Ghost-Art

Mar. 29th, 2015 03:19 pm
rhythmaning: (violin)
When I was at Tate Modern recently, I went into the space of the turbine hall. I wasn't overly impressed by the installation by Richard Tuttle, but I was very pleased to see the ghost of "Shibboleth". This was an installation by Doris Salcedo - maybe not so much an installation as an "exstillation", the removal of part of the floor to create a vast crack in the substance of the building.

It was a very powerful piece: the absence of matter.

When it was finished, the crack was filled in, and some of the floor slabs were replaced. But in places you can still see where the crack ran, like a ghost of the original artwork: the absence of matter is filled, removing the art but leaving its memory.

DSC_0103
Before

DSCF2844
After

Art.

Aug. 28th, 2013 06:48 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I did a bit of the Art Festival today.

I went to Wind Pipes for Edinburgh, an installation in a former church (a wonderful space off the Royal Mile which I didn't know existed!). An organ playable by visitors, made of bits of waste pipes. The deep notes had a very breathy sound, almost alive. It was driven by huge bellows, and I thought it was just wonderful.

I then went to Rose Street to see Kenny Watson's The Days, a humorous installation of a year's worth of Edinburgh Evening News hoardings. Taken out of context, the headlines take on a surreal meaning, illuminating the paper's obsessions (crime, sex, perverts and dust bin collections).

What I hadn't realised was that in an annex were videos of Complaints Choirs around the world. I had heard the Edinburgh Complaints Choir on the radio, but I hadn't bothered to seek them out. (They were singing complaints on the Royal Mile.) Coming across these videos, I wish I had. I found them funny and illuminating. I watched four, I think: Tokyo, Birmingham, Helsinki and Hamburg. Those in foreign languages had more impact - particularly Tokyo - I think reading the words and contrasting the sounds to the complaints brings more poignancy. That said, I am completely ear-wormed by the Birmingham choir.

I loved these videos. They were so unexpected, surprising, challenging AND ordinary that they changed my perception - certainly about choirs!

Here are the videos.


Tokyo


Birmingham


Helsinki

Hamburg (not on YouTube!)

"The Kiss"

May. 7th, 2013 04:39 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I don't often take photographs of art-works, because there is little that a photographer can add.

The exception is sculpture, where the subtleties of shade and texture can be reflected in a photograph: the way one see a piece is open to interpretation, and that can be captured in a photograph.

I was going past the National Gallery of Scotland today and I thought I would pop in to see Rodin's "The Kiss", which they have on load (until next March, I think).

It is a truly stunning, evocative piece. It is strange how cold stone can contain so much life.

DSCN5944 DSCN5947

DSCN5948 bw

"Patterns"

May. 2nd, 2013 04:54 pm
rhythmaning: (Saxophone)
I have blogged elsewhere about some of the events I went to in the Edinburgh Science Festival this year, but the first talk I went to seemed to fit better here than there.

It was about "Patterns in Nature", though it was more about how we use nature's patterns to create non-natural forms in art and engineering. As Neil Cooper, the chair, said, humans are pattern recognising creatures, and pattern is fundamental to the way we interpret the world. (Indeed, we are so good at recognising patterns that we see them when they are not really there...)

Peter Randall-Page is an artist (predominantly but not solely a sculpture). Many of his pieces are based around phyllotaxis - the patterns made by leaves, flowers and buds in plants. Phyllotaxis itself commonly follows the Fibonacci series, which includes the golden ratio, which itself was the basis for a lot of design in art and architecture. For instance, the Palladian architecture of Georgian Britain (including much of Edinburgh) is based around the golden ratio.

DSC_0317



I had seen Randall-Page's work, though I hadn't recognised his name before he showed some examples of his work. His biomorphic shapes, based on Fibonacci spirals but cut into naturally occurring rocks, and hence imperfect, reflect the shapes found in pine cones and the heads of sunflowers (and many other plant forms). He described the spiral pattern as efficient - the optimal way to organise plant structures.He views the spiral as the theme, and the imperfections as variations on a theme - indeed, much of what he said sounded like improvisation around the theme, with a tension between the randomness of the imperfections and repetitive pattern.

