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Exhibition Review: Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy from 21 September to 3 December 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts presents a solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley. In one of the artist’s most significant exhibitions in the UK for over a decade, Gormley uses all 13 rooms  in the RA’s Main Galleries to experiment with scale, darkness, light, and using a variety of materials.

The  early galleries feature rarely-exhibited works from the late 1970s and early 1980s Works l include Land, Sea and Air, 1977-79 and Fruits of the Earth, 1978-79 in which natural and man-made objects are wrapped in lead.

There is also a series of concrete works from the 1990s including Flesh, 1990 . Each volume contains the body form as a void in a position that tests the enclosing mass. The interior is only visible through the hands, feet or head that break the surface of the block.

Visitors are encouraged to engage with a number of whole-room installations like Cave 2019, some installations have been specially  reconfigured for the RA’s galleries.

Lost Horizon I, 2008  features 24 cast iron figures set in different orientations on every wall, floor and ceiling.

Clearing VII, 2019 consists of kilometres of coiled, flexible aluminium tubing arcing from floor to ceiling and wall to wall; a ‘drawing in space’ which encircles the visitor.

Matrix III, 2019 is a cloud of intersecting rectangular dark steel mesh suspended above head height.

Host, 2019 fills an entire gallery to a depth of 23cm with a vast expanse of seawater and clay.

At the centre of the exhibition in the Central Hall are two of Gormley’s early ‘expansion’ works; Body and Fruit, both from 1991-3, these hollow pieces have the characteristics of both bomb and fruit that weighs several tonnes.

Although known for his sculptures, the exhibition explores Gormley’s  works on paper which illustrate the importance of drawing for the artist. The exhibition features early drawings such as Mould, 1981. Body and Light drawings, the Linseed Oil Works (1985-1990) such as Double Moment, 1987, and the Red Earth drawings (1987-1998). The displays of Gormley’s workbooks reveal the artist’s continual investigation experimentation of ideas that often lead to the sculptural works.

This fascinating exhibition provides an opportunity to explore the range of works by Antony Gormley. Although the artist is widely known for the Angel of the North and Another Place sculptures, this exhibition takes the visitor on a journey in which they are asked to interact with their surroundings in a number of ways. Gormley fills some of the exhibition spaces with a series of installations that take over the entire room and questions our perception of ourselves and pieces of art.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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

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Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Exhibition Review – Portrait of the artist: Käthe Kollwitz at the British Museum from 12 September 2019 to 12 January 2020

The British Museum presents Portrait of the artist: Käthe Kollwitz, although Kollwitz (1867–1945) is not widely known in the UK, she is widely admired for her prints that depicting universal human experiences in a compelling way. Her work has rarely been seen together, this exhibition is the first to be devoted to Kollwitz alone in the UK since 1995 and will display 48 of her works.
This exhibition focuses on works, 47 prints and one drawing, almost entirely drawn from the British Museum’s Kollwitz collection, celebrating the enduring impact of Kollwitz’s images.
The Kollwitz works from the British Museum’s collection were largely acquired by Campbell Dodgson, former Keeper of the Department of Prints and Drawings (1893–1932) and bequeathed to the British Museum in 1948. Dodgson bought Kollwitz’s prints in Germany before the First World War, influenced by his colleague Max Lehrs of the Dresden and Berlin Print Rooms, one of Kollwitz’s first and greatest champion.
The exhibition displays this work grouped as: Self-portraits, A Weavers’ Revolt, Death and the Mother, ‘The many silent and noisy tragedies of life in a big city’, Peasants War, and Woodcuts, War and Remembrance. The final section includes her memorial sheet to Karl Liebknecht, the left-wing political activist murdered with Rosa Luxemburg by Government forces on 15 January 1919, alongside the portfolio Krieg.
Käthe Kollwitz (née Schmidt) was born in Königsberg Germany between 1871 and 1945. After studying art in Berlin and Munich, in 1891 she moved permanently to Berlin when she married Karl Kollwitz, a doctor in a poor working class district. Kollwitz found her artistic expression with numerous self-portraits and developing an interest in the women amongst the working class. The exhibition explores themes related to the artist from self portraits, poverty-stricken women she encountered in Berlin, to powerful scenes of maternal grief, along with social and economic protest.
One of the highlights of the exhibition are three rare working states of her famous print Woman with Dead Child (1903). This composition was based on drawings of herself holding her son Peter when he was seven years old. A mother’s grief was a recurring theme especially during and after the First World War.
Another highlight is the entire suite of seven woodcuts from the portfolio Krieg (War), shown exclusively at the British Museum for this final part of the exhibition’s run. Published in 1923, Krieg depicts the emotional anguish over the consequences of war for those left behind.
Kollwitz’s work began to be recognized after the First World War, firstly in Germany and then in Russia, China and the United States. Kollwitz’s was seen as a champion of working class struggle in the communist countries and beyond. However in the late 20th century, an enlarged version of her ‘Pietà’, a sculpture of a mother with dead son (1937–39), was installed in the Neue Wache in Berlin in 1993 as a memorial to all victims of war and tyranny.
Her ability to recognise the role women had to deal with, especially in war has seen her being identified as a feminist icon and interest in her work has grown considerably into the 21st century.
This fascinating free exhibition provides an opportunity to explore the works of Käthe Kollwitz. Although the artist provides some insights into the political and social turmoil in Germany in the early 20th century, it is often the universal themes of grief and compassion that provide the greater impact.
This exhibition has already been seen almost 90,000 people across four UK venues (Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), Young Gallery (Salisbury), Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (Swansea), Ferens Art Gallery (Hull)) between September 2017 and September 2018. The exhibition finishes its UK tour at the British Museum.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

