Private View held by Richard Andrews
Gert & Uwe Tobias features the collaborative works of the identical twin Romanian-born contemporary artists. Gert and Uwe Tobias paint, sculpt, make collages, wall paintings, traditional woodcuts and draw with a typewriter. Their works are full of strange characters and creatures drawn from eastern European folk art, combined with diverse influences, from abstract art of the early 20th century to German post-war painting. The Tobias brothers' giant woodcuts and wall paintings draw on modernist geometric abstraction, however they combine line, shape, colour and typography with the narrative images and patterns of folk art, using decorative motifs such as flowers, plants, patterns, embroidery and domestic objects. Their collages are like stage sets on which splashes of pigment and found images of animals or humans are assembled in a performance, and playfulness combines with violence as body parts are fragmented across the picture surface. Their figures also metamorphose into plants or birds, which, macabre yet innocent, lend a surreal dimension to the Tobias' imagery. These elements are often placed against a grid or flat painted background to create dramatic and surreal tableaux. The Tobias brothers have created an installation incorporating the tradition of modernist stage design with geometric shapes and lines in bold colours extending from the works across the walls. There are also new ceramic works, made by taking mass-produced crockery, and adding ceramic extrusions and coloured glazes to everyday plates and vases, creating new and unexpected expressionistic sculptures. The Tobias brothers have produced a unique woodcut exhibition poster, continuing a tradition of creating a woodcut to mark every one of their solo exhibitions. Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1, until 14th June.
In Cloud Country: Abstracting From Nature - From John Constable To Rachel Whiteread is a unique anthology from the 18th to the 21st century that examines what has inspired generations of artists to make observations from nature that lead them to formal or symbolic abstraction. Whether it is atmospheric phenomena, the linear or textural qualities of the botanical world or their political and metaphoric potential, artists' studies from nature offer a breathtaking range of abstractions. These artists have made studies of plants and of land, sea or skyscapes, and then translated what they have seen or felt, into a staggering array of different artistic strategies. The 18th century watercolourist John Sell Cotman uses pencil to capture the dynamism of light falling on trees by a riverbank; the fleeting volumes of cumulous clouds are trapped by John Constable in his intense oil studies; Henry Moore uses the branches of a tree to make vein like traceries of lines; Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone uses drawing to resurrect the tree that has been subsumed in a domestic plank of wood; and Rachel Whiteread takes a symbol of the Arts & Crafts movement, the Tree of Life, and translates it into a contemporary icon. The exhibition brings together some 60 works on paper by some of the world's most acclaimed artists including Thomas Girtin, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Joan Miro, William Morris, Julian Opie, Chris Ofili and JMW Turner. Harewood House, Harewood, Yorkshire, until 30th June.
Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things brings together key designs that have shaped the modern world, revealing intriguing insights found in exceptional, although everyday, items. Six stories are presented offering a diverse look at design, tracing the history and processes of contemporary design. The show includes furniture, product, fashion, transport and architecture, alongside a selection of prototypes, models and specially commissioned films. National Identity looks at the objects that define a nation, such as the phone box, road signage, the post box, the London 2012 logo and a Euro coin. Plastics examines the dominance of plastic in our lives with examples of luxury through to everyday plastics from the last 75 years. Modernism provides a snapshot of a remarkable and dynamic period of design, shown through furniture, products, textiles and architecture, alongside contextual images and documents. An Archetype focuses on the invention and evolution of the design classic The Anglepoise Lamp. A Designer In The Spotlight features the work of contemporary designer Jasper Morrison, whose Handlebar Table is on display for the first time. Style Through The Decades is reflected through fashion from the 70s to the 90s and charts the shift of the shopper from Carnaby Street to Kings Road to Bond Street. Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1, until 29th January.
Sebastiao Salgado: Genesis is the 3rd long-term photographic exploration of contemporary global issues by the Brazilian photojournalist. This epic exhibition is the culmination of 8 years work, exploring 32 countries, and features 216 of Sebastiao Salgado's black and white documentary photographs. They capture some of the furthest and wildest corners of the world, drawing together images of landscapes and wildlife, alongside indigenous communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures, showing rare insights into their lands. The images chart a journey to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society. They present a pictorial depiction of the lands and lives of a still pristine planet, portraying the breathtaking beauty of a lost world that somehow survives, revealing what is in peril, and what must be saved. The display embraces the dark heat of the Brazilian rainforest, the icy light of Siberia, an Ecuadorian dawn, and dusk in the Galapagos, and range from the cold of a Patagonian winter to the heat of the Sahara. During the years in which Salgado travelled around the world to produce this collection of images, he often stayed with the people he photographed, and many of the places represented are important research areas particularly for studying the variety of species biodiversity. The exhibition follows the 5 themes: Sanctuaries, Planet South, Africa, Northern Spaces, and Amazonia and Pantanal. Natural History Museum until 8th September.
