Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery

Last week I went to the press preview of the new Anish Kapoor exhibition at Lisson Gallery on Bell Street in London, which shows the work of the past year from this Turner Prize winning artist.

I enjoyed this colourful, playful exhibition which explores texture, pigments and materials.

You can read my review of the exhibition for One Stop Arts here

The exhibition is at Lisson Gallery until 10th November 2012.

Other reviews of art exhibitions that I’ve written for One Stop Arts can be read here.


Outsider Art from Inside

please do take a look at my latest exhibition review for One Stop Arts

The Papacy – HM Prison Peterborough, Jeffrey Archer Platinum Award for Matchstick & Mixed Media  http://www.koestlertrust.org.uk/pages/uk2012/exhib2012gal2.html

I have reviewed ‘FREE Art by Offenders Secure Patients & Detainees’ which is an exhibition on at the Southbank Centre (Spirit Level of the Royal Festival Hall) until 25th November.

The review can be read here  and if you are interested in reading other reviews by me for One Stop Arts, they can be seen here


I am the Chelsea Arts Club Trust Research Fellowship – CHELSEA space Award recipient

I am delighted to announced that I am this year’s recipient of the Chelsea Arts Club Trust Research Fellowship – CHELSEA space Award. This means that I will be based at CHELSEA space gallery 3 days a week, (from September 2012 for a year) working on every aspect of running a gallery, whilst exploring my own curatorial research interests. The award aims to promote professional development opportunities and mentoring for a candidate with the ability and potential to make an exceptional contribution in the area of curatorial practice and gallery management. The Award is aimed at encouraging those who would benefit from study and practical experience in a ‘live’ gallery context to realise their full potential. You can read more about the Trust here .

making up mirror plate frames to hang work for the DOME: Ralph Tubbs and the Festival of Britain exhibition at CHELSEA space

I am so pleased and excited that I have received this award and with it, the opportunity to develop my research into and work with curating and hopefully further my career in this area. I am gaining direct hands on experience in gallery management, designing of exhibitions, brand identity, communication, networking and team work, creating publications and archiving and documentation. In my first week working at the gallery, I got stuck in straight away installing the first exhibition of this season which is called DOME: Ralph Tubbs and the Festival of Britain.

our key framing tools up close – drill, braddle, mirror plates and screws

Having never even picked up a drill before, I have already accumulated so many practical skills in my first week as I have been drilling, framing and hanging work for this exhibition. After overcoming my initial nerves, only due to lack of experience, I have discovered first hand that it’s true… practice makes perfect!

our gallery work table with everything we needed for framing and exhibition installation – the work (photographs), mounts, frames, spirit level, drill, braddle, mirror plates…

I have been learning by doing and observing and this week I have been involved first hand, in the steps involved in designing and planning a professional exhibition. I have been able to make decisions regarding the selection of work to include and how to display or hang it. I have also been made aware of the factors that the exhibition viewer or visitor does not take into account, that need to be considered, such as distances between objects for navigating the space or how the exhibition looks from outside the gallery’s transparent window as well as from inside.

empty walls, empty vitrines and a work table full of tools. You can just about see one of the buildings of Chelsea College of Art & Design, that the gallery is on the site of, in the background reflected in the vitrine.

the gallery looks like a frame shop – full of frames to be filled with work for the exhibition!

For this exhibition which displays mainly archival material including photographs and other works on paper, we used vitrines and frames to install the work.

I have also come to realise that there is far more maths involved in art than I had dared imagine (I gave up maths & science subjects in school, as soon as I could to focus on arts & humanities subjects) as I learned about calculating measurements for hanging works accurately with my new best friends the tape measure, pencil and spirit level.

