News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th June 2012


Invisible: Art About The Unseen 1957 - 2012 is the first British exhibition of artworks that explore ideas related to the invisible, the hidden and the unknown. From an invisible labyrinth and canvases primed with invisible ink, animals' mental energy and snow water, to an empty plinth that presents space cursed by a witch and a 'haunted' black tunnel, the exhibition features works by some of the most important artists from the past half century including Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, Robert Barry, Chris Burden, Yoko Ono, Tom Friedman, Bethan Huws, Bruno Jakob, Claes Oldenburg, Maurizio Cattelan and Carsten Holler. The artworks in the exhibition challenge assumptions about what art is, directing attention away from the cultural bias that works of art are inherently visual. Instead it emphasises the ideas behind artworks, the role of the viewer's imagination in responding to art, the process of creating art, and the importance of context and labelling in shaping our understanding of what we see. Among the pieces are: Jeppe Heine's 'Invisible Labyrinth', a maze that only materialises as visitors move around it, equipped with digital headphones operated by infrared rays that cause them to vibrate every time they bump into one of the maze's virtual walls; Teresa Margolles's 'Aire / Air', an installation consisting of two cooling systems that create a superfine mist by drawing on a container filled with 20 litres of water that was previously used to wash the bodies of murder victims in Mexico City prior to autopsy; and Robert Barry's 'Energy Field', a battery-powered transmitter encased in a nondescript wooden box sending out waves of energy, filling the gallery space with an invisible, immeasurable, but nonetheless real force. The exhibition also includes a room dedicated to the tradition of invisible public monuments. Hayward Gallery until 5th August.

The Search For Immortality: Tomb Treasures Of Han China takes visitors into the 2000 year old tombs of Han Dynasty China, revealing an epic story of lust for power both in life and death. The Han Dynasty were the founders of unified rule in China as we know it today, but to maintain their empire, the emperors had to engage in constant struggles for power. The exhibition compares the spectacular tombs of two rival power factions: the Han imperial family in the northern 'cradle' of Chinese history, and the Kingdom of Nanyue in the south. Protected by clay guardians and filled with jade and gold, the tombs were palaces fit for immortals. Each tomb was a symbol of power and majesty, designed so its owner could 'live' again in eternity in the same luxury they enjoyed in life. Over 350 treasures in jade, gold, silver, bronze and ceramics reveal the secrets of the royal obsession with obtaining immortality. Among the highlights are: two burial armour suits belonging to the rival rulers, made from thousands of plaques of jade, sewn together with gold or silk thread; jade artefacts thought to ward off demons, such as a dagger to serve the emperor in the afterlife, and a cup to catch the morning dew that ensured immortality; spectacular objects in gold, including imperial seals and exotic belt buckles; pottery soldiers and bronze weapons; pottery dancers, musicians and servants; and unusual artefacts including a toilet and an early ginger grater. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 11th November.

H M Bateman - The Man Who Went Mad On Paper features the first modern master of 20th century British cartooning. The dramatic and expressive drawings of H M Bateman often sizzle with intensity as he had the ability to 'draw funnily'. Best remembered as the creator of 'The Man Who . . .' drawings of social faux pas, and a master of the story without words, Bateman was also an acute observer of British society from the Edwardian era through to the 1930s. When the 15 year old Bateman began his career, most cartoons were illustrated jokes, with a lengthy caption providing the comic accompaniment to a rather straight drawing, but he had a flash of inspiration, and in his own words 'went mad on paper'. Bateman's innovative approach was to draw out the humour of the situation through his dynamic and dramatic drawings. He drew people as they felt, rather than as they appeared: eyes pop, mouths gape, limbs twist and squirm. During the 1920s and 1930s, decades of huge social change in Britain, his 'Man Who . . .' cartoons showed the terrible consequences of 'doing the wrong thing' and making a social blunder. The exhibition comprises over 120 original cartoons, including Bateman's witty observations of suburban, sporting, working and theatrical 'types'. Among the highlights are the landmark sequence 'The Boy Who Breathed on the Glass in the British Museum' created during the First World War; and his tour de force 'The One-Note Man', which inspired a scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 22nd July.