Bellini, Botticelli, Titian…500 Years Of Italian Art traces the transition from religious to non religious art, and explores themes that cross the centuries. The exhibition of over 40 paintings, displayed chronologically, includes works of striking quality and originality covering the period from 1400 to 1900, some of which have not been on public display for more than a century. It includes landscapes, portraits and devotional works from the Renaissance, including Giovanni Bellini's 'Madonna and Child', Sandro Botticelli's 'The Annunciation', Bartolomeo Veneto's 'Sta Catherine', Titian's 'The Adulteress brought before Christ' and 'Head of a Man' (both originally one large painting), Cavaliere d'Arpino's 'The Archangel Michael and the Rebel Angels', Carlo Dolci's 'Salome', Grammatica's 'Madonna with Child and St Anne', Domenichino's 'Landscape with St Jerome', Andrea Casali's 'Triumph of Galatea', Luiga da Rios's 'Overlooking a canal', Federico Andreotti's 'The Violin Teacher', and Francesco Guardi's 'View of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice'; religious and mythological scenes by Luce Giordano and Francesco Solimena; and depictions of Vesuvius and views from Naples by Pierre-Jacques Volaire and Gaspare Vanvitelli. Compron Verney, Warwickshire, until 23rd June.
Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon And The Photographer is the first showing of this installation in its completed form. Constructing 365 hand-puppets from book images clipped and glued to fabric forms, Geoffrey Farmer has populated the gallery with this recently completed puppet calendar 'The Surgeon and the Photographer'. In 2009, on a rumour that a well known second-hand book store in Vancouver would soon be closing, Farmer acquired several hundred books, which he used to create the collaged forms. The figures are arranged in small and large groups, suggesting crowds or processions, portraits of days and months through the 90m long space. Each puppet is an individual character, with its own story, created in its own way - one a sketch come alive, another, an animated statue - and viewed from different angles they reveal different moods. At the end of the gallery, Farmer projects a newly commissioned, computer-controlled montage, 'Look in my Face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell….'. The montage is comprised of selected whole images, before being cut to construct the figures. The images are matched to a sound library and organised by both chance and predetermined categories. Farmer's process-orientated approach, which is both intuitive and research-based, draws on storytelling, dreams, popular culture, literature and theatre, influenced by the sculptural, collage and assemblage traditions of Hannah Hoch and Robert Rauschenberg. The Curve, Barbican, London until 28th July.
George Catlin: American Indian Portraits is the first exhibition in Britain of the work of the 19th century American artist, writer and showman since the 1840s. George Catlin documented Native American peoples and their cultures to serve as a record of what he believed to be a passing way of life. What he created is regarded as one of the most important records of indigenous peoples ever made. Catlin was not the only artist to embark on such a project in the 19th century, but his record is the most extensive still in existence. This exhibition comprises over 60 exhibits, including paintings, manuscripts and illustrated books. Catlin made his first Native American Indian portrait in 1826, a sketch of Seneca chief Red Jacket. He made 5 trips in the western part of the United States during the 1830s before the Native American peoples of those regions had been subsumed into the legal boundaries of the United States. The 'Indian Gallery' comprised the materials and work Catlin produced, during and inspired by those trips, which included some 500 portraits, pictures and indigenous artefacts. Catlin aimed to meet as many Indian peoples as he could and his total was around 48 different indigenous groups or 'nations' by the time the 'Indian Gallery' reached its zenith. Catlin's entrepreneurial spirit led him to tour the 'Indian Gallery' in the eastern states from 1837-39, but he failed in selling it to the United States government. He then went on to tour the gallery in Europe for the next 10 years, including exhibitions held in Britain, France and Belgium. Always needing to make financial gains from his endeavours, Catlin used brash entrepreneurial methods to promote the spectacle of the 'Indian Gallery' during its European tour. He was so successful that his record of Native Americans still dominates their representation today. National Portrait Gallery until 23rd June.
Metropolis: Reflections On The Modern City offers visions of the changing rhythms and human interactions of modern cities and urban life. The exhibition features some 35 works in a variety of media, created in the past decade by 25 artists of international standing. Among the highlights, Miao Xiaochun's monumental photographic work 'Orbit' depicts the frantic pace of Beijing, a moving landscape where vehicles and pedestrians are captured in their metropolitan lives; Dayanita Singh's 'Dream Villa' photographic series portrays a mysterious and atmospheric view of modern India, infused with light and colour; Mohamed Bourouissa's series 'Peripherique' offers scenes reflecting a carefully staged moment of physical or emotional tension set in the bleak housing estates that encircle Paris; Grazia Toderi's 'Orbit Rosse' comprises moving nocturnal images of cities superimposed to create a mesmerising and hypnotic effect; and Jochem Hendricks's 'Front Windows' depicts an anonymous looking apartment block near Frankfurt station, the silence shattered by the smashing of the windows from the inside. Other artists in the exhibition include Zhang Enli, Beat Streuli, Jitish Kallat, Semyon Faibisovich, Christiane Baumgartner, Ola Kolehmainen, Aleksandra Mir, Nicholas Provost, Matias Faldbakken, Barry McGee, Yang Zhenzhong, Cao Fei, Romauld Hazoume, Josef Robakowski and Rashid Rana. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 23rd June.
