News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th September 2005

Commencing

From Futurism To Arte Povera: Works From The Marcello Levi Collection is selected from one of the leading collections of contemporary art in Italy. Over sixty years ago, Marcello Levi began with works by members of the Futurist movement, such as Giacomo Balla and Gerardo Dottori, and then became one of the earliest supporters of Arte Povera. His friendship with the artists enabled him to acquire a remarkable series of works that have rarely been shown in public. Arte Povera was a movement founded in the second half of the 1960s. Literally meaning 'poor art', the term refers to the choice of humble materials such as earth, iron, wood and rags, with which the artists aimed to challenge conventional means of creative expression, reduce the artificial gap between art and life and react against the commercialism of the art market. Like Futurism, it emerged at a time of dramatic socio-economic change, against a backdrop of political upheaval and technological expansion. Unlike the earlier movement, however, Arte Povera was internationalist in outlook and sceptical about industrialisation. Among the artists represented here are Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto, together with Kurt Schwitters, whose collages constructed from discarded items such as bus tickets, magazine clippings and other such 'debris' represent a highly innovative approach to materials which may be seen as anticipating that of Arte Povera itself. Also included are works by Modernists such as Man Ray, Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee and Andy Warhol. Estorick Collection, London until 18th December.

Alison Turnbull brings together paintings from the recent series of works, 'World in a Chamber', a pictorial investigation into the idea of the botanic garden, by the Colombian born but London resident artist. For some years Turnbull's work has dealt with the varied ways in which we conceive and transform the spaces we inhabit, fusing the representational with the abstract. Previous exhibitions have consisted of paintings that take the language of architectural representation - plans, sections and elevations - as generative starting points. These found drawings are then transformed by colour and by the very specific physical activities that activate the painted surface. In 2002 Turnbull turned to architecture as applied to gardens, how plant collections are organised, and man's attempts to impose control over nature. Typical of this series is a work made after visits to Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight. Derived from two found drawings of the site - one, a guide to the present day garden, overlaid onto the other, a plan of the 19th century hospital that previously occupied the site - the painting incorporates lines and blocks of luminous colour floated on a neutral ground, anchored by fine lines of graphite. Also in the exhibition are 'Black Borders' a new series of works on paper inspired by the botanic garden in Oxford, where there is a planting scheme known as the Black Borders, which contains exclusively black, or almost black, plants. Turnbull takes the idea of the black border as the point of departure for a group of meticulous and intensely worked drawings. ArtSway, Lymington until 20th November.

Rock 'n' Roll Icons: The Photography of Mick Rock spans 40 years of rock photography by the legendary (and suitably named) Mick Rock, once described as 'the photo-laureate of Glam'. Intimate moments from previously unseen footage and iconic images that defined the Glam and Punk eras, are taken from the vast archive of work by the man who 'shot the seventies'. The exhibition is a chronicle of the lives and music of many of rock's seminal artists of the past, such as Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Blondie, Queen and Lou Reed, and contemporary artists and celebrities such as Razorlight, the YeahYeahYeahs, The Killers, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers, Johnny Marr, Maryiln Manson and Kate Moss. It features over 150 images, together with video footage, rare images, out-takes, private recordings and personal interviews with some of the greatest rock legends. Rock was David Bowie's official photographer and also shot many famous album covers such as David Bowie - Space Oddity, Lou Reed - Transformer and Coney Island Baby, Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power, Queen - Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack, and The Ramones - End of the Century. He was also the pioneer of music videos by David Bowie - Life on Mars, Space Oddity and Jean Genie, and was the official photographer for Rocky Horror Picture Show. Urbis, Manchester until 8th January.

Continuing

Lucy Orta is the first major solo exhibition in the UK of the contemporary artist whose work examines the social bonds within communities and the relationships between individuals and their environments. Lucy Orta's work has been categorised as belonging to the 'jumble sale school' - or more correctly 'car boot sale school' since one piece 'M.I.U. VII' incorporates a lorry. In fact, many of the pieces look like they belong to a disaster emergency response team - I'm sure 'Refuge Wear Intervention London East End' and 'Body Architecture-Collective Wear 4 Persons' were on the pavement outside Kings Cross in July. Orta describes her work as being 'at the intersection of dress and architecture'. This exhibition brings together sculptures, videos, objects and photographs created by Orta over the last ten years, including a diverse range of collaborative projects and performances, installations and social interventions held in cities around the world. A new work on its first outing consists of 23 silver bodysuits attached to canvas stretcher beds that float mysteriously at waist height, like canoes on floodwater. In terms of being an artist reflecting the world around her, could Orta possibly be the contemporary equivalent of Hogarth? The Curve at The Barbican until 30th October.

