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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Annual Sheep Drive across London Bridge – 30th September 2018

It is fair to say that visitors to London visit and enjoy many of its attractions, however one of the joys of the capital is that you come across weird and wonderful events all throughout the year.

One of the stranger events is the Annual Sheep Drive across London Bridge organised by The Worshipful Company of Woolmen. This illustrious Livery Company was in the past responsible for overseeing wool merchants and ensuring industry standards. Today the company aims promote the wool industry and interest in wool, wool products, sheep farming, shearing, wool production and textiles and design.

In more recent times, The Worshipful Company of Woolmen have organised the Annual Sheep Drive across London Bridge which allows Freemen of the City of London to undertake one of the major perks of their position and practice their ancient right to drive sheep over London Bridge. The drive is undertaken for a number of charitable causes and usually is open by a well known celebrity, this year it was one of Britain’s favourite presenters, Alan Titchmarsh.

Although it is considered a fun event, driving sheep over London Bridge by Freemen of the City is a tradition that goes back more than 800 years. It is also a reminder of the importance in the past of London Bridge which was for centuries, the city’s only river crossing and trading route.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review: Mantegna and Bellini at the National Gallery – 1st October 2018 to 27th January 2019

The National Gallery present a new exhibition that tells the story of two artists, Mantegna and Bellini and explores some of their relationship and artistic development. The exhibition entitled Mantegna and Bellini is the first ever devoted to the relationship between two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance: Giovanni Bellini (active about 1459–1516) and Andrea Mantegna (1430/1–1506).

The exhibition includes exceptionally rare loans of paintings, drawings, and sculpture from around the world which provides  a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare the work of these two important artists who were also connected by family.

Andrea Mantegna was a talented young painter from Padua, when in 1453  he married into one of the greatest artistic families of nearby Venice – the Bellini. Mantegna’s new brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini, was a gifted artist who was bringing new innovations to the Venetian art.

Room One of the exhibition is called ‘Beginnings’ and provides some of the cultural context of the two cities that shaped Mantegna and Bellini – Padua and Venice.  One of the highlights in this section is ‘The Jacopo Bellini album’ on loan from the British Museum. Working in Bellini family workshop allowed the two artists to experiment and develop their own particular styles, a number of drawings illustrate the artists development.

‘Explorations’ in the following room examines the years of their closest creative exchange which was around the time of the marriage Mantegna’s marriage. In this room it is possible to compare and contrast their approaches with near identical compositions: Mantegna’s ‘The Descent into Limbo’  and Bellini’s ‘The Descent into Limbo’ (1475–80), Mantegna’s ‘The Crucifixion’ (1456–9) and Bellini’s ‘The Crucifixion’ (about 1465).

Room Three is entitled ‘Pietà’ and focuses on the origins and development of a distinctive new type of image – the Dead Christ supported by Angels. The works here will include sculptural relief, Donatello’s The Dead Christ Tended by Angels, Bellini’s The Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints Mark and Nicolas of Bari (1457-59) and Pieta (1457).

‘Landscape’ (Room Four) explores Bellini’s remarkable  landscapes, using natural light, and atmosphere to create emotion especially in religious works (such as in Bellini’s ‘St Jerome reading in a Landscape’, about 1480-5). A number of pairings in this section reveals the different approaches to landscape between the two artists and Bellini’s influence on Mantegna with his accurate view of Mantua in his ‘Death of the Virgin’, (1460-4) .

‘Devotional Paintings and Portraits’ (Room Five) provides an important  insight into a particular contribution to Italian Renaissance art, – the development of the ‘sacra conversazione’ in which the seated Virgin and Child appear in the company of saints (‘in conversation’). Here Mantegna’s ‘Madonna and Child’ (about 1465) will be seen side by side with Bellini’s ‘The Virgin and Child’ (about 1475).

The final room of ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ (called ‘Antiquity’) features some of the largest and most spectacular loans, with Mantegna’s ‘Triumphs of Caesar’ (The Bearers of Standards and ‘Siege Equipment’, ‘The Vase-Bearers’, and ‘The Elephants’, c.1484–92) , lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.

Contrasted with these are works by Bellini, including ‘The Continence of Publius Cornelius Scipio’ (about 1506) and one of his final paintings, ‘The Drunkenness of Noah’ (about 1515).

This fascinating exhibition provides plenty of insight into the artistic development of Mantegna and Bellini in the 15th century and how their creative dialogue would have a profound effect on later artists in the Italian Renaissance. Although Mantegna pursued his own artistic path and moved to Mantua and Bellini spent his entire career in Republican Venice. Both artists provided important ingredients like landscape and passion for the ancient world which would be themes that would be taken up and used by the ‘greats’ of Renaissance art like Titian, Correggio and Veronese.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Review : The British Museum reopens its Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries – 27th September 2018

The British Museum has reopened  some of its most popular galleries after nine-months of refurbishment. The Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries opens to the public again on 27 September 2018, displaying highlights from the Museum’s extensive Japanese collections.

