News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st August 2005

Commencing

Hans Christian Andersen is an exhibition marking the bicentenary of the Danish children's writer, which reveals the underlying themes in his stories. Using clues provided by some of his best known characters, it explores the dark side of his life as well as the innocence of his vision. Much of Andersen's writing reflects his own story: The Ugly Duckling - his own life journey; The Little Mermaid - his interest in the supernatural and immortality; The Little Match Girl - his belief in the innocence of children; and The Tin Soldier - his feelings about women and the unobtainable. Interactive exhibits complement the more traditional historical material to mix word and play, reality and magic. Within a soundscape inspired by Andersen's stories, puppets, pulleys, projections and paper-cuts bring his characters to life. Visitors can perform their own fairytales, go under water with the Little Mermaid and find the Snow Queen. Among the materials on show are original manuscripts and early editions of his books; Andersen's own letters, drawings, paintings and photographs; ballet costumes from the Royal Opera House; illustrations from across the decades reflecting the changing times; and an extract from a film of The Little Match Seller, directed by British cinema pioneer James Williamson in 1902. The exhibition is designed and animated in collaboration with the pioneering young people's theatre company theatre-rites, which specialises in the fusion of performance, puppetry, installation art, video and sound. The British Library until 2nd October.

Sequences explores the origins of the moving image, from the first magic lantern slide shows to new media flip books, from Marey to the Matrix in a two venue exhibition. For a century chronophotography, the sequentail replaying of still images to create movement, has been in the shadow of cinema, but it is now emerging once again in post cinema practices and digital media.

At Q Arts, contemporary artists explore the technique, including 'Time Slice' photography's original pioneer, Tim MacMillan, alongside his original time-slice camera; Andrew Davidhazy with 'Shotgun Blast', tracing a bullet on its journey from gun to wall; and Tess Glanville's 'Time Piece', in which light pouring into the room is traced onto walls and floors to mark the passage of time. Among the other artists whose work is featured are Paul St George, Pia Jonsson. Andrea Polli, Bjorn Schulke, Rufus Butler Seder, Simon Lewandowski and Patrick Tarrant.

Chronophotography was pioneered by the forefathers of cinema, Lumiere, Reynaud, Muybridge and Marey. Artefacts from their work, together with all manor of illusionistic inventions, such as the Magic Lantern, kaleidoscope, panorama, Phantasmagoria, Stereoscope amd Zoopraxinoscope are on display in the accompanying exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery.

Q Arts Gallery and Derby Museum and Art Gallery until 2nd October.

Gaugin's Vision brings together works by the Post Impressionist Gauguin, his immediate mentors such as Edgar Degas and Camille Pissaro, painters he admired including Paul Cezanne and Gustave Moreau, and his younger contemporaries, Emile Bernard, Charles Laval, Louis Anquetin, Paul Serusier and Maurice Denis. Gauguin's 'Vision of the Sermon: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel', one of the best known and most reproduced paintings in the world, was a turning point in the history of art. It depicts the vision of devout Breton women who literally 'see' the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with an angel, the subject just preached to them by their priest. The painting is unusual not only for employing such a rich and strong colour palette, but also for telling a story - unheard of in avant-garde art of the time. This exhibition brings together 84 works, including Emile Bernard's remarkably similar 'Breton Women in a Meadow', painted only a week or two before Gauguin's. It offers a chance to understand 'Vision' in a rich context, exploring the biographical, pictorial and cultural circumstances that enabled Gauguin to make such a radical statement in paint in 1888. The exhibition encompasses not only paintings, but letters, drawings, fans, Japanese wood block prints, book illustrations, ceramics and furniture. The Breton theme is explored through prints, books, photographs and even period costumes. This is the first time a concentrated exhibition has been devoted to this arresting and complex painting, to its stylistic and thematic origins, critical impact and history. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until 2nd October.

Continuing

The Stuff Of Life is an exhibition of still lifes from the 16th century to the present day, showing how everyday items and interiors have inspired artists. It focuses on the depiction and meaning of objects in art, where even the most ordinary objects can carry the most extraordinary significance. The inclusion of objects in portraits can suggest the interests and achievements of their subjects or act as attributes to identify a saint or hero. Van Gogh's 'Chair' with its pipe and tobacco pouch is a disguised self portrait; the spare still life of a rose, cup of water and silver plate by the Spanish painter Zurbaran can be read as an image of the Virgin Mary; while Peter Blake's collection of miniature alcohol bottles stands as a symbolic portrait of Damien Hirst. As this exhibition shows, objects in paintings always suggest some meaning, whether derived from their use, appearance and context, or their symbolic resonance. Also included in this show are many extraordinary demonstrations of painterly skill. In both Van Mieris's 'A Woman and a Fish-pedlar in a Kitchen' and Steenwyck's 'Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life', no brushstroke is visible and the different textures of fur, feathers, fish, cloth, metal and glass are miraculously rendered. Some paintings mimic reality itself, such as 'The Old Cupboard Door' by the 19th century American artist William Harnett, perhaps the greatest trompe l'oeil painting in Britain, as well as Gavin Turk's contemporary 'Bag', a perfectly rendered and painted bronze cast of a black bin bag. National Gallery until 2nd October.

