News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th September 2003

Continuing

Pre-Raphaelite And Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection is the first public exhibition of over 300 works by Pre-Raphaelite and other masters from one of the largest collections in private hands. Spread over 11 galleries, it features paintings by Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Waterhouse, Stanley Spencer, Tissot and Alma-Tadema, complemented by examples of furniture by Pugin and Burges, ceramics by William de Morgan, tapestries by Burne-Jones, and items executed by the workshop of William Morris. Lloyd Webber's life long passion has accrued a distinguished collection that now numbers over 15 works by Rossetti, including A Vision of Fiammetta and the coloured chalk study for the Blessed Damozel; early and late works by Millais, such as the finished watercolour version of Ophelia and the landscape Chill October; and a variant of Holman Hunt's Shadow of Death. The exhibition also features over 30 paintings, drawings and tapestries by Burne-Jones, including The Fall of Lucifer and the tapestry The Quest of the Holy Grail; one of Richard Dadd's most important fairy paintings, Contradiction: Oberon and Titania; and a group of paintings by Waterhouse including St Cecilia and Pandora. Other highlights are books printed by William Morris' Kelmscott Press, including the Kelmscott Chaucer and News from Nowhere; and Frilli's life size sculpture Nude Reclining In A Hammock; plus works that illustrate scenes from contemporary life, such as Tissot's The Captain and the Mate, and Atkinson Grimshaw's Dulce Domum. Current critics may sneer at the typical Pre-Raphaelite female subject as the Victorian equivalent of 'heroin chic', but the public undoubtedly shares Lloyd Webber's passion. Royal Academy Of Arts until 12th December.

Between Us: Mariele Neudecker is a mini retrospective of the German born artist who uses landscape as a source of inspiration. It features video, photographic works and a number of her signature 'tank' pieces. The Land Of The Dead is a film shot looking directly down from a hot air balloon as it flies over the desert landscape around Luxor in Egypt, revealing that the seemingly uninhabited terrain is actually teeming with evidence of humanity - everyday life, small scale farming, a moving car, and the sounds of a distant barking dog. Think Of One Thing comprises four tanks housing mountainous peaks cloaked in the dense concoctions created to simulate mist and rain. These miniature landscapes in glass vitrines, filled with water and treated with salt solutions and dyes, create a similar feeling of flight over a romantic fairytale landscape in the viewer. Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 0151 709 5297 until 18th October.

Circling The Square takes a cue from the part pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square to celebrate over 160 years of its history through the eyes of generations of photographers. The display includes over 70 images that map the changing identity of a space that has been described as 'the blank slab upon which Britain has inscribed its modern history'. They capture the continuing cycle of political demonstrations, celebratory events and visitors (both famous and anonymous) to Trafalgar Square over the years, featuring work by big name photographers including Henri Cartier Bresson, Don McCullin, Norman Parkinson and Oliver Toscani, together with numerous uncredited press agency snappers. Subjects include suffragette riots, the coronation procession of King George VI in 1937, V E Night, a young Elizabeth Taylor being mobbed by pigeons, Michael Foot, Bertrand Russell, the poll tax demonstrations of 1990, and football's World Cup in 2002, plus intriguing and often humorous portraits of the innumerable tourists who have visited the Square, to sit on the famous bronze lions, bathe in the fountains and feed the pigeons. National Portrait Gallery until February.

Commencing

The Lord Of The Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition provides a behind the scenes look at how the world of Middle Earth was created, and demonstrates the technologies employed to enable the characters to be brought to life. On a straightforward level there are hundreds of costumes, armour, props, jewellery and weapons used in the making of the films, including Gandalf's cloak, Galadriel's dress and twelve complete sets of armour. Given the unusual nature of most of the characters, there is an extensive display about animatronics and make up techniques, with a collection of prosthetics such as Hobbit feet, Orc teeth, Troll ears, Lurtz's facial prosthetic, and the contact lenses used to give the Orcs their unique look. To create the locations, many intricate models, miniature sets and maquettes were constructed, and among those featured are Frodo's vision of the ruined Hobbiton Mill, The Tower of Orthanc, and Sauron's tower, Barad-dur. The films could not have been made without the use of digital effects, and the techniques of motion capture and motion control - the combining of 'real' and 'digital' action - and CGI (computer-generated-image technology) are explained, revealing how Gollum was created. The exhibition also contains immersive experiences, enabling visitors to walk in and be surrounded by a 'ring of fire' as they see The One Ring, and interactive exhibits, with a 'scaling' demonstration, showing the technology used to enable human actors to play creatures both larger and smaller than real life. Visitors can even 'morph' into a hobbit. Science Museum until 11th January.

