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Exhibition Review: Bill Viola / Michelangelo at the Royal Academy – 26th January to 31st March 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts presents the work of the pioneering video artist, Bill Viola, with drawings by Michelangelo (1475 -1564) in an exhibition entitled Bill Viola / Michelangelo : Life, Death, Rebirth.  Both artists share a deep preoccupation with the nature of human experience and existence and the exhibition is  a unique opportunity to see major works from Viola’s career and some of the greatest drawings by Michelangelo, together for the first time. It is the first exhibition at the Royal Academy largely devoted to video art and follows Viola’s visit to the Print Room at Windsor Castle in 2006 to see Michelangelo’s famous drawings. The visit was a catalyst for this exhibition, which examines the affinities between the artists in seeking answers to some fundamental questions about life and death.

The exhibition is conceived as an immersive journey through the cycle of life, exploring the transience and tumult of existence and the possibility of rebirth. It opens with a group of works by both artists that reflect life and death,  Michelangelo’s The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist, c. 1504-05, known as the ‘Taddei Tondo’ is featured opposite Viola’s Nantes Triptych, 1992 which consists of three screens that individually portray a woman giving birth, a figure floating and Viola’s own mother on her deathbed.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is Michelangelo’s remarkable ‘Presentation Drawings’ of the 1530s (Royal Collection, London), the drawings were produced for a Roman nobleman and feature personal ideas on the nature of love and life. The drawings feature allegories on the nature of love and life with subjects matters that include the labours of Hercules and the fall of Phaeton.

Playing opposite these drawings is the video of Viola’s Man Searching for Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity, 2013 . Life-size images of a nude ageing man and woman are projected onto two black granite slabs like elderly Adam and Eve.

Viola’s Sleep of Reason 1988, The Reflecting Pool 1977-79 and Surrender 2001 offer differing views of reality taking the familiar but giving a glimpse of other worlds lurking in the background.

The final galleries include a series of works that consider mortality and the possibility of rebirth. These include Michelangelo’s drawings of the  Crucifixion and Viola’s epic works; the five screen installation Five Angels for the Millennium, 2001 and the large projections Fire Woman, 2005  and Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Waterfall Under a Mountain), 2005.

This fascinating and thought-provoking exhibition offers a contrast between Viola’s large installations and Michelangelo’s small and intimate works. In the darkness of the galleries, Michelangelo’s drawings are illuminated which builds on the religious and classical imagery.  In comparison Viola’s large videos seem abstract and less defined, although they do offers some ideas of the nature of reality.  Both artist’s are finally consumed by the idea of the body as a vehicle for that final journey, they depict bodies falling and rising in an endless cycle towards the unknown.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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

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Exhibition Review – Pierre Bonnard : Colour of Memory at Tate Modern from 23rd January to 6th May 2019

Tate Modern presents the UK’s first major Pierre Bonnard exhibition in 20 years, the exhibition entitled  Pierre Bonnard : Colour of Memory explores the work of French painter and how he developed his own unique style. The exhibition brings together around 100 of his greatest works from museums and private collections around the world.

The exhibition spans four decades from the emergence of Bonnard’s unique style in 1912 to his death in 1947 and  shows how the artist constructed his paintings to express moments of particular significance.

The exhibition begins with Young Women in the Garden which illustrates how Bonnard would take an initial image but would continuously work on the canvas for months or years to get to a stage where the artist is satisfied. This particular painting was started in 1921-3 but was not finished till 1945-6. Not all his paintings took so long to complete but Bonnard liked to explore the idea of time and memories.

Bonnard lived with his partner Marthe de Meligny for 30 years before they got married in 1925, Man and Woman 1900 seems to celebrate their unconventional lifestyle and many of the artist’s early paintings featured Marthe in domestic scenes or vibrant landscapes  like Dining Room in the Country 1913, The Lane at Vernonnet 1912-14 and Coffee 1915.

