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Posts Tagged ‘london art galleries’

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I had great fun at Tate Modern a couple of days ago, courtesy of Robert Morris and Bodyspacemotionthings. The interactive installation, which is essentially a playground made out of plywood, rubber and ropes, first opened in 1971, only to be closed four days later because the crowd went a bit bonkers. This time round, Tate has made some health and safety adjustments, so I didn’t see anyone bounce off the walls or get a splinter in the bum.

It was 5pm. The Turbine Hall was filled with a few children, and a lot of adults. I watched a man in an expensive suit proudly make his way along the balancing beam. French tourists queued up to climb the walls. Everyone was giggling at themselves and each other. Even the gallery assistants seemed more relaxed than normal.

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My friend Gabi was a willing volunteer

 

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It is possibly the least thought-provoking work to be installed in the Turbine Hall so far, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing?

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A selection of photographs from the Travelling Light exhibition, which opened on Friday at the WW Gallery in Hackney, east London.

Turns out the artwork embroiled in bureaucratic battle (see previous post) was by Sri Lankan born artist Roma Tearne. She wanted to wrap a single black or crimson cloth over the eyes of the statue of Eros in Piccadilly, London, but the people in charge refused to give the gallery permission.

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Travelling Light, London>Venice Biennale

 

Travelling Light is an upcoming Venice Biennale art exhibition organised by a group of women from London’s East End: Sophie Wilson of Pharos Gallery, Chiara Williams and Debra Wilson of WW Gallery. The brief said all artworks had to be posted to the London venue for the first leg of the exhibition before they could continue on their travels to Venice, so the artists (among them Roma Tearne, Kate Davis, Maria Chevska and Oona Grimes) had to work to certain size and weight restrictions.

Submissions to Travelling LightThe travelling exhibition, which will showcase a total of 58 artists, is set to open in London and end up in Venice for the opening week of the Biennale. However, one of the submissions requires public interaction, and Westminster Council has yet to give the women permission to go ahead.

 

Read more about their efforts to cut through the red tape on their blog and on Twitter, and find further information, including a list of participating artists, on the website.

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Thirty-eight years ago, the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) installed Robert Morris’s interactive artwork Bodyspacemotionthings in its Duveen Galleries, and all hell broke loose. Visitors went “beserk” playing on the walls, seesaws, stilts and tunnels, getting splinters in their bums and bruises.

Robert Morris: Bodyspacemotionthings

Photo: Tate

On May 22 this year, Bodyspacemotionthings is coming back to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

Assistant curator Kathy Noble told the Independent: “It was a landmark moment in Tate’s history. The idea was to encourage viewers to become more aware of their own physicality.”

Concerned art fans will be reassured to learn the new version of the work will be made with contemporary materials instead of the rough wood of the 70s.

This is a sly move on the museum’s part. Bodyspacemotionthings will doubtless be even more popular than Carsten Höller’s slides (2006), if only because of the controversy surrounding Morris’s original.

UBS Openings: The Long Weekend will run for four days from 22 May.

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Introducing Annette Messager– my new favourite artist. Ok, I’m a little late to the table with this one, since her retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London, opened at the beginning of March. But I have to say it’s the best exhibition I’ve seen in a long time.

Annette Messager: The Messengers

The striking image used to market the exhibition drew me into the Hayward.

Messager uses all manner of materials – soft toys, stuffed animals, fabrics, photographs and words – to create a feminine, and often strangely beautiful, body of work.

 

The eyes on this promotional poster turned out to be part of a small series, called My Trophies. Messager covers large-scale photographs of parts of the body in doodles, which are reminiscent of tattoos and children’s book illustrations.

Other works worthy of note:

  • Chimaeras – This work meets you at the door, and looks like a spooky nightmare full of evil fairies and bats with human faces.
  • My Vows (Mes voeux)– I have seen this before at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and it still impresses me now. Hundreds of photos of body parts are hung together to form a circle. The act of layering up the photos makes the chins, ankles, noses and, yes, boobs, seem like a collection of objects.
  • Casino – A sheet of red fabric waves over glowing, aquatic blobs, as if the sea has been turned into a womb. One of the most original works of art I’ve come across.

Annette Messager: The Messengers is on at the Hayward until Monday 25 May.

Read Adrian Searle’s review in the Guardian

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Just found out that if you (like me) missed the Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern, you can take a virtual panoramic tour online, HERE. It works relatively well for Rothko’s paintings, because they don’t require up-close study. On the other hand, you don’t get a sense of the atmosphere of his work. It’s a bit like glancing at a line of Rothko postcards in the Tate shop.

Mark Rothko at Tate Modern

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I discovered some art on Friday afternoon after being turfed off the bus three stops before Waterloo (the driver told us the bus “had to” terminate there, instead of at the station – no explanation). Just under the arches, on London’s South Bank, is Topolski Century, a huge panorama reflecting the life and interests of the Polish artist Feliks Topolski.

The word “FREE” written across the window drew me in, and a friendly receptionist explained that the panorama had been closed for a £3m refurbishment. It has only just reopened to the public.

Inside, a 600 ft-long mural snakes around the walls. According to the exhibition guide, it “contains the iconic historic figures and the significant political and significant events he chronicled in a life spanning decades.”

Feliks Topolski was born in Warsaw in 1907 and in 1933 began a series of journeys around Europe. In 1935, he settled in London and became an official war artist. After the war, he travelled to India, Burma, China, Palestine, Syria and Irap. In 1975, he began recording his observations on the panorama.

While the sheer size of the panorama is impressive, and the atmosphere in the exhibition space suitably dark and sombre, I don’t like Topolski’s style of painting. It looks unfinished, and amateur.

And it’s a shame it isn’t easier to make out some of the characters: Winston Churchill, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King and the Black Panthers, Chairman Mao. Hundreds of influential figures in history.

However, although I didn’t enjoy Topolski’s style, I would recommend a visit to the exhibition. The artist died in London in 1989, but you can still feel his presence in Topolski Century. As if at any given moment, you might stumble across him putting the finishing touches to a portrait of Elvis .

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