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Reasons why you should go to the British Museum

19 Jul

Yesterday, we went to visit the British Museum and saw spectacular pieces of history. In particular we found the Ancient Egypt and Japanese areas to be the most intriguing and exciting (and not just because of the air conditioning!).

Here are a few reasons why you should to the British Museum over the summer:

  • You get to see a real live mummies

Need I say more? It’s crazy to think that the artifacts that you see are thousands of years old and contain a dead body inside.

The mummy of Cleopatra- Cleopatra was only seventeen years old when she died.

The mummy of Cleopatra- Cleopatra was only seventeen years old when she died.

Some of the tombs that the mummies are in have spells inscribed to “activate” the mummies.

Some of the tombs that the mummies are in have spells inscribed to “activate” the mummies.

 

  • You learn things that you wouldn’t normally learn in history at school

In the Japan area there was a reconstructed teahouse that was made to look like one from Japan. It was beautifully designed; it had a great structure and looked really authentic.

Tea ceremonies were conducted in teahouses like this one. There were schools dedicated to learning the art of the ea ceremony.

Tea ceremonies were conducted in teahouses like this one. There were schools dedicated to learning the art of the ea ceremony.

  • You can also find out more about things that are popular today

You don’t just learn about history, but also about current information on the different countries, that you probably wouldn’t know about. There was a section about the origins of manga, which is extremely popular in today’s society. It was fascinating to find out more about a subject that attracts many people.

Here is a volume of manga from 1928

Here is a volume of manga from 1928

Overall, if you are free this summer, have no money to do anything eccentric and want to learn more; the British Museum is the perfect place to visit.

By Louisa, Rubel & Steffi

 

Wayward at the Hayward

15 Jul

Have you ever sat there wondering about how the universe works, why the world we live in is the way that it is or just questioned some of the views we get taught in school science lessons?

The Hayward Gallery on the Southbank has an awesome new exhibition bringing eccentric artists, visionaries and geniuses from around the country to offer us an ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE 

 The Exhibition focuses on individuals who develop their ideas outside of university and established disciplines. The ideas is to inspire and challenge the accepted ways of thinking in order to re-imagine the rules of culture and science.  The Hayward is an art gallery but this exhibition has work made from a wide range of forms and materials, it includes epic paintings of alternative calendars as well as obsessively detailed drawings of the human nervous system; scientific charts and fantastical engineering plans; functioning robots and blueprints for cities of the future and the evolution of human consciousness.

Several photographers in the exhibition, meanwhile, explore fictional identities and alter egos, including a homeless artist from Chicago whose theatrical photo-booth self-portraits.

Taken together, the speculative visions in Alternative Guide to the Universe rival the wildest inventions of science fiction – with the difference that these artists actually believe in the validity and veracity of all that they describe and propose.  Whether speculating on mysteries of time and space or charting the unseen energy flows of our bodies and minds, their imaginative creations invite the viewer into a universe where ingenuity trumps received wisdom.

“These brilliant mavericks expand the spaces in which our own imaginative thinking about the world may venture,” says Hayward Gallery Director Ralph Rugoff. “However farfetched or outlandish it may seem, their work possesses an intensity and bracing originality that gives it a compelling reality all its own. It invites us to think outside of our conventional categories and ultimately to question our definitions of ‘normal’ art and science.”

 

Here’s a few of the artists that sound great!  Marcel Storr’s delicately intricate drawings (which he believed would provide a blueprint for re-building Paris after a nuclear attack), or measured in the gorgeous cosmological diagrams and numerical calculations of Alfred Jensen. Underground street artist Rammellzee fashioned his ‘Letter Racers’ as part of a campaign to liberate the alphabet from the strictures of Western civilization.Karl Hans Janke sought out ways of producing unlimited energy.

Review to follow

The Alternative Guide to the Universe

Hayward Gallery, 11 June – 26 August 2013

Visitor information and tickets: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

 

Bauhaus – fresh ideas from the past

9 Jul

I LOVED this exhibition. GO. I’d heard of the Bauhaus as a super German art school who’d produced Kandinsky, Klee and influenced generation but I never expected to be so blown away by the FRESHNESS of the ideas 80 years on.

In essence Bauhaus were brilliant because the teaching was designed to help artists get into the right frame of mind to be really, genuinely, creative. Initially ( early 1920’s after the 1st WW ) they focused on craft but built relaxation, and exercise into their teaching model. They mixed students with expert technicians and set them briefs like ” rhythm ” and ” contrast ” as well as making sure they knew how to draw and paint to a high standard.

