News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th December 2013

Commencing

Castiglione: Lost Genius is the first British exhibition of works by one of the great artists of the Baroque. Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was perhaps the most innovative and technically brilliant Italian draftsman of his time. Although he practised as a painter, he won fame for his drawings and prints. Castiglione worked in oils on paper to produce large, vibrant compositions, and combined drawing and printmaking in the technique of monotype. Despite leading a violent and turbulent life, Castiglione produced works of grace and rare beauty, which were highly esteemed for a century after his death, but he unaccountably fell from fame in the modern era. In 1762 George III bought a vast collection of 250 drawings by Castiglione and his assistants, which is now the finest surviving group of his works, and from which this exhibition is selected. The show is organised chronologically, starting with early pastoral scenes created in Genoa, where Castiglione developed a highly unusual technique that became his hallmark - large oil sketches on paper. He conceived these compositions as finished works of art rather than studies, working from his head straight onto paper in a distinctive palette of red-brown and blue-grey. Castiglione went on to invent the monotype, a hybrid of drawing and printmaking, which involved drawing in ink onto a copper plate, scraping with sticks, rags or the finger to bring out the image, and taking a single impression on a sheet of paper. The show ends with smaller oil sketches from Castiglione's last years, where he made up for his loss of mobility by adding more color. Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 16th March.

Turner In Brighton examines how artists perceived the town at the height of its development in the 1820s, during the reign of George IV. The exhibition is centred on the recent acquisition of J M W Turner's watercolour 'Brighthelmston, Sussex', which 'improved upon nature' by including the Royal Pavilion, the Albion Hotel and the Chain Pier in one view. It is accompanied by watercolours, oil paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, and prints that document Turner's impressions of Brighton, together with engravings by George Cooke of Turner's paintings. These are shown alongside works depicting the town by artists including John Constable, John Baxter, Henry Eldridge, William Daniell and John Nash. Also in the exhibition are four of Turner's sketchbooks containing the drawings he made during his visits to Brighton and surrounding areas of Sussex, and a leather wallet that Turner adapted into a travelling paint box. Brighton Pavilion, until 2nd March.

Foreign Bodies, Common Ground offers a unique exploration of global health, bringing together painting, photography, sculpture, film and performance. The works were made during residencies at medical research centres in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and Britain. The contributing artists were given a simple and wide-ranging brief: to find out about research being undertaken and produce work responding to their investigations. The result is a series of moving, challenging and humorous works, richly varied in form and tone, recording journeys taken within the complex realm that lies between scientific processes and local communities, often on the frontlines of communicable diseases. Lena Bui's drawings, photography, video and installation explore zoonosis, the transfer of disease from animals to humans, tracing the relationship between the consumption of animals and the conditions of their breeding, killing and packaging in Vietnam. Katie Paterson's interest in animals takes a longer view, with 'Fossil Necklace', a biological history of the planet, as each of the work's 170 beads is carved from a fossil representing a major event in the evolution of life. Elson Kambalu's residency explored the different understandings of medicine and research in Malawi, with 'Kafukufuku Man' and 'Kafukufuku Women' addressing cultural fears of drawing blood, refering to local fables used as a means of translating medical terms and techniques. B-Floor Theatre, Thailand's vanguard physical theatre company, are featured in footage and a photographic montage of their performance, whilst a vertical shadow puppet installation carries the company's wryly comic vision of the battle between humans and ever-mutating diseases, driven by the survival instincts of both. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1, until 9th February.

Continuing

Turner And The Sea examines a lifelong fascination with the sea by Britain's greatest 19th century painter. Dramatic, contemplative, violent, beautiful, dangerous and sublime - the sea was the perfect subject to showcase JMW Turner's singular talents, and the 120 pieces on display include some of the most celebrated paintings of his long career. The quality of the works gathered together in this exhibition confirms Turner's status as the pre-eminent painter of water, and demonstrates his unique ability to represent the elemental power of the sea. Encompassing oils, watercolours, prints and sketches, the exhibition follows Turner's progression from newly-elected Royal Academician to one of the country's most celebrated artists. While his style changed considerably, his virtuoso showmanship remained a dazzling constant. Among the highlights are 'The Fighting 'Temeraire', 'Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth', 'Staffa, Fingal's Cave', 'Now for the Painter', 'Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight', 'Whalers', 'Calais Pier', 'Fishermen upon a Lee-Shore, in Squally weather', 'The Battle of Trafalgar', 'Fishermen at Sea', 'The Wreck of a Transport Ship', 'The Shipwreck' and 'The Wreck Buoy'. Having begun by responding to the artists of the 17th century at the start of his career, the works from the end of Turner's life seem almost as if they could come from the 20th century. As he left behind the rules and conventions of maritime art, dividing critics and public alike, Turner created a unique vision of the overwhelming power of nature - the final stage in a lifelong engagement with the sea. Turner's paintings are shown alongside works by other British and European artists, including Willem van de Velde, Claude-Joseph Vernet, Thomas Gainsborough, Nicholas Pocock, John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 21st April.

