Wednesday, 25 May 2011

London Exhibitions 25.02.11

Sometimes nothing makes me happier than a long list of things to go to - you should try it!

London Open Garden Squares Weekend 11-12 June £7.50 in advance or £10 at the weekend
See one of the many locked private or secret gardens open to the public on this annual weekend

Gross und klein (Big and small) at the Barbican booking from 6 June then playing 13-29 April 2012 £16 - 65
A well advanced booking for this 'delicately surreal' play charting a journey across contemporary Germany from the Sydney theatre company and starring Cate Blanchett.

Linder at Stuart Shave Modern art Private view Thursday 26 May then until 24 June Free
Iconic collage artist famous for work during the punk years of the late 70s, as well as recent work with designer Richard Nicoll

The Flaw - screening and talk London School of Economics Wolfson theatre Monday 6 June 6.30-8.30pm Free - check website for booking details
Sundance award winning documentarist searches for the reasons behind the crashing and burning of the worlds strongest economy, and why it's taking so long to recover.

Tracey Emin at the Hayward Gallery until 29 August £12 or free with Hayward membership
Finally a chance to see all of Tracey Emin's work in one place - I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of it in the flesh for the first time

The Shape of Things To Come: New Sculpture at the Saatchi Gallery 27 May - 16 October Free
Interesting-looking sculpture group show at the Saatchi down off Sloane Square

Mark Leckey See, We Assemble at the Serpentine Gallery until 26 June Free
Sculpture, sound, installation and performance work from the 2008 Turner Prize winner - there's performances as well - scroll down the page to book

Pablo Bronstein: Sketches for Regency Living at the ICA 9 June - 25 September Free
For the first time an artist creates work across the whole ICA space including 'major architectural interventions' and performance pieces

Ai Wei Wei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads at Somerset House until 26 June Free
Monumental bronze sculptures in the Somerset House courtyard from imprisoned Ai Wei Wei. A talk on arts, activism and the avant garde will be taking place at 19.30 on Monday the 6th June (£10) featuring the Ai Wei Wei's London gallery director and Bob and Roberta Smith

More Ai Wei Wei at the Lisson Gallery off Edgware Rd until July 16 (Free)

Practise to Deceive - Smoke and Mirrors in Fashion, Fine Art and Film at Showstudio Bruton Pl until 16 July Free
Great title for this group show from the ever wonderful showstudio featuring work from Ruth Hogben, Steven Klein, Dan Graham, Nick Knight and more

ISAM : Control Over Nature at the Crypt Gallery St Pancras 26 May - 5 June Free
Sound design coupled with sculpture made of organic material

Following on from this at the same place which sounds great is Totem Body: The Birthing of a New Concsiousness with a private view on 10 June

Taryn Simon at the Tate Modern 25 May - 6 November Free
New work from artist who brings together photographs and text in a brilliant way

Also at Tate Modern Miro until 11 September £15.50 or free with Tate membership card

Ron Arad's Curtain Call at the Roundhouse Chalk Farm London 9 August - 29 August prices vary
A great list of collaborators including Hussein Chalayan, Paul Cocksedge, David Shrigley and more only add to the intriguing technological aspect of this installation

Seen at Clerkenwell Design Week

Monday, 9 May 2011



Thursday, 5 May 2011

Paris pt 5: Hammam Sandwich

It was with some trepidation that we went along to the famed Hammam of the Grand Mosquee in Paris for a good old steam and massage. Recommended again by a friend we heard you could get a good steam and scrub and a meal for one prix fixe - the so called 'formule orientale' (58 Euros). I hoped that my poor French wouldn't impact on the experience and I was sort of proven wrong - the guys were very friendly and as welcoming as you would expect when a pasty English type shows up. The sauna and steam room were hot in many senses of that word, though I was only there for the hammam experience (honest!) - the final and hottest steam room had a visible line where the warm air ended and superheated steam begin - and this so hot you could hardly breathe it. One detail I noticed was that in the holes in the wall the steam was coming out from, there was sprigs of rosemary jammed in, giving it a lovely medicinal scent. I must have spent a couple of hours in there, steaming, getting scrubbed, shower, more steaming, massage, steam... you get the idea. Then afterward starving heading up to the packed Grand Mosquee cafe and restaurant for my couscous and tea, which were delicious.

The whole place was rammed with people sitting in the beautiful courtyard having Arabic pastries and sweet mint tea. Definitely a brilliant experience, and a great place to marvel at the many different people and cultures that make up this incredible city.

Paris pt 4: Diamanda Galas

I anchored my Paris trip to a concert on Saturday night by Diamanda Galas, the brilliant Greek American performer and pianist, at the Maison de la Musique in Nanterre, a few minutes out of Paris on the A line of the RER.

Me and the French goths (and a couple of English ones that I could hear) made our way from the sunny streets outside to the blackened auditorium inside for a rare and quite intimate show. With a set heavily leaning towards her favourite French inspirations (Brel and Piaf), and speaking pretty good French throughout, she pleased the crowd and came back for three encores - no mean feat, this being the town that no doubt invented them (with encore being a French word and all innit).

My favourite was Fernand, sung with a particular beauty that night. See a performance from last year in Copenhagen below.

Paris pt 3: Nice Pere Lachaise

Paris pt 2: African Voodoo at Fondation Cartier

On the recommendation of another friend we visited the Cartier Foundation. "Even if it's closed you can just look at the architecture. And indeed I loved the Jean Nouvel designed indoor-outdoor trickery of it - and the beautiful 'wild' garden - just the sort of planting I love (by Lothar Baumgarten I learned).

As it happened though the space was very much open and occupied by one of the most intriguing and brilliant exhibitions I've seen in a while. Vodun: African Voodoo showcases the collection of the late French self taught Primitive art connoisseur Jaques Kerchache, who seems like a complete legend to be honest. He was one of the first people to see so-called 'primitive' work as art in its own right, rather than a simple artefact. This exhibition, organised by the Foundation with Mr Kerchache's wife for the tenth anniversary of his death, features many work from his collection of so-called Bocio sculptures - man made objects that "emanate qualities of tension and foreboding...used for aggressive and protective ends to effect various changes in life."

The sculptures, made of diverse materials including animal and human parts, blood, keys, padlocks, hair, beads, shells and plants, are designed specifically for their bearer with a diviner, their ingredients a closely guarded secret. The structure of them is symbolic, so that for instance the wrapping of a figure in twine can be associated with feelings of anger and imprisonment. A truly fascinating show and well worth seeing if in Paris.

The set design is beautiful as well, courtesy of Enzo Mari.

On at the Fondation Cartier until 25 September. Photos from me, Dezain, Domus and the Fondation Cartier.

Paris: Madame Gres at Musee Bourdelle

We were lucky enough to be able to visit Paris for the Bank Holiday weekend just gone - and it was a beautiful time. The weather was incredible, the people were incredibly helpful and goodlooking, the hotel was great, and there were attractions aplenty. First on the list was Madame Gres at the Musee Bourdelle sculpture museum.

Dedicated to the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, whose home and studio the premises once was, the exhibition intersperses Bourdelle's work with the intricate drapes and folds that was Madame Gres' trademark. The setting alone was worth the visit - but all together it worked very very well, even to a layman like me with little knowledge of either artist.