The galleries have seen major improvements to their design and infrastructure which considerably improve the display of some 430 artworks and archaeological and historical artefacts dating from ancient prehistory to the present day.

Several major new acquisitions will be on display in the galleries for the first time.

The centrepiece is the newly-acquired Edo period set of Samurai armour. Made in the 1700s, this complete set of armour bears the crest of the Mori clan, who were an influential family of samurai lords who ruled in both the Akō and Mikazuki domains, Harima province (modern Hyōgo prefecture). The armour was intended more for ceremony and display than for battle. This set comes with important accessories such as the battle surcoat (jinbaori), ceremonial fly whisk, and original lacquered storage boxes.

Another new acquisition will greet visitors on their arrival: Time Waterfall – panel #8 (Blue) by Miyajima Tatsuo (b. 1957) is a contemporary artwork which consists of randomly generated digital numbers which tumble down an LED panel.

Time Waterfall will be permanently displayed in the introductory area of the galleries next to a  sculpture of Bodhisattva Kannon from about 1930, and the Urasenke Foundation teahouse.

The galleries are full of remarkable objects including the Portrait of a retired townsman 1670-1790s, a number of masks and costumes used for Nō drama,  Courtesan reading a letter By Kitagawa Utamaro 1805-6 and many more.

Many sections of the galleries have been revised. These include displays relating to the prehistoric periods of Jōmon (13,500 – 500 BC), Yayoi (500 BC – AD 250) and Kofun (AD 250 – 600) which draws on recent collaborative research among the British Museum, The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) and leading archaeologists in Japan.

The modern galleries provide remarkable examples of more recent works, Dawn, 1992 By Tokuda Yasokichi III is a stunning piece of  Kutani ceramic, ‘Spirit Reborn’ (Kewtum kanna-suy) By Kaizawa Tōru 2017 is an intricate wooden owl chick pecking through its shell and encountering the world for the first time and Large feather leaves bowl, 2013 is by Hosono Hitomi who painstakingly attached over a thousand leaves to give the impression that they are gently rustling in the wind.

The stunning Japanese Galleries are some of the most popular in the British Museum, with around 5 million visitors in the past decade and a walk around the galleries provide a fascinating snapshot of Japan past and present.  The recent additions have added to an already fascinating display which often explores little known aspects of Japanese history and life.

Visiting London Guide Rating –  Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the British Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Exhibition Review – Feliks Topolski: Drawing Debden, Sketches from the Printing Works at the Bank of England Museum from 1st October 2018 to Summer 2019

The Bank of England Museum presents a new, free exhibition which features a collection of works by expressionist artist Feliks Topolski (1907-1989). The exhibition entitled Feliks Topolski: Drawing Debden highlights works from a set of 27 drawings and paintings by Topolski, commissioned by the Bank of England in 1957 to mark the opening of its new Printing Works in Debden, Essex.

Feliks Topolski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1907 and settled in Britain in the 1930s, he became well-known for his war drawings and paintings. In 1958, Prince Philip commissioned Topolski to paint a mural of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation at Buckingham Palace and he became famous for his portraits of cultural figures, Topolski’s subjects included Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Alec Guinness and TS Eliot.

The opening of the new Debden printing works in 1956 was an important occasion for the Bank of England and in 1957 they commissioned Topolski to create an illustrated record of the building, its staff and the process of creating banknotes.

The exhibition features a number of Topolski’s work including views from the inspectors’ galleries, across the different stages of banknote manufacture. He captures a variety of printing techniques including both lithographic and intaglio printing, as well as numbering, cutting and examining the finished banknotes.

Topolski captures some of the processes but also produced studies of individual machine operators, sheet checkers and note counters at work.

The new printworks provided employment for many of the people who had moved away from London’s Blitz-damaged East End to Essex. Topolski shows the workforce at work but also at leisure, playing table tennis in the recreation hall and knitting, drinking tea and reading in the canteen.

The Printing Works’ distinctive building was specially designed by architect Sir Howard Robertson (1888-1963), along with structural engineers Ove Arup to increase the efficiency for the banknote-making process. Topolski’s work records the vast arches of the Production Hall roof from the inspectors’ gallery which offered an overall view of the factory floor.

The exhibition also includes photography of Debden since the 1950s and examples of the individual notes under production.

This fascinating exhibition allows visitors to view a number of works by expressionist artist Feliks Topolski commissioned by the Bank of England. On the surface, the commission seemed unusual, Topolski’s expressionist pictures were not widely popular and the Bank of England was considered in the 1950s rather old-fashioned. Whatever the reasons, the works until now seem to have been quietly forgotten rather than celebrated.

