KABAKOV

Londoners have many opportunities to learn about Russian art these days. Tate Modern will open its doors tomorrow for art exhibition “Red Star over Russia” but today you can enjoy exhibition of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Russian artists, – “Not everyone will be taken into the future”.  You can visit the exhibition until January 28.

The artworks are displayed over 10 halls and the exhibition is carefully guided, so you do not get lost and follow the path naturally.

Some installations were a bit too much for my taste, but I fell in love with some paintings and illustrations. Kabakov is also a famous illustrator for children’s books and I was fascinated by the lightness of strokes and combination of colours in his illustrations.

One section of the exhibition was dedicated to letters of Ilya’s mother. She was writing to her son and telling him about her life story. It was interesting to have a glimpse of someone else’s life, but to be honest, it was a bit tricky to read. In this section curators did a poor job: letters in Russian were positioned low so you need to sit down a bit to read them and British translations were way above your head. So it was a challenge.

All in all I enjoyed the exhibition and it was a first exhibition of such a scale for Ilya and Emilia which made it very special.

 

Guinness-Storehouse, Dublin

Guinness one of the proudest products of Ireland. The museum of Guinness is located in the centre of Dublin. The museum is grand, it is 7 levels high, it is one of the tallest buildings in Dublin.

The museum is huge, it has many attractions like short films, artworks inspired by Guinness, marketing materials from archives, as my husband said: “it is a Disneyland for beer”. To see everything and enjoy a pint of dark beer you need about 2 hours in the museum. It is greatly guided, you have navigation on the floor so I do not think that guided tour is necessary.

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You start with learning about the process of ale making and then progress onto the second floor to learn about history of the brand. Then you have art floor with sculptures and video of Guinness commercial.

On the top level there is a Gravity Bar which opens a 360 degree view of the city. You get a free pint of guiness with you ticket and you can get it in any bar, but I recommend going to the top floor and enjoying the view with your beer.

I have tried Guinness before, I am a cider number one fan, but can occasionally enjoy ale. But this ale was out of this world fantastic! And it was so much better than any Guinness I’ve tried in the UK, the foam on top was thick and creamy.

The gift shop truly amazed me. It was unbelievably smart and organised. Once can buy everything there, from t-shirts to Christmas tree toys. Variety of products and designs was great, and all complimentary products arranged together and it was impossible to walk away from the gift shop empty handed. Genius.

Irish Whiskey Museum, Dublin

Passing by the Irish Whiskey Museum my travel companions convinced me to take a 1 hour tour. I am very glad they did. It is utterly wrong to visit Ireland and miss whiskey museum.

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The tour was brilliant, it comes down to the guide and he was very funny, he effortlessly narrated history of Irish whiskey and spoke in a very engaging manner. He was joking about England and Scotland in a caring way, much like formerly married couple is teasing each other.

To quote the host:

“Jameson’s is the third biggest seller in the world,  Jack Daniels – isn’t the best US whiskey, Johnnie Walker isn’t a drink it’s a challenge, Jameson’s not great, but surely better than the other two” and I have to agree

During tasting it was explained how to drink whiskey properly: ice kills the flavour and water is a better choice. But one should not add a lot of water, just 2 drops and it will open up the flavours. We tasted without water and with just two drops, it is amazing how much difference only two drops can make: it enhances the flavours and opens up smells. However, not every whiskey needs water, some sorts are much better neat.

Great decorations, very atmospheric, tour is definitely worth the money (17€ for three whiskey tasting and 20€ for 4 and a small souvenir glass with logo). On a rainy day, whiskey degustation was all we need to happily continue with our day.

Upcoming Fashion Exhibitions

Dear Londoners and visitors, finally spring is in the full mode and we can go outside and enjoy sunshine, go for long walks, spend lunch breaks in the parks and squares. And for our fashion-lovers this spring brings many exciting exhibitions!

