News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th October 2004


Raphael: From Urbino To Rome is, surprisingly, the first major exhibition of paintings and drawings by the great Renaissance painter to be held in Britain. In little more than a decade, between 1500 and 1513, Raphael transformed himself from a competent master of provincial church decoration into one of the greatest painters who ever lived, whose compositions influenced Western art up to the 20th century. This exhibition follows Raphael's dramatic stylistic evolution from his origins in Urbino to the works he produced under the patronage of Pope Julius II in Rome. It meticulously explores the meaning and historical context of his works, reveals the techniques he used, and how these developed, with early cartoons and sketches of alternative compositions alongside the finished paintings. Drawing on collections world wide to complement the gallery's unrivalled holding of Raphael's early works, including the recent controversial acquisition 'The Madonna of the Pinks', the exhibition features a number of paintings never seen in Britain before. Highlights include 'The Holy Family with the Lamb', 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', The Vision of a Knight' and 'The Entombment', plus the 'Alba Madonna' from National Gallery of Art in Washington, the 'Conestabile Madonna' from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the 'Saint George' and 'Saint Michael' from the Louvre in Paris and the 'Self Portrait' from the Uffizi in Florence. National Gallery until 16th January.

Somewhere Everywhere Nowhere is an exhibition of international contemporary art selected from five of France's FRACs (Fonds Regionaux d'Art Contemporain) which were set up in 1983 to collect, commission and present the art of our times. It looks at notions of place, space and context, from landscapes to interiors, embracing a wide range of media, including film, photography, sculpture and video. The works by major French and international figures - Lothar Baumgarten, Alighiero e Boetti, Dominique Gonzalez-Forester and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others - reflect the breadth and quality of the contemporary art being collected. Among the works are photographs of industrial sites by Bernd and Hilla Becher; Willie Doherty's traumatised suburban landscapes; Jeff Wall's cibachrome of a man holding an exploding carton of milk, mounted on a huge light box; Chen Zhen's bits of urban detritus in an industrial-looking glass case; Didier Marcel's architect's model of a building in the process of being demolished; Erwin Wurm's film of a pair of cardboard boxes in a gallery space projected onto a pair of cardboard boxes in a gallery space; Douglas Gordon's compilation of fragments taken from 'Star Trek'; and Andrea Fraser's video of a visitor responding over-enthusiastically to an audio-guide's description of the Guggenheim Bilbao. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh until 28th November and Dundee Contemporary Arts until 4th December.

Asia: Body Mind Spirit explores Asia's holistic approach to medicine - which advocates a balanced relationship of body, mind and spirit - through over two hundred rare and beautiful objects. The materials on display include decorated manuscripts, rare acupuncture charts, early medical texts, and artefacts, paintings, prints and photographs from India, Tibet, China, Japan and other Asian countries. There is a real Chinese pharmacy, complete with drawers of herbs, and a reconstruction of a Tibetan chapel with protective banners. Other highlights include: a Nepalese Ayurvedic painting of the human body depicting channels and organs annotated in Sanskrit; a Korean scroll on acupuncture; a Japanese block print showing the first recorded use of anaesthesia in surgery; a Batak amulet used to protect against poison; a Japanese woodcut depicting a Chinese surgeon operating on a wounded war hero, who is playing go to distract his attention from the pain; a folio from a 14th century Persian horoscope showing the influence of planets on health; a Burmese illustrated text on the life of the Buddha; a 16th century text depicting Mahavira, founder of the Jain religion; and a new work commissioned from London artist Chila Kumari Burman showing how images of Eastern complementary medicine have become a familiar part of the 21st century Western life. The Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, London W1 until 12th December.


Eyes, Lies And Illusions is a treasure trove of optical devices and illusions, from magic lanterns, shadow plays, tricks of perspective and anamorphic images, to kaleidoscopes, zoetropes and other early forms of animation. Drawing on the collection of the German experimental film maker Werner Nekes, this exhibition includes over 1,000 of the most astonishing feats of optical wizardry, dating from the Renaissance to the early years of cinema. Alongside these are works by modern and contemporary artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Christian Boltanski, Tony Oursler and Carsten Holler, which demonstrate how perceptual ambiguities and paradoxes continue to fascinate and inspire artists today. Among the highlights are: 19th century hidden images, visual puzzles and optical riddles in a huge variety of forms; 'Witch' mirrors that multiply reflections to infinity; a camera obscura that shows the traffic on adjoining Waterloo Bridge upside down; shadow puppets of angels and devils circling the walls and concealed in unexpected corners; Line Describing A Cone, a seemingly 'solid' beam of light created from a projected white spot that grows into a complete circle filled with smoke; viewing devices made from prisms and mirrors presenting an inside-out, back-to-front illusion where solids appear void; and a reconstruction of an 'Ames Room', an Alice In Wonderland experience where visitors themselves are part of an astonishing shrinking and enlarging illusion. Hayward Gallery until 3rd January.

