Private View held by Richard Andrews
Ernesto Neto: The Edges Of The World comprises a series of immersive installations. Best known for his sensuous sculptures, the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto creates site-specific installations with an abstract, biomorphic quality - evocative of skin and interior body systems - that investigate the way in which spatial alterations transform the relationships between people. Visitors experience a sequence of interlinked spaces that merge sculpture and architecture. They can wander through fabric installations, cushioned soft spaces, ascend stairs into artworks overhead, and following on from Neto's signature 'nave' works, venture barefoot through an all-encompassing nylon vessel. Outdoors, whether submerged in a sculptural pool, or balancing on an undulating path, visitors find themselves becoming active participants in the artworks.
The New Decor is an international survey of some 30 contemporary artists, who explore interior design as a means of engaging with changes in contemporary culture. By reconfiguring and reinventing the familiar objects of domestic life, these artists look beyond design and function to create provocative sculptures and installations. They are concerned with the evolution of interior and exterior environments, shedding light on their experiences, asking the viewer to consider their own relationship to the spaces they inhabit, and look again at objects they may take for granted. Artists represented include: Martin Boyce, Los Carpinteros, Jimmie Durham, Elmgreen & Dragset, Gelitin, Mona Hatoum, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Ernesto Neto, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, Rosemary Trockel, Tatiana Trouve and Franz West. In French the word decor refers to stage sets as well as interior design, and in a similar spirit the works in this exhibition explore an arena between practicality and imagination, theatre and everyday life.
Hayward Gallery until 5th September.
Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo And Kati Horna explores the extraordinary lives of three women on the fringes of the Surrealist movement, who met and became friends in exile in Mexico in the 1940s. The Second World War brought Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna, an English painter, a Spanish painter and a Hungarian photographer, together in Mexico City. The borders of Mexico were opened to all refugees on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and anyone of Spanish ancestry who had been compelled to leave war-torn Europe. The exhibition explores the way the women influenced each other personally and artistically, bringing together key works by all three women for the first time, many of which have never been seen in public in the Britain. The show highlights the thematic similarities, particularly between Carrington and Varo, such as the harmony of the universe, the origins of creation, alchemy, the esoteric and the supernatural, whilst providing a comprehensive reassessment of each of their work. The exhibition comprises 45 paintings by Carrington, who was influenced fairy tales, myths and religion, and produced some of the most vivid and fantastical scenes in 20th century art, including 'The Giantess, or the Guardian of the Egg'; 21 paintings by Varo, with dreamlike themes that are evidence of her closeness with Carrington, including 'The Creation of Birds'; and 66 photographs by Horna, including portraits of the inmates of a mental asylum and surreal montages, plus a portrait of Robert Capa - accompanied by a portrait of Horna by Capa. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 12th September.
Myths And Monsters takes visitors on a journey from ancient times, when legends of bizarre beasts first became embedded in different cultures, to the present day, when science has often unravelled fact from fiction. The exhibition looks at creatures from a mythological, historical and scientific perspective, exploring the vivid scope of the human imagination and the limits of animal physiology. The mythological dragon, cyclops, chimera and yeti are brought to life as animatronic models, whilst real specimens and scientific fact are presented alongside these creatures, offering a rational counterpoint. For instance, the 'yeti scalp', borrowed for analysis by Sir Edmund Hillary during his Tibetan expeditions in the1960s, has the truth of its origins revealed. Among the other mysteries explored are: the dragon's differing reputation in East and West; the complex history and magical powers of the white-horned unicorn; the legend of the one-eyed Cyclops; and the ever-elusive Loch Ness monster. The chimera of Greek mythology, a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a she-goat and tail of a dragon, is contrasted with geneticists' use of the term to denote any organism containing genetically different tissues, giving this creature present day resonances. Views of the world have changed dramatically since stories of extraordinary creatures first filtered back from unfamiliar continents, as items from the permanent collection reveal. The Japanese merman and the duck-billed platypus are examples of a fictitious creature thought to be real, and a genuine specimen thought to be a fake. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE 23, until 5th September.
Chiswick House Gardens have reopened after a £12m restoration programme, which has recovered the original vistas and design, and repaired and restored the statuary and garden buildings. Spread over 65 acres, the gardens are a site of international importance as the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement. They were originally created by Lord Burlington and William Kent, who worked on them throughout the 1720's and 1730's, as a setting for Chiswick House, the first and one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian design in England. Highlights of the restoration are the planting of over 1,600 trees, including trees propagated from the original 18th century cedars of Lebanon; the opening up of historic views from the Classic Bridge; the complete restoration of the Grade 1 listed 19th century conservatory, which houses a rare and internationally important collection of camellias; the planting of native trees and shrubs in the Northern Wilderness; and the restoration of the Walled Gardens. Outstanding features of the garden include: The Cascade, an Italian renaissance-style waterfall designed by Burlington and Kent dating from around 1738; Exedra, a lawn lined by alternating cypresses and stone urns closed by a semicircular dark yew hedge, forming a backdrop to ancient Roman and 18th century sculpture; The Raised Terrace, planted with sweet shrubs including roses and honeysuckle, which offers celebrated views of the Villa; and The Italian Garden, designed by Lewis Kennedy and laid out in 1814, an example of the 19th century experiments in colour theory. Chiswick House And Gardens, London W4, continuing.