For more information and 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.
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Exhibition Review – Pushing paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now at the British Museum from 12 September 2019 to 12 January 2020

The British Museum has co-curated an exhibition with partner museums from around the UK to display and then tour contemporary artworks from its Prints and Drawings collection. The exhibition entitled Pushing paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now illustrates the breadth and quality of the Museum’s collection of modern art.
The exhibition of 56 works showcases the astonishing diversity of contemporary drawing over the last fifty years, with works by established artists such as David Hockney, Rachel Whiteread, Sol LeWitt, Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, as well as works by emerging artists like Hamid Sulaiman and Rachel Duckhouse. Many of these pieces will be on public display for the first time, including work by Gwen Hardie, Jonathan Callan and Jan Vanriet.
Even in a digital world, drawing is still popular with many artists for experimentation and using the medium as a means to examine the modern world. The exhibition is grouped into thematic areas examining Identity, Place and Space, Time and Memory, Power and Protest, and Systems and Process, and explores the different artists use the medium of drawing as a means of artistic expression.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

Maggi Hambling’s My Mother Dead (1988)
Grayson Perry’s Untitled (1985)
Edward Allington’s Leicester (2005)
Judy Chicago’s piece Driving the World to Destruction (1983).
Minjung Kim’s Mountain (2009)
This fascinating free exhibition explores the ways that drawing as a medium has developed in many areas in the late 20th century/ early 21st century. What was mostly associated with artists experimentation and preparation for paintings has now developed into many other areas. The diverse works in the exhibition by many well known artists show this process at work.
After its run at the British Museum , Pushing paper will go on to travel to four UK venues from February 2020 to March 2021: The Oriental Museum in Durham between 29 February and 17 May 2020, Pier Arts Centre in Stromness on 13 June until 5 September 2020, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea from 19 September until 29 November 2020, and finally Cooper Gallery in Barnsley between 9 December 2020 and 6 March 2021.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

For more information and 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: Queen Victoria’s Palace at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace from 20 July to 29 September 2019

To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, a special exhibition entitled Queen Victoria’s Palace at Buckingham Palace tells the story of how the young monarch transformed a neglected royal residence into the centre of the social, cultural and official life of the country.

When Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, she decided to move into Buckingham Palace, despite the building being incomplete and many of the rooms undecorated and unfurnished. The Palace had been left empty for seven years following the death of George IV, the King never occupied the Palace but had great plans to turn the palace into a grand building based on the designs of John Nash. George IV’s successor William IV lived at Clarence House during his short reign and the Queen’s ministers advised her to stay at Kensington Palace until Buckingham Palace was finally completed.

Despite being only 18, Victoria had the strength of character to ignore the advice and move into Buckingham Palace, in 1840 Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and began the development of the royal residence to be suitable for both official and family life.

As Victoria’s family grew, so did Buckingham Palace with money granted from Parliament in 1846. In 1847 the architect Edward Blore was commissioned to draw up plans for alterations to Buckingham Palace and between 1847 and 1849, the East Wing was added at the front, enclosing an open, courtyard and introducing the now famous central balcony.

The first part of the exhibition explores this process with paintings, drawings, costumes with a number of personal items from Victoria’s family. It also features some of the social events that began to be promoted at the Palace like The Stuart Ball of 1851.

A new Ballroom was added to the State Rooms to enable Victoria’s wish for a space to entertain the many visitors. The Palace’s new Ballroom and Ball Supper Room were completed in 1856, and measuring 33.5 metres long and 18 metres wide. the Ballroom was the largest room in the Palace. On 17 June of that year, a Ball was held to mark the end of the Crimean War and honour the returning soldiers.

The Ball of 1856, has been recreated for visitors using a Victorian illusion technique known as Pepper’s Ghost and a series of digital projections around the Ballroom. Four couples seem to appear performing a waltz, whilst the digital projections transform the walls and ceilings with decorations allowing visitors to imagine both spaces as Victoria and Albert would have known them.