Wigan Casino: The Heart Of Soul is an exhibition featuring artwork, memorabilia, photographs and videos intimately connected with what was voted 'Best Disco in the World' by American music magazine 'Billboard' in 1978. It boasts original objects and previously unseen photographs courtesy of the DJ Russ Winstanley, who founded the Casino's legendary 'all-nighters', and even the sounds of those 'all-nighters' - complete with hand clapping - recorded live in the Casino in 1975. Complementing this is Granada television's controversial 1977 documentary, 'This England', directed by Tony Palmer. Soul fans themselves have contributed memories and memorabilia, including original badges, which were a great feature of the time, and clothing. In addition, new works by local artist David Barrow aim to give visitors a taste of what it was like to be inside Wigan Casino in its halcyon days. The exhibition also explores the wider history of the former Empress Hall, which opened in 1916, and quickly became a popular dancing venue. It attracted many famous acts during the 1950s and '60s, including American rock 'n' roll legends. In 1965 it was re-launched as the Casino Club and went on to host to such acts as the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and David Bowie, before becoming THE Northern Soul venue from 1973 until its closure in 1981. The building was demolished in 1983 to make way for a civic centre, which was never built. History Shop, Wigan until 26th February.

G F Watts: Portraits - Fame And Beauty In Victorian Society is a rare exhibition of portraits by the Victorian painter, who was much feted in his time, but is now often forgotten. Watts was a central personality of the era: a friend of Tennyson, the Pre-Raphaelite artists, photographic pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron, and married (albeit briefly) to the actress Ellen Terry. Today he is best remembered for his large-scale symbolist paintings, such as 'Hope', and for the 'Hall of Fame' series of portraits of his eminent contemporaries, including Carlyle, Tennyson, Browning and Rossetti, yet he also produced some of the most glamorous full-length portraits of women of the Victorian period. As a portraitist Watts had an enormous output - over 300 images in oils and countless drawings - from the 1830s to 1904. Rich in colour and detail, these are little known and have never been seen together as a group, though they comprise the artistic and social elite of mid-Victorian London. Some of the most beautiful of Watts's paintings are portraits of his personal friends. This exhibition brings together over fifty works, including several showing the seven Pattle sisters; Mrs Nassau Senior; a double portrait of Ellen and Kate Terry known as 'The Sisters'; Violet Manners, later the Duchess of Rutland, a fellow artist; Blanche, Lady Lindsay, artist, musician, and co-founder of the Grosvenor Gallery; Lillie Langtry; and several drawings and oil paintings of Mary Augusta, Lady Holland, which reveal the nature of their 'close friendship'. National Portrait Gallery until 9th January.

Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design Since The Sixties is the first major exhibition to explore developments in British graphic design over the past four decades, and examine its influence on contemporary culture. Focusing on the smaller independent studios and teams who have produced the most creative, innovative and highly regarded design work, it presents an overview of the best design work, tracing how and why UK graphic design has developed in the way it has. It explores the emergence of independent graphic design within the music, publishing and cultural industries, its role in the shaping of identity, and the link between graphic design and the web. In addition, the exhibition highlights the place of graphic design as a medium of protest in society, as well as the increasingly important area of experimental self-initiated work undertaken by designers. The exhibition features more than 600 exhibits, spanning album covers for New Order and Primal Scream, identities for BBC 2 and Big Brother, Biba and Paul Smith, magazines including OZ and i-D, posters for CND and the Anti-Nazi League, and web sites for The Guardian and Donnie Darko. It celebrates the achievements of over 100 designers as diverse as Alan Fletcher, Ken Garland, Michael English, Barney Bubbles, Peter Saville, Neville Brody, The Designer's Republic, Tomato, Fuel, Intro and Hi-ReS! Barbican Gallery until 23rd January.

Walter Sickert: Drawing Is The Thing opens up a new front in the current Sickertmania by examining the core of his creative process. Sickert drew constantly in order to capture new subjects for his paintings - theatrical interiors, the stage, and highly charged domestic dramas. By bringing together over 150 works, with every form of drawing Sickert made, and a number of related paintings and prints, it offers an insight into his techniques, themes and reasons for drawing. Sickert's earliest, small drawings, quick, evocative sketches made in the semi-darkness of the theatre, are evidence of his daily (or rather nightly) practice of drawing from real-life situations. His depictions of couples in an interior, recognised as his major achievement, form a large part of the exhibition. Just as many of the theatrical interiors featured the dynamic tension between audience and performer, so his domestic dramas are full of psychological tension. A central feature of the exhibition is the assembling of all the known drawings for his composition Ennui, together with the paintings and prints they inspired. The unusual nature of Sickert's subject matter extended to his choice of unconventional models, both architectural and human. He rejected professional models and preferred unglamorous, working class parts of town. The exhibition also explores the relationship between Sickert and one of his models, a young art student Cicely Hey, whom he drew many times. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 5th December.