This exhibition brings to light a number of works that highlights Topolski’s skill for creating scenes of movement and humanity. He manages to move beyond the often boring and repetitive processes of the factory floor and show something of the vitality of the people who worked at Debden.

Visitors to the free exhibition can also look around the rest of the Bank of England Museum which tells the story of the Bank, from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the United Kingdom’s central bank.

Bank of England Museum – Bartholomew Lane (off Threadneedle Street), London EC2R 8AH

Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm). Closed Public and Bank Holidays and
weekends, except for special events taking place on those days.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information about the exhibition, visit the Bank of England website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review : Oceania at the Royal Academy – 29th September to 10th December 2018

The Royal Academy of Arts presents Oceania, the first ever major survey of Oceanic art to be held in the United Kingdom. This exhibition celebrates the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, encompassing the Pacific region from New Guinea to Easter Island, Hawaii to New Zealand.

The exhibition brings together around 200 works from public and private collections worldwide, and will span over 500 years and offers a rare opportunity to  explore the art and culture of an area that is rich in history, ritual and ceremony.

The exhibition marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, the same year Captain James Cook set sail on his first expedition to the Pacific on the Endeavour. When Captain James Cook left on the first of three voyages he found in the Pacific, highly sophisticated cultures with networks of communication between islands due the skill of sailors from the various islands using ocean-going canoes and navigational aids.

People from the various Pacific islands would travel long distances which enabled an exchange of technologies and culture. The exhibition explores how new discoveries are leading historians and art experts to present many historic collections in new contexts to gain a better understanding.

The exhibition begins by focusing on the art associated with voyaging and the importance of not only the canoes and navigational aids but of the sacred designs on the carved prows and paddles. Canoes also featured in origin stories and death rituals.

As new islands were reached and settled, a complex networks of communities were established, while many islanders lived from the food of the ocean, gradually land was cultivated and political systems developed.

Along with the physical world, many communities developed a divine world with a series of gods that were represented by statues, masks and other objects.

Ceremonies were often complex and organised with precision, music was played  and elaborate dances took place with specific costumes, shields and masks. The exhibition features an extraordinary 19th century Ceremonial Feast Bowl from the Solomon Islands. Measuring nearly 7 metres in length, this bowl has never been exhibited before.

One important feature of Pacific life was gift giving and many of the items in the exhibition were freely given to Europeans when they began to explore the Pacific. The gifts given were often of great symbolic meaning, prized items like a Hawaiian feather god image or a Samoan fine mat took months to make and were very valuable items and created for the nobility of the island communities.

A late 18th century Feather god image (akua hulu manu) from the Hawaiian Islands (British Museum) is likely to have been collected on Cook’s third voyage.

The exhibition provides evidence that the rich artistic traditions in Oceania are alive and well with a modern twist, contemporary Oceanic art that speaks of the  past as well as the challenges of the present. Contemporary work in the exhibition will include the vast panoramic video In Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-17, by the New Zealand multi-media artist, Lisa Reihana (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki) and John Pule’s, Kehe tau hauaga foou (To all new arrivals), 2007 (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki).

This fascinating exhibition illustrates that artistic traditions in Oceania have a long and distinguished history before Europeans began to explore the region. Contrary to European belief, the Pacific islanders were not isolated from each other and the rest of the world but were part of a vast network made possible by the remarkable skills in boat building and navigation. The exhibition provides evidence that despite the vast distances, different artistic styles were shared as the Islanders traveled around the Pacific. For centuries, traditional art from the area was considered decorative but naïve, however recent research is beginning to challenge this misconception and exhibition like these show the rich artistic traditions from the area and some of the latest developments.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended   

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Exhibition Review: Space Shifters at the Hayward Gallery – 26th September 2018 to 6th January 2019


The Hayward Gallery presents a new exhibition entitled Space Shifters which features artworks by 20 leading international artists that challenges the visitor’s sense of space and perception. Many works in the exhibition interact directly with the Gallery’s distinctive architecture using  reflective or translucent materials like glass, resin and mirror.

The exhibition presents a range of historical and contemporary sculptures, as well as immersive, site-specific installations. It also premieres several major new commissions.  Participating artists include: Leonor Antunes, Larry Bell, Fred Eversley, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jeppe Hein, Roni Horn, Robert Irwin, Ann Veronica Janssens, Anish Kapoor, Yayoi Kusama, Alicja Kwade, John McCracken, Josiah McElheny, Helen Pashgian, Charlotte Posenenske, Fred Sandback, Monika Sosnowska, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané,DeWain Valentine, and Richard Wilson.

