Showing posts with label Somerset House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Somerset House. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Mapping The City

A quick post as Mapping the City in Somerset House ends this Sunday, 15th Feb.
Work from 50 Graffiti and Street artists.

I love maps, always have.
From the 3D plotting of contour lines in Geography lessons
to recently studying a local map on a friends wall, 1894,
seeing that my road was yet to be built.
Perhaps not looking for his own street, Brad Downey has found hidden faces in these roads.

Don't know what the Street art world would make of this,
but my friend and I have just found the inspiration for our respective valentines cards.
Hearts in maps. You have to get your inspiration from somewhere?

These contours are not roads, nor countries but walks.
The exact route of each walk, cut out in a seperate colour and hung on a pole.
"I wonder if that work will continue to grow?"

People have different relationships with the city.
This woman is said to be intertwined, 'becoming part of the fabric of the city'.
I like the idea of a woman at the top, looking at ease with herself.

The underground city is also represented.
The Paris Metro.

Casts taken from Hector Guimard's metro entrances.
Saggy shapes of something solid that you vaguely recognise.

Mapping the City has an air of a student show about it.
Nothing to do with the work, but because of the space it is in.

From the entrance with its photocopied sign,

to the catalogue numbers on the floor,

to the newly opened up space, mid-restoration. 

As well as the art, the builders have left their mark, many marks.

"Who's Mick?"

It's an amazing space for an exhibition. We enjoyed the space as much as the exhibition.

After our initial response, "New Zealand is in the wrong place",
my friend had lived there, this grew on us.
It was produced from memory and memories don't always serve you well.
Produced from Martin Tibabuzo's memory which he began to loose around ten years ago.

 A poignant map exposing personal vulnerability,
not something you usually associate with the idea of Graffiti and Street art.

Mapping The City is on until February 15th at Somerset House.
Details on their website, here.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Guy Bourdin: Image Maker

Guy Bourdin, fashion photographer, 'Image Maker'.
The same day I went with friends to see this exhibition at Somerset House, London,
The Sun newspaper announced the end of page three*.
So image, particularly images of women, was a hot topic of conversation.
Men taking photos of women.
Women's bodies used to sell things.

During his training, Guy Bourdin spent time with the surrealist, Man-Ray.

Bourdin seems to have had a thing for shoes.
In the 1970s, for a Charles Jourdan advertising campaign,
Bourdin dispensed with the women altogether, well most of the female body,
and took mannequin legs around Britain  on a month long trip to take photos of shoes.

Very playful and still very much the female form.
A bit like one of those optical illusions when all that is drawn are dots,
but you can't help seeing a 3D cube.

"How on earth did he get them to stand up?"

Bourdin made films too.

There was something about that make-up.
Triggering memories of experimenting with cream eye-shadow that came out of tubes.
Blue for my friend and brown for me.
At this point, my friend admitted to still having her first pale pearl lipstick.

Joyfully we reminisced about lip-gloss,
Roll-on, scented, cherry, lip-gloss.

"There's your blue eye-shadow!"

In our teens, where did our ideas of self image, beauty,
make-up and body shape come from?
We conferred and it seems that for us, it was primarily Jackie magazine.
If you were lucky, a lip-gloss was the free-gift.

"But we didn't appreciate our figures when we were younger."

There's so much to say about the shapes of women's bodies.
This furniture is a reminder of yet another body shape.
My Sindy doll had that chest of drawers, the 'Sindy' version.
Sindy's body shape; waist, bust and hips, surely not aspirational anymore.

Didn't we all want to be a princess (and the pea)?

Incredible shape,


and legs.

 Playing with shape.

Bourdin's photography is intended, like surrealism, to disturb then delight.
For us it did both.
Delight and consternation.
Questions about body shapes, modelling at what price,
how women's bodies are used for publicity
and although not page three, all the women in this exhibition where the same shape.

So for balance, here are our shapes.

Guy Bourdin: Image Maker is on at Somerset House until 15th March 2015.
Details on the Somerset House website, here.

