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Just great to look at in and a beautiful setting against a white cliff.

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Just returned from a long weekend in St Helens and Liverpool.  Had a whistle-stop tour of some of the sites.  Started with the uncovered Minton tile floor in St George’s Hall which I’d not seen for a very long time.  Good to see that they are trying to raise funds for more statues of inspirational women from the region to join the gentry already there.  Also, didn’t realise that William Gladstone, 4 times Prime Minister, was born in Liverpool.  Then wandered past a castle in Williamson Square made of cardboard to hear a passer-by say “I don’t see the point of it and it’s not straight.”  Quite.  But it was built by volunteers (6 structures across the region) and had only appeared the day before, awaiting a toppling on Sunday.  On to the Bluecoat under an avenue of umbrellas (installed in 2017 to raise awareness of ADHD) and into the gallery.  Silke Otto-Knapp’s panels of figures in groups were impressive and Abbas Akhavan’s recreation of an ancient sculpture’s feet,  half man, half lion.  Then on past a magnificent cat chasing rats at the Albert Dock who were put there for the Tall Ships Regatta in May and have remained.  And finally into the Tate Liverpool to see Egon Schiele which was excellent with a few Biennial installations.  I have no idea if they were all part of the Biennial or random goings on in Liverpool.  But all made for an entertaining morning.

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Visited Serpentine Galleries to see Sondra Perry: Typhoon coming on (ends 20th May) and Ian Cheng Emissaries (ends 28th May).   Both use video with different results.  Central to Perry’s exhibit is her reinterpretation of Turner’s paining Slave Ship which depicts a sea with dead or dying slaves thrown in by slavers.  She has turned this into a video of paint churning, the colours taken from the Turner painting to depict the horror.  The screens change to a rather beautiful purple ocean that is equally powerful.  Cheng’s exhibition did not work so well.  One room had inoperative screens, another just a blob that had yet to develop – it changes throughout the day but unfortunately was inert when we arrived.  The one room with anything to see had an AI creature moving about a bleak landscape with what looked like huskies.  Strangely mesmerizing but without real impact whilst Perry uses video to engage to effect.

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Sondra Perry

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Do Ho Su’s exhibition at the Victoria Miro gallery in Islington is something special.  It features fabric sculptures with a walk through series of rooms with incredible detail.  The colours are vibrant, the detail stitched into door handles, light switches etc is fantastic. Everywhere you turn is a new detail. Don’t forget to go the upstairs room to watch the video taken by attaching cameras to his daughter’s push chair trundling through Islington and Seoul.  The floor sweeps away from you as you watch the scenes around you.  I have not seen the public smiling so much in a London exhibition.  It closes on 18th March but get there before lunchtime to avoid queuing.

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Leighton House is an unusual and small museum.  The house belonged to the Victorian painter Lord Leighton.  There is a very surprising Arabian Hall with water features and turquoise tiles.  We were there to see an exhibition, paintings of the Somme by Hughie Donoghue,  which was marvellous but it has now finished.  The museum is quite far from a tube so try to visit when you are in the area.

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A Curious Turn

Wandering down the King’s Road after the Saatchi we saw an ad in the window of Habitat for A Curious Turn, moving, mechanical sculpture.  The show is in the Platform Gallery on the top floor and is a small but entertaining exhibition where you can turn handles and watch creatures dancing or a donkey draw on an easel.  On until 2nd October.

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Rabbits

Just cute. Stroll on Hampstead Heath and lots of them by Kenwood House (and a woodpecker) just quietly going about their business with lots of people milling about.  Taking photos just shows how little I see of real countryside nowadays.

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