Marthe was often the model for a series of nude studies especially that often involved water like Nude in the Bath 1936, and Nude crouching in tub 1918.

Bonnard bought his first car in 1911 and travelled extensively all over France, on these trips he developed his work on landscapes. His landscapes like Summer 1917 were generally more concerned with colour than just representation. Bonnard often visited Monet at Giverny and was inspired by the large water-lily canvases.

After the First World War, the death of his mother led Bonnard to work on a series of domestic scenes often centred around meals, The Bowl of Milk 1919 illustrates how Bonnard was using different perspectives to record domestic scenes.

His house in Vernonnet in Normandy was a constant inspiration where he could explore the relationship between man-made and natural environments. These studies led a more abstract approach with The Violet Fence 1922 and Studio with Mimosa 1939-46 .

The exhibition concludes with a group of works created towards the end of Bonnard’s life, while spending the Second World War in Le Cannet in the South of France.  The war led the artist to look back on a lifetime of memories and create works that showed the beauty of the world and not the horror and  devastation.

This fascinating exhibition offers the opportunity to study the works of Pierre Bonnard, although often overshadowed by other French painters of the period, Bonnard deserves to be recognised for this own unique style. Bonnard’s use of intense colours and modern compositions inspired many later artists to experiment with capturing fleeting moments, memories and emotions on canvas. In a period in which the world was tearing itself apart, Bonnard concentrated on the small pleasures of everyday life that enabled himself and other people to survive the severe political and social turmoil. 

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.
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Manga Exhibition at the British Museum – 23 May to 26 August 2019

Kohada Koheiji © The Trustees of the British Museum

In May 2019 the British Museum will present the largest exhibition of manga ever held outside of Japan. Manga are Japanese comic books or graphic novels with a twist, serialised in magazines and read by a global audience. A multi-billion-pound business that embraces anime and gaming, manga are a global phenomenon and have forged a new international visual language. The original translation of the characters for manga was ‘pictures run riot’, associated with the great 19th-century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai whose miscellaneous drawings of people, animals and nature were published as ‘Hokusai Manga’. Since then, however, the medium has evolved to become a form of immersive story telling with unique characters and embracing universal issues. The Citi exhibition Manga will bring to life the art of manga, looking at how it emerged in Japan and grew to be a worldwide cultural phenomenon. It will explore manga’s enduring appeal and cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its enormous influence, from anime to gaming to ‘cosplay’ performance art.

With its world-renowned Japanese collections and expertise, and working in partnership with manga artists, editors, publishing houses and specialists in Japan, the British Museum is uniquely placed to take visitors on a journey through the phenomenon of manga. From earlier forms such as the comic or dramatic designs by famous Japanese artists such as Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889) and others through to the 21st century, today there is indeed a manga for everyone. Featuring unprecedented loans from across Japan, the exhibition will reveal the inner-workings of this billion-dollar industry. The exhibition design and interpretation will transport visitors into the immersive world of manga. Visitors will be able to enter a rendering of the oldest surviving manga bookshop in Tokyo, go inside the artists’ world, meet the manga editors and be ‘manga-fied’ in a special photo booth. Audio and video installations will help bring the world of manga and its characters to life. The exhibition will also explore Manga fandom through big conventions such as Comiket and World Cosplay summit, immersing the visitor in the experience of one of these events, as well as providing an opportunity for visitors to try on a costume and share via their own photos.

Golden Kamuy © Satora Noda/ Shueisha

The exhibition will look to include high profile loans from leading internationally famous manga artists; including Tezuka Osamu (Astro Boy and Princess Knight), Akatsuka Fujio (Eel Dog), Toriyama Akira (Dragon Ball), Inoue Takehiko (Vagabond and REAL), Oda Eiichirō (ONE PIECE), Hagio Moto (Poe Clan), Takemiya Keiko (The Poem of Wind and Trees), Kōno Fumiyo (Gigatown) and Higashimura Akiko (Princess Jellyfish). Going beyond manga, the exhibition will also features the global phenomenon Pokémon as one example of a gaming-based entertainment property.

