London Clubland (not the dancing type) is a world that most of us are only vaguely aware of and the Royal Overseas League is a case in point. A magnificent building tucked in a courtyard in St James and overlooking Green Park, it really is hidden away in the centre of London.
I’d heard about it but never actually been till very recently when invited to attend the Young Masters Art Prize exhibition, held there for the first time.
Organised by the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, the Young Masters celebrates artists “who pay homage to the skill and techniques of the past; knowing that young artists today are not afraid, unlike their predecessors, to look back at art history and its lessons.” Painting, photography, video and ceramics were all included.
This skylight and the next couple of photos give a small indication of the interior as well as how well the artwork sits within it.
Work by Antoine Schneck and Christoph Steinmeyer below.Isabelle van Zeijl‘s photography is on the left.These 3 photos by Sandro Miller (apologies for the photo quality but it was pretty dark) had me perplexed for a while but I got it by the third one. Can you?Lauren Nauman’s frail porcelain and brass piece below was only one of several ceramic artists shown. ROSL, as it is commonly known, was the first London club to accept female members from the beginning and has an ongoing programme of art and music. For more information please visit the website.
I’d seen a lot of this piece on social media and finally managed to visit it in person a week before it closed at Tate Britain’s wonderful Duveen Galleries.
Cerith Wyn Evans created this sculpture called Forms in Space…by Light (in Time) filling the gallery above our heads with neon shapes drawn in space. The structure begins with a circle
then 3 symbols used by opticians for eye tests , also used by Marcel Duchamp in his The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (the Large Glass)
followed, as you walk through, by shapes initially inspired by the gestures of Japanese Noh theatre.
You don’t , of course have to view it from front to back; wandering around it gives so many different viewpoints. I also wanted to mention the way the whole thing has been suspended – the support has a fascination of its own.You can see more of his work in London in the lobby of the recently opened Four Seasons hotel at 10 Trinity Square .
Part of the Barbican’s exhibition, Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction, this installation by Conrad Shawcross is hidden 2 floors away from the rest of the show in The Pit so needs a bit of an effort to get down there.
I entered a dark space, where a kind of growling, almost animalistic sound came from a constantly moving machine in the middle of a henge made of lightweight perforated screens.
The “creature” explores its space with a slow-moving probe, all the while making these sounds between organic and machine.
It’s worth seeing this installation after the main show as your mind is already full of the imagery and tuned in to strangeness and connection with alien life forms.
John Hainsworth showed a collection of restrained and delicately detailed works. I really liked the small and intimate paintings such as this one below.
My neighbour, Israeli artist Hila Laiser Beja, came over to London especially for the show and, although mainly a sculptor, showed works on paper as they are more easily transported. This portrait was one of my favourite pieces on her stand.
I’ve featured Hanna ten Doornkaat before: she too is obsessed by the experiental nature of memory but expressed in a very different way to me.
These are only glimpses of work seen before opening time at The Other Art Fair in April as I didn’t get the chance to see everything on show. Nevertheless I wanted to share these pieces with you; to investigate more just click on the links.
Paul West works in landscape; this charcoal drawing takes you into his world.
In contrast, Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn was showing witty and thought-provoking photo collages gleaned from 1970s photographs inherited from her grandmother.
Benjamin Parker continued his explorations into the relationship humanity has with nature.
I can never get a good photo of his work as it is often so delicate and inevitably behind glass by the time I see it. For better photos please go to his website.
Dangerous Minds (artists Michael Lake-McMillan and Alan Stuart) recently held a show of new work at the atmospheric Underdog Gallery in a railway arch at London Bridge.
Using popular culture and found elements their work reveals more with time and study.
Kaiten, below, was one of my favourite pieces and dominated the space as the backdrop to the stage (the microphone gives an idea of scale). It includes several of their preoccupations: the number 5, Japanese imagery and the unavoidable partnering of life and death.
For those like me who didn’t know what a Kaiten was , it’s a manned suicide submarine used by the Japanese during the second world war, the underwater equivalent of a kamikaze.
On a gentler note the ever popular Instagrammable butterfly wings are here interpreted from a Rorschach image with the detail also formed of Rorschach marks. I’m not sure the person standing there was aware of being exactly in the appropriate place for this shot.
Continuing the ambivalence of destruction and life, the love bomber flying horses soared over our heads, ready to create chaos by dropping their bombs.
OK, I may be biased as an exhibitor but The Other Art Fair is one of the best places to buy contemporary art, especially as you meet the artists and get to know them.
I’ve come a long way in being able to talk about my work; only a few years ago I found it really hard but now I love finding out what viewers think.
The recent show at Victoria House in Southampton Row, Holborn, was so busy I hardly left my stand but I was able to see some work before we opened in the morning and Andrew Wenrick’s pieces really appealed.
I like the precision of his text pieces and the patterns he creates using existing words and letters.
It came as no surprise to learn that he is a qualified architect.
On till the 25th June, The Japanese House: Architecture & Life after 1945 is an immersive exhibition where you not only see models and plans of houses (see images below) but also experience a full scale reconstruction of a Japanese home with rooms scattered around garden spaces. The different theories and architectural practice are fascinating in a country that had to rethink so much after the Second World War.
The washing machine in the courtyard epitomises indoor-outdoor living reminding me vividly of my life in India.
The contemporary tea house is cosy with tea ceremonies scheduled to take place there during the show.
The concept of lightweight architecture and living extended to fashion with the Final Home coat by Kosuke Tsumura from 1991. Multiple pockets can be filled for insulation, padding and objects for survival in case of evacuation. With this you can be prepared for all eventualities as, according to the designer, “when one loses his house, the thing that protects in the end is cloth”.
The Garden & House below by architect Ryue Nishizawa from 2011 slips into a gap between existing buildings and fully integrates a garden within its design.
Katsuhiro Miyamoto took a dynamic approach to the damage his 1900 house had sustained after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, partly in protest to the wasteful official line of total demolition. His “restoration” honours the history and memories of this old house providing continuity.