exhibitions · fashion · galleries · gallery · review · war

Manchester Art Gallery: Fashion

As I’ve been back in Manchester for a few weeks, I thought it was about time I headed into town for some culture. Manchester Art Gallery has opened two new fashion exhibitions over the summer, and I was eager to go and take a look.

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

img_8016I picked up my first ever copy of Vogue in 2010, the queen of fashion magazine, Vogue, is celebrating 100 years in print. The exhibition featured a range of popular portraits to depict each decade alongside a timeline of all 100 years of vogue. From it’s mid-war starting point to the present day, you can see before your eyes the continued cycle of fashion — covers from the 60’s wouldn’t look out of place today.

I loved the styles of the 1920’s, and the patterns that once came with each copy of vogue, making me itch for my sewing machine. The covers over the century also depict some of the most memorable moments from British culture – the rolling stones, Lady Diana’s wedding and death to current pop stars and icons. It’s a tribute to British culture. A timeline of our history. Beautifully photographed, designed and coordinated. Vogue is timeless, and long may it reign over British fashion.

Fashion & Freedom

img_8009Another exhibition commemorating a centenary, Fashion & Freedom explores the drastic move in fashion within the First World War to the 1920’s. This shift, arguably, is one of the the most dramatic movements of fashion. We move from tight corsets, big skirts to shapeless dresses and even trousers in a decade. Has any other fashion movement altered women’s wear so quickly?

It was intriguing to compare mid-war fashion to the work of students from across the country today, holding similarities in style but differing drastically in fabric choices, colour and expression. The exhibition once again proved the resilience of fashion, it’s impact even within the darkest days.

If you’re in and around Manchester, these are two exhibition not to be missed, both free and at the centre of the city there’s no excuse for seeing a century of fashion.

 

art · exhibitions · galleries · gallery · London · review · Royal Academy

Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy

Ai Weiwei’s exhibition is a depiction of art and politics, presenting how one man through a variety of mediums can stand up to his beliefs.

The Royal Academy has produced this exhibition in such a way that a clear story can be felt through the artwork, not too obvious at first, yet as you make your way through the exhibition space, the message of a repressed, limiting and secretive society can be unearthed.

There were a few pieces that really struck me, the twisted bars to represent each child killed in the 2008 earthquake; flattered now but still holding scars in a slight curve or bent in the metal. It was unimaginable to believe that these children were not named nor represented by the Chinese government. Remarkable in number yet so simple and symbolic in Weiwei’s work.

It was these deliberate decision to ignore that alters to the drastic need to observe as you’re moved through the exhibition. It’s hard to imagine Weiwei’s artwork without the overshadowing nature of his own political beliefs. The security cameras made of ceramic portray this shattering line of reality and fear.

IMG_5649But what caught my the attention most had to be the recreated jail of Weiwei, held without reason and observed 24 hours a day. The parallel of it being included in the exhibition opened it up into  two-way mirror, as we observed Weiwei’s own observation. It was overpowering and impossible to see how this happens in the modern world, making me reevaluate the freedom we hold in our county.

Ai Weiwei’s exhibition is on at the Royal Academy until 13th December, certainly worth a visit.

art · exhibitions · galleries · Saltaire · Yorkshire

Salts Mill

The MillFollowing the artistic theme my blog is currently making, its seems the perfect time to introduce one of my favourite places; Salts Mill. As the largest permanent collection of David Hockney’s work in the UK, and holding a fabulous bookshop, homeware store and other little retail spaces it’s certainly well worth a visit.

The Mill began life in 1853 as Sir Titus Salt opened up in the heart of the industrial revolution. Now hosting Hockney’s art work and his most recent exhibition The Arrival of Spring, the character and history of the building enriches the mill experience. Although Hockney is not my favourite artist, the bright colours and innovation found through his work manages to amaze me. His determination to move his artwork ever forward, embracing technology while capturing his homeland of Yorkshire.

The Arrival of Spring    The Arrival of Spring

Salts Mill

The exhibition is colourful, bright and open. The surrounding shops holding books and stationery that I cannot stop myself from buying. You can easily spend an entire afternoon wandering around, and I couldn’t recommend it more!

Salts Mill is in Shipley, West Yorkshire open 10:00-5:30 every day.

art · exhibitions · galleries · review

The Whitworth Gallery

Moving slightly away from the literature theme my blog has so far taken, to an adventure around Manchester.

The Whitworth -1

The main port of call is the newly reopened and refurbished Whitworth Gallery, after its closed doors of the past two years it’s no wonder I could both hear and see the fireworks on its opening night. With the space bright and open, it’s an inviting mix of the old 19th century red brick to the great glass walls giving a largely modern feel. This theme follows through inside, most prominently in the portraits gallery, the modern and contemporary mixed with tradition portraiture. Although on first impression there is almost too much to look at, by having such contrasts surrounding each piece, it’s individual and distinctiveness arrises on its own. However these were by far not my favourites pieces, I’ve learnt I prefer more interactive art something to really study, explore and discover within.

The Whitworth -2Cold Dark Matter (pictured above) proves this the most, with a literal explosion of objects, meaning and interpretation awaiting each new visitor. Then the distribution of shadows makes the whole thing expand, I also enjoyed the room filled with the out cuts of poppies, echoing the lives lost after this centenary year. Something so small, but equally effective. A collection of embroiled definitions (pictured left) also fascinated me, viewing contrasts as a part of one another and placing the question if one can function without the other. I was also quite pleased my linguistic skills meant I could read the phonetic transcription.

There is much more to be explored, although the exhibitions don’t take long to go around, I’d be impressed if you’re able to fill half a day here. With a light and bright café, serving an array of food, lunch may help pad out an afternoon. Other then that with a disappointingly small shop it’s worth a visit; just be aware two hours may be its limit.

The Whitworth -3          The Whitworth -4

The Whitworth           The Whitworth

The Whitworth Gallery is situated on Oxford Road, Manchester.