Tuesday 13 October 2015

Sculpture in the City 2015

Sculpture in the City are a yearly sculpture trail found in the City of London, presented as part of City of London's Cultural Strategy. This year, there are 14 contemporary art installations created by international artists. This year's Sculpture in the City has won the 2015 Civic Trust Award recognising projects or installations that creates a significant contribution to its surrounding's quality and appearance.
1. Alter - Kris Martin - St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Gardens
The installation is a metal representation of the multipanelled Ghent Alterpiece, original created by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck in the 15th Century, which was known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. Reproduced with only the frame and without the folding panels, the work encourages spectators to glance through the windows into the cityscape.

2. Bells II - Kris Martin - 99 Bishopsgate
This installation features two bells which are linked together by the mouths. The bell changes were kept to the minimal and it was positioned in a way that symbolised a kiss as well as an air of silence as nothing can escape the seal. Martin was inspired by small things that can make us see and understand the world around us.

3. Days of Judegment - Cats 1 & 2 - Laura Ford - 150 Leadenhall Street
The artwork shows to very tall, skinny cats, named Adam and Eve, as they pace back and forth. As a projection of our own fears and concerns, the cats have featureless facial expressions as well as a hand that obscures their face.

4. Ghost - Adam Chodzko - Leadenhall Market
The artwork is a combination of a kayak, coffin and camera rig with the paddler in the back and the passenger in the front. The guest would lay out as if in a coffin and the journey represents a metaphorical journey to the Island of the dead. A camera on the bow record each passenger’s journey.

5. Old DNA - Folkert de Jong - Lime Street, outside Willis
A rework on a 3D scan of a suit armour of Henry the VIII, it is a psychological take on power and how it can endure the test of time.

“The scene De Jong creates does not feel like an official history, but rather a hidden or unseen moment – an uncovered conspiracy from the past” – Sam Lackey, Hepworth Wakefield museum curator

6. Rays (London) - Xavier Veilhan - Fenchurch Avenue, outside Willis
Part of the “Rays” series created since 2011, the series is a tribute to Jesús Rafael Soto and Fred Sandback. The artwork plays on its surroundings, focussing on light, shadow and architecture.

7. ‘O my friends, there are no friends’ - Sigalit Landau - St Helen’s Square
Shoes made from a traditional material being bronze, challenges monumental sculptures and is done as a “commemoration of the future, when we will be able to slip into these shoes and be part of the community that will create a better history, with more solidarity, more generosity and regeneration”. The sculpture is built on a pedestal making it anti-monument, while the bronze shoe laces made with real laces brings in the softness and vulnerability.
8. Red Atlas - Ekkehard Altenburger - 30 St Mary Axe (Gherkin)
This artwork is park of the Atlas series, where it seeks to create balance between the physical to the architecture in the environment around us. It is held in place by the weight, where we can see the physicality of it against the urban space around it, making an observation between the object, architecture and ourselves.
9. Carson, Emma, Takashi, Zezi, Nia – Tomoaki Suzuki - 30 St Mary Axe
The artwork is a contemporary interpretation on Japanese woodcarving and is the first work that employs the use of bronze by Susuki. The work is a reflection of the diverse youth in London which the artist draws on from living life in London. Due to its scale, Suzuki was able to add a lot of details to them as well as encouraging viewers to draw in closer.

10. Organisms of Control #8 - Keita Miyazaki - Bury Court
Miyazaki created a utopian of a dystopian Japan following the tragedy of the Japan tsunami and earthquake in 2011. This artwork was created from the rubbles of the devastation as a way to symbolise new beginnings. Music plays as part of the installation, using original composition found in Japanese supermarkets as well as sounds from London and Tokyo and Tokyo’s transport system, bringing out the geographical connection between London and Tokyo.
11. Forever - Ai Weiwei - St May Axe
Forever was installed in September 2015 to coincide with Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. The work features multiplications of stacked bikes as a statement of the mass-manufactured “Forever” brands of bikes that were produced in Shanghai in 1940, which are slowly disappearing left, right and centre, in favour of cars.
12. Charity - Damien Hirst - Undershaft
The 22 foot bronze sculpture is all too familiar with my partner who immediately recognised it as the Spastics Society (now known as Scope) charity collection girl, which were prominent in the 60’s and 70’s outside chemist shops. The installation depicts the virtue of charity as a vulnerable symbol in a single girl, as she is ransacked and vandalised with coins scattered around her feet and a crowbar behind her. This was featured in Hirst first solo exhibition in 2003 as part of Romance in the Age of Uncertainty exhibition in White Cube Hoxton Square.
13. Breakout II - Bruce Beasley - Undershaft - Hixcox
Breakout II includes cuboid forms as they overlap creating structures of natural crystal with an added layer of patinas. The installation was created with 3D-design software and then crafted into solid bronze. The work balances between precision engineering and organic form.
14. Broken Pillar #12 - Shan Hur - St Helen’s Bishopsgate Churchyard
The Broken Pillar #12 is part of a series of works developed over the last 5 years. Embedded is an object found on location, which aims to question the world around us and the objects hidden within it.


