fri 15/12/2017

Visual Arts Reviews

From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

Florence Hallett

Dedicated to a foundation stone of western artistic training, this exhibition attempts a celebratory note as the Royal Academy approaches its 250th anniversary.

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Rose Wylie: Quack Quack, Serpentine Gallery - anarchy at 83

sarah Kent

Three years ago Rose Wylie won the prestigious John Moore’s Painting Prize. She was 80 years old and had been painting away in relative obscurity for many decades. You might suppose, then, that the prize was given in recognition of past achievements – a reward for dogged perseverance.

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Modigliani, Tate Modern review - the pitfalls of excess

Katherine Waters

Modigliani was an addict. Booze, fags, absinthe, hash, cocaine, women. He lived fast, died young, cherished an idea of what an artist should be and pursued it to his death. His nickname, Modi, played on the idea of the artiste maudit – the figure of the artist as wretched, damned.

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The Machines of Steven Pippin, The Edge, University of Bath review - technology as poetry

sarah Kent

Our universe seems to be in a state of equilibrium, neither collapsing in on itself nor expanding ad infinitum. The metaphor used by physicists to represent the delicate balance of forces needed to maintain this happy state of affairs is a pencil standing on its tip. In his sculpture Omega = 1, Steven Pippin miraculously turns the metaphor into physical reality.

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Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery - light-filled northern vistas

marina Vaizey

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the National Gallery's exhibition of four paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kalela (1865-1931) of a very large lake in central Finland is a beguiling glimpse of the passion its inhabitants attach to its scenic beauty, in winter darkness and here, summer night. Finland possesses almost 190,000 lakes, depending on your definition.

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Highlights from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 - raw emotion, not always human

Bill Knight

What does it take to be included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition? This year 2,423 photographers entered 5,717 images: 2,373 of those photographers are left wondering what it takes to make the grade.

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Red Star Over Russia, Tate Modern review – fascinating history in a nutshell

sarah Kent

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s Tate Modern exhibition features an installation made in 1985 of a Moscow bedsit, its walls lined with political posters.

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Impressionists in London, Tate Britain review - from the stodgy to the sublime

marina Vaizey

Jules Dalou, Edouard Lantéri, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Charles-François Daubigny, Alphonse Legros, Giuseppe de Nittis?

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Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11, Imperial War Museum review - affecting but incoherent

Katherine Waters

The Imperial War Museum’s Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 brings together art made in response to the immediate events and long-term consequences of the events of 11 September.

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Monochrome, National Gallery review - colourless but not dreary

Florence Hallett

Might a painting ever achieve the veracity of a sculpture, a "real" object in space that we can walk around and view from every angle? Could the documentary quality of an engraving ever be equalled by a painting? And how could painting respond to photography – drawing with light – an invention that in the 19th century prompted a thorough reconsideration of painting’s purpose.

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