The Mating Game examines some of the most bizarre and beautiful courtship behaviours found in the animal world. The exhibition looks at the different senses animals use to locate a mate, and the methods they employ to win them over, from colour and sound, to unusual acrobatics and gift giving. It uses real animal specimens and 'interactives' - where visitors can guess the animal by the smell and sound it produces. Animals that live over a wide area rely on sound to find a mate. Male and female elephants live independently for most of their adult lives, so females emit a series of powerful low-pitched calls, which can be heard up to four kilometres away. Whales also communicate over huge distances, and the song of the humpbacked whale can be heard underwater hundreds of kilometres away. Lasting up to 30 minutes, it is the longest and most complex song known in the animal world. Sight is frequently used to attract and identify potential mates and colourful displays are most dramatically seen among fish, reptiles and birds. Although most mammals rely on smell and are less colourful, the male mandrill, a type of baboon, is a notable exception, with blue and red markings on the body of the most dominant male, which attracts females and repels junior males. Other animals resort to bribery in order to attract a mate, by giving gifts. A male tern starts his courtship by bringing the female a small fish, held crosswise in his beak, demonstrating his ability to provide for her and for their future offspring. Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring until 27th November.

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.

Inside The Spitfire: Personal Stories Of Britain's Most Famous Plane is an exhibition about the legendary British fighter aircraft of the Second World War, and its designer R J Mitchell, marking the 65th anniversary of the turning point of the Battle of Britain. A 'deconstructed' Spitfire‚ displayed in pieces, and stripped down to its original structure‚ offers a once in a lifetime view of this icon of design and engineering. Like a giant 'Airfix kit', the display shows the complexity inside the apparently simple elegant Spitfire shape‚ revealing the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines, alongside enlargements of original blueprints and cutaway drawings. In addition, the exhibition examines the background to Mitchell's creation‚ showing the human‚ industrial and social stories behind the design‚ manufacture and success of the Spitfire. It does this through the personal stories of the people who built‚ maintained and flew the aircraft, with letters‚ mementos‚ papers‚ security passes‚ medals‚ models and rare photographs from the Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory, as well as transcriptions of personal accounts. The exhibition also includes a specially commissioned statue of R J Mitchell‚ and traces his career at the Supermarine aircraft company in Southampton from 1917 to his death in 1937. The aircraft has been loaned by the RAF Museum, on whose behalf The Aircraft Restoration Company in Duxford is currently restoring it - and will be putting it back together again after the exhibition is over. Science Museum until January

Avant Garde Graphics: 1918-34 celebrates the 'heroic' period of modernity in the European arts - between the Russian Revolution and the arrival of Fascism in Germany - that found particularly forceful expression in graphic design and photomontage. The advance of the machine age brought mass production and distribution, which inspired new forms of artistic expression and a new sense of internationalism. New techniques allowed a fusion of typography, painting and photography - not to mention colour - for artistic, commercial or political ends, evoking the dynamism and fragmentation of cinema. This exhibition includes rare ground breaking posters, prints, book designs and political and commercial ephemera, together with original layouts and photomontages. It shows works by artists related to the Dutch de Stijl group, the German Bauhaus, and the Constructivists of Russia and Central Europe. These include Jean Arp, Herbert Bayer, Willi Baumeister, Theo van Doesburg, Georg Grosz, John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch, Gustav Klucis, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Liubov Popova, Alexandr Rodchenko, Oskar Schlemmer, Kurt Schwitters, Georgii Stenberg and Vladimir Stenberg, Soloman Telingater and Piet Zwart. The exhibition is drawn from the collection of Merrill C Berman, one of the greatest collections of 20th century graphics in the world. Kettle's Yard, Cambridge until 25th September.

