Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs @ Tate Modern

“Never repeat the David Hockney at RA” is Hubbie’s & my mantra we recite to each other when a major art exhibition hits the town. As you have probably guessed it from our mantra, we missed the Hockney’s retrospective show at the Royal Academy in 2012. Every time I expressed my desire for the show, Hubbie kept on putting it off by saying ‘Let’s wait until the show becomes less popular’. A few months passed as such and when we finally agreed to visit, it was already a final week and no ticket was available. Gah!! We learnt our lesson and vowed never to miss another show willy-nilly.

So when Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries, announced that the next major exhibition following their immensely successful Paul Klee retrospective would be featuring Henri Matisse, we were determined not to miss the boat!

The Sunday during Easter Bank Holiday was a wet one…

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Turbine Hall was filled with a ripple of excited chats by visitors who were free from umbrellas and macs…

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Matisse’s The Cut Outs was our primary objective, however, we had an even more urgent desire to fulfil… LUNCH!
A queue in front of the ground floor cafe was too long for my empty stomach which was nearly keeling over. Therefore we made a beeline for the lift and climbed up to a top floor restaurant.

A view of St.Paul’s from the window of the restaurant heaving with lunchtime diners…

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We were literally the last people to have lunch there for the day! A couple queuing right behind us was told by a receptionist that the kitchen was closed for lunch and therefore they could offer afternoon tea menu only. I hope we weren’t looking too smug then.

Yayoi Kusama’s art graced the wall of the dining room…

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Yippee, my fish & chips!!

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I highly recommend the fish & chips at the Tate. Either at their ground floor cafe or top floor restaurant, it is seriously good. The batter is crispy outside and fluffy inside but non-greasy while the fish was moist and succulent.
Since knowing this fish & chips was the last one out of the kitchen, it tasted even better.

With our stomachs comfortably lined, we headed to the gallery on the second floor…

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The exhibition was not as packed as we feared. Most of the works on display were large and therefore they were even better to be viewed from the distance. We hired audio guides and sauntered around the galleries, feasting our eyes on Matisse’s colourful creations.

After Matisse, we also viewed Richard Hamilton’s retrospective show too…

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I could see how a certain YBA artist inspired by his work. However, it was a little too similar and I found it rather disturbing.

We also admired works by Dan Flavin…

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I saw his collection when I visited Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. One of his installations was displayed in the town, utilising an unoccupied shop space. It was a strangely alluring sight that coloured fluorescent tubes in pink, blue, green and yellow were shimmering and the light was bleeding out from the window and onto ordinary everyday surroundings of the American suburb.

We were a little tired so moved on to the members room for tea & cake….

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I had a raspberry macaroon and a pot of Darjeeling….

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Tate Modern’s new extension under construction…

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Hubbie and I speculated how this Herzog de Meuron’s addition would turn out to be in 2016. Hubbie was a little concerned about the slanted walls, reasoning it wouldn’t be great for hanging arts. I am sure there must be a plenty more of vertical walls in this massive extension.

Broken lines on their concrete structure…

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Are they for hanging wall claddings?
I love ogling buildings especially the one under construction. How each element is put together three-dimensionally, it is so clever and fascinating. Oh, I can hardly wait to see the result…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Candy By Damien Hirst

My internet is still out of action.
I have been trying to resuscitate the modem by repeatedly unplugging and rebooting. At one stage, flashing blue lights came on which made me hover with my fingers crossed. Yet, still no internet connection and hopes were dashed.
I’ve never realised how much I depend upon the internet until I am deprived of it. Apart from a cellular connection through my iPhone, I have no way of updating my blog or checking FB status. Still, it’s far better than nothing. Plus, I am pleased to discover that a WordPress app for iPhone is not at all bad. Besides, the present inconvenience is a perfect dress rehearsal for me blogging from Japan during a 3 weeks stay after Christmas. Once our broadband is reinstated, I would love to check how the posts I have uploaded through the iPhone app look like, especially picture and font size.

