Everything Comes To An End

January 31, 2010

Opened in October 2009 The Museum of Everything proclaims itself to be ‘London’s 1st ever space for artists and creators living outside of modern society’. After hearing the radient reviews and accaldes in praise of the innovative collection of art on display I decided to take a stroll across Regent’s Park and enjoyed a gander around this old dairy building turned exhibition in Primrose Hill.

Museum of Everything, Exhibition No. 1

Exhibition no. 1 is still showing and presents a selection  of works chosen by leading artists, curators and cultural figures. Contributors include the likes of music legends Jarvis Cocker and Nick Cave to leading artists such as Annette Messager, Grayson Perry, Eva Rothschild, Ed Ruscha and Richard Wentworth. Works were chosen from the extensive holdings of Musuem founder James Brett and were installed in the space to produce an often bizarre display of more than 200 drawings, paintings, sculptures, objects and installations.

Outside Art Collector James Brett

In an interview with The Art Newspaper Brett explained, “This project developed simply because there is no other museum or gallery in the UK devoted to this kind of marginal or discovered art…bringing interesting people and objects together and looking at what happens when these things collide.” Ultimately Brett hopes that The Museum of Everything will become the home for a broad range of work from the untrained, work that for some reason just doesn’t fit anywhere else.

The museum’s current exhibition only runs until Valentine’s Day so, if you haven’t already done so you might want to take advice from the website…’get your act together and come visit before the market crashes again’.


My Vogue Photo Shoot

January 28, 2010

Well, not quite… When we did a photoshoot for Wallpaper* about CultureLabel’s design competition Release, I had to stand in for a couple of test shots. Turns out the photographer’s a bit of a regular at Vogue. Nice.

Here’s the real deal – Peter Tullin, Florian Wupperfeld and Laura Wright as featured in Wallpaper*

Katie Paterson: Streetlight Storm

January 28, 2010

Meeting Katie Paterson last weekend for an impromptu cup of tea and a chat in the caf at the end of Deal pier, she spoke confidently and unassumingly about her out of this world art works. To hear her describe the inspiration behind her most recent work, Streetlight Storm, it all made perfect sense – of course it’s logical to record every flash of lightening from North Africa to the North Pole and turn it into an art work in a sleepy seaside town in Kent. Perhaps not? Paterson’s limitless imagination and determination to realise her far-fetched inspirations has in the past, brought us such works as Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon), which involved the transmission of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back and Vatnajökull (the sound of), a live phone line to an Icelandic glacier. Streetlight Storm continues this tradition of epic works, proving that space, time and technicalities are mere trifles to be swept aside for this ambitious artist.

At any one time there are around 6,000 lightening storms happening across the world amounting to some 16 million storms each year. Inspired by such dizzying statistics Paterson set about translating this natural phenomena into a poetic and beautiful artwork on Deal Pier in Kent. Harnessing everyday technology, lightening signals from as far away as the North Pole or North Africa are received by an antenna on the pier and projected as short bursts of light. As the pattern of lightening strikes changes, so the pier lights oscillate correspondingly, with a subtlety that contrasts with the power and drama of the storms they reflect.

To watch the pier by night is a genuinely magical experience with each flash anticipated with mounting tension. Every sporadic burst is accompanied by an appreciative emotional thrill and a sense of awe at the fact that somewhere out there the ominous rumbles of thunder and lightening are mounting. The work connects spectators to the vastness of the world beyond, collapsing the distance between the individual and remote meteorological events. Streetlight Storm was originally scheduled to run for one month throughout January but it is looking likely that the instalment will be extended.

Meeting the artist on Deal Pier – 23rd Jan 2010

Katie Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007 and has recently exhibited at Modern Art Oxford, Altermodern: Tate triennial 2009, Tate Britain, Universal Code, The Power Plant, Toronto and PERFORMA 09, New York.

The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and his Letters

January 22, 2010

Vincent van Gogh, Self-portrait as an Artist, January 1888, Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 50.5 cm

The Royal Academy’s hotly anticipated Van Gogh exhibition has been deemed one of the “most important exhibitions ever held at RA” by director of exhibitions Kathleen Soriano and is expected to be one of the gallery’s most successful shows to date. It is the first major show devoted to Van Gogh to be staged in London for 40 years and includes several works which have never before been displayed in the UK. The show has been ten years in the making but will finally be open to the public from 22nd January who will undoubtedly relish this unique opportunity to gain an insight into the complex mind of Vincent van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh, Letter 252 from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, The Hague, Monday 31 July 1882, Pollard Willow, letter sketch, paper, 14 x 13.4 cm

At the heart of the exhibition lies a collection of over 800 letters by the artist and his friends and family, painstakingly collected and prepared over the years by a team at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Over 35 of these original letters are displayed throughout the RA exhibition having rarely before been exhibited due to their intense fragility. Each letter is displayed in correspondence with specific paintings or drawings offering a fascinating insight into the artist’s vision, inspiration and motivation.

Vincent van Gogh, Letter 783 from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Tuesday 25 June 1889, Cypresses, Letter sketch, paper, 21 x 27 cm

Curator Ann Dumas explained that her intention was to create the effect that Van Gogh is taking you around his own exhibition. The desired effect certainly achieved. In his enthralling correspondences Van Gogh describes his methods in acutely intricate detail from colour choice and subject matter to areas in which he struggled such as, “that down right witch-craft or coincidence” – perspective, as Van Gogh apparently put it. Dumas explained, “No artist has ever before left such a complete correspondence of how he went about his writing career”.

