News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th July 2001

Commencing

Predators marks a further step down the road from august educational institution to theme park, following the new robotic smellovision Tyrannosaurus Rex which arrived just after St Valentine's day. The exhibition explores the constant battle for survival in the natural world between predators and their prey. It looks at the skill and cunning that decides whether an animal gets a meal or ends up being one. There are giant robotic models of a great white shark, a chameleon and a deadly Sydney funnel-web spider, together with real specimens such as a Harris' Hawk, and interactive exhibits. The display reveals how both hunter and hunted have evolved to stay alive - from senses, tools and lethal weapons, to speed and cunning strategy.

Olly & Suzi Untamed, which runs alongside, is an art installation of photography, film, painting, drawing and 3-D artworks by British artists Olly & Suzi. They work with photographer Greg Williams in remote polar, desert, jungle and ocean environments, tracking, painting and interacting with predators, such as anacondas, saltwater crocodiles, white sharks, tarantulas and wild dogs. The animals are encouraged to interact with their paintings - mauling, biting or scratching the works, and so leaving their mark. Natural History Museum until 6th May.

Blackwell is one of England's most important surviving houses from the turn of the 20th century. Designed by M. H. Baillie Scott between 1897 and 1900, it is a superb example of Arts and Crafts movement architecture. Sixty years of neglect have been brought to an end with a £3.5m restoration programme, and the house has now been returned to its original condition. Downstairs, the living rooms have been furnished with examples of craft and the applied arts pieces of the period, together with small sculptures by Gaudier-Brezeska and Epstein. Upstairs, the bedrooms have been turned into exhibition galleries. The opening display is a retrospective of contemporary organic ceramics by Kenyan born Magdalene Odundo, comprising over 50 pieces, including 15 new works. Outside, the garden terraces give way to spectacular Lakeland views. Blackwell, Kendall - Magdalene Odundo until 23rd September.

Pompeii is an exhibition which charts the process of discovery and reclamation of Pompeii over the last 300 years. In 79AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted, one third of the mountain was rendered into volcanic ash. Toxic gas was produced that poisoned the wealthy Roman inhabitants of nearby Pompeii in minutes, where they stood, sat or lay. The ash then descended and buried the city to a depth of 9 feet, freezing it in time for over 1600 years. When it was discovered in 1710, the first excavations were little more than looting expeditions, but gradually this gave way to a more academic study of evidence of the Roman way of life. This exhibition contains few original works, consisting mainly of casts of sculptures, artefacts, and figures in the attitudes of sudden death, together with photographs, prints and reproductions. Nevertheless it vividly evokes both the event itself, and the struggle to rediscover the lost city, and is all the more effective for being staged in the arches beneath this Victorian engine shed. Undercroft Of The Roundhouse, London, 020 7424 9991 until 2nd September.

Continuing

Sands Gallery, devoted to 20th century paintings and sculpture, is the first new gallery to open at the Ashmolean Museum, for sixty years. It provides space for a rotational display of about two hundred works that have not previously been on view due to lack of space, including pieces by Epstein, Frink, Malliol, Matisse, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Picasso and Stanley Spencer. Many of these are key examples of the artists early styles. The gallery also houses a collection of eight paintings, a pastel and a drawing by W.R. Sickert, recently presented to the museum by the Christopher Sands Trust, after which the gallery is named. These include the first version of Brighton Pierrots, the pastel version of Noctes Ambrosianae, and a drawing for Tipperary or The Baby Grand. The rest of the Sands collection, which includes a group of drawings by Augustus John, is also on loan to the museum. The Ashmolean, Britain's first free public museum, opened in 1683 to house the collection of curiosities assembled by John Tradescant and Elias Ashmole. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford continuing.

The Maize Maze, created by Adrian Fisher, the world's leading maze designer, has a path network of over three miles, and is one of the largest and most intricate puzzles in the world. It is a unique design, which will last for only eight weeks, and will never being repeated. Designs in previous years have included a dragon, a pirate ship and a castle. The maze incorporates a refreshment area half way round, observation towers, and large gallery bridges that offer scenic views across the Sussex countryside. Those visitors who find their way out can enjoy other attractions, such as a turf labyrinth, six minute mazes, the barrel train, tractor trailer rides, and a straw mountain. Fisher first developed the Maize Maze concept as a world record attempt in American in 1993. Tulley's Farm, Crawley until 16th September.

On Paper: New Paper Art is a visual feast of paper, celebrating the medium by bringing together for the first time, the work of forty international artists from the field of paper art. It presents a surprisingly diverse display that illustrates the different concepts and techniques that can be employed. The selection ranges from origami and sculptures to clothes and accessories, including jewellery and shoes. Among the items are Graham Hay's sculptures crafted from old documents, invitations, posters and catalogues; works by the world's most prolific origami artist, Japanese grand master Akira Yoshizawa, whose legacy has provided the foundations for contemporary folded paper art; Charlie Thomas tailored paper suits and accessories, which employ techniques such as stitching, weaving and riveting; and Kyoko Ibe's visualisation of the natural elements in her large scale theatrical piece White Wind. Crafts Council Gallery until 2nd September.

