Dan Colen’s Sweet Liberty exhibition at Newport Street Gallery.  Never heard of him but saw a few images which made me want to get down there.  Scooby Doo looking a bit wasted, silhouettes knocked out in walls shaped like Roger Rabbit and various other characters, pictures made of chewing gum and whoopee cushions made of glass so you can never sit on them.  If you go, listen out for the tapping shoes when you exit the gallery; I didn’t know about it so missed it.  Colourful and playful.

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We missed this one out last week at 180 The Strand, Ryoji Ikeda, Test Pattern, a monochrome film 7 minutes long being projected onto (or under?) the floor.   Get there early on the Saturday (starts at 12 noon) or go mid-week to avoid long queues.  You take your shoes off to walk onto the floor and can stay as long as you want.

The Lisson Gallery has an exhibition on until 10th December 2017 at 180 The Strand marking the gallery’s 50th anniversary.  You don’t have to like it all but you will be impressed by the scale of the exhibition in the heart of London showing new and historical works by 24 artists, and will find something to interest you.  The artists include Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Richard Long, Ryan Gander and, new to me, Shirazeh Houshiary and much more.  Alongside this Store X The Vinyl Factory Presents has a brilliant work, Ruin, by Abloh and Kelly, a ruined nightclub installation down a side street.  And Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, the Message is Death, a thought-provoking film on the rooftop.

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One afternoon: 4 galleries

Great thing about London is that there are groups of galleries in close walking distance.  First stop was the White Cube, Mason’s Yard and From the Vapor of Gasoline.  Post war symbols of America like the American flag, dollar and cowboys.  Then across the road to Royal Academy and Dali/Duchamp.  Interesting show although I’m not a major fan of either.  Then on to Zhongguo 2185 at Sadie Coles, Kingly Street.  Bit bonkers but the inflatable head filling up a corner of the gallery was great.  Finally, Blain/Southern and Jake and Dinos Champan’s The Disasters of Everyday Life.  Favourite of the afternoon by far: Goya’s prints each set reworked in a different way, some are grotesque cartoons, others battle scenes in glitter and another set with cut out images set amongst an unrelated scene, many of which are very funny. There is a lot of detail in them so you need to take your time looking closely at them.

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Visited the Matisse in the Studio exhibition at the Royal Academy last week which was much more interesting expected.  You can see from photographs of his studio that objects were everywhere, collected from all over; chairs, textiles, chocolate pots, statues, African masks and much more.  These objects appear in the paintings, sometimes like the chocolate pot, over many years and in many different guises eg as a chocolate pot or as a vase.  Or they act as an influence eg the masks and statues on his paintings.  This is most obvious in the room Language of Signs where a Chinese panel influenced the cut-outs he produced towards the end of his life.  Worth visiting – on until 12th November.

Walking to the RA, through Burlington Arcade, we came across 300 delicate paper birds, created by Mathilde Nivet hung across the glass ceiling.  Worth a look.


Three Exhibitions in One Day

The London Design Festival 2017 started on Saturday for one week.  As with last year, the V&A had exhibits scattered around the galleries and as per last year, I made a note to myself to come back and visit the permanent exhibitions in more detail.  Best piece was the folded mattress like serpent Transmission by Ross Lovegrove in the Tapestries Room.

Next was Uwe Henneken at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery The teachings of the Transhistorical Flamingo – who could miss an exhibition with that title – not a Flamingo in sight as far as I could see but did not know Henneken and loved his work.   On until 21st October.

Last stop Pace London and Jean Dubuffet’s Théâtres de mémoire, graffiti like paintings with thought-provoking quotes.  On until 21st October.

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IMG_2845The play sounds a bit dry and  maybe a tad dull:

In 1993, in front of the world’s press, the leaders of Israel and Palestine shook hands on the lawn of the White House. Few watching would have guessed that the negotiations leading up to this iconic moment started secretly in a castle in the middle of a forest outside Oslo.  Oslo tells the true story of two maverick Norwegian diplomats who coordinated top secret talks and inspired seemingly impossible friendships. Their quiet heroics led to the groundbreaking Oslo Peace Accords.

But it is a great play, much funnier than expected, with dark humour and a thought-provoking ending.  And even though we know they shook hands it does not stop the tension building throughout.  Rod-Larsen and his wife enabled the delegations to meet in private to come to an agreement, which is quite an extraordinary story. The chief negotiators, Ahmed Qurie (Peter Polycarpou) and Uri Savir (Philip Arditti), create the best moments in the play.  But all the cast are very good and have to mention Toby Stephens as Rod-Larsen as his mum was in to watch the performance.  The ending is poignant as you realise how close they came to compromise and how far they have moved from that since – moving to discover the Qurie and Savir never lost touch.  It is tranferring to Harold Pinter Theatre from 2nd October so go and see it; deserved the Tony Award for Best Play that it received in the States.