China: Journey To The East offers a picture of one of the world's most important and influential civilisations. The exhibition of over 100 objects explores 3,000 years of Chinese history and culture through 5 themes: Technology, Leisure, Food, Festivals and Language and Writing. It presents key enduring Chinese inventions such as the abacus (the world's first calculator), the compass, cast iron, paper, printing, paper money, the crossbow, the umbrella, acupuncture, gunpowder and silk and porcelain manufacture. Objects provide insight into the three main Chinese belief systems: Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, and shed light on the colourful Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), and the important Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The exhibition investigates China's writing system, and its development as an art form through objects that range from a writing brush and ink box from the Ming Dynasty, to a jade seal with a dragon carved in the top from 1764, and include oracle bones, a pillow wishing peace and a tile with instructions on how to behave. 2,000 years of play in China is reflected in models of figures playing board games from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 221) through to shadow puppets from the 20th century. In China food and drink traditionally play a vital role in ritual, belief and superstition, and exhibits include ritual wine and food vessels, Ming model funerary foods, rice cultivation and tea cultivation images, chopsticks, rice bowls, jam tarts from a cemetery in the desert, and drunken figures of famous people such as the poet Li Bo. York Art Gallery until 8th September.
Beauty And Power: Renaissance And Baroque Bronzes From The Peter Marino Collection features 30 French and Italian sculptures dating from 1550 to 1750. The collection includes masterpieces by some of the greatest sculptors of their age. The works on view show the gamut of human experience, from 'Samson and the Philistine', attributed to Baccio Bandinelli, to Antonio Montauti's seductive 'Diana'. Highlights of the exhibition include: the French sculptor Corneille van Cleve's masterpiece 'Bacchus and Ariadne'; two figurative groups by the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini, 'Apollo and Marsyas' and 'David and Goliath'; Ferdinando Tacca's 'Hercules and Iole'; Robert Le Lorrain's 'Andromeda'; and a pair of High Baroque vases, decorated with scenes from Roman history. The bronzes presented here illustrate the lively interchange of artists and ideas between Florence, Paris and Rome. They say much about the cultural preoccupations of their age, from the eternal fascination with the ancient world, to more modern concerns, such as contemporary theatre and the legacy of great modern sculptors. Wallace Collection, London, until 25th July.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 11,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Stephen Chambers and David Chipperfield with the theme Raw. Highlights include new works by Antoni Tapies, Ed Ruscha, Michael Craig-Martin, Gillian Ayres, Sean Scully, David Hockney and Tracey Emin; plus artists' books featured for the first time. The star work is probably David Mach's 'Silver Streak', a 10ft tall gorilla made of coat hangers. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of the late Craigie Aitchison, Jim Cadbury-Brown, John Craxton, Freddy Gore, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Flavia Irwin and Michael Kidner, plus 3 leaping hare sculptures by Barry Flanagan in the courtyard. The Royal Academy of Arts until 22nd August.
The Glass Delusion takes its name from a form of depression where sufferers imagined themselves to be made of glass, and hence brittle and fragile. The syndrome evokes a psychological separation between reality and imagination, between strength and vulnerability. Glass has the ability to combine opposites and it is this duality that is the inspiration for this exhibition. Contemporary art, artefacts and scientific objects have been brought together to tell the story of human attempts to reconcile the physical and mental worlds. These include: Susan Hiller's video installation 'From Here to Eternity', which comprises a pair of projections on to canvas that trace the pathway of a moving point through a maze; Beryl Sokoloff's 'My Mirrored Hope' immortalising Clarence Schmidt's 'House of Mirrors', a labyrinthine house assembled from wooden window frames, mirrors and found objects; Charles Babbage's scribbling notebook, expressing his first thoughts on Artificial Intelligence; Alan Bennett's 'Klein Bottles', which have no edges, outside or inside but are a single continuous surface; and a new commission by American artist Matt Mullican exploring the visual manifestations of the relationship between information and perception. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 3rd October.