DSCN1501



Alistair Elfick is an engineer who works in "synthetic biological engineering". He was quite critical of engineers, believing that they had forgotten how to play, being constrained by professional standards and an avoidance of failure. It has to be said, though, that for most engineers, an avoidance of failure is a good thing - I'm not sure I'd want to cross the bridge built by an engineer who was happy playing - and failing...

For Elfick, bioengineering and "synthetic aesthetics" involves biomimicry - learning (and stealing!) from the natural world. The user of synthetic materials, he felt, created a whole new taxonomy - a new branch to the tree of life: the ability to develop synthetic biology. (He pointed out that much of this ability is based on our use of organic chemistry to make and manipulate synthetic, organic compounds; many of which our derived from or based on compounds made by organisms long ago in the earth's history. Not so novel, then!)

Like Randall-Page, the patterns discussed by Elfick are based on simple models: chemical diffusion and reaction can create complex, chaotic patterns using very simple formulae.

The debate after their presentations came up with some interesting topics. Many interesting things happen at the edges - the liminal is an interesting place to be. But the scientific method is reductive in its approach - it is linear. Science works on the differences between things, not the connections that can be made.

Man, however, is a pattern recognising creature: we look for meaning in things, including art, science - and religion! Ancient people looked at the night sky and joined the dots, turning the stars into pictures and giving the constellations names. We look at clouds and can see pictures in them. Music is attractive because of the patterns we hear (and exciting because of the surprise when the unexpected happens!).

For all the examples they used, I've occurred to me that something went unmentioned. Man has been stealing fron nature's patterns for a long, long time: it isn't new. The roof of the large, newly renovated Victorian main hall of the museum resembles nothing so much as a vertebrate ribcage from their collection!

DSCN5875

DSC_3102

DSC_0008

rhythmaning: (sunset)
I forgot to include these in my post on public art in Edinburgh yesterday...

St Bernard's Well.



DSC_1947 DSC_1945



North Bridge.


Specifically, the monument to the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

DSCN5517

DSCN5518

Public Art.

Dec. 7th, 2012 05:32 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
There is a lot of public art in Edinburgh: installations and sculpture that one sees just walking about the city, some though not all left over from the Festival. I took some photographs recently.

(Ok, some of it is the grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and hence may not be classifiable as "public", but since one can just wander across it, it stays. Not least because people walking past it make such good photographs!)

Regent's Bridge, lit by Callum Innes.


DSCN5487 DSCN5485

DSCN5486 DSCN5481

DSCN5482



Roger Hiorns, "Untitled". SNGMA.


DSCN5436

DSCN5432

DSCN5430



Antony Gormley, "6 Times". The Water of Leith. (Before and after flooding.)


DSCN5429

DSC_1954

DSC_1953

rhythmaning: (sunset)
Near my flat is a former church called the Mansfield Traquair. Built as a "Catholic Apostolic church", it was decorated with murals by Anna Phoebe Traquair. Long since decomissioned and having had an err... lively existence, the murals have been restored.

It is a remarkable building.

DSC_1873

DSC_1885 DSC_1888 DSC_1886

DSC_1880

DSC_1881

DSC_1883

DSC_1884

DSC_1872

rhythmaning: (sunset)
"Speed of Light" was an interesting experience: simultaneously brilliant and disappointing. NVA, the company behind it, have worked a lot with light in the environment (their installation at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2008, "Spirit", was beautiful, and I heard great things about their work in Skye and Glen Lyon).

Speed of Light is hard to describe: I think installation works best, except that the whole point was that it consisted of volunteer runners, choreographed to create patterns. At night. On Arthur's Seat. Wearing light suits.

You may see why I was attracted to it: the moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to see it.

But - brilliant and disappointing: I clearly have conflicting feelings about it.