Heatherwick Studio: Designing The Extraordinary is the first major exhibition exploring the work of one of the most inventive and experimental design studios practising in Britain today. It showcases the wide variety of projects conceived by British designer Thomas Heatherwick and his studio. On display are over 150 objects, from an original seed-tipped rod from the UK Pavilion Seed Cathedral at Shanghai World Expo, to a full scale mock-up of the rear end of the new London double-decker bus. The exhibition examines two decades of projects, from Thomas Heatherwick's exploratory student work, through the architectural commissions which have earned the studio their international reputation, to their current projects. The collection of contextual photographs, maquettes, prototypes, material fragments and models on display offers an insight into the studio's design processes, and their curiosity for materials, engineering and fabrication. The objects are structured in a series of conceptual clusters illustrating the interrelation of ideas throughout the studio's work, whilst giving a sense of walking through the Heatherwick workshop and archive. Each of the themed clusters is accompanied by film footage and audio clips of Heatherwick discussing the back stories of the projects on show. The exhibition is designed by the Heatherwick Studio and spans the disciplines of architecture, engineering, transport and urban planning to furniture, sculpture and product design. Larger-scale architectural achievements such as the East Beach Cafe, Littlehampton, the design for Longchamp fashion store in New York, and the Teesside biomass-fuelled power station, are shown alongside smaller projects like the glass Bleigiessen installation for the Wellcome Trust and the pedestrian Rolling Bridge in Paddington Basin. Victoria & Albert Museum until 30th September.

Fears, Foes And Faeries examines British folklore through the ages. The exhibition features part of a quirky and eccentric collection of over 500 objects assembled in the early part of the 20th century by naturalist, collector and amateur folklorist, William James Clarke. Charms are about managing fear, the thing people find most unmanageable in our everyday life, and the display looks at the subject from various different angles: Foes - a collection of objects, many dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, which were believed to protect against witches, including witch posts carved with a cross, and a bridle to a stop a suspected witch from uttering a curse; Faeries - charting the development of the perception of faeries from dark and threatening creatures to their current, more whimsical incarnation as benign beings, including faery paintings by artists such as Atkinson Grimshaw; Charmacy - charms and amulets with a medical slant, from ivy root necklaces to mole's feet charms; Birds And Beasts - reflecting supposedly supernatural powers of the natural world; and Safety At Sea - exploring the superstitions and charms that were believed to help sailors and fisherman survive the elements, such as nailing a kingfisher to the mast. Also included is a modern day Charmacy where visitors can deposit their fears or wishes and be diagnosed with a charm to suit their individual needs based on the historical research of William James Clarke. Scarborough Art Gallery until 30th September.

London Film Museum has opened a second branch on the site of the former Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. It is the only museum in the capital to focus solely on the history of the film industry and the craft of filmmaking, which it celebrates through an impressive collection of film props and interactive displays.

Capturing The Shadows offers a survey of the old established media, shadow theatre and the optical lantern, photography, and kinetic animation, which each provided an element towards the invention of cinematography as the 19th century gave way to the 20th.

Magnum On Set features 146 of the most recognised 'behind the camera' images, from the legendary agency Magnum Photos. These include Marilyn Monroe captured in the Nevada desert whilst going over her lines for a scene in The Misfits, plus Charlie Chaplin's Limelight, Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch, Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause, Orson Welles's The Trial, John Huston's Moby Dick, Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, and many more. There are also original artefacts on display, including Eve Arnold's Nikon camera and Inge Morath's Leica, plus original props, scripts and costumes.

London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, London WC2, Magnum On Set until 21st September.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 11,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Tess Jaray, with Chris Wilkinson and Eva Jiricna overseeing the architecture section. The Central Hall pays homage to Matisse's 'The Red Studio' with a selection of paintings whose main concern is colour; Gallery 3 features a large quantity of smaller paintings, demonstrating that work of a more modest scale can be as powerful as larger work; and the architecture gallery seeks to blur the boundaries between architecture and the fine arts. Among the artists exhibiting this year are Michael Craig-Martin, Michael Landy, Tracey Emin, Ken Howard, Anselm Kiefer, Raqib Shaw, Calum Innes, Keith Coventry and Jayne Parker. The Royal Academy of Arts until 12th August.

In The Blink Of An Eye: Media And Movement explores our fascination with movement and the desire to record it through photography, film, television and new media. The exhibition reveals how artists, photographers, inventors and scientists have responded to the challenges of capturing and simulating movement, and examines the relationships between art, science, entertainment, sport and historical record. The show offers a unique opportunity for visitors to learn more about how movement has been captured and displayed - from Victorian optical toys like the zoetrope, phenakisoscope and praxinoscope, through the emerging technology of photography, when it became possible to record and analyse the movement of people and animals, to a current state of the art CGI motion-capture suite, plus specially commissioned works by contemporary artists. Classic images by photographers as diverse Harold Edgerton, Eadweard Muybridge, Roger Fenton, Richard Billingham and Oscar Rejlander can be seen alongside historic items of equipment, films and interactive displays. The exhibition also examines how high-speed, time-lapse and time-slice photography have revealed a world invisible to the naked eye. For the newly commissioned pieces, artists Quayola and Memo Akten have made 'Forms', an interactive video installation inspired by Eadweard Muybridge's seminal studies of movement; Bob Levene and Anne-Marie Culhane have created 'Time Frame', an artwork filmed at the UK Olympic training centre in Loughborough; and Jo Lawrence has made 'Barnet Fair', an animation inspired by the theme of the exhibition. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 14th October.