There are many manga, with a vast variety of styles and subject matter so there is something for all ages, reflecting different voices, identities and forms of expression. Breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for the most copies sold for the same title by a single author, the manga ONE PIECE written by Oda Eiichirō is a global phenomenon. The story chronicles the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his band of young pirates as they travel the seas in search of the world’s greatest treasure, the legendary ‘One Piece’, so he can become the pirate king. Spanning 91 volumes, made into anime and even a Kabuki performance this manga is enjoyed by people of all ages all over the world.

Princess Jellyfish © Akiko Higashimura/ Kodansha Ltd

Manga can also tackle serious issues; for example, Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime) a manga series primarily for women, written and illustrated by a woman, Higashimura Akiko. The series explores expression of gender and identity through a fictional apartment building in Tokyo where only female tenants are allowed. A friendship is formed between one of the tenants and the illegitimate son of a politician, who cross-dresses to avoid his patriarchal duties and to feel closer to his mother. Both of these examples demonstrate the ability of manga to reach and appeal to a wide range of audiences across multiple platforms.

The British Museum has itself starred in a manga, in Hoshino Yukinobu’s 2010 Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure, in which a popular character, professor of folklore at the fictional Tōa Bunka University, embarks on a gripping adventure of potential robbery and retribution in the Museum galleries.

One of the most exciting objects travelling to the UK for the exhibition is the Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain, generously loaned by the Waseda University Theatre Museum, Tokyo. At 17 metres long and 4 metres high, this giant curtain was originally made to be displayed between acts at the Shintomiza kabuki theatre and will be shown in its full dynamic splendour along one wall of the Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery. Created in 1880 by the painter Kawanabe Kyōsai, the curtain features painted demons and ghosts which emerge from the interplay of lines and colours, leaping out and blurring the worlds of reality and fantasy, as in much of Kyōsai’s art and the printed manga books he produced. Visitors will be able to glimpse the curtain throughout their manga journey in the exhibition, understanding the interplay between traditional brush art and modern manga. Due to the delicate nature of this incredible object, this will be the last time it will travel outside Japan. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity for many visitors in the UK to experience this impressive curtain that is among one of Japan’s most compelling artistic treasures.

Anime and gaming grew out of the manga art form and are immensely popular in Japan and internationally. Anime can trace its origins to 1917, growing in popularity from the 1960s to the global creative industry it is today. Anime will feature in the audio-visual content in the exhibition and an extensive public programme including anime film screenings, late events, lectures and workshops will be revealed in spring 2019.

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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Tate Exhibitions in London 2019

The Tate organisation have announced highlights of its 2019 exhibitions for their galleries in London. In January 2019, Tate Modern will open with Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory, showing how this innovative and much-loved French painter captured fleeting moments in time with his beautifully coloured landscapes and intimate domestic scenes. This will be followed by a survey of Franz West’s irreverent and playful sculptures, collages and installations in an exhibition specially designed by his friend and fellow artist Sarah Lucas. Tate Modern will also stage the first retrospective of Dorothea Tanning since her death in 2012 at the age of 101, exploring how her dreamlike paintings and eerie soft sculptures challenged ideas about the body and identity over a career spanning seven decades.

Tate Britain’s landmark show The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain will run alongside a retrospective of acclaimed photographer Don McCullin, featuring his powerful images of conflict in Vietnam, Northern Ireland and Syria as well as scenes of urban life and rural landscape in Britain.

The season will also see new contemporary works unveiled with the annual Tate Britain Commission for the Duveen Galleries and the third BMW Tate Live Exhibition in the Tanks at Tate Modern.

In summer 2019 Tate’s programme brings together a wide variety of art forms, from stage and costume designs to immersive and interactive installations.

Tate Britain will showcase the vibrant abstract paintings of Frank Bowling in his first UK museum retrospective, covering the entirety of his long and distinguished career.