Brilliant first. At a very basic level, it made me look at the world in a different way - what I believe art should do. It took a familiar landscape - I must have climbed Arthur's Seat fifty times or more over the years - and made it afresh. The audience, equipped with light sabres light-emitting walking sticks (or "staffs" - all a bit Gandalfian...), were part of the choreography, part of the creation. The runners made amazing patterns on the (east-facing) slopes of Salisbury Crags, and the audience walked up the path to the east of this, the runners creating patterns against the dark of the landscape.

DSC_0892 DSC_0921



The "WOW!" factor was immense: people were vocally awestruck (but see below...!). It had an immediate impact. It was stunning.

DSC_0902

DSC_0927 DSC_0929

DSC_0909



So why the disappointment? Mostly for reasons that were nothing to with NVA or Speed of Light, at least not directly. In part, it was because my expectations were very high: I expected great things. I saw great things. But then it all got a bit blase: the whole thing took nearly three and a half hours, from my arrival for the 10pm slot to leaving at 1.15am. (We didn't leave for the walk until 10.30, what with health and safety talks and the like.)

The walk lead up Hunter's Bog between the Crags and Arthur's Seat, during which the runners were in complete dark, and then curved up the south and south east route to the summit. Despite being asked beforehand by the walk-leaders to keep as quiet as possible, many people on the walk chatted, non-stop - for 2½ hours! Their talk was very intrusive and distracting. (I could have asked them to be quiet, but I was aware that I was taking a lot of photographs, which others may have found distracting; and so many people were talking, one would have spent the whole time asking people to stop!)

Below the summit was a flat piece of ground where we waited, watching the runners. The lights of the light suits competed with the bright lights of the city. It wasn't much competition: the city was much brighter, and in some ways more spectacular. With the city spread across the west below us, and its lights appearing over the tops of the Crags, Speed of Light was very diminished. We waited quite a while as the patterns of lights weaved across the crags, becoming normal rather than spectacular. Despite being part of the event, watching them runners from above made them feel distant - more of an observer than, say, standing in a gallery looking at a painting - a curious effect, really.

DSC_0908 DSC_0914 DSC_0887



From the summit, the choreographed lights couldn't be seen - a problem of geography, perhaps, but a little disappointing itself. The walking sticks - which had been emitting rather discomfiting sounds since we had arrived at the viewing place below the summits - were dismantled and the top light-tips used to make a cairn.

DSC_0936



Coming off the hill, we walked slowly down, with little apparent activity now from the runners - and the city hidden once again behind the crags. At the bottom, leaving the tents that acted as the venue, many of the runners were coming off the hill: they received a round of applause.

DSC_0876 DSC_0959

DSC_0960 DSC_0949

So: brilliant and disappointing; fascinating and distant; engaging and irritating. But a wonderful experience, and one which changed the way I look at the city.

rhythmaning: (violin)
I’ve just been to the Lucian Freud retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, and I have a lot of somewhat contradictory views about his work. This isn’t surprising, since the exhibition spans seventy years – the first painting, a self portrait, dates from 1940 (when Freud was only 18), the last, an portrait of his studio assistant, unfinished at Freud’s death in 2011.

The early-early pictures are very detailed but somewhat distorted portraits: even then, he painted what he saw rather than what others would have liked to see. What he saw was attractive, though: over time, that changed, as if he saw people as meat – living meat, perhaps, but meat nonetheless.

He was very good at painting eyes, however: the eyes were always alive, reflecting the light, in contrast to the flesh he painted later on.

His later pictures seemed uncomfortably voyeuristic, perhaps because I knew that he was painting his wives (he had several), his lovers (many more) and his children (from both wives and lovers). Many of his nudes appear quite sexual despite also appearing like dead meat – quite a feat, I think.

He painted several composite pictures – two or more people in the same picture, but sitting at different times; and frankly he wasn’t that good at stitching them together… The dimensions are wrong: in “Large Interior, W9”, the nude behind his seated mother just looks really out of proportion, whilst the harlequin in “Large Interior, W11 (After Watteau)” looks outsized, misshapen and contorted.

The way he painted nudes – sexual but dead – creates a strange tension. The knowledge of his relationships adds to this. He seems to have had sex with a great many of his models. (He painted the Queen, too. I wonder…) The pictures can be disturbing. There is real sense of mortality in a lot of his work – perhaps because the nudes so often look like corpses. (It may, of course, just be me.) Even the self portraits look a bit dead.