Last Tuesday, I was happened to be around Hanover Square. After my hair salon appointment, I was heading towards Liberty and noticed an airy gallery with colourful exhibit…

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Being intrigued, I decided to investigate what it was all about.
The show, titled “Candy”, exhibited paintings by Damien Hirst and installations by Felix Gonzalez-Torres

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The Visual Candy paintings by Damien Hirst…

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While ostensibly abstract, the paintings were depiction of medicinal pills. The series was created as Hirst’s witty riposte to an art critic who dismissed his Spot Paintings as ‘just visual candy’.

The brush strokes were energetic and the colours employed were vibrant. A dynamic style of the paintings was refreshingly different from his earlier works. which were elaborate and somehow clinical.

The installations by Felix Gonzalez-Torres were made of real candies…

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The viewer was invited to eat the candies but no one wasn’t doing so…

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If a ‘Help yourself’ sign was put up next to each work, the audience might have interacted with the work more.

The exhibition will be on until this Saturday. Go and have a candy or two if you are in the area!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday Night @ Tate Modern, Bankside

Last Saturday, we visited Tate Modern for dinner and the Paul Klee‘s exhibition. I was nearly shaking off my cold and itching to go out. Therefore, Hubbie booked the tickets on internet and off we went.

Tate Modern has been my most favourite art gallery ever since it opened its door to the public in 2000. I especially love the architecture. The old Bankside power station was remodelled and refitted by a talented architectural duo, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in order to accommodate a vast collection of modern art which was stored in the Tate’s warehouse because of the lack of suitable space…

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A mass of brickwork with an equally imposing chimney looms above the Thames. A volume of its brickwork and colossal weight is unarguable. It appears impregnable and impervious to any external assault. Yet, its footing, where the building meets the ground, is punctuated with narrow glazed slits here and there. These juxtapositions of heavy vs light, density vs weightlessness and opaque vs transparent, fuel my fascination and imagination every time I visit the gallery. For me, the charm of Tate Modern is all about this thought-provoking paradox which is dotted around all over the complex, including their art collection.
Another famous architectural face of Bankside is the Millennium Bridge by Sir Norman Foster, which connects the foreground of the galley with City of London. Approaching Tate Modern via the footbridge must be the most spectacular and rewarding way for many visitors. However, the bridge itself doesn’t excite me as much as the gallery does. Do you know why? Yes, the bridge looks great. However, it doesn’t inspire nor intrigue me. It’s a marvel of British engineering but not a piece of art which initiates any philosophical debate. The bridge could have won my praise if the design of the bridge, especially the Bankside end, was integrated to Tate Modern’s forecourt seamlessly. Instead of a cumbersome footing with zigzagging lamps, why the bridge could not morph into a part of the landscape? The effect would have been so much more elegant and magical. Well, the landscaping between the bridge and the gallery was somehow awkward from the beginning anyway. Maybe there was some artistic disagreement between three great architects?

Our entry to the Paul Klee exhibition was from 19:30, therefore, we decided to have dinner first…

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Tate Cafe on the ground floor was fairly busy but their service was brisk and efficient.
I pondered between a burger or fish & chips, but in the end, fish & chips won me over…

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The battering encasing the fish was so crisp and moreish. And the potato was fried to its perfection. Their mushy peas was minty and refreshing.

For dessert, we shared a slice of coconut meringue Swiss roll with red berry compote…

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Our first two choices, trifle and cheese cake, were sold out, therefore, we didn’t expect much from our third choice. But oh my! We were betrayed in a good way. The cake was moist, fluffy and divine. And the berry compote added perfect zinginess to otherwise delicate texture of the cake.

After dinner, we browsed around a bookshop on the lower ground floor…

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There were more than a few coffee table books I want to add to my Christmas wish list…

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Then, we headed to the exhibition on the second floor via escalator…

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For me, the escalator ride from the lower ground level to the second floor gallery level is one of the best Tate Modern experiences.

Paul Klee, here we come…

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The exhibition was wonderful.
And I shall definitely review it properly in a few days time.

