Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Tiger In Asian Art examines the most enduring and powerful symbol of cultural identity for the people of Asia. For over 3,000 years the tiger has inspired countless legends, beliefs, poems and works of art across Asia, and it is the national animal of India, Malaysia, China and North and South Korea. The tiger is also one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs and other works of art, from historical to contemporary, many of which have never been seen in the West before, from a wide range of Asian countries and regions, including Tibet, Vietnam and Mongolia. It examines the cultural and spiritual significance of the tiger to these places, and the role that the creature plays to the human psyche, looking at it as a protector, spiritual power, material, hunted animal and declining figure. Among the highlights are contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Huang's 'Free Tiger Returns to the Mountain' series, employing a technique using ash gathered from incense burned at Shanghai temples; 17th century Japanese artist Hokusai's 'Tiger in a Snowstorm'; a 16th century Chinese Ming military banner depicting a tiger surrounded by flame and cloud motifs; a Jaipur hunting scene; and a 17th century Japanese tiger netsuke belt toggle sculpture. Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1, until 12th February.
Shelley's Ghost: Reshaping The Image Of A Literary Family tells the story of one of the most renowned literary families in Britain: Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary Shelley, and Mary's parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. The exhibition charts the history of a family blessed with genius but marred by tragedy, spanning three generations: from Godwin's and Wollstonecraft's months as lovers and their brief marriage between 1796 and 1797; through the 8 years Shelley and Mary spent together from their elopement in 1814 to Shelley's sudden death in 1822; to the lives of the Shelleys' only surviving child, Sir Percy Florence Shelley, and his wife Jane, Lady Shelley. The story is often tragic, but also one of remarkable creative achievement. It is told with letters, literary manuscripts, rare printed books and pamphlets, portraits and relics. Highlights include Shelley's notebooks with original versions of some of his greatest poems; Richard Rothwell's portrait of Mary Shelly; Shelly and Mary's elopement journal; a letter from John Keats; sketches of sailing boats by Shelly; Mary Shelly's dressing case, with original engraved silver topped bottles and boxes; Shelly's quill pen, pocket watch and chain, seals and spyglass; William Godwin's diary; a guitar given to Jane Williams by Shelly and the poem he sent with it; the family baby rattle, used by Shelly; a draft of Shelly's sonnet 'Ozymandias'; a ring containing John Keats's hair; a copy of Amelia Curran's portrait of Shelly; Harriet Shelly's suicide letter; Shelly's last letter to Mary; a draft of The Triumph of Life, Shelly's final poem; and the original manuscripts of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', including the scene when the creature comes to life. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 27th March.
Future Beauty: 30 Years Of Japanese Fashion is the first exhibition in Europe to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion, from the early 1980s to now. Japanese designers made an enormous impact on world couture in the late 20th century. Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto redefined the very basis of fashion, challenged established Western notions of beauty, and turned fashion into art. The tight silhouettes of Western couture were jettisoned for new fluid shapes. Out went the magnificent ornament and extravagant techniques of the post-war tradition and in came a stark, monochrome palette and an entirely new decorative language - holes, rips, frays and tears - emerging from the stuff of fabric itself. This exhibition examines the work of these designers in relation to Japanese art, culture and costume history, and explores the distinctive sensibility of Japanese design and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing. It brings together over 100 garments, some never seen before in Britain, with specially commissioned photographs by Japanese artist and photographer Naoya Hatakeyama. There are focused presentations on each of the principle designers in the show, featuring a range of archive and recent works: Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Jun Takahashi and Tao Kurihara, as well as Mintdesigns and a number of emerging designers such as Akira Naka, Anrealage, N e -Net, Sacai , Somarta, Mikio Sakabe, Matohu and Taro Horiuchi. Also included are catwalk collection films, and a wealth of rare books, catalogues and magazines, which highlight Yamamoto, Miyake and Kawakubo's collaborations with artists, photographers and designers. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 6th February.
Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious In Everyday Life explores the workings of the unconscious mind, and the contribution of psychoanalysis to the understanding of the mind and culture. The exhibition aims to examine the broad contemporary relevance of psychoanalysis in a way that is accessible to a wide audience. It focuses on a key concept of psychoanalysis: how the unconscious can be interpreted through everyday experiences, and in artefacts, both historical and contemporary. This is done through a range of modern and historical objects, contemporary artworks and digital animation. Notable objects include: a selection of Sigmund Freud's personal collection of Ancient Greek and Roman antiquities, which surrounded the psychoanalyst in his consulting room; body casts of masks, feet, eyes and phalluses from the museum's collection that are not usually on public view; a selection of drawings from one of the most famous case studies by Melanie Klein, the pioneer of child analysis, which have never been on public display before; an array of everyday things old and new, whose hidden associations and unconscious meanings are unravelled by the voices of leading psychoanalysts; and artworks by contemporary artists Arnold Dreyblatt, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Kosuth, Grayson Perry,Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Carlo Zanni, Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, Kristian de la Riva, Amelie von Harrach and Damian Le Sueur, which take inspiration from psychoanalytical ideas. Science Museum until 15th April.
