Blog Archives

Sculpture In The City 2018/2019: Contemporary art lights up the Square Mile

A wall of colour amongst the green: The London Mastaba on the Serpentine

Photo Friday: Tracey Emin’s ‘I Want My Time With You’ at St Pancras

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Tracey Emin’s ‘I Want My Time With You’ at St Pancras International

It’s been a while since my last ‘Photo Friday’ post… admittedly the least time-consuming and the easier posts to write. This isn’t the first time St Pancras has been the focus of a such a post either. This week, I finally got to have a closer look at Tracey Emin’s new-ish art at St Pancras International station, which was unveiled in April 2018. Suspended from the famous Barlow trainshed roof, are the words ‘I Want My Time With You’ in pink lights (LED, not neon due to health and safety). Emin said the message is a love letter to Europe ahead of impending Brexit, which has divided the UK. While art critics have been non-plussed, I like the message and am a fan of neon-esque writing in general so it’s a hit with me. I also didn’t realise until I saw my photos on my laptop that you can see the iconic clocktower of St Pancras peeking through the glass roof.

  • ‘I Want My Time With You’ by Tracey Emin is on the upper concourse of St Pancras International, Euston Road, Kings Cross, N1C 4QP. Nearest station: Kings Cross St Pancras.

To find out about the nearby Sir John Betjeman sculpture, click here.

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Turner’s House: Follow in artist JMW Turner’s footsteps at his Twickenham retreat

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Turner’s House, aka Sandycombe Lodge, was built to the artist’s designs in 1813

Twickenham is home to some famous former stately homes, such as Marble Hill House and Strawberry Hill. However, there’s a rather less grand, but equally important building that recently been restored to its original Georgian splendour – Turner’s House.

Otherwise known as Sandycombe Lodge, Turner’s House is the Grade II-listed former home of one of Britain’s greatest artists, J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). In his teens/early adult life, he briefly considered becoming an architect with his Twickenham home the only one of his building designs realised in bricks and mortar. Having opened last year following an extensive renovation and restoration project, what’s left of Turner’s garden has now been completed for the spring, full of green grass and flowers to complement the stunning architecture. I went along last week with some fellow Londoner bloggers for a special tour of Turner’s country retreat.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The stunning staircase is one of the house’s most striking features

In the early 19th century, Twickenham wasn’t a part of London but the open countryside. It had become a popular spot for the wealthy to build riverside abodes as a retreat from the bustling city. While born and bred Londoner Turner had a home and studio in the capital, he desperately sought an escape from the pressure of city life. In 1807, he purchased two plots of land in between Twickenham and Richmond and started designing his dream home in a cottage style. Finally, his plans were realised in 1813 and Turner moved in his beloved father, ‘Old William’ Turner (1745–1829), who had retired as a barber and wigmaker. Old William acted as housekeeper and tended what was then 3 acres of garden. The house was relatively modest, just two bedrooms upstairs – a large main overlooking the garden and the River Thames in the distance, and a smaller bedroom in the front. Downstairs, the ground floor featured a main living room, a dining room and small parlour, with a kitchen and further smaller rooms in the lower ground. Although Turner didn’t paint at the house, he did sketch and spent time fishing and strolling along the Thames and occasionally entertaining friends. One famous pal to visit was the Regency architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837), with his influence in the design of Sandycombe Lodge clearly visible in the hallway and staircase.

Turner sold the house in 1826 to a neighbour Joseph Todd, who extended it and rented it out. Turner’s garden was dramatically shrunk in the 1880s after the nearby opening of St Margaret’s railway station saw the area transforming into a more built-up commuter suburb of London. The house remained a residential home until World War II, when it was converted into a ‘shadow factory’ to make goggles. It was during this period, the house really began to deteriorate. However, a saviour came in Professor Harold Livermore (1914-2010), who bought the house in 1947. He was particularly proud of its history and campaigned for its Grade II listed status in the 1950s. Following Prof Livermore’s death in 2010, he gifted the house to the Turner’s House Trust with the provision it should be enjoyed by the nation.  Read the rest of this entry

Street art meets conservation in Louis Masai’s new exhibition Missing

© Louis Masai

Louis Masai painting his yellow legged frog in downtown Los Angeles
© Louis Masai

A new exhibition is coming to London which blends art and awareness. British artist Louis Masai is showcasing his latest collection which depicts endangered animals. Each piece will focus on a specific continent by depicting an animal from the region whose future is in doubt amidst fears they could vanish from our planet.

