Tag Archives: Sculpture

Giacometti at Tate Modern

The long thin sculptures we associate with Giacometti

Another interesting retrospective of Giacometti’s work, though I preferred the exhibition of his portraits at the National Portrait gallery with lots more paintings and a broader view of his oeuvre. You can’t get very close to his small elongated sculptures and from the distance you are kept from them it’s hard to distinguish one from another

Most of the exhibits were sculptures – a surprising number of lifelike  heads in the multitude in Room 1, as well as some of his signature long thin sculptures. Once again I was frustrated by having the titles of everything so far from the objects.

The enormous double life-size sculptures in the last room were amazing but one of the best things in the exhibition was the film about him, showing the amazing care with which his clay figurines were made – his hands darting rapidly from eyes, to crown and to mouth, modelling with fingers, knives or modelling tools.

The Giacometti posters against a backdrop of the River Thames and St Paul’s

For some reason, the coffee on the exhibition floor is always better than that in the downstairs café and the view from the balcony of the 3rd exhibition floor is stunning.

 

Always lots of merchandising!!

Looking around gallery shops is always a pleasure, though we might buy a couple of things for the grandchildren, rarely for ourselves. We have accumulated too many things!!

 

Ashley Bickerton – Damien Hurst does it again

 

Orange Shark (2008)

Ashley Bickerton’s Ornamental Hysteria is another brilliant exhibition in Damien Hurst’s gallery in Newport Street. Like the previous exhibition of his own Jeff Koons artefacts, the exhibition extends over two floors.

Born in Barbados in 1959, he has moved around the world ending up in New York in 1982.

Flower Pot (2009)

It’s hard to choose which of his work I liked best. This sculpture of colourful flowers growing out of skulls is certainly high on my list. The texture and colour of the stone container are gorgeous. The painting behind is Red Scooter (2009) a joyous vision of a family and their dog riding a red scooter on the beach.

Canoe, shark, woman (2016)

Love this sculpture of a woman balancing on a pile of coconuts and holding another hammer-head shark .

The serene painting on the wall behind is K.T._K.T (2015).

I must go again!!

First World War Memorial, Victoria Street London

The Great War Memorial at 64 Victoria a Street SW1E 6QP

Another interesting street sculpture in Westminster. This sculpture of icy white needles – seen here reflected in the rain – was created by the British Artist Lee Simmons. Close to Westminster City Hall it is dedicated to the 82 council officers who fought and died in the First Word War.

The new Switch House – Tate modern, London

Tate modern switch house

Finally got round to visiting the new 10-storey Tate Modern extension – the Switch House which opened June 2016 by the same architects – Herzog & de Meuron – who converted the original derelict Bankside Power Station that opened in 2000.

A brilliant use of light and space, though a bit overwhelming for someone like me, who has no head for heights. After looking though the tall window on the first floor into the Turbine Hall and turning back to a stark very tall white wall I needed to rescued by Josh before I could move!!

Tony Cragg’s Stack 1975

Liked too many of the installations to list them all but Tony Cragg’s Stack – a cube of raw ands prefabricated material – comes high on my list as do Ana Lupas’s The Solemn Process 1964-2008, Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII 1966 and Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt’ s) Horizontal Square Reticularia 71/10 1971.

One of the several videos available

I particularly liked the room of videos which you turned on by standing in a spotlight.

I well remember the first end of year show at the Royal College of Art where videos were shown and thinking this wasn’t real art. How our ideas have changed so that now they are not only acceptable but expected.

Gothenburg’s Konstmuseum – Museum of Art

'Beggar' by Giacomo Ceruti 1698-1767
‘Beggar’ by Giacomo Ceruti 1698-1767

For us, no visit to a city is complete without going shopping and exploring at least one art museum.

The Konstmuseum at Gothenburg, a stark edifice on the outside, had two exhibitions – Watched – Surveillance, Art and Photography’ an exhibition of photographs that explored the extent to which we are all subject to surveillance and  included a hologram of a woman who spoke greetings in several different languages. and Gränslöst Unbounded. The Eighteenth century Mirrored by the Present, an exhibition giving the modern take on 18th century art.  There are also several floors of their permanent collection of Scandinavian artists and a room of impressionist pictures we were unfamiliar with.

18th Century porcelain
18th Century porcelain
Porcelain figure by Christin-Pontus Anderson
Porcelain figure by Christin-Pontus Anderson

Eighteenth century porcelain amazed us with its detail. I tried to imagine what it would have like working often under poor lighting with a soft material that would flow this way and than and maybe all for a pittance.

There were unsettling modern porcelain figures by Christian-Pontus Andersson, so different from the delicate waif-like ballet dancers of Degas , especially his Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. 

