1. New Post: Something you should see… Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 at The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House


    Something you should see… Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 at The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House

    Most successful artists have a breakthrough moment in their career, when they make that leap from relative anonymity to being well-known. Pablo Picasso was no different. Becoming Picasso at the Courtauld Gallery focuses on the story of the young Spanish upstart’s breakthrough year in Paris in 1901, in which he took the French capital by storm. This exhibition brings together major paintings from his debut summer show at a gallery on rue Lafitte and explores his development as an artist during that seminal year.

    In the work produced for his Paris show, Picasso reconceived the styles and subjects of other modern painters, including Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh, to wide acclaim. This synthesis of styles can be appreciated in works such as Dwarf-Dancer and At the Moulin Rouge, both on display. Despite the success of his first solo show, in the latter part of 1901, Picasso’s artistic development took a new turn.

    3. Picasso Child with a Dove

    The iconic Child with a Dove appears as a transitional work at the Courtauld show, signaling the radical change in Picasso’s style. The painting, which expresses the fragility of childhood innocence, heralded the beginning of Picasso’s Blue period. Previous works of bright café scenes painted in brilliant colours gave way to works characterised by a monochromatic use of blue and blue-green tones. The themes during Picasso’s Blue period also became much darker and were partly influenced by the suicide of his best friend, Carlos Casagemas. Visitors to the Courtauld can view a death portrait of Casagemas and the funeral scene Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas) – in which the artist depicts the ascension of his friend’s soul. Much has been said about the barely dressed women in this painting, so I’ll leave you to your own interpretations. It’s worth pointing out that Child with a Dove could be lost to the UK, if attempts to keep it in the country fail. The painting was sold to a foreign buyer last year, so another good reason to get over to Somerset House to see it!

    Becoming Picasso is an opportunity to experience artworks that are now considered to be the earliest masterpieces from a giant of the 20th century. With capacity limited at the Courtauld, queuing may well be the order of the day – but this is a show worth standing in line for. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 is on at The Courtauld Gallery until May 26. For more info, visit www.courtauld.ac.uk


  2. New Post: Something you should see… Paper Cinema at BAC


    Something you should see… Paper Cinema at BAC

    The magical Paper Cinema arrives at Battersea Arts Centre this month to play out the epic ancient Greek poem ‘Odyssey’ by Homer – as you do – in their fascinating and heart-melting style. If you know The Odyssey, then you will know its fantastical quality, set across many islands and with Odysseus (Ulysess if you prefer the Roman name) as the hero; the poem tells of Odysseus’ attempts to return home after the Trojan war. You may also be familiar with its epic proportions, its difficult to follow storyline and the fact it’s the second oldest poem known to exist in the West. Never fear though, the Paper Cinema breathes simplicity and joy into everything it produces, making this silent take on this 8th Century BC epic a wondrous sight.


    The ‘Paper cinema’ concept is taken from the company’s unique combination of live animation and film projection, played alongside a live musical accompaniment. The team are an impressive meeting of puppeteers, designers and musicians. Each scene for the production is brought to life from a simple black line drawing on plain white paper, held in front of a camera. This is then projected for the audience to follow. The simplicity but effectiveness of the art is astonishing. Despite the static drawings, the puppeteers bring life to the projection by moving the sketches around the camera frame. It may not sound like much but their skills create a surprising amount of feeling and movement. And, accompanied by the musical skills of Christopher Reed, Ed Dowie and Quinta (the foley artists) – their enchanted world sings.

    Whilst all eyes are directed to the screen, the performers will also be in view as they produce the piece. An amazing opportunity to witness a truly fascinating art, live. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    On until February

    For more info, visit  https://www.bac.org.uk/content/16166/see_whats_on/current_shows/cook_up/the_paper_cinemas_odyssey


  3. New Post: Something you should see… Man Ray Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery


    Something you should see… Man Ray Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery

    The great, the good and the beautiful are all on display at the National Portrait Gallery as part of a major exhibition on the photographer Man Ray. Best known for his avant-garde images, the American artist also took portraits throughout his career and it’s these photographs that are the subject of the show. The images, which were taken between 1916 and 1968 journey through Ray’s early days in New York, his spell in Paris during the twenties and thirties, the decade spent in Hollywood and his late years in Paris until his death.