The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries Of Book Production In The Medieval West is a two venue exhibition of over 200 illuminated manuscripts dating from 6th to the 16th centuries, many on public view for the first time. Sacred and secular, scientific and humanistic, historical and literary, the range of manuscripts on display showcases the work of some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance illuminators, and includes commissions by the most celebrated patrons of learning and art, including the Kings of France and England, the Dukes of Burgundy and the Medici. Among the highlights are the 6th century 'Gospels of St Augustine', the earliest medieval illuminated manuscript known in this country, over which new Archbishops of Canterbury still swear their oaths; the 13th century Trinity 'Apocalypse', the largest and most sumptuously illuminated of all English Apocalypses; the Peterborough Bestiary, the Free Warren Charter, and Statutes of England from Henry III to Richard II, as well as numerous books of hours, bestiaries, Bibles, encyclopaedias, scientific and mathematical manuscripts, university foundation charters, and historical, mythological and geographical treatises. An entire gallery is devoted to the display of individual leaves from the renowned Macclesfield Psalter, produced around 1330, and recently saved for the nation, providing a unique opportunity to see the richness and variety of its illustrations, using precious pigments and gold. They combine devotional imagery with depictions of every day life and grotesque creations of the wildest imagination. The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Library, Cambridge until 11th December.

Concluding

Max Klinger showcases the work of one of the most inventive artists of the 19th century, the major part of whose artistic output was etchings. Klinger believed that this work, drawn and without colour, was more effective in conveying figments of the imagination than painting, which he considered to be too realistic. This exhibition comprises five series of Klinger's etchings, principally 'The Glove', consisting of ten etchings featuring a glove. First it makes its appearance at a roller-skating rink, being worn and then dropped by an elegant woman. Then it becomes the crucial motif for various dream and nightmare scenarios - in a bedroom merged with an ominous symbolic landscape, tossed about on a stormy sea, carried away by a winged monster, lying under a wilting rose next to a small cupid-like figure and so on. The other four series also combine scenes of everyday life with flights into realms of extraordinary imagination and fantasy. They postulate that at any moment gaps might open up in our daily routines, plunging us into unfamiliar and uncontrollable circumstances, sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful and dark. To coincide with this exhibition, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery is exhibiting Klinger's 'On Death (Part II)', a sequence of etchings that reveal him at the height of his powers as a draughtsman and visual narrator, obsessively interested in the theme of death; and The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is showing a selection of work by Klinger and other nineteenth century German artists. Ikon, and other galleries, Birmingham, all until 18th September.

Colour After Klein reassesses the powerful and important place of colour in contemporary art, highlighting the rapport between the aesthetic and the conceptual, and the emotive responses colour arouses. It offers a fresh way of experiencing some 60 iconic works of painting, installation, photography and sculpture by some of the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st century. The exhibition takes its title from the artist Yves Klein, who 'patented' a particular strong blue - International Klein Blue or IKB - although he also worked in vivid pinks, greens and yellows. He became notorious for covering nude models in IKB and dragging them over canvasses to produce works of art. The exhibition highlights colour's relationship to desire, the body and utopias as demonstrated by works from twenty artists. These include Joseph Beuys's lemon powered light bulb, Louise Bourgeois's room with red objects on blue shelves, William Eggleston's scarlet bulb glowing in a scarlet ceiling, Dan Flavin's luminous light sculptures, Anish Kapoor's sculptures cloaked in powdery pigment, Bruce Nauman's burning neons, Pipilotti Rist's video of herself dancing and tumbling in scratch screens of hysterical colour, James Turrell's 'walk in' illusions of hovering vaporous colour, and shocking pink Andy Warhols. Barbican Gallery until 11th September.

The Changing Face Of London brings together the architectural megaprojects that are transforming the capital, displayed with models, computer graphics and drawings. It is the inaugural show at New London Architecture, two new galleries at The Building Centre, designed by A-EM Architects, devoted to all that is new in architecture, planning, development and the built environment in London. The exhibition pinpoints the substantial number of developments proposed for the metropolis and examines their implications for the future. Around £100bn worth of major redevelopment, regeneration and infrastructure projects is planned for London over the next two decades, a scale of change that has not been seen for three quarters of a century. Some 400,000 new homes and around 8m square metres of office space are planned to provide for the expected 700,000 growth in population. Over 20 projects in the show range from the new towers in the City of London 'cluster', to Heathrow Terminal 5, and include the redevelopment of White City, Paddington, Kings Cross, Elephant and Castle, Battersea Power Station and the creation of Stratford City and the Olympic Park. The centrepiece of the permanent display is a 1:1500 model of central London, covering an area from Paddington in the west to Stratford in the east and Battersea in the south to King's Cross in the north. It is surrounded by a display of cross section of new architectural projects that have either been completed in the last year or already have planning permission. New London Architecture at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street London WC1 until 10th September.