Ministry logo

Ministry logo

Monday, 11 February 2013

Smashing Shows: 2 Days, 5 Exhibitions, 1 Girl (with a little help from her friends/mum)

I’m prone to OCD tendencies. At school I got teased (in fact I still do!) for religiously scoffing 5 pieces of fruit every break time after learning that the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables was 5 portions (“banana, DONE! NEXT! Orange, DONE! NEXT!) I wasn’t a normal child. And I don’t think adulthood has dealt me a much more normal hand…

“Why do one exhibition in a weekend when I could do 5?!!” I manically bellowed at my mum when she touched down at Kings Cross on Friday evening. She enthusiastically nodded at me in the way any supportive mother would. So an early night was had and we ventured out on Saturday morning at 10am (this is a milestone in my new accomplished lifestyle – rarely do I leave our flat before 2pm of a weekend.) We headed for our first stop: Ronchini Gallery, a small private contemporary art gallery off Oxford Street to see ‘The Uncanny,’ an exhibition by two artists (Berndnaut Smilde and Adeline de Monseignat) with very different takes on the exhibitions title. Smilde has taken photographs of clouds shot in different spaces including a warehouse of crates and a grand hallway. The real clouds were produced by a fog machine and controlled climates to produce a snapshot moment for the photographer to capture. I imagine he tirelessly strived for these shots and the results are quite beautiful. There is a stillness to the white pillowy clouds but also an awareness that they will vanish in seconds. It almost looks like they snuck into the pictures, peering around corners or gliding into shot. We decided they would look very nice on our big spacious walls in our dream mansion in Richmond. 

The second artist, De Monseignat, had created large glass bulbs stuffed with fur. Fur, which breathed and moved inside the glass. As the ball inhaled you saw the fur all around the suction pump that had been placed inside tighten and then release. We weren’t completely sure what the point of these was but we were absolutely mesmerised by them. Something that looked so alien had a very human function, almost like a sleeping animal. We stared at them for a few minutes and then decided it was time to move on. DONE! NEXT!

Round two was at the ICA on The Mall to see Jeurgen Teller’s ‘Woo:’ a retrospective collection of his photographic works of celebrities and editorial shoots. I think ‘Woo-hoo!’ would have been a better title as on entering you are greeted with three wall to floor photographs of a naked Vivienne Westwood – warts and all! Well, thankfully there were no warts just a lot of muff. Before coming to the show I had read a lot about the Viv pics, Kate Moss in a wheelbarrow and Posh Spice in a shopping bag and these were the stand out pieces, some more tasteful than others (no offence to your lady parts Ms Westwood.) ‘Woo’ continued to shower us with genitals throughout, not always done in the best taste. I guess that may have been the point, Teller manages to coax some very unflattering pictures out of people, one’s that you are sometimes surprised to see (Hello! Helen Mirren’s tits!) I think my mum summed it up pretty well by the end: “I think I’ve seen enough willies and boobs for one day!” (Thankfully I’ve dragged mum along to a lot of contemporary art so there was little awkwardness involved.) DONE! NEXT!

Since we’d made such good time (10am start!!!) we could fit in one more. Thomas Zanon Larcher – ‘Falling: A Part’ at the Wapping Project was our final stop. A collection of photographs of models shot in frozen moments of untold stories in Oslo, Vienna and London. The works allowed you to formulate your own stories around the noir inspired, sultry women and the situations they were in. Some looked like they were escaping; others empowered but all with a fashion photo shoot edge (expected as Zanon-Larcher’s work is widely acknowledged in editorial magazines and among designers.) It was a small but perfectly formed exhibition down an incredibly quiet street (abandoned on a Saturday afternoon.) Thankfully this one had far less nudity, only one bum!

We toasted ourselves for all our hard work with a bottle of red wine and a delicious vegetarian meal at The Gate in Angel ( in the evening.

I now had to prepare for day two’s offerings, this time with The Ministry ladies. I waved mum off and headed to Southbank for a dose of ‘Light Show’ at The Hayward, a stop off for delicious, reviving dumplings at Ping Pong and a second hit at Tate Britain for ‘Schwitters in Britain.’ I shan’t go into too much depth with these, wouldn’t want to steal the spotlight from any upcoming blogs by the Ministry minxes so here are just a few choice taster points I discovered:

Light Show
  1. Rocking up to a sold out show and flashing your museum pass at an exasperated staff member will result in a look, 10 minutes of key board tapping and a free ticket to go straight in. RESULT! And yes, I did feel like a celebrity for a second. 
  2. Kids love light installations. Yuppie mums think it’s a good idea to take said kids to such shows at a weekend for them to engage with and (illegally) touch. I would advise a week day visit if you don’t like children. Still, it is fun watching panicked security guards running after them.
  3. It’s extraordinary how many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ I will give to a dimly lit light bulb.
  4. When everyone else looks fabulous in a multi-coloured lit room I look “just grey” – thanks Huss!
  5. Putting shoe covers on to enter an installation makes me incredibly happy (when I don’t put them on sideways.) 
Shoe Covers are AWESOME!

Schwitters in Britain
  1. I had forgotten how much I used to LOVE making collages.
  2. It is crazy to think that Schwitters’ incredibly modern looking collages first emerged as early as the 1920’s.
  3. It is even more crazy to think that many of these collages were produced in such harrowing circumstances as camps where Schwitters was detained as an enemy alien.
I slumped on the couch in my onesie come 8pm on Sunday. No five portions of fruit and veg in sight just tea and a lot of biscuits. I must admit though, I felt an incredibly satisfied warm glow ticking off all these exhibitions on my to do list. The OCD in me could rest easy ready for a week of trashy TV and microwave dinners!

'The Uncanny' Featuring works by Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde. At Rochini Gallery 22 Dering Street, London, W1S 1AN Until 16 February 2013.

Juergen Teller: Woo! At the ICA, Strand. The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH 23 January 2013 - 17 March 2013

Falling: A Part, THOMAS ZANON-LARCHER, Wapping Project, 65a Hopton Street, London SE1 9LR,  25 January – 16 March 2013.

Light Show, Hayward Gallery Southbank, Wednesday 30 January 2013 - Sunday 28 April 2013

Schwitters in Britain, Tate Britain:Millbank Exhibition 30 January – 12 May 2013, Cost £10


Written by Ministry member Becky - A Collections Officer, with style, bling and  a thing for Contemporary Art. 



No comments:

Post a comment