Vincent van Gogh, Still-life around a Plate of Onions, Early January 1889, Oil on canvas, 49.6 x 64.4 cm

Upon entering the exhibition, the first room displays only one work, a still life of the artist’s drawing table painted shortly after his break down in December 1888 when he famously mutilated his ear. The most notorious fact associated with Van Gogh is very deliberately confronted from the start of the show in order to be turned o it’s head throughout the remainder of the show. Whilst the Van Gogh of popular myth is a mad and erratic genius, by following his works alongside his letters, a new image emerges of a sensitive, determined, hard working and exceptionally intelligent man. Through his writings the artist’s incredible gift for language is portrayed in a way that has previously never been credited to him.

Vincent van Gogh, Pollard Willow, July 1882, Watercolour, gouache, pen and black ink on paper laid down on board, 38 x 56 cm

Between the seven galleries the exhibition explores Van Gogh’s short 10 year career as an artist, predominantly in chronological order. Beginning with his early sketches of Dutch landscapes and moving on to his dazzlingly bold depictions of the Mediterranean countryside of Arles, the artist’s spiritual love affair with nature becomes evident. His vividly expressive descriptions of the beauty he saw around him convey his struggle to achieve artistic perfection in his depictions of the beauty he saw all around him. In one letter to his brother Theo he exudes, “In all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and soul”. The colour notations alongside his sketches and clear descriptions of his plans for future works go further to dispel the myth that Van Gogh worked sporadically or spontaneously. In fact, it becomes evident that the majority of his works were intricately choreographed pieces.

Vincent van Gogh, The Yellow House (The Street), September 1888, Oil on canvas, 72 x 91.5 cm

In the final galleries are housed the most recognisable of Van Gogh’s works with the notably dynamic, energetic, swirling brush strokes for which he is famed. The sad fact that several of these paintings are slices of landscape viewed from the restricted view of his asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence are a stark reminder of the artist’s troubled mental state. At the age of only 37, Van Gogh shot himself, “perhaps”, speculates Dumas “due to a sense of failure as an artist or a fear of the reoccurring attacks on his mental health”.

The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters was curated by Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Niewn Bakker of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. The Exhibition runs from 23rd Jan – 18th April 2010.

Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait as an Artist

January 1888

Oil on canvas

65.5 x 50.5 cm

The All of Everything

January 16, 2010


When I first saw images in the press of this latest exhibition at University of the Arts London, I was despaerate to see it for myself. There was a particularly mad panic as the building in which the exhibition is held is due to be demolished at an unassigned date so the fate of this fantastic work hangs in the balance every day.

It’s the work of acclaimed artist Mike Ballard, held in the main exhibition space at Univeristy of the Arts London, just next door to Bond Street tube. This ambitious work turns the entire gallery space into an all-encompassing installation covering floors, walls and ceilings and is fittingly epic for the gallery’s final, pre-demolition showcase.

The artist self proclaims that his work transports “the viewer on a supersonic journey through a galaxy of hypermodern and prehistoric art”. Whether that seems OTT to you or not, it’s an undeniably impressive feat, disorientatingly stunning and immersive.

The images really speak for themself so if you’re tempted to “race back and project forward through art history…at blistering speed” then get down to University of Arts London, 65 Davies Street, while you still can! More info is available HERE.

Esthetic Judgements

January 4, 2010


Having recently grabbed a last chance to visit the retrospective exhibition of John Baldessari’s work at the Tate Modern, ‘Pure Beauty’, I would definitely recommend a trip to anyone. It’s a beautifully curated, though provoking exhibition displaying a huge range of work full of wit ,sensibility, self-critic, humour, intellect, connections, age and political awareness.

Prima Facie (Third state):From Aghast to Upset, 2005, photo courtesy of Baldessari studio

Much of the work is written text which although initially confusing encourages you to consider what constitutes a work of art as well as to give some thought to the philisophical question that is highlighted.

Photo courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery NY

The work will make you laugh, think, confuse and perplex you, exactly what you want from a great exhibition. I particularly love this piece; ‘Cigar smoke to Match Clouds that are the Same’ (by sight, side view)…

Detail: Cigar Smoke to Match Clouds that are the same , 1970-1971, photo courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery NY

 John Baldessari, ‘Pure Beauty’ closes January 10th 2010.

Jill Magid: Authority to Remove

January 3, 2010

Opposite the millienium bridge, mirroring a stunning reflection of London, I find this is a really enchanting piece of work. Unfortunately the installation by Jill Magrid, in the ground floor window of Tate Modern will be removed today as it is the last day of this intriguing artist’s exhibition ‘Authority to Remove’. In her work, as can be seen in this particular piece, Magid employs Visual strategies that render text illegible in order to frustrate and perplex the viewer, yet resulting in a magical and beautiful work.

In her Level 2 exhibition at Tate Modern, Magid explores the themes of secrets and secrecy, reflecting on the emotional, philosophical and artistic relations between institutions and the individual. Today, 3rd January 2010, is the final day of the exhibition so get over there while you still can!

Artist Statements:

I Bring things that are far away in closer to my body.
Drawing over things is a way to get inside them.
I like secrets, not neccessary in their exposure but in their very existence.
To enter a system I locate the loophole.
If my subject is made of clay, I will work in clay.
If my subject id text, I may write.
If my subject is too big, I will grow.
If my subject is out of reach, I steal it in a mirror.
Repeating something helps me to perceive it. So does cutting it out.

When in love, I separate a someone from the everyone.

Isolating details os like making bubbles.
An extra becomes the protagonist after the film is made.
Without gravity we end up hovering.
What is considered banal or cliche might be hiding something.
Permission is a material and changes the work’s consistency.