Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Nikolai Ishchuck speaks!

I am happy to say that due to the miracle of airplanes Nikolai Ishchuck is now briefly back in the UK after a longer than planned stay in his native Russia. Seizing upon this opportunity I was keen for Nikolai to come to the gallery and speak about his work. There are many more layers to it than meets the eye and he is really looking forward to talking about 'Big Bucks' on Tuesday the 1st of March at 6:30pm. THE TALK IS FREE!
To book a place (as they are limited) please email the gallery to put your name on the list:

The talk will be an informal walk around the show and Nikolai will be bringing examples of the series which are not displayed and even some images part way through their construction, so it will be a great chance to see the technical aspects as well as the philosophy behind the work. There will be chance to meet and talk to the artist afterwards also.

We look forward to welcoming you to the gallery.

Also I would like to thank 'Look See Now' for the wonderful review of the show. Great blog!

Monday, 14 February 2011

This week in 1971...

OK so I wasn't born yet, but I grew up with relatives who still referred to 'pounds, shillings & Pence'. This week back in 1971`decimalisation was introduced into the UK. Decimal Day must have been quite a change, no pun intended. Our money has changed a lot of late but we have barely noticed as the metals traditionally used have become more valuable and the Royal Mint has had to mix nickel into the coinage and then coat coins with thin layers of copper and tin. Our notes have aged, literally. As the Queen has got older she has had the good grace to change her image on the currency. She was such a beauty as a young woman, but as the most recognised woman in the world, she has no need for false flattery. For the rest of us who are not so famous, bring on the slap!

However, whilst looking at the changing face of Her Majesty the Queen in Nikolai Ishchuk's large photograph on the gallery wall today I was struck by how much of a caricature it becomes when viewed this way. The beauty & intricacy of it's design can really be appreciated when blown up to such huge proportions. I urge you to come and look at the exhibition & see for yourself.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

I'm turning Chinese....I really think so

Wow, just looked up W magazine which I haven't bought since I was in New York at the airport as America Ferrera was on the cover (Betty Suarez) and I needed a guilty pleasure for the journey. May I also add I was furiously hung over after one last night of partying on Spring Street till 5am. I digress...

At present I am reviewing ELEVEN, a book by the one and only Philip-Lorca diCorcia which consists of 11 portfolios that were featured in W magazine. To see the review please purchase the Spring Edition of LIP magazine. Needless to say - apart from the book being wonderful - I had to do a little jog down memory lane to remind me what the magazine was about and was thrilled to find this little gem of Natalie Portman. The feature has 19 portraits of actors who have inspired the magazine in the last year. It was hard not to make the comparison with Neeta Madahar's Flora series. The approach - with plenty of post-production - however does render each sitter to a level of perfection nobody living can actually achieve. However, despite this, the other-worldly nature of this portrait meets with my approval, for what it's worth.

The cheekier, naughtier Helena Bonham Carter appeals to the sexy woman who isn't afraid to go overboard on her makeup and still look extraordinarily fabulous. I think the curly hair also give a shout out to those blessed/cursed with natural curls who are terribly unfashionable as ceramic hair straighteners threaten to rid the world of all wild hairdos in the name of 'conformity'. (Good girls look well-groomed with neat do's, see here) This is not to say I have anything against prim and proper ladies, but times are tough and a little wildness goes a long way in my book.

PS: Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding at Suburbia have their own blog too, hope they like this one.

Photo credits:
Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"

By Lynn Hirschberg
Photographs by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
Styled by Melanie Ward
Portfolio designed by Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding at Suburbia

Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
By Lynn Hirschberg
Photographs by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
Styled by Melanie Ward

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Celebrate Susan Hiller!

It was my pleasure last week to go to the opening at Tate Britain of Susan Hiller's show. This wonderful showcase of the talent of an artist whom inspired me over a decade ago with her work in the Material Culture show at the Hayward Gallery. For 2 years whilst at college in Australia I had used a book called The Myth Of Primitivism edited by Susan Hiller. At the time I had no idea that she was also an artist, so was thrilled when the connection was made at the Hayward exhibition when my favourite work in the show turned out to be by her. From The Freud Museum is a truly inspired body of work, whereby 50 custom made anthropological collecting boxes are filled with items both found, made, antiqued and assembled by the artist. The talk at the Hayward was where I finally had my chance to meet her and ask if I could conduct an interview about the work for my final dissertation for my BA. She agreed as long as my questions were good enough. Fair enough I thought and got to work.

The result of which earned me a distinction, so I guess it was ok. I focused my energy on only 3 of the boxes which were so laden with meaning I couldn't have possibly done the whole piece. Her work focused on the things in Freud's house (now The Freud Museum) that weren't catalogued. Freud obsessively catalogued anything and almost everything that came into the house, from cutlery to art and kept detailed records. In finding things, objects and curios that had not made it onto the list Hiller began her work to construct her major work, which is now part of the Tate's permanent collection.

This work is only a fraction of what is on show. Witness is an amazing installation, with hundreds of speakers hanging from the ceiling casting UFO-like shadows on the walls. Each speaker has been stripped back to its bare necessities to form the right shape for the shadow. I first saw this at The Chapel and the use of the chapel set the scene and atmosphere beautifully. The next best thing is the Tate installation. Experiences of UFO's from all around the world are played through the speakers. Walking through it is a dreamy experience.

Talking of dreamy experiences, Dream Screens is proof of how ahead of her time Hiller is. Go to the link and click on the screen at different points, it changes colour as the narration plays. Bearing in mind this was done in 1996! This is not in the show and is fully interactive. So if you don't make it to Tate Britain by May 15th (and there are few excuses for this) dip into Hiller's work from the comfort of your own computer.