There are several photographs shown as well – most by David Dawson, his last studio assistant, but also images by Henri Cartier Bresson and photographers from Freud’s Soho drinking circle. These said more to me about Freud than his paintings, perhaps because I relate to photographs. Which is again a little disturbing. Was he really so hidden? (In his self portrait “Interior with Plant, Reflection, Listening” he disappears – only part of his body is painted: so perhaps his painting was all about hiding.)
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I love Tate Modern, on Bankside. The view across to St Paul's Cathedral and the City is amazing, but the building itself - a former power station designed by Gilbert Scott - has an austere, industrial beauty.

DSC_9953

DSC_9965 DSC_9959

DSC_9968

rhythmaning: (sunset)
I stuck this on my Posterous bolg on Thursday, but thinking about it, I felt it belonged here. So I'm cross-posting... [I can't really work out what to use Posterous for. If I didn't have LJ, Posterous would make sense, but I do... I have a Posterous account because a project I was collaborating on had a Posterous site, and I need to log in!]

I spend a couple of hours at Tate Liverpool today. It is over a decade since I last visited.

It is a great gallery: a wonderful building, and a very good size - there's a lot there, but you can cover it all in an hour and a half or so.

There were two exhibitions on: Touched, part of the Liverpool Biennial, and displays from the permanent collections - three different views, each curated by a different artist - Carol Ann Duffy, Wayne Hemingway, and Michael Craig Martin.

I wasn't too impressed by the quality of the art in Touched - but it really made me think, which I guess means it worked, at least on some level. I didn't like the art, but instead I liked the ideas. Is the art the artefact or the idea?

There were two pieces - both installations - that grabbed my attention. One, by Eva Kot'atkova (I hope I got that right!) was all about stories we tell: it was called "Stories from the Living Room". Everywhere I go, stories and the ongoing narrative seem to dominate. Yesterday I ran a workshop for a client to establish the story for an individual customer - that was their language, not mine. Narrative seems to be the driving idea - the narrative, even - for our time.

The other piece I liked was by Jamie Isentein. "Empire of Fire" featured lighted candles, safety equipment, and the set of Jean-Paul Sartre's stage play "No Exit". And Ms Isenstein's hand. It was full of humour, but really disturbing - positively spooky.

The curated displays from the permanent collection were full of school visits. Loud, but not unruly - they were very well behaved. Carl Andre's "144 Magnesium Squares" was surrounded by kids. Most pieces were protected by signs prohibiting use touching or markers to make us keep our distance; not the Andre. But no one went too close: it was surrounded by kids keeping their distance. This was strange. I asked one of the many Tate staff if one could walk on it, and he said yes - he was amused by the way no one dared step onto the metallic squares. So I did - to the horror of the schoolkids. Suddenly I, rather than the art, took their attention. It felt like I was participating in the art.

The permanent collection has pieces from many of my favourite artists - Richard Long (two pieces on display - a word-piece and a slate circle), Anthony Gormley, lots of Picasso, Donald Judd. It was wonderful walking around looking at these works. Magic.
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
We went to see “Exposed” at Tate Modern recently, an exhibition of photographs and videos exploring photography’s relationships with voyeurism and surveillance. I found it a strange exhibition, lacking in cohesion: few of the photographs seemed worthy of exhibiting, and those were from early in the development of photography. Given the large numbers of photographers and photographs which could have been included, the omissions seemed critical.

Photography is necessarily voyeuristic. Looking through a camera – particularly older cameras – is like looking through a window. Since photography was invented, it has been used to capture candid scenes, with or without the subjects knowledge or involvement.

In “Rear Window”, Hitchcock probably said more about the relationship between photography, the photographer and their subjects than this show did: the desire to frame the world, to record others’ behaviour; to catch an image. (And, in “Rear Window”, a criminal.) And of course, in the movie, the audience are themselves acting as voyeurs.

