National Portrait Gallery
Portraits, Man Ray; until 26 May
Lichenstein Retrospective; until 27 May
Victoria and Albert Museum
David Bowie is; until 28 July
White Cube, Bermondsey
Prints, Chuck Close; until 21 April
To the narrow-minded, yes, this is a crude and vulgar representation of Emin’s own body. Blue or black watercolour, ink or stitching to create the outline of the artist’s body in a limited variety of reclining poses.
These works may seem unnecessary, and just another example of works that give Emin her media notoriety and her attention seeking thrill. However, once understood there is a lot more to these works- a solid representation of her emotional turbulence of eroticism and troubled relationships, with themes of love and sex.
Art movements can’t be the same, and repeat themselves or else there would be nothing to talk about. Bearing this in mind, this is simply another representation of the female form - one of art’s most historic and classical, repeated subject matters both in sculpture and painting - but by a contemporary artist. Other aspects of the art resonate artistic motifs, the use of the colour blue- the same shade used by Renaissance artists (lapis lazuli) and Yves Klein in his unforgettable Anthropometries, 1960 (Yves Klein Bleu). Finally, the use of embroidery (c.f. ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995, 1995 ) in the stitched canvases and large tapestries is a traditional form of media (Bayeux Tapestry??).
In the final room- the North Gallery- the paint on the canvases has changed from blue to black- representing a more sombre mood, and her pose has opened up with stretched arms (as supposed to the earlier closed form) representing a sense of personal freedom.
Within the Irene Willett Gallery there are a collection of small watercolours and sketches by Rodin and Turner. These works follow a similar subject- nude figures reclining in uncomfortable poses. These are important to the exhibition in signifying how Emin’s subject matter is nothing new and these well-respected artists have a past of deep eroticism too.
The curator has brought together a strong collection of works, and the contrast with the classical pieces succeeds in a strong complimentary. However, the exhibition is slightly repetitive and narrow in Emin’s style, with a limited number of pieces not of the female form and only a few sculptures. What must be remembered is that she has succeeded on a 21st century take on a classical subject matter in a deeply emotional style.
‘Emin: She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea’, 26th May- 23rd September 2012, Turner Contemporary, Margate (http://www.turnercontemporary.org/exhibitions/tracey-emin-she-lay-down-deep-beneath-the-sea)
Scream Gallery, Eastcastle Street, London
With a strong pop aesthetic (contemporary pop?) this is a gallery that nurtures potential.
The summer exhibition runs through to September, showcasing artists such as Pakpoom Silaphan, Caroline Jane Harris and Russell Young.
Reputation is elementary. We all know that. The Bauhaus has a reputation for being the post- WW1 German art school that shaped the future with its minimalistic designs, it’s very own typeface and an emphasis on functional, new ways of living. It is remembered as the world’s most famous art and design school, and a key driving force in modernism.
However, the exhibition at London’s Barbican centre to celebrate the school thrusts far more into the limelight. The display represents the entirety of the artistic movements archive. This is The Bauhaus in all its glory before it defined itself as what we remember them today. Phases of German Expressionism, Cubism, Constructivism and de Stijl are all indicated.
With the group beginning with German literary classicism, and avant garde arts and crafts during the early 20th century, the turn into the mid 1920s saw the opening of the school at Dessau under the supervision of Mies van der Rohe. This expansion allowed it to maintain the reputation it holds today. The centre became focused on modernist ideas of space, form and construction, with improved workshops and living facilities on site. Combining social lives, work and private lives.
The combining factors of: the dispersal of the leaders, 1929 Great Depression, limited funding and rise of German National Socialists led to it’s end.
The groups’ 1919 manifesto pioneered who they are today- aiming to encourage contact between craft and industry. Throughout their existence this is what they succeeded in achieving, and their reputation maintains this.
‘Bauhaus: Art as Life’, 3rd May 2012- 12th August 2012, Barbican Centre London (http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=12409)
Whilst London becomes the centre of the universe for the summer as a result of the Olympics, the London galleries have to do something to keep our visitors entertained.
The Royal Academy started the show with their much acclaimed David Hockney exhibition and the rest of the galleries will continue the show.
Tate Britain has Picasso and ‘Migrations: Journeys into British Art’, Tate Modern has a long awaited Damien Hirst retrospective where the leader of the YBAs is represented in all his glory with an outlining of his entire artistic career, Jay Joplin’s White Cube represents fellow London rebels Gilbert and George and the Victoria and Albert Museum has a look back at half a century of British design.
There is plenty to see, so don’t waste all your energy watching meaningless sports on the television, but take advantage of this sound representation of British artisitic culture.
Migrations- 31st January-12th August 2012
Picasso and Modern British Art- 15th February-15th July 2012
Damien Hirst- 4th April-9th September 2012
Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye- 28th June-14th October 2012
The Queens Gallery:
Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy- 4th May-7th October 2012
Victoria and Albert Museum:
British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age- 31st March-12th August
White Cube, Hoxton:
Gilbert and George- 9th March-12th May 2012
(gallery and exhibition reviews to come)