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The one I am most excited about is Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion in my beloved Victoria & Albert museum. This exhibition starts on May 27th and will be running until February next year. Past fashion exhibitions were a huge success, especially Alexander McQueen, so I can’t wait to see how the art and legacy of Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga will be displayed. Beautiful gowns, stories behind them, hats and accessories, all unfold the lifetime story of this iconic master. I expect the exhibition to be spectacular and chic, of a very high standard which V&A always maintain.

The exhibition is free for members and £12 for non-members, tickets can be booked online. If this exhibition is  going to be successful as McQuees exhibition, you should book tickets in advance.

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Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 19.35.31Kensington Palace presented Diana: Her Fashion Story  in February 2017 and it will be on display for a year, until February 2018. I have not seen it yet, but it is certainly on my to do list. The exhibition explores her early style and then shows how it developed throughout her life. Enjoy many iconic outfits, get inspired by elegant and graceful style of Britains favourite Princess Diana.

Book your tickets in advance, everything is completely sold out until May. Online booking will secure your ticket and also save you couple of pounds, online price is £17.10 and on the spot price is £19.00

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Gudrun Sjödén: Four Decades of Colour & Design exhibition starts on 25th of April at The Fashion and Textiles Museums. You will find sketches, videos, vintage designs from company’s archives. It is only available for short time – from April 25th until May 7, you can book your tickets at the venue at £9.90.

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 19.32.45Another upcoming exhibition at The Fashion and Textiles Museum –  The World of Anna Sui. The exhibition is on from 26 May and runs until 1 October 2017. Over 100 pieces from designers archives would be on display, demonstrating the evolution and trends of Annes style. You can book your tickets here.  Note that the museum is closed on Mondays.

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Somerset House will feature  Francesca Granata – American author and Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design History. She will be lecturing on her recent book “Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival, and the Grotesque Body”. Francesca Granata is also the editor and founder of the journal Fashion Projects. Her work has appeared in Fashion Theory, Fashion Practice, and The Journal of Design History, as well as in a number of books and exhibition catalogues. Experimental fashion explores close relationship between contemporary fashion and performance art, it also questions contemporary image of fashionable body and looks into experimental performance outfits like Lady Gaga’s costumes.

The lecture start at 6:30pm on 6th of April and last for two hours. Thickets are essential due to limited space and can be purchased only for £5 here.

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So plenty things to see this spring! It is that time of the year, let’s take of our winter coats and get out there with a bit of fashion.

 

Lockwood Kipling

Victoria and Albert is one of my favourite museums in London. Top quality exhibitions, interesting events, great experience every time! This time I visited “Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London”, it is on until April 2nd. The exhibition is on the ground floor in Porter Gallery and is free to enter.

The exhibition is devoted to John Lockwood Kipling’s lifetimes input to Arts & Crafts, featuring his remarkable sketches, furniture pieces and books illustrations.

This exhibition is very complete experience – you have artworks, you have short films to provide with a visual, Indian music on the background to deepen the authenticity. Amazing curatorial work. The quality of display was outstanding and I especially loved the combination of colours on the walls. Even though the exhibition is admission free the amount of effort is not lacking. Small windows between the rooms so you can get a sneak peak of what lies ahead.

After travelling to India it was very touching to revisit history of some places we have seen in the flash.

 

 

Roma Aeterna

Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow exhibits Vatican art collection from Pinacotheca. The exhibition is on until 19th of February. As it happens in Moscow it is tricky to get tickets – demand is high for major cultural events.

The exhibition left good overall impression, I loved the set up and especially rich burgundy wall colour.

Rather original placing of description – at the raised plinth on the floor, but not smart. It’s impossible to see anything because of the crowd blocking the view. No doubt that without cable on the wall the whole experience is more authentic and paintings look more natural. But it is very difficult to identify who was the artist and what was the painting.

Brochures finished and Audio guide required deposit in form of documents or cash, not everyone carries it around so people missed on opportunity to learn about the exhibition. Combine that with no brochures and description written on the floor and you end up with much less educational exhibition that it could have been.

The exhibition consisted of 42 paintings spread over 3 halls replicating the Vatican halls.