And so was the audience at this show. A surprising number of people looking at the pictures on the wall had cameras strung around their necks, as if they were about to contribute to it. One exhibit incorporated an image of the viewers watching it (superimposed on an archive photographs of a lynch mob in the southern USA).

This show did raise serious issues: the extent to which the viewer is complicit in the photographer’s action; whether a photographer is responsible for what they see, and whether a subject’s willingness to participate removes the photographer’s responsibility; when does a photograph become one of the people instead of the environment; are there things which shouldn’t be photographed? And so on, and on.

It is of course an interesting subject. But, for me, the issues weren’t fully explored, and were weakened by the frankly poor quality of the pictures themselves. Artistically, they were lacklustre: the images didn’t have the power, as photographs, to convey the complex ideas the curators were projecting onto them. There were more interesting pictures by the photographers – why the particular images were chosen by the curator wasn’t clear.

The more modern works left me cold: too knowing, perhaps too conceptual. There was a very entertaining video of an artist’s dialogue with a surveillance camera (he held up signs asking questions; the camera nodded or shook its “head” in response) [sorry – I can’t remember the artist!], and the discourse on the role of the security forces and military was interesting. The role of the media – and even the internet (tagging of pictures on flickr and Facebook, for instance) – was barely covered (apart from a look at celebrities); whilst the whole exhibition was about privacy, it didn’t really seem like it was actually examined.

There was no examination of the extent to which everyone’s snaps – our holiday pictures, pictures of our children, for example – are intrusive, whatever the subjects’ complicity. An examination of how our attitudes to voyeurism and privacy have changed since the advent of photography would have been interesting, too. Now that everyone’s pictures sit on the web and we move through cities under the ever-watchful panopticon of CCTV, do we perceive the public and the private differently?

Almost uniformly, the subjects weren’t smiling; indeed, they looked pretty miserable. This is understandable in some cases – many of the pictures examined the living conditions imposed by poverty, for instance – but it was most marked in Nan Goldin’s pictures of New York’s social scene in bars and parties. Shown as a slide show, these hundreds of images featured willing participants who mostly looked bored or miserable. That is probably the point: the opposite of fun. But generally, people smile; I go to bars, I take photographs at parties: people smile.

But not in New York. And not in “Exposed”.
rhythmaning: (Default)
I am aware I haven’t been writing on LJ much recently. It’s nothing personal, but I do think it would be healthy to write some more. I often have a running list of things won’t to write about, so maybe I should by catching up a bit… Also because I want to show off my photographs! (Why else do I post?)

Back in January, I saw the Alyn Cosker quartet play in London. I meant to write about it at the time, but it got lost in a trip away; and also – well, it was good, but really not my kind of music. It is harder to write about things I don’t like so much (but maybe a useful trick).

I know Cosker from his work with Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Tommy Smith; he can be a very loud brash drummer, but he can also be very gentle and delicate, too – a rare mix.

His own music is strictly jazz fusion – the bits fused being rock-funk. He plays in complex time signatures, with great energy – there wasn’t so much of the thoughtful, gentle Cosker here.

He featured Seamus Blake on saxophone – another forceful, muscular player. It sounded to me like he was playing what he would have played in any other setting – as if there wasn’t a natural fit to their music.

Mike Janisch was on bass – both electric and acoustic. I much preferred the sound of his acoustic playing – acoustic bass just seems so much more subtle.

DSC_1861 (49) DSC_1834 (22) DSC_1837 (25)

DSC_1850 (38) DSC_1824 (12) cut

DSC_1819 (7)


cut for length; and pictures! )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
After the Saatchi Gallery, I hopped on the bus to Tate Britain. They don’t let you take pictures inside (though I will admit that hasn’t stopped me before…), but they have some art outside too: an installation by Martin Creed.

“Everything Is Going To Be Alright” might not be true, but it brightened up a gloomy London evening.

DSC_1965



I then walked from Tate Britain along the Embankment, looking at the lights.

