News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th July 2004


Mummy: The Inside Story is a unique project that unlocks the secrets of a 3,000 year old mummy to help visitors understand the civilisation of ancient Egypt through a virtual reality experience. The mummy of Nesperennub, a priest from the temple of Khons who lived in 800 BC has undergone the first ever 'virtual unwrapping'. Using leading edge computer technology and state of the art medical scanning techniques, the mysteries of Nesperennub's mummy are revealed non-invasively, without opening the case and disturbing the carefully arranged wrappings and amulets. The exhibition starts with an introduction about the world of ancient Egypt, the practice of mummification, and how 3D technology can reveal the secrets of an unopened mummy case. The 20 minute virtual reality experience is then shown in a specially designed immersive theatre, which is equipped with a 12m curved screen and stereo projection equipment. Wearing 3D glasses, visitors look inside the mummy case, discover how it was preserved, what special objects were placed in its wrappings, and even travel inside the mummy's body. The experience features computer generated models and historical reconstructions showing how Nesperennub would have lived. In the final area of the exhibition, Nesperennub's mummy is displayed in its painted coffin, alongside examples of the artefacts featured in the 3D projection, together with explanatory panels telling the stories from the hieroglyphs and inscriptions on the decorated case and coffin. British Museum until January.

Absolutely Insane is one of this year's new theme park attractions, which catapults victims 300ft into the air, generating a 2.5 G force in its vertical launch, and then bungee jumps them back to earth. It offers riders a unique 'hands on' movement of their seat, enabling them to rotate forward in mid air to create a free fall sensation, the first ride of its kind in the world to do so.The Eye On The Coast, also new this year, but in a gentler vein, is Europe's biggest classic Ferris Wheel, offering panoramic views from its forty gondolas, each carrying up to six passengers. At night, it looks even more spectacular, when illuminated by 64,000 light bulbs and two miles of neon tubes, with a winking eye at its centre.These join the existing white knucklers of Volcanic Impact, hurling captives 200ft into the air, travelling from 1-100km in less than 6 seconds - now with seats that tip forward without any warning; The Beast, tossing its prey twisting through the air at speeds of 60kph, ending with a 360 degree spin on a triple roll; Amazing Confusion, spinning victims round and round at the end of an arm, which itself swings around, up and over; and Jubilee Odyssey, boasting 6 inversions, and at 60%, the steepest drop of any suspended ride in Europe. Perhaps best to experience it all at second hand through the 'ride cams' which can be found on the Fantasy Island web site, via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Fantasy Island, Skegness until 31st October.

About Face reveals how contemporary artists and photographers challenge the conventions of the photographic portrait, in a digital era when images are increasingly open to manipulation. Around 100 works by over 70 international artists and photographers employ a wide range of approaches, from straightforward photography, through photomontage, appropriation of found imagery, and multiple exposures, to complex computer manipulation. Alison Jackson uses look-a-likes to construct fictional narratives around celebrity figures such as the Royal Family; Taliban fighters in Thomas Dworzak's hand tinted prints have an effeminate quality; the glamorous subjects of Elisabeth Heyert's full colour images reveal themselves to be corpses, death's pallor having been corrected with cosmetics; Valerie Belin attempts to blur the perception of what is real and what is artificial by presenting models' faces side by side with those of mannequins; the symmetrically perfect features of Greek gods and goddesses are superimposed onto human models in the work of Lawick Muller; Tibor Kalman presents a vision of what the Queen or Arnold Schwarzenegger would look like if they were black; Chris Dorley-Brown has fused/montaged the faces of two thousand inhabitants from Haverill to make The Face of 2000; and Orlan engages in surgical procedures to alter her own facial features, and then employs computer manipulation to blend them with pre-Columbian pottery. All human life - and a few things on which the jury is still out. Hayward Gallery until 5th September.