Masai is known for his patchwork animals, which are created for both canvases and exterior walls. The artist uses paint, sculpting and murals to express himself and highlight the 6th mass extinction and climate change. The choice of patchwork is significant as it implores humans to pay more attention and take action to fix the planet instead of tearing it apart.

The new exhibition, ‘Missing’ follows on from Masai’s 2016 tour of the USA, ‘The Art of Beeing’, which consisted of 20 murals of threatened species in 12 cities across nine states. Each piece from this latest exhibition features paintings created from Masai’s large murals around the world.

© Louis Masai

The endangered White Rhino from Sub Sahara Africa
© Louis Masai

‘Missing’ will be an immersive exhibition, with sounds and scents of the endangered animals’ environments replicated. An animatronic penguin on a leaking oil drum has been created specially for the show, while a painted elephant will lie surrounded by an AK47 and empty shells to remind us of the price of the Ivory trade. There will also be three different sculptures of Masai’s signature bee, which has been under threat in recent years.

Describing his new collection, Masai said: ‘Climate change is in full effect, with one of the major factors being the ‘6th Mass Extinction’. Species are becoming extinct or missing in our biodiverse world. This is a real issue that we face as humans, and as an artist, I feel it’s my duty to draw attention to this issue. Through my work I hope to remind people of the urgency we face, highlighting our place amongst creatures who are a critical part of our delicate ecosystem.’

  • Louis Masai: Missing will run from 25 – 27 May 2018 at The Crypt Gallery, Euston Road, NW1 2BA. Nearest stations: Euston or Euston Square. Open 12pm-6pm. Free entry. For more information, visit Louis Masai’s website or the Crypt Gallery website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

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‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’ comes to the Fourth Plinth

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The latest commission for the Fourth Plinth is The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

This is the 12th work to appear on the Fourth Plinth since 1998

Trafalgar Square has been given a new piece of art amongst its fountains, lions and statues following the unveiling of the latest Fourth Plinth commission. Succeeding David Shrigley’s divisive Really Good, the latest piece is a recreation of a lost ancient artefact.

Michael Rakowitz’s artwork The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist is a piece from his long-term project to recreate 7,000 objects that have been lost forever. This particular sculpture is a recreation of the Lamassu, which had guarded the Nergal Gate of Nineveh (near Mosul, Iraq). Created around 700BC, it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015, along with many other ancient artefacts and historical sites. The Lamassu is a deity featuring a human head with the body of a winged bull. Rakowitz has chosen to make his sculpture from 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans, a once thriving industry which was ravaged by the conflicts of the region. On the fountain facing side of the piece, an inscription in Cuneiform reads: ‘Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, had the inner and outer wall of Ninevah built anew and raised as high as mountains.’

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The piece is made from 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans

This is the 12th work to appear on the Fourth Plinth since the programme started in 1998. The plinth was designed as one of four by architect Sir Charles Barry when he laid out Trafalgar Square in the 1840s. It was originally scheduled to showcase an equestrian statue of King William IV, but the plan was never realised due to austerity cuts. After 150 years of remaining empty, the Fourth Plinth programme was finally conceived in the 1990s as a platform for temporary artworks.

  • The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist will remain in situ until March 2020. At the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Embankment or Leicester Square.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

One side of the sculpture features an inscription in Cuneiform

For the latest guide to what’s on in London, click here.