DSC_1988

DSC_1984 DSC_1997

DSC_2003



I haven’t tried taking photos at night much before, but London last weekend seemed quite beautiful; I should experiment some more.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Last weekend, I spent an hour or so at the new Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. I say new Saatchi Gallery because the last time I went to the Saatchi Gallery it was a rather excellent space in Boundary Road, between Swiss Cottage and St John’s Wood. In the time since then – at least fifteen years – the gallery has moved twice, and grown greatly.

In the gallery in Boundary Road was one of my favourite artworks: a room full of oil. It smelled awful, but it looked beautiful: completely flat, black and incredibly reflective. You could walk out on a gantry over the oil, and down some steps into the oil – protected by steel walls, but below the surface. Walking into the reflection, the surface of the oil at eye level. It was a remarkable experience.

I was really, really pleased to find out the installation was in the new gallery, too – presumably it moved to County Hall and now into the new space. (I wonder if it is the same oil?) I also now know what it is called – 20:50 – by Richard Wilson.

The Saatchi Gallery is happy to have anyone take photographs of its artworks. So I did…

DSC_1918

DSC_1916

DSC_1951



Of course, I looked at the other work in the gallery as well. There is a large display of art from India at them moment, most of which consists of paintings, and since photographs can’t add anything, I didn’t take any pictures; but I did like these two works by Subodh Gupta.

DSC_1921

DSC_1928

DSC_1929

DSC_1927 DSC_1926



There were also some sculptures in glass from, I believe, a Mexican artist, Koehi Naura.

DSC_1937 DSC_1939

DSC_1935 DSC_1934

DSC_1932



I didn’t write down who created this giant piece of sculpture, but I loved the vista through the door.

DSC_1947



The Saatchi Gallery is a large space – and even filled with work that didn’t grab me, the space is wonderful. I can see myself going back frequently. If that is what advertising pays for, I think I rather approve.

Statues

Jul. 8th, 2009 07:25 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
By chance, I have found myself around Trafalgar Square several times this week, and I have seen four different people on the plinth.

So far I have seen
  • a guy who was crouched down, as if he were sketching on the plinth, like a pavement artist; this could have been ironic;
  • a guy who was protesting how tax avoidance in the UK hurt people abroad - I think through a lack of funds for overseas aid (I wasn't hanging around for the details). This got a little more interesting when he was heckled (a lot of people seemed to be mumbling that they shouldn't be giving to overseas aid anyway - I should really have tackled that at source) - and the heckler tried to lob a bottle of water at him. The guy on the plinth had a good line in banter and coped with that very well
  • a guy who had his right arm up a large glove puppet, and was performing to the crowd; I couldn't hear whether he was any good or not.


I have no idea what the fourth person was, or what she was doing - at least, I hope she was a she.

I don't believe any of what they were doing was art, nor frankly that they deserved to be on the plinth. But of course that isn't the idea: what they do isn't necessarily art (though I do hope there are maybe some more interesting performers who do create art of some form) - I guess perhaps the pavement artist was creating something for the other plinth-stander (and actually, I really like that idea!) - but that isn't the point.

The artistry comes in Anthony Gormley's idea of throwing the plinth open: after years of creating art from his own body, now he is creating art from others, live on the plinth.

Personally, I think I'd have preferred him to stick one of his own sculptures up there, but perhaps I will in time warm to the plinth.

DSC_0008
Gratuitous Gormley sculpture pic

rhythmaning: (sunset)
I have been to two large exhibitions recently. Back in February, I went to the Palladio show at the Royal Academy (which I briefly mentioned back then), and then this week I went to see a big exhibition on Le Corbusier at the Barbican.

I was underwhelmed by the Palladio – it didn’t grab me at all. In contrast, the Le Corbusier was fascinating: even though I prefer Palladian architecture by far, Le Corbusier worked much better as an exhibition.

Intriguingly, I think part of this might be down to the environment: the lighting in the Palladio was kept very dim, to protect centuries old documents. In contrast, the Le Corbusier was bright and accessible. It placed Le Corbusier’s buildings and ideas in context and explained why they were important.

The architectural models used to illustrate Palladian designs felt static and dead, whilst those of Le Corbusier’s buildings seemed vital and energetic (not necessarily a feeling I have of his buildings!) – this may be down to the level of the lighting.