    Artists and writers captured by the photographer include Picasso, Salvador Dali, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Duchamp. Also featured in the exhibition are fashion icon Coco Chanel and film siren Catherine Deneuve. With more than 150 vintage prints on view, these photographs really are a list of who’s who. However, there is more to this exhibition than just famous faces. Alongside these pictures of Man Ray’s contemporaries and cultural figures are the more personal portraits of friends and lovers. Included in the exhibition is one of his most famous images of lover Kiki de Montparnasse. In Le Violon d’Ingres (1924), the French cabaret performer and actress sits with her naked decorated back to the camera. The US model-turned photographer Lee Miller also makes an appearance in several prints. Miller was not only in a relationship with him, she also collaborated with him professionally.

    For an artist for whom photography was never his principal artistic medium, Man Ray certainly made innovate strides with this form. He was instrumental in developing a type of photogram or what he called ‘Rayographs’ which were made by putting the image directly onto the photographic paper and is also credited along with muse Miller for inventing the process of solarisation. The use of solarisation can be seen in the portraits of Miller and of the French singer and actress Suzy Solidor. Rare examples of Man Ray’s early experiments with colour photography are also on show,

    There are probably very few people who haven’t heard of the name Man Ray or seen any of his images, but as a comprehensive survey of his photographic career this exhibition is definitely worth a visit. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Man Ray Portraits is on at the National Portrait Gallery until May 27th. For more info, visit www.npg.org.uk


  4. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Elk in the Woods


    What we’ve been up to… Elk in the Woods

    London is awesome for its nightlife but sometimes a long, lazy Sunday lunch with friends is the best thing in the world which was how I was introduced to the Elk in the Woods.

    Angel already boasts so many great restaurants, but I was excited at the prospect of somewhere new and delicious – and Elk offers both a quirky menu with the Scandinavian-style decor to match. When we sat down to see we had the table facing out onto the street, providing the perfect people watching view as we munched.


    My friends and I split three of the small plates between us - crispy pheasant with spring onion, parsnip and pancakes with homemade plum sauce, halloumi with homemade preserved lemons and salt and pepper calamari. It was my first time trying pheasant  so I was pleasantly surprised by the rich taste and the different take serving it in Chinese style. The calamari was  good with a nice freshness to it and the halloumi, hard to go wrong with my favourite cheese, was simple but delicious.

    My main course of char-grilled lamb cutlets with seasalt savoy cabbage mash, crispy kale and a rosemary and wild berry gravy was wonderful hearty food. This is definitely a place for meat eaters with few vegetarian options on the menu but with the meat they cook it well.  Just remember to save room for dessert –  luckily I was joined by a friend as indecisive as me so we ordered the chocolate fondant with mint ice-cream and the popcorn ice cream sandwich with salted caramel to split between us.

    But food aside, the service was a bit slow – so I’m grateful we got a table with a view as it  gave us something to do. Granted, it was busy and the weekend but three hours in there was too long. Still, the sheer delicious joy of the puddings could warrant a return. (Words: Lucy Palmer)

    For more info about Elk In The Woods visit: www.the-elk-in-the-woods.co.uk


  5. New Post: Something You Should See….Susan Hiller: Channels at Matt’s Gallery


    Something You Should See….Susan Hiller: Channels at Matt’s Gallery

    “I was vacuumed upwards at a great velocity…I couldn’t feel my weight at all…I could see the horizon clearly as if some curtain were lifted…We don’t have the vocabulary to describe what I felt.”

    Curious? Who wouldn’t be? At East London’s Matt’s Gallery this month, these otherworldly accounts are the material for Channels, a new audio-sculptural installation by Susan Hiller. From a large wall of flickering television sets-on-standby, various disembodied voices describe – or try to describe –their encounters with the Other, in their accounts of Near Death Experiences (NDEs).

    Susan Hiller at Matt's Gallery

    In between these short narratives, there are relatively long periods of quiet in the concrete space, with only the familiar crackling hiss of white noise coming from each of the television sets. Visitors sit and watch the blank screens expectedly, as if waiting for a technical fault to be resolved. When a single voice does speak out, it punctures the toneless white noise with bright clarity. But it is joined by other voices, which, rising together, begin to babble over one another. We find ourselves struggling to hear, grasping after the individual voices and wanting to understand the significance of what it is exactly that they are describing.

    There is no harmonious scientific explanation for NDEs. Although the speakers featured in Hiller’s work come from locations across the globe, they are united in their faltering attempts to express the definitively ineffable. The imagery they use contains certain recurring motifs: bright lights getting brighter, a sudden warmth, a sense of floating, a draining away of any feelings of pain or fear. This repetition is not entirely unexpected, as this kind of imagery has seeped sideways into our cultural language, in spite of the mixed reception of NDEs. Hiller is interested in the marginal, things we consider trivial or don’t take seriously, and she is fascinated by unexplained phenomena.