Curatorial work left some questions… When you enter the second hall, Title “RAPHAEL” between two huge artworks. It was silly of me to assume that he title refers to these artworks;  it referred to tiny display. One paintings was Faith and the second one Charity. Both dated 1507.

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Donate Creti – the astronomical observations, 1711. The sun. The moon. Mercury. Venus. Mars, Jupiter. Saturn. The comet. Oil on canvas.

Rauschenberg Tate Modern

Tate Modern has changed its displays and now you can enjoy  a solo exhibition of modern American artist – Robert Rauschenberg, the exhibition is on until April 2nd.  As a part of my course in Sotheby’s I wrote a financial report on one of his paintings and its performance on the auction, so I was particularly interested in this exhibition, I wanted to see his artworks in the flash.

I visited with my parents, they have even more conservative art taste than I do, so they did not like it at all. I can’t say that I loved all of the exhibition, but I certainly enjoyed some parts.

Rauschenberg was a revolutionary artist for American art, he was the first artist who made a canvas three dimensional and used all different sorts of materials as part of his paintings. He integrated materials, woods, metals and even small appliances.

Sculptures – I did not totally get.. See for yourself!

The Vulgar

The Vulgar is a fashion exhibition capturing the meaning of vulgarity and how it changed overtime with fashion. It is displayed in Barbican Centre and it is until 5th of February. There are many gowns designed by famous designers and brands.

The exhibition is divided by theme not chronology, so sometimes it is a bit confusing. “The Vulgar” is spread over two floors and I enjoyed the second floor much more than the first floor. It appeared more diverse and engaging – there were some magazine covers, sketches, small interview with designers.

Overall it is worth going, it gets you thinking how vulgarity developed overtime and how its meaning transformed. Nudity used to be vulgar, then symbols of power, ripped clothes etc. I think that “hair” trend is the peak of vulgarity in modern fashion..

National Museum in Delhi

I am very excited to share my museum visits in India. We travelled to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Aurangabad and Mumbai and visited many fascinating places.

There are some old parts of the building without any aircondlting, with outdated displays and dusty corners and there are also some renovated parts with modern displays. This museum needs to be repaired a bit, but in India it is not exactly a priority.

 

The relief of this elements of walls and decorations is just mind blowing. It is hard to believe that some of these objects are dated back to 2nd century B.C. Stone-carving is a very technical and elegant craft which takes a lot of patience. You can spend hours just looking at tiny figures that tell you a story.

It is a National Museum so different forms of art are displayed in the museum. These flat art miniature paintings grab your attention. Gold is a common addition to these paintings, it is added in a very delicate, tasteful and elegant manner.

There are many different objects displayed in the museum that walk you through Indian culture and history: games that people used to play, gods that they used to worship, thrones from former leaders…

This museum is definitely the place to go if you are into Indian culture. Your experience might be spoilt a bit by appearance or lack of air conditioning (especially in summer, when it is boiling hot), but if you look passed it then you will see beautiful unique art objects!

Ivan Aivazovsky

Lately Moscow rocks with temporary exhibitions. Last winter it was Serov’s exhibition that has been extended twice due to high demand. This year it is Russian seascape painter, probably one of the best known Russian painters in the world, – Ivan Aivazovsky. His canvases are selling for hundreds of thousands by leading auction houses Christies and Sotheby’s.

Large space, dimmed light and neutral walls perfectly accommodate artworks. Large Baroque style frames add significance to the paintings and perfectly complement the colours. Pallet used for Aivazovsky paintings varies: some seascapes are captured at nighttime, some during bright day.

On the Shores of the Caucasus – 1885. Sublime. When you looking at this painting you are truly consumed by it. You can feel the power of nature and how it is greater than humankind. Although it depicts the crash of the ship, highlights on the painting give some hope and you feel like people can still escape.

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“A wave” 1889 Huge painting and not enough space in front to fully see it. However, it might be a curatorial idea – when you are standing so close you are boldly faced with the ocean and you are on the painting. Artist was particularly proud of this painting as he later said that it reflected all the years of his artistic experience.

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