Tate Modern will open two survey shows, both focusing on artists who have pushed the boundaries of art, worked across multiple disciplines and staged their work in innovative ways. The UK’s largest ever Natalia Goncharova exhibition will highlight her role as a leader of the Russian avant-garde and a trailblazing figure in painting and design. Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, renowned for his captivating installations like The weather project in 2003 and for his social and environmental projects like Little Sun, will return to Tate Modern for a large-scale exhibition and an outdoor artwork in July 2019.

The autumn sees a striking pairing of historic and contemporary artists at Tate Britain. The gallery’s first William Blake exhibition for a generation will take a bold new look at this radical and ambitious artist, who worked at a time of war, revolution and oppression. It will coincide with a major show of Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey’s explorations of pop culture and the digital world.
Technological innovation will also be a key theme in Tate Modern’s spectacular Nam June Paik retrospective, revealing the Korean artist’s pivotal role in the birth of video and TV art around the world. The annual Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall will also be unveiled in the autumn.

EXHIBITION DATES

Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory (23 Jan – 6 May 2019, Tate Modern)
Don McCullin (5 Feb – 6 May 2019, Tate Britain)
Franz West (20 Feb – 2 Jun 2019, Tate Modern)
Dorothea Tanning (27 Feb – 9 Jun 2019, Tate Modern)
Tate Britain Commission (12 Mar – 6 Oct 2019, Tate Britain)
BMW Tate Live Exhibition (22 – 31 Mar 2019, Tate Modern)
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain (27 Mar – 11 Aug 2019, Tate Britain)
Frank Bowling (31 May – 28 Aug 2019, Tate Britain)
Natalia Goncharova (6 Jun – 8 Sep 2019, Tate Modern)
Olafur Eliasson (11 Jul 2019 – 5 Jan 2020, Tate Modern)
William Blake (11 Sep 2019 – 2 Feb 2020, Tate Britain)
Mark Leckey (24 Sep 2019 – 5 Jan 2020, Tate Britain)
Hyundai Commission (2 Oct 2019 – 5 Apr 2020, Tate Modern)
Nam June Paik: The Future Is Now (17 Oct 2019 – 9 Feb 2020, Tate Modern)

For more information, visit the Tate 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.
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There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Edvard Munch: love and angst at the British Museum – 11 April to 21 July 2019

The Lonely Ones, 1899. Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Munchmuseet

This spring, the British Museum will present a major new exhibition on the work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Edvard Munch: love and angst will focus on Munch’s remarkable and experimental prints, an art form which made his name and examine his remarakble ability to depict raw human emotion. It will be the largest exhibition of Munch’s prints in the UK for 45 years.

The exhibition is a collaboration with Norway’s Munch Museum, and includes nearly 50 prints from their collection, one of the biggest loans of prints the Oslo-based Museum has given internationally. Displayed alongside important Munch works from the British Museum collection and other loans from the UK and Europe, the 83 artworks on show will together demonstrate the artist’s skill and creativity in expressing the feelings and experiences of the human condition – from love and desire, to jealousy, loneliness, anxiety and grief.

The Scream 1895, Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Private Collection, Norway.

A major highlight of the exhibition will be Munch’s The Scream which is one of the most iconic images in art history. The British Museum will display a rare lithograph in black and white which Munch created following a painted version and two drawings of the image. It was this black and white print which was disseminated widely during his lifetime and made him famous. Few copies survive and this will be the first time any version of The Scream will have been on show in the UK for a decade.

Madonna, 1895/1902. Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Munchmuseet

Other highlights of the exhibition include the eerie Vampire II; the controversial Madonna, an erotic image which features an explicit depiction of swimming sperm and a foetus and provoked outrage at the time; and Head by Head which is a stunning print representing the complex relationship between human beings. All three of these prints will be displayed alongside their original matrix (the physical objects which Munch used to transfer ink onto paper) which have never been seen in the UK before. Matrices are usually lost, but Munch was determined to keep control of his. It is rare to be able to show these alongside the prints of such a famous artist.