They saw play as a way of helping people find their creative ideas and experimentation was encouraged.

Fabric, architecture, fonts and furniture were seen through the same lens as more traditionally fine art disciplines like sculpture and painting and they made some ‘Zines that look so good it’s mind blowing.

In the 30’s as The Bauhaus got bigger, selling fabrics and furniture to the public and after received funding they set up in a bespoke modernist building, in itself a work of art. Students and masters worked, played and partied together and there are some beautiful, relaxed photos of tutors taken by students that would of been un heard of during my degree ( you were SCARED of tutors ). The parties sound AWESOME, the metal party involved everyone covering themselves in im foil and entering the party down a metal shute… and when i say everyone i mean experimental performance artists, architects and artists… can you imagine the costumes?

What strikes me int he lower rooms is the genuine sense of excitement at being part of this amazing institution at this incredible point in time. There were women in the college too and not just as models… i wonder how many women went to art college in England in the 30s’?

As you come to the end of the downstairs exhibition ( and the 30’s ) advertising and more commerical briefs have been introduced to the students work and there’s more re invention with collages using magazines ( Think Metropolis ), experimental photography and prints.

With the country’s finances in tatters and war on the horizon the school finally breaks up with founding teachers leaving the Bauhaus as an architectural institute with little or no government funding. As I exit the gallery I can’t help thinking what would of happened if Bauhaus had continued at the heady peak of it’s heyday? What would the world look like……

Where : Barbican

When : till 12th August

How much : 2 – 4 -1 with Barbican Freeb

Gallery Admission Prices & Opening Hours
Art Gallery
Standard: £10 online/ £12 on the door
Concessions: £7 online/ £8 on the door
School groups of 10 or more (primary, secondary and sixth form up to age 19): £6
13 – 17s yrs: £6 online/ £7 on the door
Children aged 12 and under: Free

Ballgowns – a touch of class

18 Jun

Nothing to do on Friday and fancy some girly entertainment? Turn off TOWIE and head to the V&A’s newly renovated Fashion Galleries with an exhibition of beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening dresses and catwalk showstoppers.

The exhibition covers British glamour, ballgowns and Eveningwear from classic old school designers including Norman Hartnell, seventies big gun Zandra Rhodes, and contemporaries like Alexander McQueen dressing Royalty and Red carpet royalty for sixty years.

The first thing you notice as you wander round is that we just don’t have enough OCCASIONS anymore. I don’t know about you but I don’t own any broaches, evening gloves or anything made of diaphanous chiffon and if I did I wouldn’t have anywhere to wear it. When you look at the beautiful dresses you long, just for a second to swish your way into a ballroom. In fact as we walked round I think I started to stand up straighter and walk with a more elegant gait.

The notion of owning a hand made, ball gown showing great craftsmanship and made of heavy, quality materials is a really alien in these days of Primark. Whilst there’s a big dose of elitism attached to these beautiful objects ( a years wages for the average Joe AT LEAST ) there is also an air of true elegance that makes you long for the poise and grace that must of gone with being corset-ted to the eye balls.

The new mezzanine level is beautiful and the gallery space is a great place to wonder round. Outside the exhibition The Stylist were camping out, there’s an awesome shop and a pop up bar with cocktails not to mention the rooms and rooms of free exhibitions ( including jewellery if you’ve got the stamina )

In conclusion I’m going to practice my air of feminine mystic and sign up to some of the awesome sounding summer program in the hope that if I can’t borrow one of the gowns, I could attempt to make one.

 

Where : V & A, Gloucester Rd is the nearest tube ( West London! )

When: Till Jan 2013

How much: £7 for students

Summer program : scroll down, you have to pay but it’s GOOD

Land of Kings

3 May

We all know Dalston is a happening place but now you can sample the best of the area over the bank holiday weekend thanks to Land Of Kings.

The topline : The Dalston double-header returns // Friday 4th – Saturday 5th May 2012 // 15 venues // 2 nights // 1 wristband

The highlights : When else can you access the Dalston Roof Garden, The Vortex & Alibi all with new and interesting bands / acts.

Oh and check out the trendy crowd of 20 somethings

Book your tickets HERE or turn up and try your luck on the door

 

I can feel your smile

21 Jul

Firstly a retrospective in the Hayward is a big deal, but then Tracey has been up for a Turner and had a leading role in Saatchi’s  Brit Art movement so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

“the girl went out like a 40 watt light bulb”

Then again Emin has always seemed to be an outsider, from her dirty bed and tent ‘everyone i have ever slept with’ to her pissed up performance on TV commentating on the Tate she always seemed to be making a scene.