Chihuly At The V&A is the first major exhibition in Britain of the spectacular contemporary glass creations of Canadian artist Dale Chihuly, who produces many different types of work in rich colours and extravagant shapes, which provide a modern take on the historic traditions of Venetian glass. Unusually, the pieces are spread throughout galleries and gardens of the V&A. The show has a spectacular start with a five metre high Chandelier hanging in the Dome entrance. It moves on to a spotlight space of glass Baskets. The Medieval Treasury features a tunnel installation with an overhead Persian Ceiling like a coral sea. A Macchia (Italian for spot or stain) Forest display of oddly shaped, brightly coloured vessels, frames the entrance to the gardens. Outdoors there are Seal Pups, Herons, Spears, Fiddleheads and a Tower Of Light, standing eleven metres high over the fountain. Victoria & Albert Museum until 21st October.

Devices & Designs is a display of badged, crested and armorial decorated china produced by Spode over the last two hundred years. It includes items made for Royalty - the Tsar of Russia and members of the extended British Royal Family; individuals - Charles Dickens, Countess of Newburgh and the Copeland family; shipping and airlines - the White Star Line service used on the Titanic; towns and cities - Newcastle-on-Tyne, Stoke-on-Trent and Ripon; guilds and livery companies; and military regiments. The associated museum contains an unrivalled permanent collection of china from the beginnings of production in 1770. Demonstrations of painting and engraving techniques and tours of the factory take place daily. A history of the Willow Pattern design, created by Josiah Spode in 1790, can be found on the Spode web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Spode Visitor Centre & Museum, Stoke on Trent - Devices & Designs until the autumn.

James Gillray: The Art Of Caricature celebrates the work of the 18th century satirist with the largest collection of his prints and drawings ever assembled. The scourge of politicians, aristocracy, royalty and other artists, established himself with A New Way To End The National Debt, which attacked the monarchy. The savagery of his personal attacks makes today's cartoonists look feeble in comparison. Gillray found a perfect subject in the violence of the French Revolution and the ensuing French wars. He became so successful that crowds would gather at the print shop that published his caricatures when new material was exhibited for sale. The power of Gillray's works can be gauged by the fact that they do not rely on the topicality of their subject matter, since despite the events which inspired them being long forgotten, they can still amuse and touch a modern audience. Like Hogarth, he was apprenticed to an engraver, and this is reflected in the ambitious and complex techniques he employed. The hand coloured and finished etchings often include extensive accompanying written texts. Tate Britain until 2nd September.

Concluding

100 Views of Mount Fugi examines the mythological status of Japan's highest mountain, which has inspired Japanese poets and painters throughout the centuries. Since ancient times it has been revered as a deity, from the medieval period it has been a goal of pilgrimage, and it still remains a unique symbol of Japanese cultural identity. The works on view, dating from the 17th century to the present day, include paintings, watercolours on hanging silk scrolls, ink drawings and woodblock prints. They reveal how artists have projected their own personal interpretation onto this eternal symbol. The exhibition features far more than 100 renditions of Fugi, ranging in size from a thumbnail to an entire wall. Hokusaki's cycle Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fugi alone contains almost 50; Minamoto Sadayoshi painted 31 on a horizontal scroll showing the rise and fall of vapours issuing from it; and Hiroshige's woodblock series Fifty-Three Stations Of The Tokaido Highway are like freeze frames from a film zooming in towards it. British Museum until 29th July.

Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision celebrates the extraordinary creativity of the Victorian age when Britain literally ruled the world. The results of the explosion of innovation in arts, design, science and technology thus spread to the ends of it. The Victorian imagination provided the foundations upon which the modern world was built. It is after all thanks to Charles Babbage's Difference Engine that you are reading this now. Marking the centenary of Queen Victoria's death, this exhibition endeavours to embody the creativity, spectacle and sense of adventure that powered her age. In addition to charting the known landmarks, such as underground trains, steam driven ships, bicycles and motor cars, it acknowledges the unknown, such as a Hiram Maxim's steam driven aeroplane of 1894 - which almost worked. It also balances technological advances including electric light, photography, the telephone and X-rays, with social advances such as public libraries, art galleries, free schooling and social housing. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th July.

The Architecture Of Fumihiko Maki: Modernity And The Construction Of Scenery is an introduction to one of Japan's leading architects whose work is little known in the west. Although a modernist enthusiast of concrete and glass, his buildings are nevertheless inviting, and are renowned for their fusion of eastern and western design traditions. Thus Maki's work has been described as "destined to survive mere fashion". This exhibition focuses on the Hillside Terrace project in Tokyo and other recent buildings. The development of Maki's modernist vocabulary, and his interpretation of internal and external space, is presented in a variety of media, including original sketches, drawings, scale models, and video. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd July.