In the example in the picture below, we were hanging frames on a ramp which is an important architectural feature of the gallery space. So we needed to decide by how much to increase the level for hanging, also considering the incline of the ramp that the viewer stands on.

frames hung with an incline on the wall of the gallery’s ramp space

Another curatorial concern, visually, was considering the aesthetic nature of the frames being used as some were white and some wooden. In the end, we decided to mix them up and on the largest expanse of gallery white wall, we also blended hanging at different levels as we wanted to give the impression (along with the vitrines and material inside them) of the architect Ralph Tubbs who the exhibition focusses on, at work in the studio setting.

the large gallery wall space with a mixture of white and wooden framed works of different sizes

Finally, I love this image of the architect’s drawings and blue prints, having been rolled up for years… they will be exhibited in a vitrine after the favourite has been chosen to sit on top, the other layers will be stacked underneath tantalisingly, don’t they look great? Maybe they remind me of scrolls and it must help that I have an interest in old works on paper and a love of old books. These drawings even came with their own authentic smell when we un rolled them!

drawings and blue prints from the architect Ralph Tubbs, which will be covered more by a vitrine lid for the exhibition

I am very much looking forward to the private view of this exhibition DOME: Ralph Tubbs and the Festival of Britain which is tomorrow evening Tuesday 11th September at CHELSEA space (16 John Islip Street London SW1P 4JU). The exhibition is also part of the Icon Design Trail and the London Design Festival.  The exhibition is open until 20th October and I will be there working in the gallery Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays if you’d like to come and visit, I’d love to see you!


sea shell sculpture and more from Suffolk

I went to Suffolk (Aldeburgh) for the weekend and was charmed by the little seaside town on the East Suffolk coast. One of the highlights for me, was seeing Maggi Hambling‘s sculpture on the beach, called Scallop. Created in 2003 the 4 metre high sculpture made of steel, caused some controversy according to local residents and still does. From my point of view, Scallop is an example of a piece of public art that ticks all the boxes. The sculpture is beautiful, achieving an imposing and majestic figure against the seascape. It also has a fun and playful side, as it’s shape encourages children and indeed those of any age to clamber all over and sit on it, like I did!

the curious curator sits on Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Carved into the material, are the words ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’, from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. Britten lived and worked in Aldeburgh and he founded the Aldeburgh Music Festival. I have seen a performance of Peter Grimes at the Royal Opera House, London which I felt was a hauntingly memorable and turbulent work. The words are legible only when standing behind the sculpture, looking out onto the sea.

Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture, showing the words ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’ from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes

The Moot Hall, Aldeburgh

I was also interested to discover the Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, also situated right by the sea. The Moot Hall was Aldeburgh’s town hall, built during the first half of the 16th Century and it is one of the most important timber-framed public buildings in England. Originally the Moot Hall contained six small shops on the ground floor and a meeting chamber on the first floor.

The Moot Hall, Aldeburgh

I enjoyed spotting this chest (below) which dates from 1400 and was found washed up on the beach at Aldeburgh. Of course my imagination thought at once of smugglers!

a chest from 1400 found washed up on the beach at Aldeburgh

I also admired the art nouveau style decoration on this commemorative plaque board which was made in honour of those connected to Aldeburgh who fell during the First World War

a detail of the decoration on the commemorative WW1 plaque in the Moot Hall, Aldeburgh

Finally, I climbed the Town Steps to find the Town Pump!

the Town Pump at Aldeburgh


Olympic Sounds – London 2012

Unsurprisingly, I am more interested in the Cultural Olympiad surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Games, although I have found myself being caught up in a bit of Olympic Games fever as London are hosting them! I’m pleased that sound art has played its part and here are a few examples that I’ve enjoyed.

All The Bells – Martin Creed

Artist Martin Creed (who won the Turner Prize in 2001 for Work No. 227: the lights going on and off) created a nationwide sound piece for the morning of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Work No. 1197 involved ‘all the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes’ according to the website for All The Bells. I took part myself at the designated moment of 8.12am, ringing not a real bell as I couldn’t find one, but instead shaking my mobile phone as I had downloaded a mobile phone bell application which turned my phone into a ringing bell. I really liked the inclusive, celebratory nature of this mass performance piece so that All The Bells really did mean any bell, anyone, anywhere.

Hopefully not too many people were as extra enthusiastic as UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt whose bell fell apart as he was ringing it!