Equally unsettling were the few included photographs including the selfie of the obese Ilu Susiraja, Re-Animate Me by Tobias Bernstrup, and Volcanoes by Frida Fjellman.

HISTORY OF ART AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON

First lecture in Module 3
First lecture in Module 3

I had been to lectures in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery on upcoming exhibitions but it wasn’t until I looked through their Spring What’s On that I discovered these brilliant lectures on the History of Art. I’d unfortunately missed the first two modules but the first on of this term’s module 3 was fantastic. The tutor, Lucrezia Walker, first pointed out the main differences between the rather static, formal Renaissance art and that of the Baroque period using Bernini’s sculptures as illustrations.

Self-portrait
Caravaggio Self-portrait

She then went on to discuss Caravaggio’s work in depth – his time in Rome, his flight to Naples and then on to Malta only to die while attempting to return to Italy.

I’m not sure what I expected from his self portrait – perhaps more of a bully0boy in keeping with his reputation as a brawler and out-spoken difficult man. I hadn’t realised that at the time some of his works were considered too sacrilegious and that he had to repaint them.

One of his paintings of an appealing young boy with ever so slightly damaged fruit
One of his paintings of an appealing young boy with ever so slightly damaged fruit

 

He certainly admired young boys, whether only as models for him, and painted them as luscious objects. His meticulous baskets of fruit are tongue-in-cheek with evidence of decay and dissolution for the close observer.

 

 

Free tours at London’s Museums – the V&A

Decoration at the entrance for Diwali and Christmas
Decoration at the entrance for Diwali and Christmas

Trying to decide on which further education classes to enrol on for the New Year I saw that there were several courses of gallery visits at major London Museums and Galleries.  Now funding has been cut for Further Education these courses are now expensive so I decided to investigate the free tours, starting with the V&A. the purchase of the land for which was funded by the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition of 1853
Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition of 1853

Once again the tour guide took as to rooms I had either not visited or just passed though. I had no idea there was such a vast collection of ceramics or that the galleries showed their development over the ages with so many excellent examples.

Giacometti at the National Portrait Gallery London

Another superb exhibition
Another superb exhibition

I confess that my impression of Giacometti (1901-1966) was as a sculptor of long thin walking figures – mainly men – though I had seen the occasional drawn portrait.
The description ‘Pure Presence’ was given Alberto Giacometti by Jean-Paul Sartre who considered him an existentialist artist.

A post-impressionist style self-portrait painted 1921
A post-impressionist style self-portrait painted 1921 when he was 20

This exhibition not only shows his signature sculptures, together with a fascinating film showing his painstaking moulding of these figures, but a selection of portraits strongly influenced by his artist father’s post-impressionist style, as well as a collection of his later line portraits which are more familiar to us.
A large wonderful exhibition – I’d go again if there weren’t so much on in London this month.

Michelangelo’s David at the V&A, London

David without the Fig Leaf
David without the Fig Leaf

On the member’s tour we crossed the walkway overlooking the Cast Court. I had been in there many times but hadn’t known the name of that gallery nor that all the sculptures were all copies.

The 6 metre tall copy of Michelangelo’s David was presented to Queen Victoria by the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1857 and immediately shipped off to what was then the South Kensington Museum. To protect the sensitivities of lady visitors a 50cm plaster fig leaf was commissioned and suspended  over the offending parts from two hooks. In more broad-minded times the fig leaf on this and other statues were removed but the original cover-up is kept in the box affixed to the back of the plinth, just visible on the right.

Extract from my memoir Woman in a White Coat
After I retired, I signed up for lots of classes, some at one Further Education college and some at another – painting, drawing, cooking, history of art, Spanish, creative writing, pottery, dressmaking – everything I hadn’t had time for when I was working. It wasn’t just that I hadn’t had the time, I hadn’t had the desire. My mind was always so full of work. Even when I was at the theatre, I would find myself thinking about a difficult diagnosis or a hiccup in our research.
I enjoyed the freedom of doing things that weren’t important, things that weren’t a matter of life and death.
‘It’s wonderful,’ I said to my art teacher. ‘Nothing I do now is critical. If my drawing of the model looks like a human being, great. If not, at least I produced something. If my new cookery dishes taste good or if I can’t eat them and have to throw them out, if I manage to remember whether Rubens came first or Constable, it just doesn’t matter. You can’t imagine the relief and feeling of freedom. My life is no longer constantly punctuated by drama, by death, by irrevocable mistakes – where every word I put in a report is crucial. It would have been devastating if what I said in my report was misinterpreted by the surgeons and the wrong treatment given.’