Victoria also transformed the kitchens to enable the Palace’s 45 chefs to demonstrate their culinary skills. In the State Dining Room, the table is dressed with items from the ‘Victoria’ pattern dessert service, purchased by the Queen from the stand of Minton & Co. at the Great Exhibition in 1851, and the Alhambra table fountain, a silver-gilt and enamel centrepiece commissioned by Victoria and Albert from R & S Garrard in the same year.

On pieces of silver-gilt from the Grand Service, commissioned by Victoria’s uncle, George IV, sit replica desserts based on a design by Charles Elme Francatelli, Queen Victoria’s Chief Cook.

This fascinating exhibition illustrates the role of Victoria in making Buckingham Palace what it is today. A unloved building was transformed into the headquarters of the Monarchy, a focal point for national celebrations and a family home. Victoria also created a place to entertain hundreds and sometimes thousands of guests at one time creating traditions that still endure, such as appearances by the Royal Family on the balcony at the front of the Palace and the annual summer Garden Parties.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection 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 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.
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Exhibition Review: 325 years, 325 objects at the Bank of England Museum from 22 July 2019 to 15 May 2020

The Bank of England celebrates its 325th anniversary, with a new exhibition at the Bank of England Museum entitled 325 years, 325 objects which tells the fascinating story of the bank through items selected from the vast collections amassed since the Bank was founded in 1694.

The small exhibition spans art, design, archaeology, architecture, ceremony, politics, wartime, the monarchy, security, fraud and forgery, crises, riots and technology and features a number of objects that tell a remarkable story of how the Bank Of England became the United Kingdom’s central bank and how it survived and prospered in a ever changing world.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include The first banknotes, including an early note, dated 26th June 1702, issued to Elizabeth Head, an early investor in the Bank.

Artwork sketches and test plates for banknote designs, including Jacobite design proofs from 1745 and a woodblock design for the first postal order from 1880.

A still-wax-sealed packet containing a duplicate key to the door of the Bullion Office from 1784

19th and 20th century forged banknotes and printing plates

Roman relics found during archaeological digs on the Threadneedle Street site.

Handmade terracotta bricks taken from Sir John Soane’s Rotunda in his original Bank building and early 20th-century hand-painted wall tiles from the Bank’s parlours, featuring Britannia, Minerva, Pythagoras and more

Manual dexterity tests given to Bank staff in the 1980s

Cold War Calculator. A radiation fallout calculator, 1959/60, used to estimate the effects of a nuclear attack.

Early views of the Bank building and its location in the City of London

Depictions of a dozen monarchs across successive gold coins

This is also a drawing of the ‘Bank nun’, Sarah Whitehead, who, from 1812 to 1837, visited the Bank of England each day, dressed in mourning clothes. She was the sister of a former Bank Clerk who had been sentenced to death for forging an acceptance to a bill. Each day she came to the Bank, awaiting her brother, under the delusion that he was still employed there.

Specially commissioned for the exhibition is a stunning botanical sculpture, created by artist Justine Smith. The sculpture is an arrangement of wild British flowers, all made from a combination of previously circulated £50 notes and uncirculated £50 test notes. The arrangement is presented in a silver water jug, dating from 1694, the year of the Bank’s foundation.

The exhibition takes place in the centre of The Bank of England Museum which has a full-size reconstruction of Sir John Soane’s 18th-century Stock Office, a large boat construction is full of interactive displays explaining how the Bank works, banknote design and security and how the Bank works within the financial system. There is also a large solid gold bar that you can pick up and touch.

The Bank of England is one of the best known institutions in the world but its inner workings are often shrouded in mystery. This fascinating free exhibition provides an opportunity to discover some of the bank’s secrets and its remarkable history. Each object tells a story from the past 325 years and offers plenty of insights into how banking transformed the world economies and helped to create the ‘modern world.’

325 years, 325 objects at the Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane (off Threadneedle Street),
London EC2R 8AH. Dates: 22 July 2019 – 15 May 2020. Admission: Free.
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.
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Exhibition Review: Helene Schjerfbeck at the Royal Academy from 20 July to 27 October 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts presents an exhibition which covers the long and productive career of Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862 – 1946). The exhibition is the first solo exhibition of Schjerfbeck’s works to be held in the UK.  Schjerfbeck is considered one of the most famous and highly regarded artists in Finland and is known in Nordic countries and across mainland Europe, but is little known in the UK.

The exhibition features around 65 portraits, landscapes and still lifes and charts the artistic development of Schjerfbeck’s work from a more naturalistic style , to a more abstracted and modern approach from the turn of the twentieth century.