Russian Landscape In The Age Of Tolstoy is an exhibition of 19th century paintings - many epic in scale - which played a critical role, along with music and literature, in defining Russia's national identity, and provided a vehicle for the exploration of political, social and moral issues. The exhibition includes 70 of Russia's best known and loved paintings, many of which have never left their homeland before, and are largely unknown in this country. There are works by fifteen artists dating from 1820 to the early years of the 20th century, showing lakeside and forest vistas, depictions of the endless Russian horizon, and the hard struggle of peasant life in both summer and winter. The exhibition opens with canvasses by the founder of Russian landscape painting, Aleksei Gavrilovich Venetsianov, who introduced realism to Russian painting, These hang alongside works by his contemporaries Silvestr Fedosievich Shchedrin and Mikhail Lebedev, both of whom travelled to Italy, where they learned 'plein-air' painting, influencing later generations of landscapists in Russia. It features many works by the giant figures of the age, Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin - the master of monumental woodland scenes, Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi - who had an eerie sense of colour, and Isaak Ilich Levitan - an artistic innovator who was a close friend of Anton Chekhov. The show culminates in Levitan's bleak vision 'The Vladimirka Road', the infamous pathway that led to Siberia and exile. National Gallery until 12th 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.

The Tower Environs Scheme, an eight year, £20m scheme to improve the setting of the Tower of London, and provide a new public space for London, has finally been completed. The last phase, designed by Stanton Williams, created a new square on Tower Hill almost the size of Trafalgar Square, on a gentle slope leading down to the entrance, paved with York stone and granite. Most importantly it has cleared away the tourist clutter that had begun to create the aura of a Middle Eastern souk, and given the approach to the Tower back its dignity. In addition, it has cunningly introduced a drop at the edge of the square, like a ha-ha in an 18th century garden, thus allowing unobstructed views of the Tower. The scheme includes the provision of new ticketing facilities and a Welcome Centre in a restrained new building at the edge of the site, a shop in the restored Salvin's Pumphouse, an education centre within the Tower Vaults building, and the re-installation of an historic road under its traditional name of Petty Wales. Previous phases restored the historic riverside Wharf, opening up lost vistas of the Thames, renovated Tower Pier, opened up better views of the archaeological remains of medieval buildings, and improved links to the nearby St Katherine's Dock. There is now a growing demand for the moat, which was drained in the 1840s, to be refilled to complete the picture. The Tower Of London, continuing.

The Art Of The Garden is the first major exhibition to examine the relationship of the garden and British art. It takes a broad view, encompassing the domestic garden, allotments, garden suburbs, artist's own backyards and imaginary gardens. From the last two centuries, it brings together over one hundred works by artists ranging from Constable and Turner to Lucian Freud, Marc Quinn and Gary Hume. These includes iconic paintings such as John Singer Sargent's 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose', John Constable's two depictions of his father's flower and kitchen gardens in Suffolk, 'The Badminton Game' by David Inshaw, Waterhouse's 'Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid's Garden' and Samuel Palmer's idyllic visions of the English countryside. Among the artist's gardens, revealed through painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture there are Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay's classically inspired garden, in which sculptural works carrying poetic inscriptions lurk among trees and shrubs; a drawing by Beatrix Potter of her potted geraniums; and Howard Schooley's painting of Derek Jarman's beach garden at Dungeness. The influence of colour theory on the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll is reflected through her own watercolours and early colour photographs of planting schemes she created for her garden at Munstead Wood. Among new works made specifically for the exhibition is a spectacular installation by Anya Gallaccio employing ten thousand roses. Tate Britain until 30th August.

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.

