2017 London Exhibitions

 

 

One of the benefits of living in a city is the large variety of activities and shows you have access to. With a young child, it’s almost like pandoras box. There is always something to do!

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Tate Modern
#FujikoNakaya fog sculpture. Apparently the 83-year-old Japanese artist’s father is credited with making the first artificial snowflakes, and Fujiko has worked on developing a system to disperse water vapour at high pressure since the 1970’s!  The fog sculpture was a fave with Spencer.

Fahrelnissa Zeid trained in both Paris and Istanbul and was an important figure in the Turkish avant-garde d Group in the early 1940s and the School of Paris in the 1950s. I loved her vibrant abstract paintings that seemed to synthesised Islamic, Byzantine, Arab and Persian influences and almost seem a precursor to Pucci’s fabric design.

Wolfgang Tillman’s exhibition provided a variety of photographs, video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music. This was not a retrospective, but a variety of different rooms that had all been staged by Tillman. The exhibition did not capture my eye or my heart.

The Radical Eye, on the other had, well, I know Sir Elton has plenty of change to buy wonderful photos, but I do have to say,  what a wonderful collection of photographs, from social documentary to objects, perspectives and abstractions. My only criticism was the gauche framing of some of the images; maybe representative of Sir Elton’s inner artist and his external flamboyance!

Tate Britain
Rachel Whiteread – one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists has an inverse approach to life: using various materials (plaster, concrete, resin, rubber) she casts the negative space of everyday objects. I found the concept of positive/negative space, how we perceive and interact with it interesting, and enjoyed the post-viewing discussion more inspiring than the actual show, but then maybe that means the show did exactly what it meant to do!
David Hockney – a great collection spanning 60 years of work. From his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings and photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – this was a wonderful show.
 The National Portrait GalleryScreen Shot 2017-12-09 at 11.14.35 AM
Gillian Wearing & Claude Cahun: behind the mask, another mask. I loved this exhibition.
Although Gillian Wearing was born almost seventy years after French artist Claude Cahun, and they came from very different backgrounds, there are strong parallels drawn between two artists: both use self-portrait and use the self-image to explore themes of identity and gender, often played out through masquerade and performance.“ Under this mask, another mask. I will never finish removing all these faces.” Claude Cahun, 1930.
We all present a multitude of faces to the world around us, and whilst Cahun is now best known for her striking self-portraits… the influence of which seems to have permeated all around….Cahun saw herself primarily as a writer. In 1930 she published Aveux non avenus (translated into English as Disavowals or Cancelled Confessions), an ‘anti-memoir’ including ten photomontages created in collaboration with Moore.
Fashion & Textile Museum

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 11.08.35 AMJosef Frank designer and artist (1885-1967) developed some wonderfully vibrant textiles. He grew up in Vienna in an assimilated Jewish family and studied architecture, then in the 1920s he designed housing estates and large residential blocks built around common courtyards in a Vienna with severe housing shortages. In 1925 he started the Haus & Garten interior firm together with architect colleagues Oskar Wlach and Walther Sobotka. When he moved to Sweden, he started to work with Estrid Ericson on furniture, glassware, lighting and interior design ideas, and they redefined “Swedish Modern”. This exhibition included a range of fabric designs and several of his water colours.  He had a strong passion in botanics, and Frank developed his floral prints  including lawn daises, tulips, roses, bindweed, forget-me-nots, violets, lily of the valley, crocuses and grape hyacinths, blending them with pure fantasy flowers.

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Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895–1989)
This retrospective focused on her 22 years as leading contributor to Harper’s Bazaar but included work from before and after. I loved this exhibition; I found her work wonderful – fresh, spontaneous but also carefully planned.

Dahl-Wolfe’s portraiture includes an impressive list of names:  W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, Colette and Carson McCullers, Dali, Orson Wells, Bette Davis, Carole Lombard and Vivien Leigh in the 1930s to Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake in the 1940s.

Lisson Gallery and The Vinyl Factory
EVERYTHING AT ONCE 

In 1966 Cage commented on the changing conditions of contemporary existence, predicting that we increasingly live in an “all-at-once age, in which time and space are no longer rational or linear concepts and great distances can be traversed with an instantaneous click”. Art, like life, now assaults us simultaneously from all angles, from anywhere across the globe, with multi-sensory visions of an accelerated world.

Representative of our current anxiety-ridden age of ceaseless communication and insatiable consumption, this group exhibition, inspired by the words “everything at once”,  presented new and historical works spanning the past 50 years, by 24 artists including Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, Allora & Calzadilla, Cory Archangel, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Ceal Floyer, Ryan Gander, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Susan Hiller, Anish Kapoor, Lee Fan, Laure Prouvost, Lawrence Weiner, and Stanley Whitney, amongst others.

I loved the sculpture by Anish Kapoor – At the Edge of the World II (1998) that floated above our heads, receding in to infinitiy. And I always like Richard Deacon’s works of twisted plywood Möbius-like form. Here they presented Turning a Blind Eye (1984).

Southbank Center

Adventures in Moominland
What a wonderful exhibition – a curious multi-sensory exploration as we discovered the life and imagination of this fabulous author Tove Jansson. This exhibition explored the stories of the Moomins and the life and influences behind the work of Tove Jansson. There was a wonderful selection of trinkets, objects and illustrations to discover as part the experience.

This was an incredibly imaginative experiential exhibition where we became part of the story. We were lead through the different rooms by a lively guide, starting in a canvas tent on the water’s edge in Finland, moving through the chilly Nordic landscape within the Moomin books, the dense forests of Moominvalley to a recreation of Tove’s art studio and her island of Klovharu. I thought it was magical.

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