We left the gallery, thoroughly satisfied and excited…

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The new extension of the gallery will be completed by 2015. I can hardly contain a huge expectation I have towards this exciting project…

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Will it be as awe-inspiring as the existing Turbine Hall? We will have to wait and see for another 2 years. I shall keep on reporting any progress at the site in future…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Paper @ Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea

On Sunday, we decided to check out the Saatchi Gallery at the Duke of York’s HQ off Sloane Square. One of my favourite WordPress bloggers, Sequins and Cherry Blossom, reviewed the current exhibition “Paper” recently and I was very much intrigued by it.
So, there we were, having parked our car successfully on a single yellow line on Clivedon Place and striding happily towards the gallery. As we turned into Sloane Square, guess who we bumped into? Mr.Saatchi himself! He was standing in front of the brassiere, Colbert, chatting to his female companion.
Once we reached another side of the square, Hubbie joked, ‘At least, he wasn’t grabbing her throat’. Oh, what a thing to say! I was fascinated to see Mr.Saatchi in the flesh. Does he always dress in the same manner? A white shirt with a dark blue / black suit paired with super shiny brogues. Does he have a row of identical suits neatly displayed in a grand walk-in closet in his mansion? And a pile of neatly hand pressed identical shirts on the shelf?
Hmmm… It wouldn’t surprise me since he came across to me like a super control freak.

The exhibition “Paper” was an extensive affair. It occupied 10 gallery spaces.
As the title suggested, primary material featured in the exhibition was paper.
The exhibits which caught my attention as it follows.

“Fragments of Time” by Miler Lagos…

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Old newspaper was collated, shaped and coloured as giant twiglets. I thought the work portrayed time and decay poetically.

“Golden Arch Parkway McDonald’s” by Yuken Teruya…

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This artist utilized shopping bags from ordinary commercial outlets for his works.
A part of the bag was cut away to the shape as a tree.

The visitors were captivated by super minuscule bonsais in bags…

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The works put a smile on every visitor’s face.

“Nature Scene 2011” by Tom Thayer…

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Puppet-like cranes stood pensively in front of the image of the tree graced with birds in all shapes and colours.
The piece was adorned with coloured papers which resembled an elaborate embroidery.

“Love Nothing More” by Storm Tharp…

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“Window 2010” by Storm Tharp…

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The method employed on each painting depicted features of its sitter with surprising canniness. It was enchanting.

“Kite-Planes” by Marcelo Jácome…

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The work resembled a flock of colourful birds flying out from their waterhole in the African savannah.

“Floating City” by Han Feng…

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The delicate piece was made with tracing paper.
Each paper block had an image of building superimposed. And they were clustered together to have the look of a city block…

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Fragile pieces were suspended from the ceiling and created a dreamlike floating cityscape.

The present Saatchi Gallery is much more suitable for modern art exhibitions than the previous one at the County Hall, a former HQ of Greater London Council…

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Neutral backdrops and diffused overall lighting, as well as plenty of space to walk around and examine the works, they are essential criteria for any gallery which houses modern art, especially oversized sculptural works.
At the Saatchi Gallery, it was achieved flawlessly.

After satisfying our eyes, we decided to do likewise to our stomach.
‘Do you fancy Dutch pancake?’ ‘Oh yeah, please!’
We headed to My Old Dutch, Holborn.

Nursing latte, we waited for our pancake impatiently…

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We both ordered the same thing.
My Old Dutch – smoked bacon, chicken, ham, sweet pepper, mushrooms, sweet corn & cheese.
The pancake may appear massive at first glance. However, the dough is paper-thin therefore much lighter than pizza…

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Apart from their Amsterdammer – sautéed apple & smoked bacon with maple syrup, we’ve never tried anything else.
I know I should be more imaginative and adventurous.
Maybe I could order Chicken Curry (pancake with basmati rice?! Do they really go together?) or Chill Con Came (pancake with Mexican twist?) so I wouldn’t be such a food bore.
However, Dutch pancake appeals to me only when I want predictable & soothing fare.

Their Dutch apple pie is one of the best in town…

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A perfect amount of cinnamon! Yum!!
Damn, we should have ordered it one each, instead of sharing one like a goody two shoes…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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