Time To Care is an exhibition that charts the history of the St John Ambulance service. Founded in 1877 by the British Order of St John, and inspired by the medical traditions of the Hospitallers, volunteers were trained in first aid to deal with the frequent injuries sustained by workers in factories in the industrial revolution, who could not afford medical treatment. The exhibition includes equipment, memorabilia, rare early film footage and the recollections of the experiences of members. In addition, two further galleries display treasures from the 900 year military, medical and religious history of Order of St John and the Hospitallers. These include a bronze cannon given to the Order by Henry VIII; armour worn by the Knights when defending Rhodes and Malta; a decorative collection of 16th to18th century majolica from the pharmacy in Malta; the illuminated charter, depicting Philip II and Mary Tudor, restoring the Order in 1557; and a 15th century Flemish altarpiece from the medieval priory on this site, plus surviving fragments of stone work, wood carving, tiles and stained glass. The buildings housing the collection include the remains the priory, a Norman crypt, a 16th century chapel, and a Tudor gatehouse, all of which are open to the public. Further information can be found on the Museum Of The Order Of St John web site via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet. Museum Of The Order Of St John, London, continuing.


Barbican Art Gallery celebrates its re-opening after a £1m makeover designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan, which has provided an additional 140 sq metres of display space and new reception area, thanks to the bridging of the central void and removal of a staircase, with two exhibitions that demonstrate the new adaptability of the space. Tina Modotti and Edward Weston: The Mexico Years, in the upper level, is the first major exhibition in the UK of photographs by two key figures of Modernist photography. It features over 150 vintage images, including some never before exhibited, and focuses on their work during the 1920s in post-Revolutionary Mexico, when the two photographers worked together, and considers their role in Mexican Modernism, and how the period impacted on their careers. Helen Chadwick: A Retrospective, on the lower floor, is a comprehensive display of large installations by one of the most important British artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s, who specialised in creating art from waste products. The scale on which she worked meant that they would have been difficult to accommodate before the refurbishment. Among the 70 pieces present are the self portrait based 'Ego Geometria Sum', 'The Oval Court', 'Cacao' - a fountain of hot bubbling chocolate, and 'Piss Flowers'. Barbican Art Gallery until 1st August.

Censored At The Seaside: The Censored Postcards Of Donald McGill examines a bizarre event in the life and work of a man now regarded as a national treasure. For more than fifty years Donald McGill was the pre-eminent exponent of the British saucy seaside postcard. Yet in the 1950s, his postcards became the subject of complaints and he fell foul of the antiquated 1857 Obscene Publications Act. In May 1954, fifty years after he had produced his first postcard, McGill was brought to trial in Lincoln, and fined £50 plus costs. This exhibition looks at the story behind the prosecution, showing for the first time documents from the public prosecutors office relating to many of the censored cards, as well as the postcards themselves. It also presents a less than flattering picture of the Britain of the time that such a prosecution could have been brought. In addition to the condemned designs, the exhibition includes rare 'roughs' of ideas, and over 30 original works by McGill from all periods of his career. A prolific worker, McGill created new designs each year. Also featured are examples of tributes to McGill by cartoonists Larry, Steve Bell and Biff amongst others. Cartoon Art Trust Museum until 31st July.

Bill Brand: A Centenary Retrospective celebrates the work of one of the pre-eminent photographers of the 20th century. With 155 mainly vintage, gelatin-silver prints from the Bill Brandt Archive, the exhibition displays the finest selection of his rare and famous prints to be seen in Britain for over thirty years. Brandt's career as a photographer began in Vienna, and included work as an assistant to Man Ray in Paris, before he settled in London in 1931. He became the great documentarian of British cultural and social life for the news magazines of the time, exposing the contrasts in 1930s society. During the Second World War Brandt photographed both the landscapes of 'Literary Britain', creating images of Hardy's Wessex and the Bronte sisters' Yorkshire Moors, and London, with the moonlit blacked-out streets, and crowds sheltering in Underground stations during the Blitz. After the War, returning to an interest in the surreal, Brandt acquired a wide-angle Kodak camera, and photographed nudes outdoors on the beaches of England and France. This 'Perspective of Nudes' series radically revised the genre by creating dramatic sculptural images of nudes merging with the landscape. From the 1940s onwards, he also produced striking portraits of great artists and writers, such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and Graham Greene. Brandt's innovations expanded the medium of photography and gave his work a timeless quality. Victoria & Albert Museum until 25th July.