Bouchier: Seductive Visions is a new display of spectacular creations from the worlds finest collection of works by the most beguiling of 18th century French Rococo painters. Bouchier's gods and goddesses, shepherds and shepherdesses, cherubs and mythical creatures, inhabited a unique ethereal world, somewhere between Paris and Versailles. The exhibition reflects how this little known painter rose from obscurity to reach the heights of the academic hierarchy, and work for a prestigious clientele. This included King Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour, for whom he created the masterpieces 'The Setting of the Sun' and 'The Rising of the Sun', which form the centrepiece of the exhibition. Bouchier was prolific, and his influence soon extended beyond paintings, as he became an arbiter of society's taste. This is borne out by the inclusion here of Sevres porcelain, miniatures, gold work, boxes, furniture and tapestry reflecting his style. He also designed elaborate settings for opera, ballet and comedies, and murals for public and domestic interiors. Bouchier's female nudes and poetically imaginative pastorals led to him being acclaimed as 'the Painter of the Graces' and 'the Anacreon of Painting'. His extravagant, idealised scenes perfectly captured the hedonistic mood of the Enlightenment, but his enchanted visions of gods and goddesses were swept away by the harsh realities of the ensuing Revolution. The Wallace Collection until 17th April.


Paradise Lost: The Poem And Its Illustrators brings together works by a number of artists and poets in response to John Milton's epic 12 book poem. The exhibition is centred on 12 illustrations by William Blake - one for each of the books - that have not been seen in this country for nearly a century. It also commemorates the 200th anniversary of Blake's own retelling of the story, called Milton, in the preface of which he first published the poem Jerusalem. Other artists on display, whose work exploring heaven and hell, Adam and Eve, and God and the Devil, was associated directly with printed editions, or found inspiration from it, include John Baptiste Medina, John Henry Fuseli, George Romney, JMW Turner, Gustave Dore and William Hogarth. The exhibition also features a number of rare books and manuscripts, such as a first edition copy of Paradise Lost from 1667, a first illustrated edition from 1688, and an edition from 1827 with John Martin illustrations. There are also other books by Blake, and a 21st century manuscript from Tony Harrison 'On not being Milton'. The Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere until 31st October.

The Secret State reveals for the first time, the true extent of Britain's preparations for nuclear attack during the Cold War. Based on recently released secret documents held in the government archive, it shows how woefully poor our chance of survival would have been, had the doomsday scenario of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union taken place. In addition, the intelligence reports, minutes of meetings, notes and memoranda prepared by ministers and senior civil servants, illuminate the background, including the methods by which espionage was conducted, why and how our nuclear deterrent was built, and how secrets were betrayed to the Russians. The most secret files deal with the nuclear retaliation procedures in the 1960s, spelling out what would have happened if the Prime Minister had survived the first missile assault, how he would have responded, and also that an RAF officer, the Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, was authorised to retaliate on his own initiative if the Prime Minister had been killed. Perhaps the most compelling files are those that deal with the fate that would have awaited the British people had an attack succeeded: millions dead instantly; radiation poisoning eventually killing millions more; the Prime Minister and a small war cabinet evacuated to secret bunker; the country broken into 12 self contained mini kingdoms, each run by a cabinet minister from underground 'regional seat of government'; the military and the police dispensing absolute and rough justice; and the near impossibility of restoring the essentials of life for the survivors. The National Archives, Kew until 30th October.

Timeframes: Lodge Jeapes McGhie - TV Title Pioneers salutes the work of three BBC designers, who played a crucial role in transforming titles of television programmes, from little more than silent film captions, into a creative art. In the 1960s, Bernard Lodge, Alan Jeapes and Charles McGhie were the first to realise the potential of moving graphic sequences combined with sound. In 30 seconds they were able to capture the mood of the programme and engage the viewers. The exhibition is a combination of stills, screenprints, storyboards, lightbox slides and moving images of work by Lodge: 'Dr Who', 'The Late Show', 'Tea Party' and 'Telltale'; Jeapes: 'Thorndyke', 'Famous Gossips' and 'Softly Softly'; and McGhie: 'Late Night Horror', 'Out Of The Unknown' and '13 Against Fate'. When they joined the BBC there were no rules to break, as the department consisted of signwriters who created basic handwritten captions. Lodge, Jeapes and McGhie were art college trained, and used design, animation and experimental visuals to create kinetic solutions. The results were original and creative, and their seminal work has influenced television design ever since. What Saul Bass was to film titles, these three designers were to television - they invented the genre of the title sequence. Kemistry, London EC2, 020 7729 3636, until 30th October.