Edmund de Waal On White: Porcelain Stories comprises two large-scale interventions staged by the renowned British potter. Edmund de Waal has selected hundreds of porcelain items from the Museum's permanent collections and placed them alongside objects from his residency in Jungdezhen, China, a world centre for porcelain since the 11th century, including 40 pieces from its collection, plus poetry, photographs and letters. The exhibition examines the history of white and what it is that fascinates de Waal about porcelain.

A World Of Private Mystery: John Craxton, RA is the first exhibition to explore the entire career of an important but less well known 20th century British artist. This fresh retrospective on John Craxton encompasses his beginnings as a young hope of post-war British art, creating dark, meditative images of the natural world, through to works of vibrancy, light and colour from his later life in Crete. The exhibition includes personal photographs documenting Craxton's many travels, which had a significant influence on his work.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Edmund de Waal On White: Porcelain Stories until 23rd February ~ A World Of Private Mystery: John Craxton, RA until 20th April.

Alan Sorrell - A Life Reconstructed is the first major survey of the almost forgotten mid 20th century British artist. If Alan Sorrell is know at all today, it is for his archeologically informed drawings of early historical sites and monuments and tableaux of ancient life, particularly his striking reconstructions of archaeological sites in England such as Old Sarum and Silchester. However, Sorrell worked in a variety of disciplines as this exhibition reveals. Many works have classical themes but a contemporary sensibility and execution, such as 'Benvenuto Cellini Escaping from Rome', 'Procession: Rome', 'The Artist in the Campagna' and 'The Appian Way'. Sorrell travelled the world capturing everyday scenes such as 'Processing the Catch, Wharf Scene, Iceland', 'Sudanese Express Passing Abu Simbel', 'The Long Journey' and 'The Postman'. Although he failed to be appointed an official war artist this show includes some of Sorrell's striking war images. For the Festival of Britain in 1951 he was commissioned to create a 9m mural for the bar on the HMS Campania, used as floating exhibition space, and the result, 'Working Boats from Around the British Coast' featuring a rollicking procession of fish, boats and mermaids, was only recently rediscovered and is receiving its first public showing in 60 years. Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2, until 25th January.

Collider endeavours to convey what it is like inside the £5bn Large Hadron Collider at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva, probably the most complicated scientific machine on the planet. It is not easy depicting something the size of the London Underground's Circle Line, with magnets the size of a house, or to visualise the events that take place when one subatomic proton travelling at 99.9999991 per cent of the speed of light hits another travelling at the same speed in the opposite direction, but this is a good stab at it. The exhibition begins with a 10 minute video outlining the basic facts of what the Collider is, what it does, and the first definitive results it has achieved pointing to the existence of the Higgs boson 'God particle'. From there, visitors can wander through a mock tunnel that represents the journey through the Collider, which in reality extends for some 27km underground, and employs some 3,000 scientists. This is filled with authentic artefacts, pieces of hardware such as a 2 tonne part of a 15m high superconducting magnet, a beam-focuser and a detector sensor, a calorimeter crystal, lab-bench notes, calculations and diagrams. Finally, visitors arrive in a circular space with a wrap-around screen where a computer-generated video sequence simulates a journey through the Collider, ending with an actual collision, based on real images from the Collider, which are like a post-modernist painting. Science Museum, until 6th May.

Angels, Faeries And Femmes Fatales: Dadd To Discworld explores the Victorian obsession with the supernatural and the spirit world. The exhibition embraces the influence of the artist Richard Dadd, whose 'Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke' is considered perhaps the most iconic fairy-painting of all, and the illustrations produced by contemporary artist Paul Kidby for Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. Among the images of mermaids, demons, fairies, witches, nymphs and angels are 'The Butterfly or Aerial' by Luis Ricardo Falero; 'An Incantation' by John Collier'; original publications featuring the notorious Cottingley Fairies, images faked by two Yorkshire girls that convinced many in Edwardian society; 'The Annunciation' by Simeon Solomon; an altar-piece painted by Edward Arthur Fellowes Prynne; 'Love Betrayed' by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope; and 'The Habit Does Not Make The Monk' by G F Watts. These sit alongside paintings and sculptures by Paul Kidby, including 'Miss Tick and Tiffany Aching with Feegles', 'Cupid meets Rob Anybody', 'Nanny Ogg', and a bust of Granny Weatherwax. Russell-Coates Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, until 9th March.