The Horse: From Arabia To Royal Ascot examines Britain's long equestrian tradition from the introduction of the Arabian breed in the 18th century to present day sporting events such as Royal Ascot and the Olympic Games. The exhibition tells the epic story of the horse, a journey of 5,000 years that has revolutionised human history. It focuses on two breeds: Arabians, which were prized in the desert for their spirit and stamina, and the Thoroughbred, which was selectively bred from Arabians for speed and is now raced at world famous courses. Objects on view range from ancient to modern and include depictions of horses in stone reliefs, gold and clay models, horse tack, paintings by George Stubbs, and trophies and rosettes. Highlights from the history of Arabians include one of the earliest known depictions of a horse and rider, a terracotta mould found in Mesopotamia dating to around 2,000 - 1,800 BC; and a Furusiyya manuscript, dating to the 14th century AD, a beautifully illustrated manual of horsemanship, including information on proper care for the horse, advanced riding techniques, expert weapon handling, manoeuvres and elaborate parade formations. Thoroughbreds owe their origin to 3 Arabian stallions imported to Britain in the 18th century, which bred with native mares, produced the breed, now the foundation of modern racing, and from which some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended, and to Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and Lady Anne Blunt, who travelled widely in the Middle East in the 19th century, and established a celebrated stud for purebred Arabians, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. Their remarkable success and their influence on sport and society, from early race meetings through to modern equestrian events is explored in paintings and prints and memorabilia. British Museum until 30th September.


Taking Time: Chardin's Boy Building A House Of Cards And Other Paintings is a concise and concentrated selection of genre scenes and servant paintings by the 18th century French master of the still life, seen together for the first time. Rejecting the florid excesses and mythological subjects which typified the art of his time, Jean-Simeon Chardin instead captured moments of quiet concentration and absorption in simple, everyday activities. His works have a static, reflective quality which gained him the nickname 'the painter of silence'. This exhibition brings together 11 paintings and the same number of works on paper. At the core of the works on show are 4 paintings of young bourgeois boys playing with packs of cards. This was a favourite subject of Chardin's, and one that he returned to time and time again, perpetually finding new variations on the same theme. The works demonstrate the shifting meanings that arise when individual paintings are paired with different companions. Accompanying these are other images of servants engaged in their work, which distill the modesty and dignity of the people they depict. All the works in the exhibition were painted within a few years of each other, between around 1735 and 1738, during a brief period when Chardin interrupted his still life painting to explore the possibilities of figure subjects. Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 15th July.

Picasso And Modern British Art is the first exhibition to examine the Spanish artist's evolving critical reputation in Britain, and British artists' responses to his work. The exhibition explores Pablo Picasso's rise in Britain as a figure of both controversy and celebrity, tracing the ways in which his work was exhibited and collected here during his lifetime. It also demonstrates that the British engagement with Picasso and his art was much deeper and more varied than generally has been appreciated. Pablo Picasso originated many of the most significant developments of 20th century art, and the exhibition looks at his impact on British modernism through seven figures for whom he proved an important stimulus: Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and David Hockney. It is presented in a chronological order, documenting the exhibiting and collecting of Picasso's art in Britain, alternating with individual British artists' responses to his work. The show comprises over 150 works, with over 60 paintings by Picasso, including key Cubist works such as 'Head of a Man with Moustache', 'Man with a Clarinet' and 'Weeping Woman'. Among the works by British artists is Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion', alongside Picasso's paintings based on figures on the beach at Dinard, which first inspired Bacon to take up painting seriously. Also, to compliment Picasso's sets and costumes for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, English National Ballet will be rehearsing on site, culminating on 2nd March with three new ballets animating the exhibition. Tate Britain until 15th July.

Zoe Leonard: Observation Point reveals the contemporary New York based artist's constant concern with perception and visual experience. Zoe Leonard explores photographic seeing, how we relate to the mediated image and how we perceive the world around us. The exhibition addresses three distinct aspects of photography - experience, image, object - and in doing so pushes at the boundaries of photography as practice and medium, and its effect on our emotional, political, or psychological experience. Gallery 3 is transformed into a camera obscura, where daylight filters in through a lens, projecting an image of the world outside onto the floor, walls and ceiling, creating a spatially immersive experience. The gallery's north-south axis provides constant light throughout the day, giving rise to a continually shifting, cinematic event. The work Leonard has created for Gallery 1 defies one of the cardinal rules of traditional photography - not to shoot directly into the sun. Photography customarily depicts the colour, form and spatial extension that the light of the sun allows us to discern, rather than the sun as subject itself. These images combine subject and process, retaining the glare and flare on the lens, the grain of the film in the enlarged print and the evidence of Leonard's work in the darkroom. The installation of found postcards of Niagara Falls in Gallery 2 continues Leonard's practice of using the world around her as source material, reframing or representing already existing images so as to refresh our own act of looking. Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3, until 24th June.