    This is a piece as much about everyday earthly life as it is about anything in the ether. Hiller’s piece doesn’t offer any judgement as to the level of ‘truth’ behind the NDEs but simply presents us with them as an aspect of human experience. They are for Hiller cultural artefacts, or ‘social facts’. Are they visions of truth, bewildering misperceptions or straight out delusional? It doesn’t matter. Channels is a portrait of a rare phenomenon which depends upon personal testimony and eschews empirical investigation. Indulge your imagination and open your mind. (Words: Florence Ritter)


  6. New Post: Something you should seee… Robert Lepage’s Playing Cards 1: Spades


    Something you should seee… Robert Lepage’s Playing Cards 1: Spades

    Robert Lepage has been an international name in the arts since the 1980s. Primarily he is a theatre director, but having also gained critical acclaim through cinema, opera and live production for rock shows and exhibitions, Lepage is also one of the most prolific creatives going today. He started his theatre studies in Quebec at the age of 17 and has gone on to be a driving force in theatre, run his own multidiscipline production company Ex Machina (that brought the traditional performing arts into the digital age) and win countless awards. So tickets for his new production at the Roundhouse could be hot property then?


    Playing Cards is a 12 hour marathon production, but luckily it’s broken down into each card suit, making it into easier to swallow 3 hour pieces. Spades, the first instalment, is designed for a very particular kind of theatre, the 360-degree stage. And where else could it tour to other than Camden’s amazing space?

    Running for less than a month, the play is already gaining an incredible amount of attention. It began its international tour in Madrid May 2012 and has gained momentum since. Spades begins its story in Las Vegas at the beginning of the Iraq – and weaves a web of sex, corruption and violence. Lepage is bringing his usual blend of “theatre wizardry” – but with no Paul Daniels in sight. Peter Gabriel once described Lepage as a theatre director for people who don’t like theatre – someone who converts the none-believers? We’re already sold on this one Peter. (words: Laura Thornley)

    Playing Cards 1: Spades runs until March 2nd. For more info visit: www.roundhouse.org.uk/cards


  7. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Pop –Up Screening at the Paradise: Back to the Future


    Somewhere you should go… Pop –Up Screening at the Paradise: Back to the Future

    February is traditionally a very busy month for cinema goers. With the awards season reaching its climax on both sides of the Atlantic, the nominated films usually dominate the list of choices for a night out at the movies. So during such a period the upcoming pop–up screening of the classic 80s sci-fi adventure Back to the Future may seem like the last of your priorities – but there are a couple of reasons why we believe it deserves your attention.

    To begin with, Back to the Future could  make a great double-bill with Oscar-nominated Flight, since both are directed by the award-winning director Robert Zemeckis. Furthermore, Flight marks the return of the visionary director to live-action films after eight years of experimentation with 3D motion capture techniques in films such as The Polar Express and Beowulf. So what a better way to celebrate this occasion than by watching his first truly great film?


    Secondly, this pop-up screening will take place at the restaurant Paradise at Kensal Green where you can watch the film while enjoying some delicious food. Isn’t this a more appealing option than say eating a popcorn box while watching the realistic scenes of torture in Zero Dark Thirty?

    But seriously, the fact that  the term ‘classic’ is justifiably applied to Back to the Future should be enough of a reason to go re-watch the film. Taking the premise of time-travelling to thrilling, entertaining as well as intriguing places and offering us two characters that have secured their place in the pop pantheon (Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Dr Emmett Brown) it is one of those films that you will always get back to and lingers in your memory much longer than each year’s Oscar favourite. (Words: Apostolos Kostoulas)

    The pop-up screening of Back to the Future will take place on Sunday 17 February at 2:30 pm as part of the Paradise by way of the Silver Screen series co- produced by Paradise and Lexi Cinema. For more information go to: www.thelexicinema.co.uk


  8. New Post: Somewhere You Should Go: Teen Dreams Prom at The Book Club


    Somewhere You Should Go: Teen Dreams Prom at The Book Club

    I’m one of those people that retailers love –  give me a holiday or event and I will buy decorations, bunting, cards and decorate cakes accordingly, but Valentine’s Day I have never got into. As someone who celebrated National Hugging Day and Christmas Jumper Day, even for me it never quite worked. But whether I like it or not February 14th  is fast approaching – so here’s you chance to embrace the soppiness of it all by heading to The Book Club for their very first Teen Dreams Prom.

