history painter, his religious and mythological works were acquired by patrons and collectors in Britain and Europe. This exhibition, which marks the tercentenary of Batoni's birth, is the first comprehensive presentation of his paintings in forty years. It provides an appreciation of the artistic achievement of 'Italy's Last Old Master,' through 62 of the finest examples available in the public and private collections. Batoni's status as Rome's most sought after painter of both portraits and history paintings, is demonstrated by works never previously publicly exhibited, as well as newly discovered and recently restored works. Highlights include portraits of 'Colonel the Hon William Gordon', 'Sir Gregory Page-Turner, 3rd Bt', 'Sir Humphry Morice', 'Sarah, Lady Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Bt, Thomas Apperley, and Captain Edward Hamilton'; the religious paintings 'The Ecstasy of St Catherine' and 'Bernardo Tolomei Attending a Victim of the Black Death'; and the mythological works 'The Death of Meleager' and 'Truth and Mercy'. National Gallery until 18th May.

Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia charts the artistic and personal relationships of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Francis Picabia, and explores the affinities and parallels in their work, showing how they responded to each others' ideas and innovations. The godfathers of conceptual art, they created the Dada movement in New York during the First World War, and unusually in modern art, remained friends throughout their lives. At the heart of this friendships lay a shared outlook on life, manifested in their works through jokes and a sense of irony, iconoclastic gestures, and an interest in eroticism. Picabia was a painter, Man Ray worked in all media but became celebrated as a photographer, and Duchamp abandoned the life of a professional artist, yet became a revered figure for later artists. The exhibition features seminal early works such as Duchamp's iconic 'Fountain' and 'Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2)'; Picabia's 'I See Again in My Memory My Dear Udnie' and 'Femmes Au Bull Dog'; and Man Ray's 'The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows'. Covering the period to the end of their careers, the show features Duchamp's 'ready mades' and optical experiments, Man Ray's 'rayographs' (cameraless photographs), iconic photographs of the interwar years, and examples of his many objects, and a selection of Picabia's 'monster' and 'dot' paintings. Films by all three artists are also being shown, including 'Entr'acte', which was scripted by Picabia and in which all have cameo appearances. A display devoted to the artists' friendships, includes photographs, letters, books and magazines. Tate Modern until 26th May.

Ruination: Photographs Of Rome is an exhibition that brings together a series of arresting images of the architecture of ancient Rome, in its varying stages of decay and restoration, produced by pioneering photographers from the mid 19th century, and their successors in the late 20th century. Rome has been a compelling subject for photographers since the medium's earliest days, which made the recording of exotic architectural topography more accessible, as instanced by Robert McPherson's photograph of the Marcellus Theatre in its ruined glory in 1860. Images of Rome originally served as forms of truthful witness to the artistic splendours of the past. Once valued as replications of antique architecture and sculpture in situ, it is now their extraordinary power as images - their technical and artistic subtlety - that allow them to transcend their function as homages to the city. Contemporary photographers whose works are featured alongside those of the pioneers of the medium include Olivio Barbieri, Richard Billingham, Fiona Crisp and John Riddy. Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, until 6th April.

Masterpieces From The Louvre: The Collection Of Louis La Caze is an opportunity for London to view 16 of the great 17th and 18th century paintings left to the Louvre in Paris by the philanthropist Louis La Caze. The exhibition also provides an insight into the history of taste and collecting, since La Caz was an almost exact contemporary of the 4th Marquess of Hertford, who acquired the great majority of the paintings in the Wallace Collection. It reveals that the choices they made when building their collections could not have been more different. This show juxtaposes their selections, offering a unique chance to compare and contrast, and also to view paintings by Chardin, who is not represented in the resident collection at all. Highlights include one of the masterpieces of 17th century Spanish painting, Ribera's 'Le Pied-Bot (The Boy with the Club Foot)', and Velazquez's 'Infanta Maria Teresa', both making their first visit to Britain, which can be seen alongside other works by Velazquez, Murillo and Alonso Cano; and 18th century French paintings such as Watteau's 'Jupiter and Antiope', Chardin's 'Le Benedicitie, and two of Fragonard's figures de fantasie, 'L'inspiration' and 'l'Etude', together with works by Pater, Lancret, Rigaud, Nattier and Boucher. Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London, until 18th May.