The Young Vermeer presents a unique opportunity to explore the development of one of the world's most celebrated artists. Despite the regard in which he is held, there are only 36 of Johannes Vermeer's paintings in existence. This exhibition reunites 3 of his early works, created between 1653 and 1656, from galleries around the world. They suggest a tantalising experimental phase in Vermeer's early career, as he explored classical and biblical subjects, and also reveal his fascination with light and colour. 'Diana and her Nymphs' is a serene and intimate painting, showing the mythological goddess Diana and her companions in a wooded landscape. It is thought to have been created soon after Vermeer had entered the painters' guild. 'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', dating from slightly later, is the largest of Vermeer's surviving works. The subject is taken from St Luke's gospel, and can perhaps be linked to Vermeer's conversion to Catholicism. 'The Procuress' is a brothel scene, which marks two significant shifts in Vermeer's work: his move towards painting 'genre scenes', which show figures in everyday activities, and the development towards his mature style, rendering shapes in smooth and colourful hues of light and shade. The 3 paintings on show in this exhibition offer an insight into Vermeer's formative period, as they are strikingly different from his later works, which concentrate almost exclusively on domestic interiors. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 13th March.
Dior Illustrated: Rene Gruau And The Line Of Beauty is a celebration of the renowned illustrator who created some of the most iconic fashion images of the 20th century. This exhibition showcases over 40 artworks by Rene Gruau from the 1940s and 1950s, including original illustrations for Christian Dior Parfums, vintage perfume bottles, sketches, posters and magazines. It also features a selection of Dior Haute Couture dresses chosen by John Galliano, including a dress designed by Galliano himself in homage to Gruau. During his career Rene Gruau illustrated for Balmain, Balenciaga, Lanvin and Givenchy, essentially altering the way luxury fashion was advertised. Gruau's bold lines and fluid style were perfectly in tune with the spirit of Dior, capturing the energy, elegance and audacity of the brand. His illustrations also tell of a special understanding Gruau had of Christian Dior himself, born of a close friendship between the two men that lasted for almost 40 years. Gruau was very unusual because he loved working with advertising, which was very uncommon at the time. He influenced the graphic style of a whole generation of fashion illustrators, and the exhibition also features specially commissioned pieces from the British based illustrators Jasper Goodall, Daisy Fletcher, Erin Petson, Richard Kilroy and Sarah Arnett, whose works draws inspiration from the collaboration between Gruau and the House of Dior. Somerset House, The Strand, London, until 9th January.
Bridget Riley: Paintings And Related Work offers an opportunity to see how recent paintings by one of Britain's most significant abstract painters of the second half of the 20th century relates to the works of Old Masters. Although Bridget Riley first came to prominence as one of the founders of the Op Art movement in the early 1960s, working initially in black, white and grey, introducing colour only in 1967, she has always had a deep interest in the Old Masters, looking at and learning their uses of colour, line and composition. The exhibition includes one of Riley's first endeavors as an emerging artist, a copy of Jan van Eyck's 'Portrait of a Man'. Two of Riley's works have been made directly onto the walls of the gallery: 'Composition with Circles 7', specially created for this exhibition, and a version of her wall-painting, 'Arcadia'. Among the paintings by Old Masters are Mantegna's 'Introduction of the Cult of Cybele to Rome', Raphael's 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', and three studies by Georges Seurat. Recent paintings on canvas, which have introduced new curvilinear rhythms and movements into Riley's work, are seen alongside some of her earlier paintings, and a selection of works on paper that help to explain her development and working process. In an accompanying film, Bridget Riley discusses her lifelong artistic relationship with the works of Old Masters. National Gallery until 22nd May.
