Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

Only one day left to visit Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon at the National Portrait Gallery in London!

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Video: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Take a glance at exhibition’s review and photo gallery here:

https://artbabel-london.com/2015/03/15/alexander-mcqueens-savage-beauty/

Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan

Souzu: Outsider Art From Japan

28 March – 30 June

Wellcome Collection – London

A new challenge for art curators and spectators:  the spring Wellcome Collection exhibition shows art works from people with disabilities. A unique collection created by 46 Japanese artists living in social welfare facilities.

Souzu is a Japanese word which means creation and imagination at the same time. Both meanings allude to a ‘force’  by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world

The exhibition brings together different art works such as drawings, ceramics and textiles to demonstrate that disability could be a huge incentive  for creativity.The aim is to explore the process of making through different six sections which are: Language, Making, Representation, Relationships, Culture, Possibilities. 

The Language section explores the artists’ ability to convey their thoughts and feelings by visual art, as verbal and written communication is challenging or impossible for them. Works range from Takanori Herai’s diary with black and white hieroglyphics to Toshiko Yamanishi’s multi coloured love letters for his mother, in which she expresses her love with bright polychromes.

Making part of the exhibition is characterized by massive use of unconventional materials. From Komei Bekki ceramic art works to the army of little soldiers created by Shota Katsube and styled out of the twist-ties used to fasten food.

The subjects in Representation section are taken from artists’ daily life. M. K. drawings on cardboards are irreverent mockeries of advertising billboards with, for example, naked models while Satoshi Nishikawa creates huge fruits aggregating small ceramic rabbits.

Relationships is the section dedicated to the people loved by the artists. Here the spectator can admire Sakiko Kono’s cotton dolls, representing staff and friends who have been kind to her in the residential facility and Masao Obata’s red drawings on cardboard, representing beautiful and naked women.

In Culture  artists take inspiration for pop culture. In fact in this section bright movies’ posters and paper cartoon figurines are displayed. Ryosuke Otsuji ceramic Okinawan Lions are appreciable because in popular Japanese culture they are thought to ward off  bad spirits.

Last part of the exhibition is dedicated to Possibilities area, a place in which the visitor will find Norimitsu Kokubo’s fictional cityscapes, Shingo Ikeda’s calculation of his journeys on Tokyo subway and Shinichi Sawada’s ceramic sea-monsters and mythical demons.

In the last room of the exhibition several screens in which the spectator can admire brief interviews with some of the artists of the exhibition.

Don’t miss the chance to explore different abilities and endless resources of these unconventional artists.

Take a glance at the video to see most relevant art works displayed…

(Images courtesy of Wellcome Collection Press Office).
 

Dorothy Iannone: Innocent and Aware

Licentious and Junoesque women example of the bold expressiveness of the American artist

Camden Arts Centre

8 March – 5 May

http://www.camdenartscentre.org/whats-on/view/exh-26#12

What is the role of Art? And how is Creativity  linked to Love? These are the main questions of Dorothy Iannone: Innocent and Aware. The art exhibition dedicated to the painter, currently at the London Camden Arts Centre, brings together main works between the 1970s and 1980s, including her last designs in which she stressed her attention on Tibetan Buddhist and its vision of life and ecstasy.

In the first room of the building a retrospective on Iannone’s favourite films called Movie people is displayed. The Berlin-based artist painted wooden supports in which she combines colourful and psychedelic images of famous characters of movies like Morocco, Nabokov masterpiece’s Lolita movie interpretation, Brokeback Mountain, Les Amants, Piano, Pandora, with epigrams in which she explains the plot to the art visitor, with an undeniable retro- vintage touch.

Brokeback Mountain, 2010 from the series movie people

Dorothy Iannone’s Brokeback Mountain, 2010. Photograph: Courtesy Air de Paris

At the back of the room several wooden human shaped figures are displayed: they are famous characters and the visitor could easily recognize, for example, famous British moviemaker Charlie Chaplin, President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, and British King Henry The 8th.

Going ahead in the exhibition, the spectator can understand in depth the world of Dorothy Iannone, populated by feminine figures. Plump Women seem like ‘enchanted’ by a promiscuous and lascivious atmosphere. They are portrayed twisted to men with blue and golden backgrounds, which remind the medieval mosaic technique.

For Iannone sexuality is joy and freedom, and along with art, the best device to overcome ‘mortality’. Art and passion are pure energy, an endless flux of vitality and attempt to overcome the transience of existence. Varied and multi cultural the inspirations for her works: from the Hindi world  to the byzantine mosaics, Iannone’s colourful vision of life is contagious and eager and involves the spectator into an unusual journey into the deepness of the complexity of love, sex and relationships.