The exhibition is organised in five sections. Paris, Pont Aven and St Ives shows Schjerfbeck’s early works which demonstrate the influence of the naturalistic painting. The earliest work in the exhibition is Two Profiles, 1881, depicting Schjerfbeck’s lifelong friend and fellow painter Marianne Preindelsberger. There  are examples from her time spent in the artists’ colony of St Ives, Cornwall in the late 1880s. One of Schjerfbeck’s early successes was The Convalescent, 1888 exhibited at the Paris Salon.

The second section, Moments of Intimacy illustrates a change of emphasis with larger canvases capturing creating private moments like Maria, 1909. Schjerfbeck moved  back to Finland in 1896 and began teaching at the Finnish Art Society’s drawing school in Helsinki.  Schjerfbeck then moved with her mother to the rural town of Hyvinkää in 1902, where she used her mother as a model and her style began to evolve into a more modernist approach.

The central gallery features a series of Self-portraits from the age of 22 to 83, Schjerfbeck seemed to be fascinated by the process of aging and many of the self-portraits offer a opportunity to see the artist’s style changing from the more traditional naturalistic to  the more abstract ghostly and confrontational presence.

The section entitled the Modern Look features portraits of family, friends and models made between 1909 and 1944. Schjerfbeck was inspired by magazines and journals and many of the paintings are similar to magazine illustrations but based on real people. She often names the portrait as types rather than real people like The Skier (English Girl) 1909 which actually looks like a clown. As women’s roles began to change in society, Schjerfbeck seems fascinated with these changes and often referred to paintings from earlier centuries like Profile of Madonna after El Greco, 1943.

The exhibition concludes with Still Life, a group of pictures that perhaps senses the artist’s own mortality and uses nature to illustrate the process of life and decay, Three Pears on a Plate, 1945 is the final painting she ever made.

This fascinating exhibition introduces the work of Helene Schjerfbeck to a wider audience and offers the rare opportunity to view a large number of the artist’s work. Schjerfbeck is one of those artists that seem to operate in their own world and follow their intuitions rather than the fads and fashions of art. She was particularly interested in women and women’s role in society, her later paintings in particular seem to suggest that women were becoming asked to be various types rather than individuals. The paintings often blur the distinctive features of the portraits as if the person was losing their individuality.  Is this why her later self portraits seem so confrontational as if to say this is the ‘real me’ not a stereotype.

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
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Exhibition Review – Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life at Tate Modern from 11 July 2019 to 5 January 2020

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Olafur Eliasson returns to Tate Modern following his Turbine Hall installation The weather project in 2003, for an exhibition of his career to date. The exhibition is the most comprehensive presentation of Eliasson’s work, and his first major survey in the UK.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Olafur Eliasson work is well known for engaging the public with artworks which offer experiences that can be shared by visitors. Tate Modern has bought together over 40 works spanning the last three decades from early installations to new paintings and sculptures. The exhibition also examine Eliasson’s collaborations in a wide number fields such as sustainability, migration, education and architecture.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Eliasson was influenced in his time in Iceland by natural phenomena such as water, light and mist and these have often been key themes in his work. On the terrace outside Tate Modern, visitors encounter Waterfall 2019, a new installation measuring over 11 metres in height.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Works inside the exhibition include Moss wall 1994, a 20 metres wide wall entirely covered with Scandinavian reindeer moss.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Beauty 1993, creates the natural phenomenon of a rainbow inside the exhibition

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

and Din blinde passager (Your blind passenger) 2010 takes visitors on a disorienting journey through a 39-metre-long corridor full of dense fog.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Eliasson throughout his career has created works that challenge accepted views of perception. Many of his installations play with light and shifting colours such as Your uncertain shadow (colour) 2010.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Yellow mono-frequency lights are used within Room for one colour 1997 reduce viewers’ perception to shades of yellow and black.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Kaleidoscopic sculptures include Your spiral view 2002 and the newly created Your planetary window 2019, create optical illusions that challenges visitors to see their environment in new ways.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition explores the artist’s fascination with geometry with many works, such as Stardust particle 2014, Model room 2003, bringing together around 450 models, prototypes, and geometrical studies of various sizes that record Eliasson’s collaboration with his studio team and, Icelandic artist, mathematician and architect Einar Thorsteinn.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The show concludes with The Expanded Studio, which explores Eliasson’s engagement with social and environmental issues. His projects have included Little Sun, which provides solar-powered lamps and chargers to communities without access to electricity. Green light – An artistic workshop, in which asylum seekers and refugees, together with members of the public, constructed Green light lamps and took part in accompanying educational programmes and Ice Watch, an installation of glacial ice from Greenland, recently staged outside Tate Modern which aims to increase awareness of the climate emergency.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating and interactive exhibition provides the opportunity to enter the various worlds of Olafur Eliasson. The artist takes the visitor on a journey that often challenges our views of reality by distorting colour, light and perception. He also considers how art can be used in dealing with social and environmental issues by considering how we interact and understand our environment.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern 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