Skin considers the changing importance of the largest and probably most overlooked human organ, from anatomical thought in the 16th century through to contemporary artistic exploration. The exhibition focuses on the historical transformation of both the scientific understanding and cultural significance of human skin, plotting it as beliefs, facts and popular mindsets have all evolved. Covering four themes: Objects, Marks, Impressions and Afterlives, it begins by looking at the skin as a frontier between the inside and the outside of the body, which early anatomists saw as having little value, and sought to flay to reveal the workings of the body beneath. It then moves to look at the skin as a living document, with tattoos, scars, wrinkles or various pathologies. Finally, the skin is considered as a sensory organ of touch and as a delicate threshold between life and death. The display incorporates early medical drawings, 19th century paintings, anatomical models and cultural artefacts juxtaposed with sculpture, photography and film works, by artists including Damien Hirst, Helen Chadwick and Wim Delvoye. It is complemented by the 'Skin Lab', which features artistic responses to developments in plastic surgery, scar treatments and synthetic skin technologies, including newly commissioned works by the artists Rhian Solomon and Gemma Anderson. Wellcome Collection, London until 26th September
Fra Angelico To Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings brings together the finest group of Italian Renaissance drawings to be seen in this country for over 70 years. The exhibition charts the increasing importance of drawing during the period between 1400 and 1510, featuring 100 works by amongst others Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Verrocchio. In addition, infrared reflectography and other non-invasive scientific analysis of the works give fresh insights into the techniques and creative thinking of Renaissance artists as they experimented with a freedom not always apparent in their finished works. It was during the 1400s that artists began to make drawings as works of art in their own right, signifying the beginning of a wider appreciation of graphic works, which were beginning to be collected and preserved. This rising importance of drawing is evident in works such as Mantegna's mordant allegory of human folly, the 'Virtus Combusta' or later examples of finished presentation drawings such Leonardo's silverpoint 'Bust of a Warrior' from the 1470s. A highlight is the first surviving study for a panel painting: Lorenzo Monaco's study in the Uffizi for the left-wing of his 'Coronation of the Virgin' altarpiece, the first time the drawing and the related panel have been brought together. The exhibition gives a broad overview of the development of drawing throughout Italy, but with a particular emphasis on Florence, whose artists' works were characterised by the depiction of movement and the expression of emotion and states of mind, and Venice, whose artists' approach was dominated by atmospheric light and colour. British Museum until 25th July.
Treasures Of Lambeth Palace Library celebrates the 400th anniversary of one of the earliest public libraries in England. The exhibition draws upon the library's rich and diverse collections of manuscripts, archives and books, some of which are on public display for the first time. It not only shows these treasures, but also explores the history surrounding the people who owned, studied or used them as aids to prayer and devotion. Among the highlights of the exhibition are: the MacDurnan Gospels, written and illuminated in Ireland in the 9th century; the Lambeth Bible, a masterpiece of Romanesque art; the 13th century Lambeth Apocalypse; a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type; books owned and used by Kings and Queens, including a Book of Hours found in the tent of Richard III after his death at the Battle of Bosworth, a prayer book that belonged to Elizabeth I, and a book pleading for religious toleration with James I's angry notes in the margins; a pair of embroidered leather gloves worn by Charles I at his execution; physicians' reports on the illness of George III; an exceptionally rare edition of the Babylonian Talmud which survived a 1553 Papal Bull ordering all copies to be burnt, only rediscovered in 1992; the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots; landmark texts in the history of the Church of England, and papers of archbishops, bishops and leaders of church and state, ranging from the 13th century to the modern day, including those relating to the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire. Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, London, until 23rd July.
Horace Walpole And Strawberry Hill examines the collection and interiors of Britain's finest example of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture. The exhibition brings together more than 250 works owned by Horace Walpole in his house Strawberry Hill, not seen together since 1842, when they were auctioned by his heir. It shows the breadth and significance of Walpole's collections, ranging from paintings by Joshua Reynolds and Van Dyck, to his unrivalled collection of portrait miniatures, from a pair of gloves that Walpole believed belonged to King James I to an Aztec mirror used by the Elizabethan magician and astrologer Dr Dee. Walpole was one of the most important English collectors of the 18th century, and one of the best known commentators on the social, political and cultural life of his time. He built Strawberry Hill as a summer villa beside the Thames at Twickenham between 1747 and 1790, and designed the interiors together with architects including Robert Adam. The house provided the setting for his collection encompassing paintings, ceramics, glass, silverware, sculpture, furniture, portrait miniatures, arms and armour, historical relics, and rare books and manuscripts. The exhibition recreates several rooms from the house in detail, including the 'Holbein Chamber', a bedchamber designed by Walpole to evoke the court of Henry VIII, with drawings by Holbein on display alongside copies by George Vertue of the Holbein portrait drawings in the Royal Collection; and 'The Armoury', a Gothic interior filled with an array of arms, such as the golden parade armour believed to have been made for King Francis I of France. Other highlights include ceramics and glassware, including Renaissance maiolica, porcelain by Sevres and creamware by Wedgwood. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th July.