Galleries and Public Spaces

Commercial Art market slowly integrates into our everyday lives. It is now common that art galleries use commercial spaces such as restaurants and hotels to display their artworks. What is in it for both parties?

Obviously, by displaying artworks outside commercial gallery space, artists, artworks and galleries get better exposure to the public. Artworks are seen by hundred of people visiting the premises. Furthermore when the art piece is displayed against white wall of a commercial gallery customers can struggle imagining it in their homes; when they see the piece in the interior of a hotel room, artwork might looks more appealing. However, there are downsides of displaying artworks in public spaces because the attitude toward the artwork may be defined by the reputation of the restaurant/hotel/bar etc. So galleries should carefully select where to display artworks.

Public place are getting prestige and decoration. Terms with galleries may vary, but usually  these places get a very good terms. The only downside I can think of is if their customers damage the artwork, but this occasion should be agreed beforehand.

The example of such collaboration is Neo Bankside, property development, has Emily Young‘s sculptures from Bowman Gallery, displayed around the houses. Emily is a British boss artist who started her career as a painter and then found her style in sculpturing. Her sculptures are displayed around the houses, next to trendy restaurants and most importantly next to Tate Modern. So this is an amazing exposure for the artist, being seen not only by residents of the buildings, customers of the restaurants but most importantly by Tate visitors.

From my point of view, this collaboration between galleries and commercial spaces is a great phenomenon for the public. They get to learn and admire different artists and be surrounded by beauty.

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.

 

 

teamLab

Pace Gallery displays teamLab exhibition Transcending Boundaries from January 25 until 11 of March. TeamLab is a group of Japanese technologists who experiment with technology and art. They create beautiful displays using projectors, LED screens, light and sound.  Some installations are interactive and visitors can control them with smartphones. TeamLab has many permanent displays, ongoing and upcoming exhibitions across the world. If you are lucky enough to be around one do not miss your chance to see it. I am sorry to say but tickets for Pace Gallery are completely sold out. Even though the admission is free, there are allocated time slots to manage the viewings. Exhibition space is rather limited there are only three small rooms, so they only let 20 people at a time.

I was lucky enough to get in and I really enjoyed it. There are three rooms and 8 artworks – 6 artworks in the first room, one in the second and one in the third. First room is the most impressive because artworks have no boundaries and the whole room becomes a thee dimensional canvas.

The star piece is the “Universe of Water Particles, Transcending Boundaries” which is a projection of waterfall on the wall. TeamLab studied behaviour of particles in the waterfall to create the same floe in the artwork. Projection is not limited by the wall space and waterfall is spilt onto the floor. The trajectory of the waterfall influences other artworks in the room.

Another amazing piece is “Flutter of Butterflies” which is produces butterflies across the room. It obviously looks spectacular but the artwork even more impressive if you know the design behind it. The flow of butterflies is created in real time and never repeated again, quantity and movement of butterflies determined by viewers in the room. Butterflies appear from the same place where the viewer stands, but if someone touches the butterfly it disappears.

Second room one display in it – digital image of the ocean. It was extremely calming and soothing. There is a bench across the artwork so you can sit there for a while and enjoy the view.

img_1247

Lastly, in the third room you become part of the artwork. Visitors put on piece of white material and become a canvas. This room is dark when you first enter, it comes to live only with someone in it. Peoples movement triggers the program which generates flower buds, then depending on the movement buds start to bloom and then eventually fade away. If you stay still more flowers are generated and they bloom

img_1281

Great experience. TeamLab is on my radar now and I am very excited to see what they come up with next.

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..

“L’Oeuvre”

Week prior to Frieze in London is full of late night openings and exhibition previews. House of the Nobleman opened its doors on 41 Conduit Street for the private view of British artist – Wolfe von Lenkiewicz. The exhibition is called “L’Oeuvre” which is ironic, since all his works are a modern take on well known masterpieces. So the title consonant with Louvre seems on point.

The exhibition is rather private and space is intimate. Many curious people and the artist was also among the crowd. It is on for a short time, so if you want to see these paintings in the flash you have to hurry – doors are open 5th–9th October, 10am – 8pm.

“…and the wall fell away”

It is a Frieze week, so many galleries scheduled private views and exhibition openings around it. So art community is very busy going from gallery to gallery exploring new exciting artworks and artists.

Stephen Friedman Gallery opened its doors for a private view of an exhibition “…and the wall fell away” by Yinka Shonibare MBE on September 27. This display will remain until 5th November  so you can visit the gallery any time to see the works. The exhibition is split between two spaces on the same street – one with paintings and the second one with sculptures and large painting in the front of the gallery.

The display is nice and clear, minimalistic interior helps to focus on the artworks. The artist was born in London but moved to Nigeria at the early age. However, he came back to London for collage. Yinka’s art explores race, religion, inequalities and other social issues.

Shonibare reinvents classical statues giving his interpretation with bold bright colours. His screen prints on canvas test Western religious ideals and provides personal vision of identity. Raising in Nigeria reflected on Shonibare art as he developed themes of nationality and colonial history in his art.

