News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th September 2006

Commencing

Holbein In England features the work produced in England under the patronage of the Tudor court and for Henry VIII by Hans Holbein, who effectively brought the Renaissance in painting from continental Europe to Britain. Comprising 160 works, including 40 portrait and subject paintings, as well as portrait drawings, decorative designs and prints, it is largest collection of Holbein's work to be seen in Britain in over fifty years. The exhibition shows the range of his skill and accomplishment as an artist, developing a finely poised balance between individualised character and ideal presentation. It also documents the personalities and court life in Tudor England, reflecting the unsettled history and politics of the time. The selection concentrates on Holbein's two periods working in London: 1526 - 1528 under the patronage of Sir Thomas More, and 1532 - 1543 when his patron was Henry VIII - the time during which his best known portraits were painted. Among the highlights are the portraits of Henry VIII, his wife Jane Seymour and their young son, later Edward VI, reunited for the first time in many centuries; a drawing for a group portrait of Sir Thomas More and his family, with detailed instructions for the composition handwritten by More, back in London after 500 years; and individual portraits of More, Erasmus, William Roper, Archbishop Wareham and Anne of Cleves. The exhibition also highlights Holbein's contribution to the revolution in English decorative design, examining the ways in which his understanding of new classical decoration was applied to designs for goldsmiths, as well as to the composition of large scale paintings. Tate Britain until 7th January.

A Secret Service: Art, Compulsion, Concealment shows off the work of 15 international artists and groups whose practices centre on the creation of secret worlds, or the exposure of hidden facts and images. It includes key figures of Modern art, established and emerging contemporary artists, and also outsiders and those operating beyond the mainstream. Together, they address numerous aspects of secrecy: magic, alchemy, sexuality, dreams, religion, political conspiracy, assumed identity and the covert workings of the State. A highlight is Kurt Schwitters's final creation 'The Merzbarn', a rare surviving example of his four Merzbuildings - complex, architectural constructions created from refuse and found objects - seen only by a few trusted friends during his lifetime. The Merzbuildings remain confounding riddles, and the exhibition includes rarely seen documentation of the Merzbuildings in conjunction with a specially commissioned new work by Turner Prize nominee Mike Nelson. Among the work by outsiders, there is a presentation of watercolours by the reclusive Chicago janitor Henry Darger, whose illustrations for the fantasy novel In the Realms of the Unreal came to light only at the very end of his life. The full list of artists comprises: Sophie Calle, Roberto Cuoghi, Gedewon, Susan Hiller, Tehching Hsieh, Katarzyna Jozefowicz, Joachim Koester, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Mark Lombardi, The Speculative Archive, Jeffrey Vallance and Oskar Voll. Hatton Gallery, Newcastle until 11th November.

Chinoiserie explores the decorative styles of the Orient, and their creative inspiration reflected, as in fan designs of 18th century Europe. As trade grew between Europe and the Orient, 'exotic' imported eastern goods became popular, and these commodities offered inspiration to home grown artists and craftsmen, who interpreted the Orient through a European perspective, and thus Chinoiserie was born. As the 18th century progressed, the vogue for Chinoiserie swept across Europe, each country adopting its own interpretation of the style. Fans, an essential fashion item for all ladies of quality, were an ideal medium for reflecting and expressing the style - and at a considerably more realistic price than building the Brighton Pavilion - and so they were decorated with miniature visions of an imaginary country of gentle dragons and moustachioed mandarins. However, just as the fantastic onion domes and ogee arches of the Pavilion pay little regard to geographical accuracy, so does the marriage of European and Oriental design of the fans and other fashion objects featured in this exhibition. Pink cheeked Europeans are dressed in Oriental costumes, situated in landscapes that combine elements of the Orient and European pastoral idylls. With loans from the Bowes Museum and elsewhere joining a selection from the resident collection, the exhibition sheds light on the enduring appeal of Oriental design in the west. Furthermore the location, an 18th century house, with its own oriental style garden, forms a perfect back drop against which to display these objects. The Fan Museum, Greenwich, until 26th November.

Continuing

Rodin the sculptor who heralded the modern age, receives his first London retrospective for 20 years, with a chronological display that explores his inspiration, from studies of unposed models to a love of antiquities. It begins with Auguste Rodin's early contacts and first recognition, introduces his special relationship with Britain, and explores how the support of a few artists, writers, business men, politicians and aristocrats led to recognition by an international public. Rodin brought monumental public sculpture into the 20th century, breaking with traditional and calssical sculpting methods, creating clay representations of moving models, from which a plaster copy would be taken, and after further refinement bronze casts would be made. 'The Gates of Hell', his first major public monument, 'The Burghers of Calais', 'The Age of Bronze', 'The Kiss', 'St John the Baptist' and a large version of 'The Thinker' feature amongst 200 pieces on display, including works in marble, bronze terracotta and plaster. Rodin was also a talented draughtsman and his lyrical, erotic drawings and tiny clay sketches are shown alongside period photographs of his work, together with many large plasters that have never before been exhibited outside France, largely from the Musee Rodin and the store at his home at Meudon. In his later years Rodin made many portrait busts of British people, especially members of London society, including George Wyndham, the Countess of Warwick, Lady Sackville, Eve Fairfax and George Bernard Shaw. Royal Academy of Arts until 1st January.