Kindertotenlieder: Mariele Neudecke is a new work by the German born, British resident artist, who uses sculpture, film and photography to create representations of landscapes, drawing on Northern Romantic ideas. She is perhaps best know for her atmospheric creations of landforms within glass vitrines - a sort of vegetarian alternative to Damien Hirst. The charm of her 'tank works' comes from their combination of the ruinous wilderness of the landscapes with the quaint domesticity of their dolls house setting. Premiering here is a five part moving image installation in response to each of Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children), fusing contemporary visual art with classical music and literature. Mahler's composition was written in 1901 following the deaths of two of his children, setting verse by German Romantic poet Friedrich Ruckert, which evokes emotions of grief, loss and guilt. Neudecker has drawn upon the metaphors of light and weather referred to in Ruckert's verse. She breaks new ground by creating a mysterious, multimedia mausoleum, in which Kathleen Ferrier's recording of the song cycle provides the soundtrack for glimpses of digitally generated vistas. Neudecker's installation unfolds like a sequence of sets for an imaginary opera. In one room a misty, romantic sunrise gradually spreads across the wall. In another, a pinprick of light animates a doorknob, revealing a video of a child playing a field. Elsewhere, a mirror reflects bolts of forked lightning, and visitors can peep around doors to view a vast alpine landscape. Impressions Gallery, York until 28th October.

Deutschlandscape - Epicentres At The Periphery is a fantasy landscape, a room high photographic collage, comprised of a wide range of contemporary style architectural projects: homes, schools, offices, a community centre, a hotel - even a car park and a sewage works. This dramatic 80m long panorama shows 38 projects from across Germany that have been completed since the year 2000. The display explores the deliberate shift in focus by architects from metropolitan urban centres to the areas on the urban fringe. At the core of all these projects is the intent to enliven and reinvent suburban areas, exploit overlooked spaces, and to regenerate derelict post industrial landscapes, within the urban margins and in provincial towns. It eschews the city centre grand projects for the smaller innovative designs, often squeezed in between existing buildings or adapting abandoned structures. Most of the projects have challenged or subverted tough planning laws to produce inspiring results on limited budgets. Among the most eye catching schemes are the town house wrapped in timber with a chequerboard pattern of windows and a bedroom that slides outwards like a giant filing cabinet drawer; a suburban house with exterior walls made from gabions (40,000 rocks held in metal cages); and a swimming pool built inside a disused colliery. In addition to the panorama there are terminals on which visitors can explore individual schemes in detail. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th January.

Between Past And Future: New Photography And Video From China is the first major survey of work from the past decade by a new generation of Chinese photographers and video artists. Featuring 60 works by 40 artists, the exhibition reflects their responses to the rapid cultural, social and economic changes taking place in China. The exhibition includes work by Hong Hao, Qui Zhijie, Sheng Qi, Liu Zheng, Song Dong, Xing Danwen and Cui Xiuwen. Highlights include: 'Night Revels of Lao Li', a 31ft photograph by Wang Qingsong reinterpreting a famous 10th century scroll painting about a disillusioned government official, replacing him with Li Xianting, a well known critic who was sacked from an official art magazine for championing experimental art; 'East Village, Beijing, No. 20', in which Rong Rong records celebrated Beijing performance artist Zhang Huan in 'Twelve Square Metres' (the title refers to the size of the public toilet in which Zhang, coated in honey, spent an hour, slowly becoming covered by flies); and 'Demolition: Forbidden City, Beijing' by Zhang Dali, who captures Beijing's urban transformation by spray painting an outline of his own head on to buildings scheduled for demolition, and then knocking out the head-shaped hole through which can be glimpsed the roofs of the Forbidden City, dramatically contrasting with the emerging architecture of China's capital city. As well as introducing an extraordinary body of work to a British audience, the exhibition provides a remarkable insight into the dynamics of Chinese culture at the start of the 21st century. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th January.

Sense And Sensibility - Cotman Watercolours Of Durham And Yorkshire both examines the unique contribution to English watercolour painting by John Sell Cotman, and reveals the local history of the Yorkshire and Humber region. The exhibition comprises 81 major works from across Britain, many of which are seen on display together for the first time, alongside a selection of archival material relating to Cotman. It also includes drawings created under his tuition by the young Cholmeley daughters of Brandsby Hall near York. So enamoured were the girls with their handsome young tutor that they wrote a poem, 'Cotmania' in his honour. It is thought by some that they were the inspiration for the setting of Wilkie Collins's novel The Woman In White. While still in his early twenties Cotman made three visits to the north between 1803 and 1805. He worked at a wide variety of locations, including Fountains, Rievaulx, Byland and Kirkstall Abbeys, and sketched in the grounds of Harewood House, Castle Howard and Duncombe Park. His studies of these places include some of his finest and most important works. During his lifetime Cotman's paintings did not bring him success, being too subtle, too refined and too undemonstrative for contemporary taste, but Cotman's muted and meditative Durham and Yorkshire watercolours, seeming to capture an unearthly silence, are now widely regarded as some of the most perfect achievements of British Art. Harewood House until 30th October.

