Wednesday, 10 June 2015

ART: Carsten Höller: Decision at Hayward Gallery - Opening Night

'Voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind.' - Roger Caillois

Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides, 2015, Image: David Levene

‘Carsten Höller's art is constantly pulling the rug out from under the way we look at the world' - a stand-out metaphor from Hayward director Ralph Rugoff at last night's much anticipated opening; taking over the Southbank space, Belgian artist Höller has certainly bought more than a bit of slapstick back to the art gallery.

Known best for his Turbine Hall slide installation at the Tate Modern - 'Test Site' - in 2006, Höller has repeatedly required not only active participation with his works, but a certain amount of bravado too. Decision is no different, with the whole show based around the concept of duality and - of course - decision making; it's kind of an exhibition full of Sliding Doors moments, minus the confusing Gwyneth Paltrow haircuts. The exhibition is undoubtedly fun (I will shy way from too much detail on the works as part of its dynamism stems from the unknown), but whether these moments of glee really push us to the artistic realisations Höller expects is something I'm still trying to decide on myself.

With mushroom carousels, dice shaped child’s playgrounds, roaming beds and (of course) outdoor slides, the show feels made for our Instagram generation. Furthermore, Höller's interest in the idea of the present/presence, the experience happening now which is so key to much of his work, taps brilliantly in to the modern FOMO-complex. Now we are all about the experience, the present, showing we were there, sharing our presence with the world so that our lives look like one long playground of brilliant moments. Within this contemporary context do the works thrive, or do Höller's pieces lose the provocation of spontaneous delight which their true effect relies on?

Personally it was not the silliest nor most surprising works which I felt particularly moved by, but instead I fell for a simpler piece called 'Pill Clock': an installation whereby every 3 seconds (the length of time 'in which it is possible to create the impression of presence') a single red and white capsule drops from an unknown location in the ceiling, onto the gallery floor. This playful rendering of a time piece had a quiet power to it, one heightened by it's accompanying water fountain which allowed myself and a few other visitors to drop our own pill as we passed, and was definitely the stand out piece for me.

Carsten Höller at Hayward Gallery will be one of the biggest shows of 2015 and its not hard to see why - artistic epiphany or not, you know it'll be one hell of an experience. And here's one decision that we can make for you: book your tickets now and get over there, FOMO is coming for you.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

ART & FASHION: The Launch of Maison Mais Non in Soho


Tonight saw the much anticipated launch of new gallery Maison Mais Non on Greek Street, Soho. Hailed as London's 'first fashion gallery' and run by Micheál Neeson (son of Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson), Topes Calland (who my date for the night assures me is THE tutor for celebrity offspring), Nell Campbell and fashion photographer Toby Knott, the launch was always guaranteed to be a pretty hot ticket.

Micheál Neeson and Liam Neeson at Maison Mais Non

Actors Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, poet and it-girl Greta Bellamacina, property heiress India Rose James and model and presenter Rick Edwards were among the attendees, who took in both the fashion gallery and its sister venture The Soho Revue. 

Maison Mais Non

The debut show - named Artist:Artisan - cleverly brought together expert tailors from Saville Row and Central Saint Martins graduates to create and showcase collaborative designs which brilliantly blended the Row's tailoring brilliance with the off-the-wall genius of the fashion students. The show sees Charles Jeffrey, Hayley Grundmann, Krystyna Kozhoma and Masha Reva from CSM working with Saville Row tailors, Chittleborough & Morgan, Anderson & Sheppard, Richard Anderson and Kathryn Sargent.  Hung in a sparse yet dynamic way - think Ikea meets BDSM club - the works were allowed to demonstrate their full potential with little artifice or need for special effects. 

Seeing the camaraderie apparent between Micheál and Topes, as well as the fatherly pride emanating off Liam Neeson, it was clear that this project was far from just a glittery spectacle. If they continue to come at the fashion world with such an artful eye, I think Maison Mais Non might just be on to something. 

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

GOING OUT: Medea, National Theatre, Review

Of all creatures that have breath and sensation, we women are the most unfortunate. 

