Saturday, 27 September 2008

Amazing Rare Things and other Treasures

GRAYSON PERRY God Please Keep My Children Safe
from Love at The National Gallery

I'm just back from a fantastic trip to London. The exhibitions I saw were outstanding and I'll always remember my three days packed with looking at some of the greatest art in the world.

I got off the train and went straight to the National Gallery to see their Love Exhibition. A beautiful painting by one of my favourite artists, Chagall, greeted me as I walked though the door. It was a small show but really well composed. I was fascinated by two works by the Singh Twins (picture above).

The next morning I went to The Courtauld Institute at Somerset House to see the Cezanne exhibition. I loved this exhibition, a collection of fascinating letters and sketches really helped to convey the way he worked and what he was trying to achieve with his art. The rest of the Courtauld collection was amazing. One of the highlights for me was a room dedicated to the Bloomsbury Group, including pottery and furniture. I also spent a long time looking at the early religious art and I was delighted to find a work by Spinello Aretino, who worked in Arezzo in the 14th century. I'm off to Italy, staying not very far from there next month. Seeing such wonderful Italian painting made me look forward to my holiday even more!

The main reason for my trip to London was to see the Viktor and Rolf exhibition at the Barbican and the talk by Grayson Perry with his dress maker Sonja Harms. I wasn't expecting this at all, but I found the impact of Viktor and Rolf's work so powerful at one point I had tears in my eyes. The exhibition had been curated and constructed with the kind of care that Viktor and Rolf put into their designs: a six metre high white dolls house dominated the centre of the show, complete with dolls dressed in miniatures of their iconic designs.
Grayson Perry was great fun, he talked about his work, his transvestism and his life with such eloquence and intelligence. It was a real insight into his creative process, although he was keen to point out that his dresses are not his art, but a very important hobby! He brought the famous Turner Prize dress and very generously let everyone have a good look at a whole rack of his clothes. What I loved about them were all the details and trimmings. Many of them are heavily machine embroidered from his own drawings. I particularly liked the 'Artist's cloak' with intricate embroidery of the floor plan of The Met and beautiful pottery buttons.

The next day I went to the Queen's Gallery to see Amazing Rare Things, an exhibition of natural history drawings and watercolours. The exhibition started with a truly breathtaking collection of Leonardo Da Vinci drawings (his drawings of brambles were my favourite) followed by watercolours of exotic creatures, fruits and flowers. It certainly lived up to it's title and I felt so lucky be able to see such amazing, vibrant, art work from a time when people were making so many new discoveries in the natural world.

I then zipped round the Royal Mews and Buckingham Palace before catching the train back home. Can't wait to go back...



Christine H S said...

Next time you go to London can I come with you?! You obviously know the places to go / things to see. I love the Grayson Perry rabbit.

Christine H S said...

Next time you go to London can I come too?! You obviously know where to go and what to see. I love the Grayson Perry rabbit!