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

Summer Exhibition

Considering I used to spend every weekend in an art gallery (in fairness I did work there) it’s been far too long since I last visited an exhibition.

On a sunny Saturday, in search of an afternoon of culture, I headed to the Royal Academy for their 2018 Summer Exhibition. Curated alongside Greyson Perry, this year’s exhibition was always going to be a splash of colour and design.

I love the way the Summer Exhibition is created, art is suddenly everywhere, a mix-match of style: landscapes and portraits, still life and photography. Even politics and brexit got a mention. It was full of expression, of discussion starters as it evaluated life in the here and now.

Everywhere you looked there was something to catch your attention. Larger works of art sitting loud and bright, smaller pieces that needed to be spotted, sculptures, textiles, models and videos.

There was even a bar.

This may be my first Summer Exhibition, but I’ll be back for 2019.

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.

exhibitions · fashion · gallery · London

Shoe: Pleasure and Pain

Friday evening saw me taking advantage of the V&A’s late opening and head to their Shoe: Pleasure and Pain exhibition.

Although I’ve had an interest in fashion for quite a while, I’ve never thought shoes had the same appeal. That for some reason they weren’t as detailed, descriptive of really differed from one another. I have been clearly proven wrong.

shoeShoes throughout time have altered with fashion, and as our tastes change we’ve gained shoes of every shape, colour and texture. Shoes with platforms, heels and straps. Shoes made for the tiny binded feet of Chinese woman. Shoes that showed status through their inability to allow you to walk. There’s such a history to our fashion choices, with reasons behind our choices of style that we mostly remain oblivious to.

The exhibition portrayed the story of the shoe, not just in its evolution and history, but the designing and manufacturing processes. We were given an insight to the designer’s world, explanation to why a heel shape is chosen or a range is created.

Following the organised and aesthetically pleasing style, the V&A is famous for, this exhibition, regardless of your knowledge of shoes, is a must.

shoes wood        Shoe drawings

Shoe: Pleasure and Pain is at the V&A until January 2016.