Invitation To The Ballet: Ninette de Valois And The Story Of The Royal Ballet charts the development of The Royal Ballet from its foundations in the late 1920s to the present day. The exhibition tells the remarkable story of how Ninette De Valois, a young Irish dancer born Edris Stannus, who started her career impersonating Anna Pavlova in English seaside pier theatres, went on to found The Royal Ballet, which has since become one of the world's leading companies. Drawing on the Royal Ballet's extensive archive, over 40 costumes, worn by some of the greatest names in ballet, from Rudolf Nureyev and Antoinette Sibley to Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, are on show, together with set and costume designs by designers and artists including Pablo Picasso, Edward Burra, William Chappell, Rex Whistler, Oliver Messel and Yolanda Sonnabend. In addition there are photographs, films, programmes, letters, press cuttings, music manuscripts, dance notation scores, posters and other memorabilia. Among the highlights is a recreation of Margot Fonteyn's dressing room, with her dressing table, personal letters, original practice clothes, costumes, shoes and props. The exhibition also illustrates L S Lowry's involvement with ballet, and shows how his appreciation of art, music and dance affected his work. It includes a triptych of mannequins that has never been on public display before, and portraits of Ann Hilder, believed to have been inspired by de Valois performance as Swanhilda in Coppelia. The Lowry, Salford, until 6th March.
Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th and 21st century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus, and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, London, until 5th January.
Romantics features paintings, prints and photographs exploring the origins, inspirations and legacies of British Romantic art. The exhibition focuses in particular on works from the 19th century, by artists such as Henry Fuseli, John Linnell and Samuel Palmer, when the ideal of the artist as an enlightened and inspired genius brought with it an interest in the power of visions, exacerbated by a trend for gothic literature and art. This freedom brought artists the opportunity to experiment with imagery and subject matter to create pictures of astonishing emotional intensity. Among the highlights of over 170 key works are: 8 'lost' spectacular hand-coloured etchings by William Blake, annotated with lines of his poetry, re-discovered by accident in the 1970s; Fuseli's 'Titania and Bottom'; Joseph Wright of Derby's 'Sir Brooke Boothby'; John Constable's 'Beaching a Boat, Brighton', 'Cloud Study' and 'Flatford Mill'; Richard Dadd's 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke'; Henry Wallis's 'Chatterton'; and late works by JMW Turner, characterised by the experimental use of colour and the depiction of light, which were heavily criticised at the time, such as 'Norham Castle, Sunrise', 'Study of Sky and Sea, Isle of Wight' and 'Sun Setting over a Lake'; plus works by Neo-Romantics of the mid 20th century, Graham Sutherland and Paul Nash, who looked back to British Romantic visionaries. Tate Britain until 31st December.
John Pawson: Plain Space is a retrospective of the work of the British designer hailed as 'the father of modern architectural minimalism' by the New York Times. John Pawson is known for his rigorous process of design, creating architecture and products of visual clarity, simplicity and grace. The exhibition celebrates Pawson's career from the early 1980s to date, through a selection of landmark commissions, including the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the new Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Novy Dvur in the Czech Republic; and Calvin Klein's flagship store in New York, as well as current and future projects. At its centre is a site-specific, full-sized space designed by Pawson to offer a direct and immersive experience of his work. Specially commissioned, large-scale photography looks at his architecture in the landscape. Actual architectural elements in stone, bronze, wood and metal taken from a range of buildings, including the Baron House in Sweden and Pawson's own house in London explore his sensitive use of materials. The process of design and construction is shown through photography, film, sketches, study models, prototypes and interviews relating to a number of projects including a private home in Treviso, Italy currently under construction. Personal items from the Pawson archive are also on display, including letters from Karl Lagerfeld and the writer Bruce Chatwin. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, until 30th December.
Dream Voices: Siegfried Sassoon, Memory And War traces the complex intertwining of the documented, the remembered, and the imagined in published and unpublished writings of the First World War poet. The display looks at how the horrors of the war changed Siegfried Sassoon from being a patriot of his country, to being a stern critic of government and political leaders. The tension between life as he was living it and recollections of his former self lay behind much of Sassoon's writing, and memory - sensuously evoked but stringently selected - was central to his literary achievement. The material on view includes the pocket notebooks in which Sassoon kept a journal of his time on the Western Front, including diary entries for the first day on the Somme, and the moment when he was shot by a sniper at the Battle of Arras; autograph poems and letters home written while on active service in France; a verse letter from his friend the novelist and poet Robert Graves that Sassoon carried tucked inside his diary in his tunic pocket in battle; heavily-worked drafts of post-war poems and autobiographies; personal photographs and sketches; notebooks and diaries recording his sporting exploits, including fox hunting, riding and cricket; rare and annotated printed editions; the notebook in which he originally wrote his Soldier's Declaration, the iconic 1917 protest against the continuation of the First World War, still stained with the mud of the trenches, the telegram summoning him to Army HQ to explain himself when it became public, and his own printed copy. Cambridge University Library until 23rd December.