*The Sun stopping 'page 3', appears to ave been a publicity stunt.
It stopped for all of two days.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Form Through Colour

Ever walked around an exhibition
working out which piece you would take home if you were allowed?
those daydreams can become a reality.
Price on application.

Christopher Farr with over twenty-five years of experience in rug design
has created rugs, based on the paintings, prints and textile studies of Anni Albers,
Josef Albers and Gary Hume.
They are for sale.
Anni and Josef Albers worked at the Bauhaus, Germany, in the 1920s and 30s.
Along with Farr's contemporary rugs,
you can see plans, ideas and documents from their life and work.

Anni was very much influenced by textiles from Latin America.
She visited over fourteen times to learn fom,
"my great teachers, the weavers of ancient Peru".

Josef taught drawing and colour.

His colour course 'Interaction of Colour', exploring, learning and teaching about colour
was published and used world-wide.
It wasn't so long ago that most art books were published in black and white.

Christopher Farr has worked with Gary Hume to
create huge rugs based on his life-size paintings of hospital doors. 

Like Anni and Josef Alber's work, these rugs explore colour and shape.
The shapes geometric, but his use of colour is more subtle. 

Colour can be affected, not only by dye, but also by different rug making techniques.

There is weaving...

...and there is knotting.
These are knotted by hand!

You do wonder why all these rugs are on the walls.

But it does reflect the wishes of Anni, who made "pictoral weavings",
with no practical purpose.

Ah, a rug I could use.

Then there's the obligatory museum selfie.
This sort of took itself.
Standing in front of Hume's, Green Door, 1988,
we found ourselves framed by the gallery doors.
Subtle colour changes, non-geometric shapes.

Form Through Colour is on at Somerset House, East Wing, until 31st August 2014.
Details on their website, here.
Admission free.
Rugs, price on application.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Return of the Rudeboy

Planning to go to the Return of the Rudeboy exhibition at Somerset House,
this was the first time I had ever worried about
what I was going to wear to see an exhibition about
"style, swagger and significance."
It didn't take long for me to reject the idea that I was never going to match, let alone compete with the Rudeboys, so I might as well go as myself, dressed in what I usually wear.

But I did have that haircut,
the one on the far right.
Quite a few years ago.

Return of the Rudeboy is not a retrospective, looking back at the Rudeboys of the 80s,
but contemporary photos of Rudeboy style today. 

With its roots in Reggae,
photos in vintage suitcases are reminders of the journey and cultural heritage of the Rudeboy, from the West Indies.

These guys know how to dress.
From top... toe.

If you visit feeling less than your best, in need of a bit of grooming,
this barber's shop will be open at selected times for
a bit of a trim or perhaps a new style.

That's what I call participatory.
Top visitor engagement.

How we respond to exhibitions can be very personal.
Things capturing our imagination.
For me, it was the textures I saw.
In the fabrics...

...and colours,

...and close ups.

An exhibition about Rudeboy style would of course, have to include music.
Every person photographed was asked to put together a playlist to be played in the exhibition.

It's not all photography...
 ...or men.
The lovely Pauline Black.
On My Radio!

Return of the Rudeboy celebrates the now, but referenced the 80s.
It took me back to Ska and 2 Tone. Wish I still had the badges.
I came home and made my own playlist,
my music from the early 80s.

I had all these tracks on 7" vinyl,
and if I didn't,
I spent Thursday nights with a tape-recorder held against the TV speaker,
the pause button pressed, ready to be released, telling my brothers to "shut-up", waiting for the exact moment when the Top of the Pops presenter stopped talking and the music started.
That's how playlists were made in the old days.

If you're interested...
Too Much Too Young -The Specials
Tears of a Clown - The Beat
Mirror in the Bathroom - The Beat
On My Radio - Selecter
Ghost Town - The Specials
Lip Up Fatty - Bad Manners
One Step Beyond - Madness

Return of the Rudeboy is on at Somerset House until 25 August
Free admission
Details on the website, here.
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