Her style is flamboyant and eccentric: she loves mixing together funny epigrams with beautiful  women, contorted with their partners. Her works are a unique combination of text and decoration, which is an ode to free eroticism and libertinage. The artist vision of life is clearly displayed by her works: hippie dippy style and colourful eroticism scenes show her willingness to stress the pivotal role of the women in the history of the world. Subversive and odd, she reverses all the stereotypes of men and women roles, celebrating in many of her works the joy of her sexual and love relationship with the painter and poet Dieter Roth, met in 1967 in Reykjavik.

In works such as Love the stranger and Let the light from my lighthouse shine on you painting techniques and use of golden remind us Klimt artworks and Austrian artist’s obsession with strength and potentiality of eroticism. Iannone’s bodies are twisted together and bring us back to Indi Kama Sutra images and Naïve echoes.

Dorothy-Iannone

Dorothy Iannone, ‘Let The Light From My Lighthouse Shine on You’, 1981

Dorothy-Iannone 2

 Dorothy Iannone, Love the Stranger, 1981. Courtesy of the artist and Air de Paris, Paris

The next great moment in history is ours is a critique towards Western society and also an attempt to unchain all the prejudices linked to free eroticism and raise women’s awareness. It is a joyful manifesto dedicated to women’s complexity and power,  addressed to renowned women in the field of art and culture such as Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Isadora Duncan and Edith Piaf.

The Next Great Moment In History Is Ours, 1970

The Next Great Moment in History Is Ours, 1970 Photograph: courtesy Air de Paris, Paris

The exhibition closes with a huge sheet in which Iannone painted her entire life, once again combining funny and explicit erotic images with brief tales and private anecdotes. Regardless conventions and common censorship, her art is pure and free expression of ecstatic and original creativity, released from prejudices.

Despite the massive concentration on eroticism and sex scenes, which helped her to gain the nickname of ‘Bad Girl’, it is clear the importance of art as a powerful device of consolation. ‘Painting’ is a kind of ‘rescue’ for Iannone. As the artist states the creativity helps her to overcome sadness, ‘Art is the world I have created which never lets me down, a world which I can return again and again and smile, and be immortal’.

Review: Death: A Self-Portrait

A bold art collection about death, assembled by the American collector Richard Harris

Wellcome Collection

15 November 2012 – 24 February 2013

http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/death-a-self-portrait.aspx

A visual collection, which ranges from ephemera to photographs, sculptures and paintings, covering almost 300 years, is currently displayed at the Londoner Wellcome Collection. From the Japanese Floating world of Ukiyo-e to the Buddhist Okimono and humanised skeleton of Mexico’s Day of The Dead, the spectator is drawn to an unusual and spectacular journey into the macabre and sublime side of the death. None want to talk about death, but anyway everybody has to face it. Death: a Self-Portrait’s deals with the concept of death to discover how different cultures exorcise the end of life.

The exhibition offers a complete and exhaustive collection of rare pieces of art. Divided in different themed rooms, different topics are displayed like the medieval Dance of Death and the fecund bond between art and eroticism. The advertising picture of the art exhibition represents a white skull with a couple of lovers kissing, strong and controversial example of Freudian’s concept of Eros and Thanatos.

well-la-vie-et-la-mort

The collection opens with an oriental Okimono Curios snake exploring a skull, representing a skull encircled by a snake. This decorative object embodies the Buddhist vision of the on-going existence of the spirit, which is built on the idea of the reincarnation of the soul in new states of being.

skullsnake

Ahead in the exhibition, we find Japanese Ukiyo-e (Floating World) Frolicking Skeletons. This artwork represents a range of skeletons indulging in different sensual pleasures. One is playing an instrument; another one is simply relaxing, showing the deep dichotomy between the inexorability of death and life’s evanescence and beauty.

Frolicking Skeletons by Kawanabe Kyosai

It is not a coincidence that in the last room of the exhibition is displayed Are you still mad at me? (2001). John Isaacs’ sculpture represents a wounded and lacerated human body. A torn body which obliges us to face the most painful and darkest side of death.

madatme

The art collector, Richard Harris, explains that he was attracted by the versatility of this theme. As he states, death is removed from our collective conscious but anthropological studies demonstrate that every culture has to face it. His aim was to collect ‘A body of work that would chronologically and culturally capture the essence of Death through its iconography, from masterpieces of fine art to the incidental.’

Death: A Self-Portrait is a unique and bizarre collection of art, which epitomizes the human urge of sublimate death in creative artworks. From the Putto blowing bubbles, symbols of the transience of life, to the white bones made Chandelier, over decades artists demonstrate that towards death the strongest reaction is the powerful creation of the art. In truth, the focal point of the whole collection is the endless human attempt to ‘overcome’ death with creativity.

(Photographs courtesy of Wellcome Collection Press Office).