What’s a whole gallery of her work going to be like?

Firstly let me say I used to HATE Tracey Emin I just didn’t get how she used her sexuality, calling herself a slag and talking about her abortions.  I wasn’t a slag, I hadn’t had gonorrhea, i didn’t think that having a c*nt was the most interesting thing about me and i thought that art should be, well, visually appealing. I also loved painting. I still love painting but i now love Tracey Emin too so what changed?

” I never liked school i was always late ”

Me probably. Where before i only saw the hate, anger and negativity in her work ( and her work is anchored in the most negative, human, dark spots of her life that seem to force her creativity ) I started to notice the love love love and the humor and the detail. She hand stitched hard words into her patchwork quilts.

“there’s no one in the room who hasn’t thought about killing”

She makes etchings ( a laborious process ) of rough masturbating line drawings and she tells beautiful stories. God she uses words with such beauty I will forgive her for making me look at her used tampons.

Emin do’s and don’ts

Do look for the beauty and the detail in her work

Do watch ALL the videos. Just do it. Wait because she takes you on a journey and one of them ( The reason i never became a dancer ) made me cry

Don’t expect to look at beautiful art objects or great paintings ( although I do really like some of her paintings )

Don’t be freaked out by all the abortion stuff or the fact that it’s £12 to get in – it’s worth it

Do go straight to the book shop and buy her book ‘Strangeland’

So, an acquired taste – definitely, but if you can get over the surface sense of annoyance that you’re not served good looking art objects the beautiful raw humanness of her work and the emotional  integrity will make you want to find her and buy her a drink or 4.

HIGH FASHION FOR HALF PRICE

29 Jan

Emily Grace ( my MOST fashionable friend ) invited me to Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at The Barbican. Not my normal choice of exhibition ( You could write what I know about Japaneese fashion on the back of a postage stamp ) but with Freeb’s Monday 2 for 1 offer it’s a lot easier to go and explore an event that you don’t know much about for half the price.

What i know about Japanese fashion – The Kimono ( of which there are none in this exhibition, but i like the image )

The outfits on the first floor seemed more like architecture than clothing. Lots of cold, hard, angluar structures ( black, black, black ) or softer, ragged shapes in neutral tones. The kimono was re constructed or referenced in complicated and intricate pieces made from a single piece of material folded and hung.

As you wandered round peeking behind hanging screens to see what next you were introduced to vivid colours and crazy materials from bedding, folded paper to gossamer acrylics.

Everehwere you looked the materials and shapes pushed your notion of fashion and clothing and in fact there very few of the clothes would make you feel or look attractive even as a size 8.

Having taken in beautiful bright red iridescent jacket and a blue dress that looked like a Christmas decoration I sat down to watched some of the VT. Now i normally skim the video in exhibitions as to be honest it’s mostly boring but i sat down to watch an interview with Rei and I finally got it – we use fashion to attract the opposite sex or communicate our standing in society. The Japanese seek to make it a living piece of art where not just creating but also wearing this clothing is a from of expression.

Now thats an exciting point of view, a piece of art that you can wear, that changes over the years communicating the creators ideas and reflecting the wearers? I’d never thought of fashion like that!

I also learnt that The french and the Japanese have a love affair i never knew about based on mutual respect and referencing such different cultures – there was something strangely sweet about this, especially as you generally get the impression that the French fancy themselves when it comes to fashion.

The work ethic of the fashion houses and the craftsmanship that goes into each item also became more apparent as i continued to watch and this added a different dimension to the clothes i’d just seen.

Time to have a look upstairs, and what a different kettle of fish! Exciting collections, brightly coloured ( Think Gwen ), interesting textures, somehow younger, more accessible and easy to grasp. Illustrations and arty magazine covers added more detail and everywhere you looked there were beautiful fashion students sketching.

I was blown away by this exhibition, the video was well worth watching and really made me think about the clothes we choose and how different cultures express themselves through fashion. There was a different pace between the upstairs and downstairs which kept the exhibition exciting and interesting and you get to be surrounded by the most ridiculously fashionable crowd.

The Barbican is one of my favourite buildings in London and whilst we sat eating an ice-cream ( it was sunny so we decided it was practically summer! ) looking out across the fountains Emily left me with another revelation ‘did you notice the shoes?’ …no I hadn’t…’apparently Japanese women can’t wear heels so all the shoes were flat’. FACT. You learn something new every day!

Exhibition runs till 6th Feb and Mondays give you those FREEB half price tickets. I recommend you check it out.

Lucy