 

Tales From The Bridge – Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre has become an extremely popular composer of contemporary classical music, particularly choral. Whitacre uses social media to build his huge and growing fanbase (which I include myself as part of) and his work became even more well known after a TED talk allowed him to discuss his Virtual Choir project. Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir brings together singers from across the world, virtually. Singers sign up on line and can rehearse the chosen score and join forums online to get tips for working on the piece for the virtual choir. Then when they are ready, singers sing along to Whitacre’s conductor video, recording their voice. The piece is then edited and visuals are also inserted to create a sound art piece. Virtual Choir 3 (below) which I sung in too, included 3746 videos from 73 countries. Again,what draws me to Whitacre’s Virtual Choir project is the way in which music and singing (thanks to the power of technology) is used to unite people as a common language across the world.

Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 3 sound piece, Water Night, was seen and heard in Titanic Belfast: Following the celebrations around the opening of the new building and marking 100 years since the loss of Titanic, the projection of Virtual Choir 3 in the atrium of Titanic Belfast provided a moment of contemplation for the lost souls.

Currently, Water Night by Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 3 can be experienced as part of the world’s largest 3D soundscape in an Olympics installation on Millennium Bridge, called Tales From The Bridge.

Here is an amateur video of the Water Night experience on Millennium Bridge, London from a Virtual Choir 3 participant.

Anthem – Scanner

I have been interested in the work that electronic musician Scanner (real name Robin Rimbaud) creates, for some time. He is called Scanner because of his use of cell phone and police scanners in live performance. I really enjoy the variety of types of music that Scanner makes and the range of opportunities he takes up.

The UK’s top designers and artists were invited to contribute to delivering a world class creative showcase that will play host to some of the most globally influential business leaders during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games at the British Business Embassy. Scanner was commissioned for the only sound work in Lancaster House, on the Mall in central London which is used extensively for government hospitality.

Lancaster House, London where Scanner’s Anthem will be played
http://www.offtolondon.com/images/GreenPkDaffs.AE.jpg

He presented Anthem, a sonic work that expands upon the British National Anthem, now a choral work of ten minutes duration and situated in the lavatories of the building, the only guaranteed room that every delegate and visitor will visit!

Anthem takes the UK National Anthem, God Save The Queen, into a slow moving choral work, filled with empty spaces.

You can hear Anthem by Scanner here

There was also plenty of sound and music featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games including favourite patriotic numbers by Elgar and a musical race through the decades of the best of British music. I thought the Isles of Wonder theme used by Danny Boyle made a fantastic opening ceremony spectacle. Here is a reminder of those beautifully musical lines from Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

Finally, here’s a picture of my Olympic rings fairy cakes that I made!


Chelsea Salon Series – 2nd salon from me – the Curatorial Associate

A few months ago I introduced the Chelsea Salon Series on this blog and I wrote about the first salon for Chelsea Salon Series that I organised and curated which you can read about here.

As an organisation we have now clarified our roles in order to better demonstrate the work we are carrying out, to the University and external organisations including galleries and possible funding groups. I am the Curatorial Associate for the Chelsea Salon Series and I have been working on organising the next salon event which will take place on 3rd August

an image from the last salon for Chelsea Salon Series held at the Round Chapel, Hackney

The next salon will take place at Harts Lane Studios and I am working together with MA Fine Art Chelsea College of Art & Design alumni Fiona Whitty and Jenny Gordon (who run Whitty Gordon Projects) to carry out this event.

image from Whitty Gordon Projects, during one of their visits to downtown Kingston, Jamaica
http://whittygordon.tumblr.com/images/

A curatorial decision was taken to create an experimental salon with an emphasis on performance and a full range of art forms. The Round Chapel salon allowed students to show any completed work or works in progress and most students exhibited pieces they were working on or had already finished, in a way staying quite safe in their choices.