Grace Robertson: A Sympathetic Eye celebrates the work of one of the pioneering British photojournalists with images of everyday life and everyday people from the 1940s to the present day. Among the pictures in this wide ranging exhibition is her documentation of a London women's pub outing, which she photographed for Picture Post and Life Magazine in the late 1940s, and the world of a poverty stricken Welsh hill farmer and his sheep captured in 1951. Recent work includes photographs of younger women who have grown up with very different expectations from those that most women faced when she began her career. Robertson's work is often described as "sympathetic and heart warming", yet beneath the geniality is a sharp scrutiny of British society. The pictures challenge perceived stereotypes and are never simply nostalgic, always revealing the truth beneath the surface. Robertson's attention to extremes of age is always present in her work, with images of childhood innocence and studies of old age reflecting both the constants and the changes in life during the last half century. The Millais Gallery, Southampton, 023 8031 9916 until 18th October.

Zoomorphic examines how many of today's leading architects are using animal forms as their inspiration to take modern architecture structurally, visually or organically in a new direction. This is being made possible by new building materials, computer design software, more sophisticated structural engineering and the suspension of the old rules of architectural integrity and good taste. Not since Art Nouveau a century ago has there been such an eruption of new building inspired by the natural world. This exhibition pulls together world wide buildings and projects at the forefront of this new movement, and explores the reasons for the animal analogy, displaying architectural models and photographs alongside skeletons and specimens of the species that have influenced them. Among those whose work is featured are Will Alsop, Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Nicholas Grimshaw and Renzo Piano. The projects considered include the Milwaukee Art Museum, with a roof that rises like a bird with outstretched wings; Waterloo International Terminal, whose glazing panels are articulated like the scales of a lizard; and the Swiss Re tower, where not only the appearance, but the structure, and even the ventilation system bear analogy with sea sponges (not to mention gherkins). Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th January.

Rock: A Retrospective Of Jane Bown's Rock And Pop Portraits (1963-2003) does exactly what it says on the tin, displaying a selection from the archive of portrait photographs by the legendary Jane Bown spanning five decades of musical history. Highlights include pictures of The Beatles, Keith Richards, Joan Baez, Donovan, Cher, Morrissey, Sinead O'Connor, Boy George, Bjork, Jarvis Cocker and PJ Harvey. The exhibition also features previously unseen portraits of John Lennon, more recent photographs of artists at this year's Glastonbury festival, and Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Jane Bown has been with The Observer since January 1949 when the newspaper published her first photograph, and in addition to portraiture is also a reportage photographer. Bown works in black and white without lights, props or tripods (or an assistant), and never uses a light meter, but gauges the settings by looking at how the light falls on the back of her hand. She works quickly and never takes more than one or two rolls of film per shoot. The spontaneity that this affords has enabled her 'snaps' as she calls them to capture a moment that reveals the essence of widely differing artists - some of whom she had never even heard of before she meets them. Her most famous portrait of Samuel Beckett was taken in less than a minute in the alleyway beside the Royal Court Theatre. The Newsroom, London until 24th October.

Stuart Sutcliffe is a display of a recently acquired collection of personal effects that once belonged to the 5th Beatle. Sutcliffe, (who was the main subject of the film Backbeat) joined the band in 1960, but left a year and a half later to concentrate on his art studies. By this time he was engaged to Astrid Kirchherr, who he met whilst performing with the band at the Kaiserkeller Club in Hamburg. It is claimed that it was Sutcliffe who came up with the Beatles name, and that John Lennon would not play in the band without him. His relationship with Astrid also influenced the band's image and style. Sutcliffe died at the age of 21 from a brain haemorrhage soon after leaving the band. The items in the collection, which help bring to life the early part of the Beatles story, include his first guitar; a charcoal self-portrait; letters written to his family from Hamburg (some containing drawings); photographs of him as a child, a student, and with the Beatles and Astrid in Hamburg; a report from his art teacher Eduardo Paolozzi; and personal effects such as his Hamburg ID card, wallet and cheque book - which reveals that he was paying hire purchase instalments for a guitar bought by John Lennon. Also on display for the first time, are four stage suits from 1963, possibly designed by Sutcliffe, and made by London tailor Douglas Millings, but never worn. Museum of Liverpool Life, Liverpool, 0151 478 4499, until 23rd November.