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Harmonics in Space by Fred Butler: Lift your spirits at this multi-layered, sensory experience

Mrs and Mr Bateman: Explore fashion, design and more at this creative new pop-up concept

Mrs and Mr Bateman is a new pop-up concept coming to Soho

Soho is known for being the home to London’s creative, fashionable and flamboyant. So the area is the perfect location for a new pop-up concept. Setting up camp for four days this April will be Mrs And Mr Bateman, an art, fashion and interiors installation. Taking over the Victorian-fronted premises of 15 Bateman Street, The Batemans will transform the space into their ‘home’ for inspiration, discussions and shopping.

Mrs and Mr Bateman (note the Mrs appears first!) is a new project from three talented women – artist Selena Beaudry, vintage fashion dealer Clemmie Myers, and interior designer Natalie Tredgett. They have created the home of the fictitious Mrs and Mr Bateman, which is open to the public.

Throughout the four-day long house-warming, there will be plenty of creative opportunities for learning and inspiration. Events such as a panel discussion on creatives and their different processes, how social media and technology can be a good or bad thing for creativity, and how other art informs their work. There will also be an immersive creative writing evening (27 April, 6.30pm-8.30pm). Parents will be able to watch their children learn new skills (28 April, 11am-2pm), including hat-making classes with milliner Jess Collett, while Clemmie will be creating a fancy dress box for fantastical fun.

Art fans will have plenty to gaze upon, with Selena creating a wall installation specially for the show. Meanwhile, artists and makers from Europe and the US will be featured, including Barrie Benson, Jess Collett, Frederike von Cranach, Phil Goss, Iva Gueorguieva, Daniel Hernandez, Marie Jacotey, John-Paul Pietrus, James Shaw, Margit Wittig, Ian Vail and Bari Ziperstein.

Fashionistas will be able to check out Clemmie’s curation of vintage clothing throughout the home. She has also customised several pieces for the installation, as well as setting up a boudoir for guests to try on the Bateman wardrobe. Throughout the home will be the striking decoration by Natalie, featuring vignettes that celebrate objects as art. She will demonstrate her signature use of colour, pattern play and an amalgamation of old and new to fit the vibe of the Batemans.

The installation will kick of with an opening party on 25 April 2018 (6.30pm-8.30pm), with a multi-sensory experience from DJ Henri.

  • Mrs and Mr Bateman is open from 25 – 28 April 2018. Open to the general public: 10am-6pm. Mrs and Mr Bateman, 15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road. Check out the Mrs and Mr Bateman website.

For a guide to what else is on in London, click here.

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Glitterbox x Jealous Gallery: New exhibition celebrates the party people

© Glitterbox

Glitterbox x Jealous Gallery launches on 13 February

Glitterbox is a huge name in clubbing culture, famous for their flamboyant and hedonistic parties in Ibiza, London and beyond. With a high glamour and inclusive vision, Glitterbox are renowned for bringing the spirit of disco to the 21st century. To mark their fifth year as they gear up for the next season in the Balearics, Glitterbox are celebrating with an exhibition of fabulous moments, music and people.

The Glitterbox experience of DJs, performers, dancers and clubbers have been captured in iconic artwork and photography over the years. Acclaimed artist and ‘Blitz Kid’ Mark Wardel will be showcasing his original work, with limited, signed prints available to purchase. Meanwhile, Glitterbox’s resident photographer Gavin Mills will be revealing never-seen-before images from five years of decadent revelry. The exhibition will also feature archive flyers, posters and graphic prints, as well as new artwork for the 2018 season.

The exhibition will span one week at the contemporary gallery, print publisher and printing studio Jealous in Shoreditch. There will also be special gallery events during the exhibition.

  • Glitterbox x Jealous Gallery runs from 13 – 19 February 2018. Open 11am-7pm. Free admission. At Jealous East, 53 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PT. Nearest station: Old Street or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit GlitterboxIbiza’s website or the Jealous Gallery website.

For a guide to what else is on in February, click here.

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Lumiere London 2018: The capital becomes a gallery of neon