Eileen Gray celebrates the achievements of one of the best loved architects and designers of the early 20th century, whose work influenced both the modernist and Art Deco styles. Devoted to "building for the human being", Eileen Gray infused the geometric forms and industrial aesthetic of Le Corbusier and fellow pioneers of the modern movement with opulence and sensuality. Her Bibendum and Transat chairs, and E-1017 table - designed for her sister to enjoy breakfast in bed - are among the most enduring examples of early 1900s furniture, and her houses still influence architects. Despite her fame today, Gray was neglected for most of her career, only to be rediscovered in the late 1960s. As a self-taught woman in a man's world, and an Irish expatriate living in France, Gray was isolated at a time when most designers and architects were male and attached to movements. She started producing lacquer work screens and panels in radical geometric panels in Paris in the 1910s, moved on to designing furniture, and then a series of sparse, yet luxurious apartments - and in the 1920s started to practice architecture as well as design. E 1027, Gray's first house in the south of France, and her own Tempe a Pailla, were strikingly innovative in their treatment of light and space, and following these she devoted herself principally to architecture. The exhibition surveys Gray's work both in architecture and design, contextualised by sketches, letters, models, photographs, and other archive documentation, painting a rich picture of this remarkable woman's achievements. Design Museum until 8th January.

Concluding

Henri Cartier-Bresson is the largest and most comprehensive retrospective of work by the legendary French photographer ever staged in Britain, featuring over 200 photographs. Cartier-Bresson had an early passion for Surrealism, and in the 1920s trained as a painter. He began taking photographs as a hobby in Africa in 1931, continuing on his return to Europe, before travelling to New York and Mexico, and from the mid 1930s began to be exhibited and published. A reticent figure who craved anonymity, he never staged photographs, instead he waited for what he famously called the 'decisive moment', when the click of the camera captures a moment of unexpected drama. This technique even applied in his portraits, with spontaneous pictures of Arthur Miller, Francis Bacon, Pierre-August Renoir, Samuel Beckett, Henri Matisse and Jean-Paul Sartre. Cartier-Bresson was a great photojournalist, covering many seminal events of 20th century history, including the Spanish Civil War, the liberation of Paris, and Mao's takeover of Beijing. However, it was in his capturing of the minutiae of everyday life, such as the man leaping over a huge puddle behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, revealing the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary, which made him one of the most influential photographers of the century. A selection of Cartier-Bresson's drawings from the 1970s and 1980s is also included in the exhibition, alongside scrapbooks, original books and reviews, and photographs of Cartier-Bresson taken by friends, together with his beloved Leica camera. Dean Gallery Edinburgh until 23rd October.

Cedric Price - Doubt, Delight And Change celebrates the visionary ideas of one of the most innovative architects and influential architectural thinkers of the late 20th century. Convinced that architecture should be liberating and life enhancing, and encouraging people to 'think the unthinkable', Price embraced 'doubt, delight and change' in visionary projects, most of which were sadly never built, from 1960, when he founded his practice, until his death in 2003. As well as presenting Price's most important projects together for the first time, this exhibition attempts to deconstruct them. They range from the 1960s, with revolutionary Aviary designed at London Zoo with Frank Newby and Lord Snowdon; the Fun Palace, a 24 hour laboratory of fun for theatre director Joan Littlewood; and the Potteries Thinkbelt, a proposal for a radically new kind of university; through the 1970s Inter-Action Centre, a multi purpose community centre; and Wespen, a multi use animal pen that converted into a landscape with a sundial; and the 1980s South Bank Project, which embraced both the artistic and commercial buildings, and with The Thing, anticipated the London Eye; to the 1990s Magnet scheme of short life structures to solve everyday problems. Price built so little that his reputation and influence is chiefly based on the radicalism of his ideas and proposals. This exhibition brings them to life, by exploring the thinking and working practise that imbued his architecture. Design Museum, London until 9th October.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after nearly thirty years, has now fully embraced the great British maxim 'if wet in the church hall', with the opening of the Underground Gallery. The park comprises 500 acres of the landscaped grounds of Bretton Hall, designed in the 18th and 19th centuries, in which are displayed changing exhibitions of around 40 works by Henry Moore, Anthony Caro, Eduardo Chillida, Barbara Hepworth, Anthony Gormley and others. Four years ago, the Longside complex was created, when a series of barns were converted to gallery spaces by Bauman Lyons, to house the Arts Council's national collection of modern sculpture. Its temporary space is currently featuring Size Matters, an exhibition that plays with assumptions, illusions and expectation of appropriate scale, in sculpture, paintings and video. Longside was followed by a new building, designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley, which provides a new entrance, plus the inevitable visitor's centre. Now, from the same team of architects, comes the £3.5m 165ft long Underground Gallery, actually a terrace set into the hillside, like an 18th century ha ha, with one wall of glass. The opening show features a retrospective of William Turnbull's 60 year career, and the new space provides the opportunity to include in the display not just outdoor sculpture in bronze and stone, but also Turnbull's more delicate pieces, with paintings, drawings and prints displayed alongside. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield until 9th October.