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Yayoi Kusama at Tate

28 May

A few weekends ago I went to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Tate Modern.  To be honest I hadn’t heard about her before and so had no expectations about the exhibit.  She seems like a pretty interesting character.  She grew up in Japan and (I really love this) painted with house paints onto seed bags because she couldn’t get art supplies.  Message from that: Just make s**t happen!  Anyway she then moved to America and I can only imagine was high on something for most of the sixties and seventies hanging out with the likes of Andy Warhol and gang.  Eventually she moved back to Japan where she checked herself into a residential type hospital where I believe she still lives today.

The exhibition was really interesting following a chronological flow of her work.  Her early pieces were more abstract and then moved into both sculpture, film and other mediums which involved a lot of repetition of patterns or objects.  This lady loved spots!

There were several pieces which I really liked (like the one above) and I could even understand what her more abstract pieces were trying to say.

I would really recommend going (there is still a week left) if only for the last room in the exhibition which is a mirrored room with lots of hanging spots of light.  It sounds weird but is pretty awesome to find yourself in.

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Picasso and Modern British Art

8 Apr

Last week I went to the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain which is on until 15 July so still plenty of time to see it.  It reflects two aspects of Picasso: first his works that were shown and collected in Britain and secondly his influence on modern British Artists such as Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and David Hockney (to name a few).

I didn’t have much ‘experience’ of Picasso so my first impression was “oh he didn’t just paint confusing cuby things”.  I was really amazed by the versatility of his art.  Really I think anyone could find something which they find either aesthetically or intellectually interesting.  What I found really brilliant about the curation of the exhibit was finding out the story of Picasso through his art and connections.

Perhaps my favourite room showed his costume and set design for the The Three-Cornered Hat which premiered in London in 1919.  Picasso’s had met his wife, Olga Kohklova, while working with the company before.  Aside from the detailed drawings he made for the set while based in London he also made drawings of the company members.  One of which was the wife of a famous economist, John Maynard Keynes.  As a student of environment and development studies this tickled me a bit.  Mr Keynes then became a fan and bought several pieces of Picasso’s throughout his life.

It would seem to me that his most popular subject was women and he represented them in a variety of ways.  His mistress Marie-Therese Walter was often represented as a guitar or mandolin although she was often represented simply lying around naked.  I did like that he also often painted faces from both the front and in profile.

I thought this picture of “Nude Woman Lying in the Sun” (1932) was also Marie-Therese but I can’t find any confirmation of that on the web.  It would make sense to me as it was painted in the same year as the above picture and they are both blonde – is that too much of a leap?

Marie-Therese is also potentially represented in this later drawing which was made after she announced a pregnancy to Picasso.  I really liked his detailed etchings like this as they seem to have so much texture.

Off all the artists that he influenced, I think one of my favourite nods was to his cubist guitars by David Hockney done through polaroids.

Every time I go to an exhibition (especially such a well curated one) the idea that art is accessible to everyone is really reinforced.  I think the stories of artists make their lives more interesting and easy to understand their art.  The Tate Britain exhibitions are always rather extensive and take a time to wander around but I really think it is worth it.

In my search for pictures I have also come across blogs by Chloe Nelkin and Salve Magistra if you would like to read a bit more about the exhibit if you aren’t based in London or just want to find out more.

Sources: click picture to be taken to source

A Blessing of Unicorns

1 Apr

I went to Mildred’s yesterday for lunch (really good and I suggest you go).  On the walls they had some prints from Woop Studios which I absolutely love.  They have created a series of collective noun prints.  So brilliantly English and wonderful.  Here are a few of my favourite.  The price is out of my just travelled, unemployed, student budget but I might be tempted to buy a set of their flash cards.

Invincible Summer

23 Jan

I came across this amazing poster by Matthew Kavan Brooks which felt so perfect for my current state.  I am aware there is a deeper metaphorical meaning to this and even though this winter has been rather mild I have been stuck in a mire of essay writing all January.  But the fact that I will be heading back to South Africa and then Australia for a really long holiday means that summer is just around the corner for me.

I am sad that I will miss the daffodils (it is perhaps my favourite British season) and even more sad that I won’t see my boyfriend for two months (note: I hate the word boyfriend, we have been living together for 6 years and boyfriend sound like what 16 year old girls have).  Anyway I am still pretty excited.

I think I might have to go see if I can find some denim shorts in my local charity shop…

Art for my new wall

5 Oct

My friend who I have waxed lyrical about on here has opened an Etsy shop. I am trying to decide which of his photographs I want on my wall.  I might have to bribe him and get a discount for all three (although I think T would object to the pink feathers).  They are listed as big (about A3) which ties in with my idea of having a large photograph on our wall (but available in smaller sizes too).

Yes I am unashamedly plugging my friend’s work but it is so worth it.  Go and have a look at his Etsy shop.