Head by Head, 1905. Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Munchmuseet

The exhibition will also show how Munch’s artistic vision was shaped by the radical ideas expressed in art, literature, science and theatre in Europe during his lifetime. His most innovative period of printmaking, between the 1890s and the end of the First World War, coincided with a great period of societal change in Europe.

Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Self-Portrait, 1895. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Munch travelled across the Europe on the vast rail network. The exhibition will pay particular attention to three European cities that had major influence on him and his printmaking – Kristiania (Oslo), Paris and Berlin. A small selection of Munch’s personal postcards and maps will be used to give a flavour of Munch’s journeys.

Edvard Munch on the trunk in his studio, 1902. Munchmuseet

Edvard Munch is regarded as one the greatest artists of the early 20th century, and was a pioneer of modern art. Born near Kristiania (today’s Oslo) in 1863, his childhood was plagued by family death and illness. His later life saw him lead a bohemian lifestyle and was marked by frequent tumultuous love affairs. Two key sections of the exhibition demonstrate his passion, but also his fear, of women. He was deeply influenced by contemporary ideas, thinkers and artists including Max Klinger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and Henrik Ibsen and his work would go on to influence many other artists both during his lifetime and after his death in Oslo in 1944. A number of works by other artists will be displayed here to highlight these links.

This will be the first exhibition the British Museum has ever dedicated to Munch and visitors will be able to discover his vast body of remarkable work and the culture and society that influenced it.

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.
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Bill Viola / Michelangelo at the Royal Academy – 26th January to 31st March 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts brings together the work of the pioneering video artist, Honorary Royal Academician Bill Viola, with drawings by Michelangelo (1475 -1564). Though working five centuries apart and in radically different media, these artists share a deep preoccupation with the nature of human experience and existence. Bill Viola / Michelangelo will create an artistic exchange between these two artists and will be a unique opportunity to see major works from Viola’s long career and some of the greatest drawings by Michelangelo, together for the first time. It will be the first exhibition at the Royal Academy largely devoted to video art and has been organised in partnership with Royal Collection Trust.

The exhibition will comprise 12 major video installations by Viola, from 1977 to 2013, to be shown alongside 15 works by Michelangelo. They include 14 highly finished drawings, considered to be the high point of Renaissance drawing, as well as the Royal Academy’s ‘Taddei Tondo’. It will propose a dialogue between the two artists, considering Viola as an heir to a long tradition of spiritual and affective art, which makes use of emotion as a means of connecting viewers with its subject matter. It also aims to recapture the spiritual and emotional core of Michelangelo, beyond the awesome grandeur of his works.

Viola first encountered the works of the Italian Renaissance in Florence in the 1970s where he spent some of his formative years. A residency at the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, in 1998 renewed his interest in Renaissance art and in the shared affinities with his own practice. In 2006, Viola visited the Print Room at Windsor Castle to see Michelangelo’s exquisite drawings, which he had known in reproduction since his youth. The meeting proved a catalyst for the exhibition, which evolved as a conversation between Viola and Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust. Rather than setting up direct comparisons between the artists, or suggesting that Michelangelo has been an instrumental influence on Viola’s work, the exhibition will examine the affinities between them, bringing together specific works to explore resonances in their treatment of the fundamental questions.

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.
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The Ice Watch Installation at Tate Modern

Scandinavian artist Olafur Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosing have created an “Ice Watch” installation at Tate Modern that highlights climate change.

Two dozen blocks of ice, which weighed between 1.5 and 5 tons were taken out of a fjord in Greenland after detaching from an ice sheet.

Visitors will be able to watch the blocks melt and be reminded about some of the challenges facing certain parts of the world. The installation is timed to coincide with world leaders meeting in Poland for a major climate change summit.

The artists hope that the physical experience of watching ice melt will bring home some of the issues rather than just relying on photographs to highlight the problems.

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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