The earliest works in this group show are often associated with the ‘Light and Space’ movement which originated in the mid-1960s in the Los Angeles area. At this time, a number of the American artists included in the exhibition began experimenting with unconventional materials and innovative fabrication processes.  Helen Pashgian contributes several epoxy and acrylic spheres and a series of large acrylic columns which use varying degrees of transparency and light to generate optical effects.

Many of the works created by these artists allow viewers to both see into as well as through the material of a solid sculpture. Robert Irwin’s work Untitled (Acrylic Column), 1969–2011 is a large clear acrylic column that rises over 4.5 metres in the Hayward’s upper gallery.

Using an innovative spinning casting process, Fred Eversley creates vivid coloured lenses through which viewers can explore the world in many different hues.

Larry Bell is represented in the exhibition by his first large-scale installation Standing Walls (1969/2016). Viewers can enter to experience its different reflections and effects.

Contemporary artist Ann Veronica Janssens demonstrate the diversity of perceptual effects using glass by exploring colour in radically different ways. Janssens bonds reflective film between sheets of smashed glass for her Magic Mirrors.

In the first gallery,  Jeppe Hein’s 360° Illusion V, 2018, a huge rotating mirror sculpture constantly changes the reflections of the surrounding architecture and viewers.

Other reflective highlights of the exhibition include: Yayoi Kusama’s renowned Narcissus Garden (1966-), a landscape of hundreds of large stainless steel spheres.

Using the outside light, Sky Mirror, Blue (2016) by Anish Kapoor captures a piece of the sky and reflects it onto  one of the Hayward Gallery’s sculpture courts.

Alicja Kwade’s WeltenLinie (2017) is shown for the first time since its premiere at the last Venice Biennale. This installation encourages the viewer to walk around and through its structure of frames, as objects seem to change appearance.

Occupying an entire upper gallery, Richard Wilson recreates his monumental installation 20:50 (1987). Thousands of litres of recycled oil form a waist-high horizon that surrounds the viewer as they proceed down a gangway.

Leonor Antunes  has created a piece that cascades downward from one of the new Hayward Gallery ceiling full of  brass shapes.

And while wandering through the galleries, visitors encounter Josiah McElheny’s Interactions of the Abstract Body (2012) which keeps perceptions shifting – trained dancers wearing mirrored wooden costumes interact with visitors as well as other artworks in a continuously changing performance.

This enjoyable and entertaining exhibition uses the Hayward Gallery’s unique architectural features to the full with works that fill the spaces with a variety of reflective effects. Visitors can engage with the works to create a number of perceptual effects to create an ever-changing landscape. The exhibition illustrates the fascination and skill of artists to find different ways of looking at the world around us, sometimes the changes are subtle whilst others can be dramatic and disorientate the viewer. The exhibition is a fitting conclusion to events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Hayward Gallery and provides evidence that the Hayward Gallery often offers a different experience to many of the other galleries in London

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and book tickets , visit the Southbank Centre website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review : Turner Prize 2018 at Tate Britain – 26th September 2018 to 6th January 2019

The Tate Britain presents an exhibition of work by the four artists shortlisted for Turner Prize 2018, the artists are Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson.

Forensic Architecture presents its investigations surrounding the Bedouin communities of the Naqab/Negev region of southern Israel.

The videos, photographs and other documentary evidence investigate the events of 18 January 2017, a day on which an attempt by police to clear an unrecognised Bedouin village resulted in the deaths of two people.

Naeem Mohaiemen’s films and installations bring together archives, photographs and interviews that explore ideas of hope and loneliness.

Two Meetings and a Funeral is a documentary film shown on three screens, centring on the power struggle between the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the 1970s. Tripoli Cancelled is Mohaiemen’s first fiction film, following the daily routine of a man who spends a decade living alone in an abandoned airport.

Charlotte Prodger presents Bridgit which filmed on an iPhone over the course of a year. It is made up of recordings of the Scottish countryside as well as shots from inside Prodger’s home.

Sounds from her environment are overlaid with a narration read by the artist and her friends including extracts from her diaries and books written by figures from queer history.

Luke Willis Thompson works across film, performance and installation. His films examine the relationship between a person and their representation. For the Turner Prize, Thompson presents a trilogy of works on 35mm film: Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries, autoportrait and _Human.

In these three films, Thompson reframes histories of violence enacted against certain people, and offers counter-images to the media spectacle of our digital age.

Established in 1984, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. The Prize is often controversial with critics and the public debating the old ‘is it art’ argument, however this year the debate is likely to be more about the lack of diversity with all the shortlisted artists working with the moving image and being ‘issue based’. All this debate often overshadows the works which in 2018 offer a very personal look into the modern world even if they are presented in wider contexts.

The Turner Prize is one of the world’s best-known prizes for the visual arts and the award fund is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists.

There will be a free entry to the exhibition for everyone aged 25 or under for the first 25 days of the show. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 4 December at an awards ceremony live on the BBC.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here