This next salon will enable students to be inspired by the experimental way of working that Fiona and Jenny employ, using a variety of interesting and exciting ways to realise their ideas in different art forms including film, video and outreach projects. The Chelsea Salon Series team would like to capture the adventurous and experimental spirit of the Askew events (set up by Fiona Whitty and Jenny Gordon and no longer in action, although the website remains as an archive of the collective’s activities) and first salons held at Chelsea College in the year that they took their course (2009).

Yard (1961) by artist Allan Kaprow.       Performance piece, part of a Happening.
http://www.artsjournal.com/artopia/originopeningfixed.jpg

This means that this salon will be open and encouraging. There is no specific theme, but the aim is for students to be experimental, risk taking and daring. We have made clear that this means the work doesn’t have to be pieces that students are working on at the moment. It doesn’t have to be something that is finished and final. We have suggested trying working in a different format or media or with subject matter other than what students usually use. Eg. what about using dance, music, poetry if you don’t usually, or cooking something new you haven’t tried before! We really want to encourage performance and interaction.

We have recommended thinking about those ‘60s and ‘70s ‘happenings’ which embraced the experimental and free thinking zeitgeist… I’ll let you know after the event, how it goes and if we managed to make our very own Chelsea Salon Series happening!

Our salons are open to the public, so you are most welcome to join us. All information is posted on the Chelsea Salon Series blog.

 


Beyond the Bookshelves exhibition at the Old College Library, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London

On Wednesday 23rd May 2012 the private view for Beyond the Bookshelves exhibition took place at the Old College Library, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. From 5.00 – 7.00pm staff, students and alumni from a number of the colleges of University of the Arts, London as well as artists, my course mates and colleagues from previous courses and jobs, friends and family came to see the exhibition and have something cold to drink on an extremely warm evening!

guests to the private view of Beyond the Bookshelves look round the exhibition at the Old College Library, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London

As the curator, I was pleased that everything had gone to plan when installing the exhibition including having successfully managed to adhere to the strict health and safety regulations without needing to alter my layout and display plans for the exhibition. I also felt that I had overcome the restrictions that exist when using a non-gallery space which has the daily function of the library’s silent reading room by displaying exhibits in interesting ways.

view of Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground from the Old College Library, Chelsea College of Art & Design

The booklet which I wrote to accompany this exhibition which includes information on the work shown by each of the the three artists as well as texts explaining the choices I made as curator and explanations of how the exhibition came about and information on the history of the exhibition space, can be seen on the library website for Chelsea College of Art and Design under Other Guides and Publications here

You can view the floorplan map of the space as well as the list of works from the exhibition.

Just below is the edited film, included in the exhibition, which shows film and sound clips from the live performative soundwork Silent Zone, Site and Sound which I have previously written about on this blog here.

What follows in this post are a series of photographs from the installation of the exhibition and from the private view evening (which were kindly taken by Itay Greenspon).

artists Tansy Spinks and Phil Jones install Phil’s cabinet

a detailed view of the cabinet containing books by Phil Jones

work by Julie Caves as displayed in one of the cabinets

hanging paper piece by Julie Caves

objects from Silent Zone, Site and Sound live performative soundwork by Tansy Spinks

from left to right: Colonel Frank Davis – Chair of Friends of Millbank, me and George Blacklock – Dean of Chelsea College of Art and Design

from left to right: me, Professor Stephen Farthing – Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing at Chelsea College of Art & Design, Caitlin Smyth – Chelsea Arts Club Trust Resarch Fellow and Colonel Frank Davis – Chairman of Friends of Millbank.
In the corner is artist Aaron Mcpeake who has just completed his PhD at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Aaron has displayed part of his final show in the Old College Library at the same time with my exhibition on show.

guests including Donald Smith – Director of Exhibitions, CHELSEA space and Robin Jenkins – artist and year leader on BA Interior & Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Art & Design

artists Jenny Gordon and Fiona Whitty who are alumni of MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art & Design. They now work together on Whitty Gordon Projects which involves them working on a socially engaged film project in downtown Kingston, Jamaica. I will be assisting them in their work. http://whittygordon.tumblr.com/aboutus