The Bride And The Bachelors: Duchamp With Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg And Johns examines one of the most important chapters in the history of contemporary art. The exhibition explores Marcel Duchamp's impact on four great modern artists - composer John Cage, dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, and visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Tracing their creative exchanges and collaborations, the show features 25 works by Duchamp, and more than 30 by Johns and Rauschenberg, as well as music by Cage and live dance performances of Cunningham choreography. Contemporary artist Philippe Parreno has devised the exhibition's mise en scene, activating time and movement within the exhibition to create a vital way of experiencing the work of the featured artists, invoking the notion of the ghost, existing between presence and absence. The varied sequence of Parreno's orchestration of live and pre-recorded sound, arranged in concert with live dance performances, enables the exhibition to change over time, creating continually fresh perspectives. Among the highlights are Duchamp's 'The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)', 'Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)', the earliest replica of 'Fountain', and a version of 'Bottlerack' that was a present to Robert Rauschenberg; Rauschenberg's 'Bride's Folly', 'White Paintings', 'Express', and stage set 'Tantric Geography' designed for Cunningham's Travelogue; Johns's 'No' and'M'; and Johns and Cunningham's 'Walkaround Time'. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 9th June.
Schwitters In Britain is the first major exhibition in Britain to examine the late work of one of the major artists of European Modernism. The exhibition focuses on Kurt Schwitters's British period, from his arrival in Britain as a refugee in 1940 until his death in Cumbria in 1948, and comprises over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures, many shown for the first time in over 30 years. Schwitters was a significant figure in European Dadaism who invented the concept of Merz: 'the combination, for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials'. Whether those materials were string, cotton wool or a pram wheel, Schwitters considered them to be equal with paint. He is best known for his pioneering use of found objects and everyday materials in abstract collage, installation, poetry and performance. Schwitters's collages often incorporated fragments from packaging and newspapers reflecting British life, such as the London bus tickets and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts wrappers used in 'Untitled (This is to Certify That)'. Highlights include an early example of Schwitters's unique concept of Merz in the assemblage 'Merz Picture 46 A. The Skittle Picture', the sculpture 'Untitled (Birchwood Sculpture)', and 'Anything with a Stone'. In 1945 Schwitters relocated to the Lake District, and inspired by the rural Cumbrian landscape, began to incorporate natural objects into his work, as shown in small sculptures including 'Untitled (Opening Blossom)', and his last great sculpture and installation, the Merz Barn. Tate Britain until 12th May.
Painted Pomp: Art And Fashion In The Age Of Shakespeare combines portraits and rare survivals of dress from the period to reveal the heights of the art and fashion of 400 years ago. One of the most important groups of Jacobean portraits in the country forms the centrepiece of this exhibition. Nine full length portraits by William Larkin, painted around 1613-18, depict members of an extended family, relatives of Thomas Howard, the first Earl of Suffolk. They may have been made to mark a marriage between the Cecil and Howard families, two of the most powerful Jacobean courtly families during an unsettled period of intrigue and social change. The most striking features of the portraits are the costumes, recorded by the artist in painstaking detail to reflect the huge wealth and status of the sitters. Some extraordinary fashion statements are also captured, including shoe laces threaded through the ear of the 4th Earl of Dorset, and the startling decolletage of Lady Isabel Rich. The paintings record not only the richness of the fabrics and fashions in exquisite detail, but also current ideas of beauty, such as elaborately dressed hair, and skin so pale and translucent as to reveal the blue veins beneath. To help bring the portraits alive, they are accompanied by a selection of early 17th century clothing and accessories. These include an embroidered bodice, rare fans, shoes, beautiful punto in aria lace (literally 'stitches in the air'), gloves embroidered in silks and trimmed with gold and silver, and elaborate men's shirts of fine blackwork embroidery and cutwork. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 6th May
Love And Devotion: From Persia And Beyond celebrates the beauty of Persian manuscripts, and the stories of human and divine love that they tell. The exhibition features over 60 stunning Persian manuscripts, including rare examples of 13th to 18th century Persian, Mughal Indian and Ottoman Turkish illustrated manuscripts. These magnificently illustrated works come from one of the richest periods in the history of the book, and give a fascinating insight into the great artistic and literary culture of Persia and its timeless epics, tales and romances. They include a poetic history of Alexander The Great; the love story of a 6th century King and his Armenian Princess; the tale of Layli and Majnun (the Romeo and Juliet of the East); the biblical travails of Zulaykha and Joseph, a tale of slavery and far flung loyalty; and in a 60,000 couplet work, standing as the longest poem ever written by a single person, the entire history of humanity within the Iran centred Shahnamah (Book Of Kings). The shapeliness and beauty of the calligraphic script, the illuminations in gold and lapis-lazuli, the exquisite motifs of flora and fauna, and the delicately painted images are all testament to the love, care, dedication and devotion of all those who were involved in their production. They transcend the bounds of language, culture and religion. Bodlian Library, Oxford, until 28th April.