Concluding

Marcel Broodthaers is the most comprehensive exhibition of work by the renowned Belgian artist to be seen in Britain for nearly 30 years. Marcel Broodthaers was a poet, photographer, film maker and artist, and throughout his career challenged the role of the artwork, the artist and the art institution. Considered to be one of the most important artists of the last century, Broodthaers' work and thinking is highly influential on many artists working today. His art lay in the evocative cross associations set up by combining disparate objects, texts and drawings, in ways that made the mundane mysterious. This exhibition explores the diversity of Broodthaers' practice including books, editions, objects, 'assemblage sculptures', projections and paintings. It features several works never seen in the UK before, including his first artwork, 'Pense Bete', which addresses his enduring concerns about form and language and the construction of meaning. The highlight of the show is 'Miroir d'Epoque Regency', comprised of twelve different 'sections', founded with the 19th century section in his Brussels house. The mirror reflects the gallery and viewer back on themselves, questioning the role of the institution and the visitor within it. The exhibition also includes examples of his renowned shell works - mussels and eggs - as in 'Grande Casserole de Moules', and '289 Coquilles d'Oeufs'. The egg and mussel shell became a recurrent symbol in Broodthaers's work as a means of questioning the social function of the artwork - as Broodthaers announced "Everything is eggs. The world is eggs". (Funny, I thought that was Patricia Hayes in the 1950s Tony Hancock egg commercials.) Milton Keynes Gallery until 30th March.

Weapons Of Mass Communication: War Posters explores the relationship between advertising, publicity and government propaganda and policy, from the First World War onwards. The exhibition examines how the greatest designers and advertisers of the day tried to influence the wills of soldier and civilian alike. In the early part of the 20th century, the best posters were always striking, memorable, direct and often beautiful, but they served to carry the most potent of government messages. By the latter part of the 20th century, the poster had become a significant tool of protest and counter-culture, with shocking and sometimes satirical protest posters used by Peace, anti-Nuclear and anti-Vietnam campaigners. The exhibition includes some 300 works, from the iconic images of Alfred Leete's Lord Kitchener recruitment poster, and Savile Lumley's 'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?', and previously unseen works by pioneering German graphic artists such as Julius Gipkens, Ludwig Hohlwein and Abel Faivre, through Spanish Civil War posters by artists Pedrero and Josep Renau, and the different approaches and themes adopted by each of the allies and Germany during the Second World War, to landmark protest works, such as 'Stop Nuclear Suicide' by FHK Henrion and Peter Kennard's 'No Cruise Missiles Here', and the influential, contemporary graphics of Leon Kuhn and David Gentleman. Imperial War Museum until 30th March.

Jean Prouve - The Poetics Of The Technical Object is the first comprehensive overview of the radical, innovative and influential work of the French designer and engineer to be staged in Britain. Prouve worked as both a designer and manufacturer, producing everything from bicycles for the French resistance to folded sheet steel armchairs, and prefabricated housing in the time of post Second World War reconstruction. He was a pioneering architect who invented High Tech design, and was responsible for the selection of Richard Rodgers and Renzo Piano to design the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the building that firmly established the movement. The exhibition is a comprehensive survey of Prouve's life and work, from his early career as a blacksmith, through the establishment of his factory producing components and structures, to later work as a consultant engineer. Architectural models, drawings, photographs and films are displayed alongside full scale structures, together with over 50 examples of his furniture designs. Prouve's fluid, functional designs developed not only the aesthetic possibilities of aluminium and steel, but also their economic and social applications. The exhibition demonstrates his central role in pioneering the use of metal in the mass production of both furniture and buildings in the 20th century. Design Museum until 25th March.