The Young Durer: Drawing The Figure focuses on the early figure drawings of the German Renaissance artist. The exhibition examines how Albrecht Durer reinvented established artistic traditions through an ambitious new approach to the figure. It features works from around 1490 when Durer completed his artistic training, to about 1496 when he established himself permanently as a master in Nuremberg. This period included the so-called Wanderjahre, or 'journeyman years', during which Durer travelled widely and was exposed to a range of new experiences that shaped his subsequent work. Among the crucial artistic questions Durer explored in this period was the modelling of complex draperies and the anatomically correct rendering of the human body, based on observation, evident in a series of unprecedented drawings in which he studied his own features and body. This intense self-scrutiny is powerfully expressed in the celebrated early 'Self-portrait', 'Study of the artist's left leg from two view points ', and 'Three studies of the artist's left hand'. Such drawings show the young Durer seeking to master the depiction of the human body in order to give his works a greater fidelity to nature and expressive power. They are radically different from the late medieval tradition of copy-book drawings, in which standard templates were repeated in artists' workshops. Durer's close study of the body allowed him to conceive such ambitious new figure compositions as 'A Wise Virgin', an elegantly twisted figure clothed in intricate drapery depicting the parable recorded in the Gospel of Saint Matthew. These and other works by Durer are accompanied by rare drawings and prints by his contemporaries, many of which have never been seen in Britain before. Courtauld Gallery, London, until January 12th.

Concluding

Elizabeth I & Her People explores the achievements of the Elizabethan period through portraits of the queen, nobility and rising middle classes. The exhibition includes not only some of the most important and visually impressive portraits of Elizabeth I and her courtiers, but also intriguing lesser-known images of Elizabethan merchants, lawyers, goldsmiths, butchers, calligraphers, playwrights and artists, all of whom contributed to the making of a nation and a new world power. The display comprises over 100 exhibits, including not only paintings, but costumes, crafts, coins, jewellery, manuscripts and accessories ranging from diamond and ruby rings to a frog-shaped purse. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I, which spanned over 40 years, was a time of economic stability, with outstanding successes in the fields of maritime exploration and defence. The period also saw a huge expansion in trade, the creation of new industries, a rise in social mobility, urbanisation and the development of an extraordinary literary culture. The display shows how members of a growing wealthy middle class sought to have their likenesses captured for posterity as the mid-16th century interest in portraiture broadened. Portraits of courtiers such as William Cecil, Christopher Hatton, Bess of Hardwick and Elizabeth Vernon are joined by explorers such as Francis Drake and Martin Frobisher, ambassadors such as Abd el-Quahed ben Messaoud, financiers such as Thomas Gresham and poets including John Donne. The exhibition tells the stories of those individuals whose achievements brought about these changes in the context of an emerging national identity, as well as giving a glimpse into their way of life through accessories and artefacts. It also shows how this was a period in which appearance was made more self-conscious, with calls for the enforcement of sumptuary laws that attempted to determine what was appropriate to be worn by people of different stations. National Portrait Gallery until 5th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, returns as the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice and snow sculpture experience; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 150 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; 32 cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Cirque Berserk featuring a Globe of Death; a double decker carousel and other traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Star Flyer, Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 5th January.

Tomorrow - Elmgreen & Dragset At The V&A is a major installation by the Danish/Norwegian artist duo spread over 5 galleries, in the form of an apartment belonging to a fictional, elderly and disillusioned architect. The installation features over 100 historical objects from the museum's collection that sit alongside works by the artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, as well as items sourced from antique markets. The result appears like a set for an unrealised film. To accompany it, Elmgreen and Dragset have written a script, which is available to visitors as a printed book. The drama centres on a retired architect who had great vision but very little success in his professional life. In his twilight years, and with the family fortune long gone, he is forced to sell his inherited home and all his possessions. The script comments on issues of ageing, disappointment and alienation in today's society. Within the domestic setting, visitors are uninvited guests, able to curl up in the architect's bed, recline on his sofa, or rifle through books placed to hint at the imagined events that could have taken place here. The installation examines interests that have abided throughout Elmgreen and Dragset's careers - those of redefining the way in which art is presented and experienced, issues around social models and how spaces and objects both inflict on and reflect our behavioural patterns. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd January.