Marc Chagall

Museum of Marc Chagall is a gem of French Riviera. It is one of the best and intimate museums I have ever been to. This museum is the first museum that was dedicated to a living artist, it was opened in 1973 at the bottom of the Cimiez hill in Nice. This museums is unique because artist was curating it himself. So he could display everything exactly how he wanted and he fully realised his artistic potential.

The museum building was executed by Marc’s friend – Andre Malraux and was designed as a house. This is why the museum is rather small yet you can spend hours there. It is full of natural light which compliments the paintings. Marc Chagall was a music lover so he commissioned the auditorium which was build very quickly upon request. This hall has great acoustic and every year it opens to the public so they can enjoy musical concerts. Chagall decorated this auditorium with stained glass wall specially designed for the space.

img_3881

Marc Chagall lived across two centuries for almost 100 years, he was born in Liozna, Russian Empire  (present day Belarus) in 1887 and died in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France in 1985. Chagall was a multicultural artist: he was born Russian, died French and almost became American somewhen on the middle of his life. Chagall was born in a Jewish family and attended in a Jewish elementary school. At the age of 19 he enrolled into all-Jewish art school where he started his formal art education. After several months he moved to St Petersburg to study at Imperial Society for the Protection of Fine Arts.

Even though Realism was widely popular at that time Chagall developed his own dreamy-like style using bright colours and fairy-tail like shapes. Marc Chagall evolved into a multimedia artist, largely known for his oil paintings. He understood colour like no one else and it is absolute pleasure to look at his artworks. Apart from paintings he was widely successful in making stained glass windows. Although the technique is completely different, the colours of the glass are as bright and vivid as in his paintings. His stained glass windows can be seen across the globe, in the UK, in Germany, in Switzerland, in France, even in UN building.

His artworks are so special because they combine magnificent painting manner with touching subject matter. His art reflected his thoughts and sufferings. As a Jew he experiences persecution firsthand and it reflected on his paintings. They are extremely moving and personal. You can almost cry by looking at them.. I saw people crying in the museum standing in front of the paintings.

This museum experience was very intimate and personal. Each painting is a story and you stand there in front of it and unravel it layer by layer. His artworks are brilliant on so many levels – emotionally, visually and compositionally.

The heart of the museum is a room with only five paintings displayed in panoramic manner and they were placed by Chagall himself. The paintings are from the “The Song of Songs” series. It is an interpretation of book from the Hebrew Bible that celebrates love and sexual desire between a man and a woman. In this series Chagall illustrates the three motifs of the Song of Songs: the musical, sacred and sensual. The choice of red-pink pallet represents deep sweet love but also blood highlighting the violence in Biblical story. There is a bench where you can seat and spend some time tête–à–tête with these paintings. In this room no one talks, it is awfully quiet, everyone is absorbed by the artworks.

This is an incredible museum, full of intimacy and personality. Chagall’s art is full of colours and worry at the same time. It somehow appeals to everyone and viewers relate to it. If you are traveling in Nice do not miss it!

Georgia O’Keeffe, Tate

The exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe, famous American female artist of the 20th century, is held in Tate Modern in London until 30 October. Georgia is famous for painting flowers, Mexican landscapes and skulls.

Personally, I found it very calm and soothing, walking through rooms with Georgia’s paintings, mostly because of the pallets she used. Sky blues, baby pinks, light green – pastel colours that work very good for the eye. Using these colours for flower paintings is the obvious choice, what surprised me was that she used the same colour for skulls.

Georgia painted a lot of flowers in a details so people can really see it. On the walls there were some quotes from the artist herself and she said –

Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

From curatorial point of view there is nothing special about settings, there is a logical order of 11 rooms dedicated to different periods or themes. Apart from paintings there are sketchbooks with watercolours, showing the preliminary paintings.

Bruges

Bruges is a magical city – narrow streets, canals, squares it all looks like an illustration for a fairy tail. It has a been a very short stay so I did not have time to check out the museums but I still admired a some art while wondering in the city. There are many small galleries, sculptures, street artists.

There were many sculptures in squares and parks, as well as artists working on the street and selling  their paintings with beautiful Belgian landscapes and street views.

I came across a small toy shop with hand made items, the clocks were beautiful! It were truly pieces of art.

The Wallace Collection

On the very heart of London there is a beautiful museum – The Wallace Collection – that is hidden in Manchester Square just steps away from Oxford Street. It was closed for renovation for some time and this year it has been reopened. The museum is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm and the admission is free. So even if you have 15 minutes to spare in the area you can go ahead and spend it there.

“The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. It was bequeathed to the British nation by Sir Richard’s widow, Lady Wallace, in 1897.” – quoted from the website.

The rooms are just breathtaking, so many different colours! Almost every room is decorated differently with variety of wall papers – greens, blues, greys. Golden and blue rooms are especially beautiful!

The collection is marvellous and many types of arts are presented from furniture and decorative art to paintings and sculptures. Some rooms combine furniture, such as clocks, arm chairs, cabinets, with paintings. However some rooms are more specialised displaying only porcelain or armoury.

In fact, there is a whole wing dedicated to armoury of different types and from different times. Great amount of details and variety of metals.   

Another thing that caught my eye was a special setting to the works of art that are particularly sensitive to the light. It was very thoughtful to create a leather cover that can be lifted, it protects the artwork and helps to preserve them.