John Gotto: Floodscapes explores the shifting relationship of painting and photography in John Gotto's work, leading to a synthesis in digital photography. Over the past 25 years the combination of painting and photography, and their respective histories and traditions, has been Gotto's preoccupation, and employing this process, he has related global issues to everyday situations, viewed through his uniquely satirical eye. This exhibition is centred on a series of digitally manipulated ecological allegories, following the fortunes of a crew of Hooray Henries and Essex Girls adrift on the Thames, as the flood waters rise and their smug privileges are washed away.

Derby Museum And Art Gallery until 22nd October.

John Gotto's New World Circus examines the current international situation through the form of a circus performance. Gotto uses a mixture of models, mannequins and actors within his brilliantly coloured big top. American patriotic emblems, army uniforms, cowboy outfits, Union Jacks, shalwar kameez costumes, Disney characters and military insignia are mixed in with traditional circus apparel, creating an disquieting bricolage. The artistes' costumes and the acts they perform reference both the history and traditions of the circus going back to Commedia dell'arte, and the war on terror as played out in the new world order.

Focal Point Gallery, Southend until 21st October.

Poetic Prints: An Insight Into The Art Of Illustration brings together a selection of prints, books and photographs to explore the relationship between word and image, reflecting how over the centuries, artists have been inspired by both poetry and prose. The concept is of course unfashionable nowadays, but exhibition includes a diverse range of works, from William Blake's 'Illustrations to the Book of Job' to Marc Chagall's etchings of the 'Fables of La Fontaine'. In addition, a number of books are also on display, including Eclogues of Virgil by Samuel Palmer and The Well at the World's End by William Morris. The show highlights the range of different ways in which artists respond to poetry and prose, bringing new interpretations to the text. Patrick Caulfield's images are not typical illustrations but are inspired by the desire to gain greater understanding of Jules Laforgue's melancholic poems. This approach contrasts with the wood engravings of Gertrude Hermes and Blair Hughes-Stanton, which are symbolic but faithful illustrations to the text of John Bunyon's book Pilgrim's Progress. Many of the works included here have not previously been on show and have been specially conserved for this exhibition. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, until 18th November.

Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment And Design provides an insight into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci through the pages of his notebooks, with ideas about art, science and nature that are unparalleled in the graphic work of any other thinker from any age. The exhibition features 60 examples of Leonardo's drawings, with several brought to life by large scale models of his designs, including a 30ft glider, and sophisticated computer animations. The works are grouped in four displays: 'The Mind's Eye' explores the relationship of the eye to the brain - the detailed proportional relationships between all various parts of the face, torso and limbs, presented as a series of geometrical problems that Leonardo attempted to solve. 'The Lesser And Greater Worlds' illustrates the ancient idea of microcosm and macrocosm - that the human body contained within itself, in miniature, all the operations of the world and universe as a whole, featuring detailed studies of the heart and the operation of its valves, as well as images of water in motion, which reminded Leonardo of the curling of hair. 'Making Things' focuses on Leonardo's spectacular theatrical designs, entertaining inventions such as water clocks and fountains, and his vision of architecture, including studies of buildings and a spiral staircase. 'Force' highlights Leonardo's 'cinematographic' images of figures in action, which examine the continuity of motion in space in a way that no one had captured previously, including studies of flying creatures and their anatomy, leading on to investigations into the possibility of man powered flight. Victoria & Albert Museum until 7th January.

In The City Of Last Things takes its title from the dystopian city in Paul Auster's novel In the Country of Last Things: 'a haunting picture of a devastated futuristic world which chillingly shadows our own'. Katja Davar, Paul Noble and Torsten Slama use drawing and animation to present their projections of alternative urban and social possibilities. Katja Davar's 'Forking Ocean Path' addresses the self destructive nature of mankind, and imagines the possible consequences, through 3D animation and large scale drawings. Davar presents an undersea world devoid of human life, and in one animation, a creature, part marine and part machine, slowly floats upwards through the remnants of an industrial city at the bottom of the ocean. Paul Noble's 'Unified Nobson' comprises extremely large pencil drawings depicting a fictitious industrial town. Modelled on the new towns devised in the early 20th century to create a perfect fusion of the urban and rural, the drawings offer aerial perspectives over a fantastical cityscape in which each blocky construction is crafted out of a grouping of letters that identifies its owner or function. Torsten Slama's coloured pencil drawings from the cycle 'Gardens of Machine Culture' are inspired by Chinese paintings, and recall the aesthetics of vintage science fiction, as Modernist architecture and industrial constructions merge with rocky landscapes, sparsely grown with vegetation. The depicted worlds are anti-cities in which industry and architecture, like the humans who built them, are part of an evolved nature. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 21st October.