I was lucky enough to be invited to the press preview for the National Theatre's new production of Medea last night, a much anticipated re-staging of Euripides' heart-wrenching Greek tragedy which combines the acting talents of Helen McCrory with the musical genius of a certain Miss Alison Goldfrapp.

Being a huge enthusiast of Greek literature and Goldfrapp's brilliantly unique talent, I was excited to see what this new production would bring to this wretched tale of love, deceit and infanticide. Mostly, I was highly impressed by the power of Carrie Cracknell's direction, which breathed a new lease of life into a well worn Classical text.

Hailed by many as a proto-feminist play, Euripides' work is undoubtedly moving, exploring the en-gendered power struggles of his day. At times I felt the actors failed to fully connect with the polemics of the play - perhaps feeling that the dramatics of the original script did not fit within a more modern setting and realistic acting style. However, with current news stories still eulogising on the morals of the modern women - 'magaluf girl' perhaps the most prominent heroine of our latest cautionary tale - I couldnt help but feel the world's were not so disparate. Though the context of Euripides' text and Cracknell's Medea is outwardly so different, much of the heroines monologues were still devastatingly close to the bone; motherhood, sexuality, feminine worth, all are still common political battle grounds, with the female body as an object of trade between sides. At times, I felt the actors could have connected with the intemporality of these issues more emotively, conveying the sheer desperation of women who lose control over their own female form.

One aspect where the play successfully utilised its modern setting was in the brilliant Contemporary choreography of Lucy Guerin. The chorus of the play, made up entirely of women from Medea's new city, danced themselves into a bewitching frenzy as the play progressed, exemplifying the destructive attraction of Euripedes' cruel heroine, as well his beautifully crafted play as a whole.

The National Theatre's new production of Medea is sure to enthral a whole new audience, breathing life into a play which still hums with energy thousands of years on. I would certainly recommend a trip to watch it; followed by a trip to where ever Medea got that fabulous silk jumpsuit...


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

MUSIC: Iggy Azalea is Clueless - Fancy feat Charli XCX

Check out Iggy Azalea's new Clueless themed video. Never loved her that much, but could I hate a Cher-based music video? As if!


Friday, 28 February 2014

GOING OUT: Kensington Roof Gardens/ Babylon Review

Kensington Roof Gardens (in the sun!)

Having never been one for Valentine's Day I wasn't quite sure what to expect when the boyfriend told me he'd organised a day out for us. What transpired was a fantastic, if rainy visit to Kensington Roof Gardens and a trip to the gate cinema to see Dallas Buyers Club. Though rain and AIDS films might not scream romance to most - it was a great way to pass a day I'd usually all but ignored.

Babylon - Bar

If you haven't been to Kensington Roof gardens yet then you're in for a treat. Hidden around the corner from High Street Kensington tube, the bar and restaurant easily boast some of the best views of London - even on a sodden day in mid-Feb. Ok, so we couldn't sit out on the roof terrace and the pink flamingos were distinctly hidden from view, but the Babylon restaurant made more than enough effort to ensure we still had a brilliant Valentine's lunch.

Babylon - Bar & Restaurant

The food was delicious - I went for braised pork cheeks followed by duck and the other half opted for smoked salmon starter and chicken breast. Washed down with a glass of prosecco and a couple of glasses of delicious red wine (don't ask me which - I didn't chose) it was a brilliant way to treat ourselves.

Roof Gardens at night

I think a lot of the big name places in London have somewhat rested on their laurels and often don't live up to expectations - but Babylon and Kensington Roof Gardens are still going all out to ensure every experience there is special. I would definitely recommend it for a fancy date, just perhaps try a less rainy day than us!

Do you agree? Let us know below!



Monday, 24 February 2014

FILM: Cutie and the Boxer

I watched Cutie and the Boxer for the first time this weekend - what a beautiful documentary! Reminded me why I love working in the art world...

Check out Nowness' video of Ushio and Noriko to whet your appetite:

And catch it on BBC's brilliant Storyville series before April here.