Retrospective of Rachel Whiteread @ Tate Britain

Every time I see Whiteread’s artworks, a famous quote by the mountaineer, George Mallory, pops up in my head – “People ask me, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ And my answer is ‘Because it’s there’.”

Rachel casts because it is there…

And she has been casting a numerous objects in resin, rubber, plaster and concrete over the decades. What she casts is another thing which makes her works most unique and captivating.

Rachel captures what is not there. Or it exists yet it is not tangible nor tactile to us. She traps the emptiness…

Shallow Breath 1988

In this work, she casted the void beneath a bed. The space captured and solidified in plaster and polystyrene represents multiple emotions which are associated with the space under a bed.

In her “Torso” series, she casted the inside of a hot-water bottle…

Again, she was capturing the warmth of a hot-water bottle. The artworks appeared as if she also managed to jog and trap the memories associated with this intimate household object.

Untitled (Amber Mattess) 1992

The cast of the mattress was made from rubber. The manner of the way the artwork leant against the wall resembled how some people abandon a worn-out bedding out on the street. Did she imply discarded intimacy?…

Untitled (Hive) II 2007 – 2008

The interior of a beehive was casted in honey-coloured resin. The visualisation of the space filled with liquid honey.

Ghost Ghost 2008

A doll house was casted in lavender-coloured resin. Behind the semi-transplant mass, details such as a staircase and walls were seen, trapped in a dreamlike manner, and it was hauntingly beautiful.

Sadly her most famous work, House – a temporary public sculpture in East London, no longer exists. I remember how raucously the piece was received by the general public. While some of them, including me, were pro, the rest was aggressively anti and the controversy raged until the artwork was demolished after eleven weeks.

Untitled (Room 101) 2003

This piece reminded me about the aforementioned work. Would the sculpture be spared from being torn down if it were built in a more affluent area of London? Like Hampstead or Chelsea? I couldn’t help wondering.

Stairs 2001

With this piece, which occupied the centre stage of the airy gallery, the artist finally resolved the issue which had been bugging her for eight years. During the BBC programme, Imagine, Rachel was recounting to Alan Yentob how she was left unsatisfied with the staircase of the “House” in 1993. She was not happy with it because the staircase was like a mere imprint on the wall and it did not represent architectural quality she wanted. Then in 1999, opportunity was presented to her in the shape of an ex-Baptist church in Shoreditch which she and her partner bought so they could convert it to a studio/family home. While she rejigged the space, she made the casts of the existing interior, including the staircase.

Untitled (Floor – thirty-six) 2002

In Out-IV 2004 (left), Circa 1610 2012 (right)

A.M. 2011

Due Porte 2016

Line up 2007 – 2008

Drill 2008 (front), Lean 2005 (rear)

While studying her works, the sensations, such as scents, temperatures and touches, I felt while I was making things during my art student days, came back vividly.

Her retrospective show is on until the 21st of January.

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…


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


The Visual Candy paintings by Damien Hirst…





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…


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


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

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…



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…



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…




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

“Nature Scene 2011” by Tom Thayer…


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…



“Window 2010” by Storm Tharp…


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

“Kite-Planes” by Marcelo Jácome…




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

“Floating City” by Han Feng…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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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