Henry Moore: War And Utility comprises pieces produced between 1938 and 1954, revealing the profound influence of the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and the austere post-war decade on his work. Over 160 items include key sculptures, together with maquettes, stringed pieces, studies, lithographs, textiles and the shelter drawings that brought Moore fame as a war artist in the early 1940s. Sculptures such as 'Upright Internal External Form' explore the encroaching and smothering influence of technology, and the Warrior pieces, such as 'Warrior with Shield', honour the sacrifice of combatants. The forms of the 'Family Groups', first seen sitting amidst the destruction of the blitz, are resolute against the surrounding machines of chaos and fear. With his Hampstead studio bombed, and access to his country home difficult, Moore began to sketch the devastation caused by bombing above ground, as well as producing some of his most powerful and moving drawings of Londoners sheltering from the blitz underneath the city. 70 pages from the two 'Shelter Sketchbooks' and a selection of the finished 'Shelter Drawings' are included in the display. Moore's responses to post war austerity can be seen in a selection of printed textile designs, and in the lithographs such as 'Sculptural Objects'. The reconstruction of public spaces resulted in a series of major commissions, such as the 'Harlow Family Group', the 'Festival of Britain Reclining Figure' and the iconic 'King and Queen'. Imperial War Museum until 25th February.

Concluding

Modigliani And His Models is the first major exhibition of the work of sculptor and painter Amedeo Modigliani to be held in Britain since the 1960s. It comprises around 55 works, encompassing nudes and portraits, together with sculptures and paintings of caryatids, selected to show particular aspects of his work. Modigliani has always been controversial, leading a satisfyingly dissolute and suitably short life, and establishing an instantly original and recognisable style, yet criticised for pursuing it rigorously. Modigliani almost exclusively painted people, portraits and nudes, most of which were executed in the last six years of his career, between 1913 and 1919. His signature style - swan necked elongated figures and faces with almond eyes - drew on a variety of sources: Renaissance to Rococo painting, the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne and Brancusi, ancient Greek, African and Asian sculpture. As the exhibition title suggests, the works featured here are mostly of a succession of women with whom he had relationships as muse, model and mistress. These include the South African born British poet and critic Beatrice Hastings, as in 'Beatrice Hastings in Front of a Door', and his last mistress, the former art student Jeanne Hebuterne, seen in 'Jeanne Hebuterne Sitting' and 'Jeanne Hebuterne, a Door in the Background', who, though nine months pregnant, threw herself out of a fifth storey window on the day after his death. Other portraits, include friends and dealers such as 'Paul Guillaume Seated', and 'Portrait of Picasso', whom he encountered in the cafes and studios of Montparnasse, a crucible in which French and foreign artists, writers, musicians and critics worked side by side to create what is now called 'Modern art'. The Royal Academy of Arts until 15th October.

Front Page: Celebrating 100 Years Of The British Newspaper (1906-2006) reflects the changes in news gathering, reporting and newspaper production over the past century, through a selection of front pages. These are arranged into themes ranging from royalty, society, scandal, sport and celebrations to war, disasters and assassinations. Each theme has been 'curated' by a newspaper group in order to highlight their individual editorial values and styles, revealing what the papers say about themselves and their evolving industry. Commentaries from editors and journalists provide an insight into the decision making process behind the formation of the front pages. The display features some of the headlines that have become legendary in their own right. These include the 1912 Daily Mirror headline "Titanic Sunk - No Lives Lost"; The Sun's 1982 headline "Gotcha" about the sinking of the Belgrano in the Falklands War; and the Independent on Sunday's 2003 headline on Saddam Hussain's weapons of mass destruction, "So where are they Mr Blair?". The centrepiece of the exhibition is an interactive 'newsroom' where visitors can use computers to become Editor of their own newspaper, taking on the job of making up a front page on screen, using individual newspaper house styles and choosing from a 'jigsaw' databank of prepared stories and photographs, while working to a tight deadline. There is also a competition Make The Front Page, which challenges entrants to design a newspaper front page of the future, write a compelling article on one of today's burning social, business or political issues, or take the photograph that captures the essence of the story behind the headlines. The British Library until 8th October.

Richard Dadd 1817 - 1888 is a rare opportunity to see some of the lesser known but extraordinary paintings of the artist whose life was the stuff of a gothic novel. A Royal Academy graduate of great promise, Dadd began to show signs of insanity, and during his cultural grand tour in Europe, felt an uncontrollable urge to attack the Pope on a public appearance in Rome. Believing he was possessed by the Egyptian god Osiris, he killed his father, convinced he was the devil in disguise. In 1843 Dadd was committed to the lunatic asylum at Bethlem Royal Hospital in London, where he spent the rest of his life - a period of 42 years. He was allowed to paint during his incarceration, and the hospital authorities kept the hundreds of works he frantically produced, many of them vivid recreations of the hallucinatory visions he experienced. Dadd's 'Passions' series refers to extreme emotions - Hatred, Jealousy, Madness and Murder are some of the titles - while other scenes relate to his periods of ecstasy, populated by nymphs, fairies and mythical creatures. One of his most celebrated paintings is 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke', about which the rock band Queen wrote their eponymous song. Although many of them are smaller than postcards, Dadd's miniature paintings were created with obsessively precise details, and the maritime and landscape scenes are all the more incredible given that they were entirely painted from memory. Leamington Spa Art Gallery, The Pump Rooms until 1st October.