RA Magazine Autumn 2012
Issue Number: 116
Art around the nation
Our pick of art outings this autumn takes in Rembrandt in Glasgow, the Biennial in Liverpool, Barry Flanagan at Chatsworth and St Ives artists shown in a new light
ST IVES: Tate St Ives
The Far and the Near: Replaying Art in St Ives
6 Oct–13 Jan, 2013
Barbara Hepworth, 'Mother and Child', 1934. © Bowness, Hepworth Estate. Hepworth, Nicholson, Lanyon, Heron. The name St Ives stands for a fusion of international Modernism with a localised, mythologised sense of place. For a decade after the Second World War, this felt like the reconstructive vision for Britain as a whole. By the 1960s it was the object of derision. Serious artists in a bucket-and-spade resort? You’re joking.
Naum Gabo must have wondered how he ended up in a Carbis Bay bungalow in 1939. But it didn’t stop the great Russian sculptor making work of international importance there. Now, as the controversial new extension at Tate St Ives gets underway, the gallery is eager to ‘shift nostalgic perceptions of this Cornish resort’ and re-examine its role as meeting point and melting pot.
‘The Far and the Near’ pairs a large cast of historic St Ives artists with contemporary international artists who may never have heard of the place. For example, Patrick Heron’s modernist stained-glass work Window for St Ives is a counterpoint to Tangier-based Yto Barrada’s palm tree sculpture, Palm Sign (2010), which is an ironic take on the Moroccan tourist industry. Though some connections feel very tenuous, this show is a bold attempt to catapult the story of St Ives back into the bigger picture. Michael Bird
GLASGOW: The Hunterian Art Gallery
Rembrandt and the Passion
15 Sep–2 Dec
Rembrandt, Entombment Sketch, c.1636-54. © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012. Among the greatest treasures owned by the University of Glasgow is a work small in scale but of immense power – an oil sketch of c.1630 by Rembrandt, depicting the Entombment of Christ. It formed part of the collection of the brilliant surgeon William Hunter, the founding Professor of Anatomy at the RA.
The appeal of Hunter’s extraordinary Rembrandt (for which he paid only 12 guineas) has long been recognised, but its sophistication and purpose is only now being thoroughly explored through an exhibition which features detailed technical analysis and key international loans. These include a drawing of the Entombment after Mantegna from the Metropolitan Museum in New York and one of the finished Entombment paintings from the series of six created by Rembrandt for the Prince of Orange and now residing at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
The secret, nocturnal rite depicted is dramatically lit, and with daring economy Rembrandt carefully structured the scene, textured the details and conveyed a sense of wonder. He was to explore the stages of Christ’s Passion in ink drawings, etchings, monochrome oil sketches and highly evolved paintings.
Functionally these works overlap and Hunter’s sketch is connected with other interpretations by the artist, but it also stands apart from them as one of his most profound exploratory meditations on the theme. Rembrandt may have been aware of its special status, as he kept this work until late in his life. Christopher Baker
DERBYSHIRE: Chatsworth House
Barry Flanagan: Beyond Limits
7 Sep–28 Oct
Barry Flanagan, 'Nijinski Hare', 1996, in the grounds of Chatsworth. © Sotheby’s. Barry Flanagan RA (1941-2009) achieved fame for his giant bronze hares which pranced their way into the hearts of art lovers worldwide. One of the most compelling is Nijinski Hare, inspired by the great dancer. It is included in an unmissable outdoor installation of Flanagan bronzes that forms the annual Sotheby’s ‘Beyond Limits’ show at Chatsworth. The anarchic energy of these works is stunningly set off by the formal classicism of the house. Simon Wilson
LIVERPOOL: LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL
15 Sep–25 Nov, 2013
Computer generated image showing Doug Aitken’s installation for Liverpool Biennial, 'Doug Aitken: The Source', 2012. Courtesy of Doug Aitken. American artist Doug Aitken unveils his first public installation in the UK, as part of the Liverpool Biennial. Through filmed interviews with artists, architects, musicians and actors – including Jack White, Tilda Swinton, Thomas Demand and Philippe Parreno – Aitken asks where creative ideas come from, and how they are realised. Together with British architect David Adjaye, he has created a temporary structure to house the films, outside Tate Liverpool on Albert Dock. Sook-Kyung Lee, Tate Liverpool curator, says ‘The conventional white cube would not be the right space for the piece, so Aitken decided to build a more threshold-like area, outside the gallery, because this is about creativity in process, not the finished work.’ As Aitken explains: ‘I want the installation to be a destination: a place where one can go to and walk into this field of ideas.’ Emma Crichton-Miller
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