Saturday 10 October 2015

Ben Uri - Out of Chaos

As a way to celebrate their 100th year centenary, Ben Uri Gallery hosted their Out of Chaos exhibition in Somerset House, showcasing works that have seldom been seen by the public. The exhibition maps out 100 years of Ben Uri’s history in London. The exhibition contains archival materials, detailing experiences of both World Wars as well as exploring art through the mediums of migration and identity. In fact, Ben Uri has over 1,300 artworks mainly focussed around 20th century art that specialises in issues surrounding migration and identity. 
They artworks are split into their retrospective designated themed rooms which include:
Integration & Identity – A look at artists’ that have moved from their European homelands to the East End, often bringing forth their traditions and identities, or those who have become embedded in the British social and artistic life.

  • Conflict & Modernism – Explores the rise of the ‘Whitechapel Boys’ group of Jewish artists’ contribution to British modernism.
  • Forced Journeys – Explores the era of Nazi Germany surrounding issues of identity and migration.
  • Postwar – Explores the change in the artistic landscape following the start of multiculturalism and change in the British society.
  • 2001 - The Present – Focusses on the current artists exploring identity and migration through art since 2001 and of recent acquisitions. 
  • The Future – Young artists across different nationalities explores art through different mediums which include film, video, installation and photography.

Sophie Robertson’s Rage and Release are companion pieces. Rage deals with the struggle as Robertson’s muse struggles to get into her corset and howls out in anger. This may reflect society’s expectations on how women fashion their body, which may have harmful consequences. Release is otherwise on the contrary to Rage as she bathes placidly, where she accepts that she is an object of desire.
Photographer Natan Dvir’s Homesh Evacuation #1 work mainly focusses on the political, social and cultural issues. He beautifully captures a powerful moment during an eviction of Jewish settlers at a settlement in West Bank of Homesh.
Shmuel Dresner’s The Ghost Town uses a collage of torn and burnt book pages as reference to the Nazi book burnings of 1933 and at the attempt of destroying the European Jewry.
Mark Gertler’s Merry-Go-Round is an illustrious painting with vociferous use of colours. It paints Gertler’s vision of a pacifist looking at a nightmare of conflict as the carousel riders have their mouths opened in an unending scream. Author D.H. Lawrence said that the painting was a “a real and ultimate revelation”.
Josef Herman’s Refugees is a poignant expressions of Jewish refugees as they try to escape the dangers during the Second World War as they leave their homes. The painting shows the deep fear in the family’s eyes as they try to make their way to safety, while a wolf in the distance has a bloodthirsty countenance.
Alfred Wolman’s Portrait of Mrs Ethel Solomon in Riding Habit presents Mrs Solomon in very minimal dark colours against her skin complexion giving her an air of control, adding to her stance of pose.


Wednesday 7 October 2015

Trafalgar Square - Britain's Smallest Police Station

One of the things that may be overlooked in Trafalgar is Britain’s smallest police station. Located in the south-east corner of the square, the police station has quite a touch-and-go history.

A temporary police station was placed outside the tube station entrance at Trafalgar Square at the end of the First World War. Plans were put into place to renovate and make the police station permanent but was met with objections from the public. What they did was to make a lamp post that was hollowed out adding in window slits and light fittings.

This installation was finished in 1926 with the purpose for the Metropolitan Police to observe demonstrations and protests, especially in that year was the general strike. There were claims that the window slits were put in place as to fire out at rioters who got out of hand. It is also said that there was a direct phone line in the police station that was able to link directly to Scotland Yard should there be any trouble. Not only that, each time the phone was used, the light fitting fixed atop would light up alerting nearby officers of impending troubles in the vicinity.

From the pictures below, you can see an ornamental light on top of the police station which is said to be from Nelson’s HMS Victory. The police station now is now used as a cleaning facility cupboard, which has come a long way since the conception in 1926.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Instagram September 2015

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

Monday 5 October 2015

The Barbican Muse

The Barbican Muse is a sculpture suspended near the entrance to the Barbican Centre. Commissioned by Theo Crosby in 1993, the 6.1 metres long sculpture created by Matthew Spender, features a woman holding tragedy and comedy masks. It was installed in 1994 as to “float, glow and point the way” for visitors to get to the Barbican from the walkway from Moorgate Station. It was cast in fibreglass and gilded after.