    The Book Club

    Having been to previous Book Club events, it’s their attention to details that makes their nights so amazing – so here, you can  come dressed up as your favourite teen movie stereotype to spend ‘seven minutes in heaven’, tell your ‘one time at band camp’ stories to win prizes and play beer pong in true American film fashion. There is even the chance to vote for Prom King and Queen (maybe it will be you?) So get your tiara on and indulge in the Mac N Cheese and Chicken Wings  and grab one of their specially created cocktails. For all you singletons out there, the My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard (a strawberry variety with creme de framboise, vodka and whipped cream) sounds like it might just do the trick! (Words: Lucy Palmer)

    Teen Dream Prom takes place on February 14th.  For more info, visit: www.facebook.com/events/314012568718689/


  9. New Post: Something you should see… BBKP: D Eye Y at Pump House Gallery


    Something you should see… BBKP: D Eye Y at Pump House Gallery

    It’s an oft-quoted statistic that more photographs were taken in the twelve months of the year 2011 than in the entire history of photography put together. Inevitably our delight and amazement at being able to by capture, fix and keep an image on paper has diminished since the invention of the photograph. Four-man artist collaborative BBKP create work that resurrects those feelings. D Eye Y, their new exhibition at Pump House Gallery, showcases some of their off-the-wall approaches to image making.

    BBKP comprises four artist-inventors: Nathan Birchenough, whose previous projects have included making a cardboard Viking boat (which he rode triumphantly down a canal for a full five minutes), Nicholas Brown, a natural-born carpenter of scrap and found materials, Craig Koa, who looks to process and learning and Savvas Papasavva, the techno-whizz of the group who is interested in the mechanics of film-making. Together with brilliantly boyish excitement they spend their days spraying, sticking, stapling and sawing any materials they find, converting them into bespoke cameras which record the world in new and different ways.

    D Eye Y

    The projects on show at D Eye Y were developed with input from members of the local public, who were invited to partake in a series of workshops held in Battersea Park, commissioned by the Pump House Gallery. Participants were taught how to make cameras out of objects as unexpected as peanut shells, and how to take fantastically warped portraits of their surroundings with their own bespoke SlitScan cameras – which they themselves made from scratch. Holding an image of the world in your hands, with the knowledge that you have Done It Yourself without any digital input, suddenly seems impossibly far-fetched and incredible.

    BBKP’s projects are about innovation, problem-solving and the practical exploration of materials. Their inventive approach to their apparatus creates a new kind of camera vision and lends a real physicality to the photographic print which comes to be valued as an object in itself, not just one of hundreds of images. Take your time over this show –there’s a lot to see. (Words: Florence Ritter)

    D Eye Y is on at the Pump House Gallery until April 7th.  For more info, visit: www.pumphousegallery.org.uk


  10. New Post: Something you should see… Carl Andre: Mass & Matter at the Turner Contemporary


    Something you should see… Carl Andre: Mass & Matter at the Turner Contemporary

    Before Tracey and her unmade bed, there was Carl and his pile of bricks. The artist behind the notorious 1970s sculpture of ordinary bricks stacked on a gallery floor, otherwise known as Equivalent VIII, is the subject of a new exhibition at Turner Contemporary in Kent. Mass and Matter is Carl Andre’s first major show in Britain for over 10 years and features sculptures made between 1967 and 1983, as well as poems from the same period.

    A leading member of the 1960s Minimalist movement, Carl is famous for his sculptures of raw building materials arranged in linear or geometric patterns directly on the floor. Several examples of Andre’s floor sculptures are on show, including Weathering Piece (1970) – a giant chessboard formed from weather-beaten and oxidized metal plates. Many of the floor pieces were also conceived by Andre to be experienced by the spectator, as well as looked at – so, visitors to the Turner can walk across the metal sheets that make up 4 x 25 Altstadt Rectangle (1967). Andre has experimented with brick configurations throughout his career and a number of these works are on view. The piece 60 x 1 Range Work (1983) which has been described, as resembling ‘an enormous Toblerone’, is one of his more recent. Alas, the ‘controversial’ Equivalent VIII is not being exhibited which is a shame, as it would’ve been nice to see what all that fuss was about!

    The re-ordered individual words and phrases that characterise the poetry at the show reference Andre’s approach to constructing his sculptural forms. Words in Andre’s poems (just like a wood block or a brick) are used as solitary units to be repeated, stacked or boxed. For the generation of artists who followed, Carl Andre redefined the nature of sculpture – it could consist of ordinary materials, didn’t have to be carved and could be set straight on the floor. Even though, he’s mostly known in Britain for the stir he caused back in the seventies, there is more to Carl Andre and his pile of bricks – and it’s worth leaving the capital to see. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Carl Andre: Mass & Matter is on at the Turner Contemporary until May 6th. For more info, visit www.turnercontemporary.org