Franz West is the first major British show of the work of the Viennese artist whose output over the last 30 years moves beyond eclectic to unclassifiable. It's sculpture, it's painting, it's collage, its furniture - it's the result of a good morning at a play school. West's roots are in the Viennese Actionists - 1960s performance artists who used the body to create experiences - but he makes a series of plaster body parts and off the peg performance props for visitors to use. Brightly coloured aluminium is twisted into strange shapes. Everyday objects are bandaged with papier-mache until they metamorphose into meteorite like shapes, which are then splattered with intense high gloss colour. Franz West is fascinated by images in glossy magazines and the allure of soft porn and the motor industry. He paints over these advertisements to isolate images and highlight their absurdity. West has also become famous for the furniture sculpture he has been making since the 1980s, and visitors are invited to lie on his couches to relax, and become transformed into an artist's model, a psychiatrist's patient, and a work of art. The exhibition also includes a collection of his collaborations with other artists - Martin Kippenberger, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Wolfgang Tillmans. An interactive art experience at its best - or worst depending on your point of view. Whitechapel Art Gallery until 9th November.

Concluding

When Flaminio Drove To France - Flaminio Bertoni's Designs For Citroen is the snappy title for an exhibition which examines the collaboration between the Italian automotive designer Flaminio Bertoni and Citroen, the French car company. Beginning in 1934, when Bertoni designed the bodywork of the elegant Traction Avant - reportedly in a single night - it continued in the 1940s with his work on the supremely functional 2CV, in the 1950s with the alluring DS19 - a car so beautiful it was nicknamed the 'deesse' or 'goddess' - and concluded in 1961 with the Ami 6. Many of Bertoni's design and engineering innovations are still used in cars today. This exhibition traces Flaminio Bertoni's career at Citroen through clay models, drawings, memos, photographs, contemporary film footage, vintage marketing material and the some of the original cars. The centrepiece is an actual 2CV prototype, with just one headlamp, rough corrugated bodywork, and hammock style seats slung from the roof. The 2CV was created as a French response to the German Beetle, with the brief of being capable of transporting four people and 50 kilos of potatoes at up to 60kph on unmade roads. It was originally to have been launched in 1939, but at the outbreak of the Second World War, the prototypes were buried and plans hidden. The 2CV joins the Beetle and the Mini as the most influential European cars of the 20th century. Design Museum until 12th October.

Helena Christensen: People & Portraits comprises two different collections in the supermodel's first solo photographic exhibition. The first showcases 16 previously unseen celebrity portraits, including Orlando Bloom, Marianne Faithful, Sadie Frost, Erin O'Connor, Rankin and Robbie Williams, all wearing Levi's 501s (and mostly nothing else) to celebrate the 130th birthday of the jeans. Accompanying this is a collection of images from Christensen's personal archive, which demonstrate her talent at portraiture, and introduces her fashion photography, providing evidence that she will soon be as well known for her work behind the camera as she is in front of it. Although she has been a keen photographer since she was 17, it is only in the last few years that Christensen has made the transition from model to professional snapper. Using what she learnt while modelling over the last seventeen years, she has recently undertaken fashion shoots for magazines ranging from French Vogue, and British and French Elle, to Dazed and Confused, and a variety of commercial campaigns, as well as personal work. Proud Central, London, 020 7839 4942, until 4th October.

Grounded is a series of ambiguous photographic perspectives on the natural world by Helen Sear. The pictures, depicting what at first sight appear to be vast expanses of deserted land beneath dramatic and atmospheric skies, turn out in fact to be close ups of the hides and backs of a number of different animals. Sear's technique is actually quite simple. She takes isolated images of the animals' bodies and digitally montages them into backgrounds of sky. The results however, are remarkable and almost painterly evocations of real landscapes. As well as this group, the exhibition also includes 'Still… A Landscape In Ten Pieces'. This is a series of fragmented photographic details taken from one negative image of a diorama she found in the natural history museum in Darmstadt in Germany. Sear creates new dramas by juxtaposing individual images of the various rabbits, birds and deer in new relationships. Impressions Gallery, York, 0904 654 724, until 4th October.