The Barbican recreated some spaces that Le Corbusier had designed, so one could actually experience what it would have been like to inhabit them (in a rather reduced kind of a way) – a very sixties kitchen, for instance.

The Le Corbusier also made a much better use of video than the Palladio. In the exhibition itself, there was little use made of photographs or video in the Palladio: there were some frustratingly small photographs, but the only video I can remember was outside of the main body of the exhibition, with some videos made by living architects on the effect that Palladio’s designs had on them. These were the best bits of the show – the architecture came alive as these architects explored Palladio’s ideas. But they were right at the end, and by then the wish to explore with them had long since gone.

In contrast, the Le Corbusier exhibition made use of a lot of photographs and videos. We saw his designs being built in different parts of the world. We were able to walk through his buildings via videos. (This could have been done with Palladio too – the curators just lacked the means or imagination.) The precious documents included in the show were only seen as slides, which meant the whole thing could be bright, and the details could be seen – if only the Royal Academy had done that!

Both Palladio and Le Corbusier produced designs which were never built. Le Corbusier developed plans for the centre of Paris which would have required knocking down several blocks north of Ile St Louis, replacing the palais and grand buildings with huge tower blocks. I actually gasped when I saw the plans, and then burst into laughter – it seemed so absurd. He also planned a long strip-tower block for (I think) Algiers, a multi-storey block miles long. It looked like a great idea, but an awful actuality – and it reminded me that while Le Corbusier’s idea were interesting, and the buildings he built were fascinating, his influence resulted some of the worst of 20th century social buildings: tall towers, box constructions, anonymous and impersonal urban landscapes – buildings like the infamous Byker Wall, the towers in Glasgow’s Gorbals, the centre of Cumbernauld (a new town that aged prematurely) and throughout Britain.

The ideas might have been interesting, but they were interpreted too strictly, with insufficient investment and fast and shoddy work; they didn’t last – though some, like the Trellick Tower are now highly regarded.

But even here, the Le Corbusier succeeded: they had a section showing these buildings, including emphasising the link between Le Corbusier and the Barbican itself - whilst no mention had been made of the Palladian Royal Academy building, nor any of the Georgian buildings based on his ideas and cherished throughout Britain.

Generally, I’d say I much prefer Palladio’s influence (although Le Corbusier started out as an architect in the classical tradition) – the Georgian splendour of both Bath and Edinburgh, and the beauty of Palladio’s buildings in Venice; but in terms of exhibitions, Le Corbusier won out easily.

Landform

Apr. 11th, 2009 06:08 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Back in February, when we had a week of hard frosts and then several days of snow, I repeatedly visited the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art - to see the patterns the weather had made of Landform, the large earthworks by Charles Jencks in front of the gallery. I love that sculpture - it is a wonderful shape.

I also walked through the Dean graveyard to get there.

DSC_0004

DSC_0035 DSC_0002 DSC_0036

DSC_0022 DSC_0018

DSC_0040 DSC_0043 DSC_0046

rhythmaning: (sunset)
The day after the memorial celebration [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap and I spent wandering around Oxford. She had been staying with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart and I met them in Broad Street, being dragged down the road until I saw one of Anthony Gormley’s sculptures balanced precariously on the corner of the roof of Blackwell’s art shop. Although not one of his series Event Horizon, it could have been: a human figure perched on the roof. It is very disturbing – a figure, silhouetted, stock still, almost as if waiting to fall. It is unnerving.

DSC_0071

DSC_0073


Read more... )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
The day after the memorial celebration [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap and I spent wandering around Oxford. She had been staying with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart and I met them in Broad Street, being dragged down the road until I saw one of Anthony Gormley’s sculptures balanced precariously on the corner of the roof of Blackwell’s art shop. Although not one of his series Event Horizon, it could have been: a human figure perched on the roof. It is very disturbing – a figure, silhouetted, stock still, almost as if waiting to fall. It is unnerving.

DSC_0071

DSC_0073


Read more... )

Profile

rhythmaning: (Default)
rhythmaning

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 24th, 2017 11:03 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios