News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th July 2010


Fiona Banner: Harrier And Jaguar provides a simple but unlikely juxtaposition: two real fighter jets, which have both previously seen active military service, on display in a suite of neo-classical galleries. In the south gallery, a Sea Harrier jet is suspended vertically, its bulk spanning floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Mimicking its namesake the harrier hawk, the aircraft's surface has been reworked with hand painted graphic feather markings - the cockpit, the eyes, the nose cone, the beak - and hung nose pointing towards the floor, bringing to mind a trussed bird. In the north gallery, a Sepecat Jaguar lies on its back on the floor, its elegant, elongated body tracing the length the gallery. Stripped of paint and polished to reveal a metallic surface, the aircraft becomes a mirror that reflects back its surroundings and exposes the audience to its own reactions. Fiona Banner is best known for her 'wordscapes', written transcriptions of the frame-by-frame action in Hollywood war films. She has long been fascinated by the emblem of the fighter plane. Her compulsion to grasp the resonances of these war machines has produced a growing archive of material. From pencil drawings to newspaper cuttings and Airfix model collections of all the fighter planes currently in service, the modesty of her works often contrasts with the heroic connotations of her subject. For Banner these fighter planes represent the 'opposite of language', used when communication fails. In bringing body and machine into close proximity she explores the tension between the intellectual perception of the fighter plane and physical experience of the object. Tate Britain until 3rd January.

The Jane Austen Story is an exhibition documenting the author's home and social life, staged alongside her final resting place, which lies in the north nave aisle of Winchester Cathedral. The exhibition includes information about her childhood, the local towns and countryside that inspired her writing, and her illness and funeral. It also explores the depiction of clergy within her novels. Rarely seen artefacts from the life of Jane Austen, together with some items owned by Winchester College that have never been exhibited in public before, include a handwritten poem by Austen about her friend Mrs Lefroy; Austin's actual burial register; a handwritten note by her brother Henry with the wording of the inscription on her ledgerstone (floor slab) in the cathedral; first editions of Emma in three volumes from 1816; and a set of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion from 1818. The exhibits are imaginatively displayed in cabinets inspired by late Georgian furniture. Winchester Cathedral until 20th September.

The Surreal House is the first exhibition to examine the significance of surrealism for architecture. Bringing together over 150 works, the exhibition also reveals the profound influence surrealism has had on a host of contemporary artists, filmmakers and architects. In an installation by architects Carmody Groarke, the exhibition is designed to be experienced as an extraordinary surreal house in its own right. All the exhibits show the significance of the unconscious world of dreams and desires, presenting extraordinary dwellings that reflect everything that the rational, sanitised house sacred to Modernism is not. Combining works of the imagination with important examples of actual 'surreal' houses, the exhibition presents a diverse range of paintings, photographs, films, models and installation from Britain, Europe, Canada and the United States. It brings together first generation Surrealists, precursors and close associates, with contemporary artists and architects. Iconic works by Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Alberto Giacometti, Man Ray and Rene Magritte are set alongside works by Giorgio de Chirico, Le Facteur Cheval and Edward Hopper, as well as contemporary works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Sarah Lucas and Rachel Whiteread. Filmmakers include Maya Deren, Jean Cocteau, Andrei Tarkovsky and Jan Švankmajer, whilst modern and contemporary architecture is represented by John Hejduk, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Rem Koolhaas , Bernard Tschumi and Diller & Scofidio. Barbican Gallery, London, until 12th September.


Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes And Discoveries celebrates the backroom work of art gallery scientists, conservators and historians. Using modern scientific methods, including infrared imaging, X-ray images, electron microscopy and mass spectrometry they provide insights into the materials used by artists, studio practice and the ways paintings can change over time. The exhibition explores this work by presenting the varied stories behind more than 40 paintings, divided into six categories: Deception and Deceit, from innocent misrepresentation to cunning forgery; Transformations and Modifications, revealing secrets lying underneath the paint; Mistakes, when the experts got it wrong, and how their mistakes were discovered; Secrets and Conundrums, solving puzzles and secrets hidden in Old Master paintings; and Redemption and Recovery, how paintings are restored to their former glory. The display features works by Raphael, Durer, Gossaert, Rembrandt, Botticelli and others. Among the works on view are: 'Woman at a Window', a provocative Renaissance depiction of a woman, which was dramatically altered in the 19th century to satisfy more restrained Victorian tastes, with the girl's hair changed from blonde to brunette, her expression made more innocent, and her bodice rendered less revealing; 'Portrait of Alexander Mornauer', by an unknown German artist that was altered to resemble a work by the more famous and collectable Hans Holbein, with a layer of blue paint applied over the original brown background, and the style of the sitter's hat altered; and 'An Allegory', originally thought to be a companion to Botticelli's 'Venus and Mars', but revealed as a pastiche, painted by a follower in the style of the master. National Gallery until 12th September.

William Morris: A Sense Of Place examines the domestic life, design work, writings and political beliefs of the Father of the Arts & Crafts Movement. William Morris's childhood homes were key to forming his precocious sense of place and the love of nature that underpinned his subsequent life and thinking. Material illustrating his adult life, from lodgings shared with Edward Burne-Jones at Red Lion Square; his first married home at Red House, which became the focus of creativity for Morris and his friends; his country retreat at Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds; and his final home at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, shows how his domestic environment formed an important backdrop for his creativity, and the formulation of his ideas about society. The industrial society into which Britain had evolved by the mid 19th century represented inequality, exploitation and ugliness to Morris, setting him on the path to Socialism and the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Designs and samples, textiles, books, and photographs from public and private collections illustrate Morris's life and work.

LawnPaper is an environmental etching for the lawns around the house. Patterns based on wallpaper designs by William Morris have been created in the grass through a process of selective shading and trimming by artist Steve Messam.

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, until 17th October. (The LawnPaper design is expected to grow out by the beginning of August)

Florence Nightingale Museum, which celebrates the life and work of 'the Lady with the Lamp', has reopened following a £1.4m redevelopment, designed by Kossman de Jong, marking the centenary of her death. Situated in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital, on the site where Florence Nightingale established her first Training School for Nurses, the museum tells the real story of the woman behind the legend, as well as how modern nursing began. It does this via three pavilions, focusing on her Victorian childhood, the Crimean War, where the legend of the Lady with the Lamp was created, and her later years as an ardent campaigner for health reform, with particular reference to the British army. The Museum also celebrates the profession of nursing, and explores Nightingale's legacy in today's nursing practice, with interactive audiovisual exhibits. It features an unparalleled collection of over 2,000 items of 'Nightingalia', with highlights including the writing slate she used as a child; the medicine chest she took to the Crimean war; a rare Register of Nurses, which lists the women who served under her in the military hospitals in Turkey and the Crimea; an actual lantern used in the Scutari hospital in Turkey (completely different from the popular image); a black dress worn by her, its colour and style chosen to reflect the serious attitude she had to her work; a pewter soldier's plate, with painted image and inscription, reflecting the affection in which she was held by the troops; an original copy of Notes On Nursing, one of her most important publications, from 1860; and her pet Owl Athena, who travelled everywhere in her pocket. Florence Nightingale Museum, St Thomas' Hospital, London, continuing.

Ernesto Neto: The Edges Of The World comprises a series of immersive installations. Best known for his sensuous sculptures, the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto creates site-specific installations with an abstract, biomorphic quality - evocative of skin and interior body systems - that investigate the way in which spatial alterations transform the relationships between people. Visitors experience a sequence of interlinked spaces that merge sculpture and architecture. They can wander through fabric installations, cushioned soft spaces, ascend stairs into artworks overhead, and following on from Neto's signature 'nave' works, venture barefoot through an all-encompassing nylon vessel. Outdoors, whether submerged in a sculptural pool, or balancing on an undulating path, visitors find themselves becoming active participants in the artworks.

The New Decor is an international survey of some 30 contemporary artists, who explore interior design as a means of engaging with changes in contemporary culture. By reconfiguring and reinventing the familiar objects of domestic life, these artists look beyond design and function to create provocative sculptures and installations. They are concerned with the evolution of interior and exterior environments, shedding light on their experiences, asking the viewer to consider their own relationship to the spaces they inhabit, and look again at objects they may take for granted. Artists represented include: Martin Boyce, Los Carpinteros, Jimmie Durham, Elmgreen & Dragset, Gelitin, Mona Hatoum, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Ernesto Neto, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, Rosemary Trockel, Tatiana Trouve and Franz West. In French the word decor refers to stage sets as well as interior design, and in a similar spirit the works in this exhibition explore an arena between practicality and imagination, theatre and everyday life.

Hayward Gallery until 5th September.

Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo And Kati Horna explores the extraordinary lives of three women on the fringes of the Surrealist movement, who met and became friends in exile in Mexico in the 1940s. The Second World War brought Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna, an English painter, a Spanish painter and a Hungarian photographer, together in Mexico City. The borders of Mexico were opened to all refugees on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and anyone of Spanish ancestry who had been compelled to leave war-torn Europe. The exhibition explores the way the women influenced each other personally and artistically, bringing together key works by all three women for the first time, many of which have never been seen in public in the Britain. The show highlights the thematic similarities, particularly between Carrington and Varo, such as the harmony of the universe, the origins of creation, alchemy, the esoteric and the supernatural, whilst providing a comprehensive reassessment of each of their work. The exhibition comprises 45 paintings by Carrington, who was influenced fairy tales, myths and religion, and produced some of the most vivid and fantastical scenes in 20th century art, including 'The Giantess, or the Guardian of the Egg'; 21 paintings by Varo, with dreamlike themes that are evidence of her closeness with Carrington, including 'The Creation of Birds'; and 66 photographs by Horna, including portraits of the inmates of a mental asylum and surreal montages, plus a portrait of Robert Capa - accompanied by a portrait of Horna by Capa. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 12th September.

Myths And Monsters takes visitors on a journey from ancient times, when legends of bizarre beasts first became embedded in different cultures, to the present day, when science has often unravelled fact from fiction. The exhibition looks at creatures from a mythological, historical and scientific perspective, exploring the vivid scope of the human imagination and the limits of animal physiology. The mythological dragon, cyclops, chimera and yeti are brought to life as animatronic models, whilst real specimens and scientific fact are presented alongside these creatures, offering a rational counterpoint. For instance, the 'yeti scalp', borrowed for analysis by Sir Edmund Hillary during his Tibetan expeditions in the1960s, has the truth of its origins revealed. Among the other mysteries explored are: the dragon's differing reputation in East and West; the complex history and magical powers of the white-horned unicorn; the legend of the one-eyed Cyclops; and the ever-elusive Loch Ness monster. The chimera of Greek mythology, a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a she-goat and tail of a dragon, is contrasted with geneticists' use of the term to denote any organism containing genetically different tissues, giving this creature present day resonances. Views of the world have changed dramatically since stories of extraordinary creatures first filtered back from unfamiliar continents, as items from the permanent collection reveal. The Japanese merman and the duck-billed platypus are examples of a fictitious creature thought to be real, and a genuine specimen thought to be a fake. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE 23, until 5th September.


Empire Mail: George V And The GPO looks at the passions of King George V, the 'philatelist king', and the extraordinary advances in design and innovation in the General Post Office of the period. The reign of George V spanned from 1910 to 1936, an era of conflict and great change, which saw the development of a number of communication methods that brought the world closer together. Featuring posters, vehicles, pillar boxes, philatelic rarities and footage from the GPO Film Unit, the exhibition explores themes such as innovations in mail transportation, the first Atlantic air crossing, the rise of graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s and war time memorabilia. The items on display include a sheet of unused Edward VII Tyrian plum stamps, plus the only one known to have been used, sent on an envelope to George V on 5th May 1910 when he was Prince of Wales, which arrived the next day when he had become king, following the death of his father. Other highlights include original artwork, dies, plates and essays from many of the stamps of George V's reign, including the Seahorses and the 1924/1925 Wembley Empire Exhibition; stamps created by Lawrence of Arabia and Lord Baden Powell; items relating to the RMS Titanic, which carried mail; and gems from King George V's own stamp collection, such as Bermuda 'Perots', Cape Triangular errors, an unused Post Office Mauritius 2d stamp and a 1d used on a 'ball cover', which are among the rarest and most valuable in the world. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 25th July.

Beauty And Power: Renaissance And Baroque Bronzes From The Peter Marino Collection features 30 French and Italian sculptures dating from 1550 to 1750. The collection includes masterpieces by some of the greatest sculptors of their age. The works on view show the gamut of human experience, from 'Samson and the Philistine', attributed to Baccio Bandinelli, to Antonio Montauti's seductive 'Diana'. Highlights of the exhibition include: the French sculptor Corneille van Cleve's masterpiece 'Bacchus and Ariadne'; two figurative groups by the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini, 'Apollo and Marsyas' and 'David and Goliath'; Ferdinando Tacca's 'Hercules and Iole'; Robert Le Lorrain's 'Andromeda'; and a pair of High Baroque vases, decorated with scenes from Roman history. The bronzes presented here illustrate the lively interchange of artists and ideas between Florence, Paris and Rome. They say much about the cultural preoccupations of their age, from the eternal fascination with the ancient world, to more modern concerns, such as contemporary theatre and the legacy of great modern sculptors. Wallace Collection, London, until 25th July.

Fra Angelico To Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings brings together the finest group of Italian Renaissance drawings to be seen in this country for over 70 years. The exhibition charts the increasing importance of drawing during the period between 1400 and 1510, featuring 100 works by amongst others Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Verrocchio. In addition, infrared reflectography and other non-invasive scientific analysis of the works give fresh insights into the techniques and creative thinking of Renaissance artists as they experimented with a freedom not always apparent in their finished works. It was during the 1400s that artists began to make drawings as works of art in their own right, signifying the beginning of a wider appreciation of graphic works, which were beginning to be collected and preserved. This rising importance of drawing is evident in works such as Mantegna's mordant allegory of human folly, the 'Virtus Combusta' or later examples of finished presentation drawings such Leonardo's silverpoint 'Bust of a Warrior' from the 1470s. A highlight is the first surviving study for a panel painting: Lorenzo Monaco's study in the Uffizi for the left-wing of his 'Coronation of the Virgin' altarpiece, the first time the drawing and the related panel have been brought together. The exhibition gives a broad overview of the development of drawing throughout Italy, but with a particular emphasis on Florence, whose artists' works were characterised by the depiction of movement and the expression of emotion and states of mind, and Venice, whose artists' approach was dominated by atmospheric light and colour. British Museum until 25th July.