Skinny-dipping @ Royal Academy

Yesterday was so balmy, wasn’t it? It was so pleasant and summery! 

We took Bella to the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Art on Piccadilly and she enjoyed her very first skinny-dipping…

Initially, she didn’t know what to make of those bubbling mini-fountains. Then, she launched herself at them, punching and biting the water. The people around us were all giggling at her effort as I was doing my best to hold her back so she wouldn’t be completely wet.
Sadly, the warmth has been replaced with chilly winds today. Good things never last, don’t they? Ohhhh, I can’t wait to put on sandals instead of boots….

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Midsummer Night’s Fête @ Royal Academy, W1

‘OMG, it’s bright!’ I winced and rummaged around in the bag for a pair of shades as the early evening sunshine whacked my retinas unexpectedly.
Oh yeah, it’s the summer solstice, isn’t it? No wonder it stayed so bright until so late…

A balmy summer evening on Piccadilly…

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At Royal Academy of Arts, I was to rendezvous with my gorgeous girlfriends, Fei & Nicky, so we could enjoy A Midsummer Night’s Fête together. At the main gate, I was given a ticket for one free drink and looked for Fei & Nicky who were supposed to be amongst the lined crowd…

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Thanks to our iPhones, we managed to locate each other. A group photo with glasses in our hands…

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The British summer evening at its best. Mellow & balmy…

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The upstairs galleries were a venue for the 246th Summer Exhibition…

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In the first gallery, we were greeted by the artwork “Cake Man” by Yinka Shonibare…

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The figure, bearing a tower of cakes precariously stuck up on its back, was a representation of greedy bankers in the City and Wall Street, a description by the artist explained.

The next space accommodated large-scale paintings…

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This work was my favourite, BTW…

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The gallery also housed a bar which served gin & tonic as well as Pimms. At the end of the room, there was a stage for live music too…

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A typical scene of the Summer Exhibition at RA. The walls were covered with artworks in all shapes & sizes…

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Some works were romantic & dreamy…

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while others were rather dark and scary…

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Is this how Jerry sees a cheese grate? Oversized utensils in the middle of the gallery…

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Unfortunately, I was rather underwhelmed by James Turrell’s light sculpture. The venue had too much ambient lighting which dulled the intensity of the colours. What a shame…

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A figure of a young girl with her eyes closed stood demurely in the corner of one gallery…

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The work reminded me porcelain dolls by Lladró. The profile was delicate and sensual which made me want to stoke it (but I didn’t, of course)…

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The last room was the smallest and the most intimate space and Fei, Nicky & I unanimously agreed that it was our most favourite…

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The all four walls were adorned with small artworks, resembling a Victorian reception room proudly decorated by a fabulously eccentric old lady…

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Two unicorns in the wood. We all adored this painting / sculpture…

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From this photo, the work looks like a conventional painting but it is in fact a 3-D! It was so romantic! We sighed and then, we mused that it would be wonderful if we could hole ourselves up in a sitting room like this with a bottle of good wine & a box of chocolate. All night long, we would discuss about each one of artworks and it would be such fun!

Amongst the visitors, there were also a few performance artists roaming around the exhibition.

This ghost-like artist scared me the most…

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He carried a pink column like object with him and was shuffling around the galleries quietly.

He stopped time to time, asking visitors to scribble on the column…

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This lady with enormous paper hat was chatting with spectators and handing out lollipop-like paper object…

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I wasn’t sure what this gentleman was up to…

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When we came out of the building eventually, the party in the courtyard was already in full swing – a band, bottles of bubblies, cupcakes & pork pies…

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The hands of my wristwatch indicated that the time was nearly nine o’clock. No wonder we were so hungry…

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So we headed towards Chinatown eagerly, salivating over the thought of soup dumplings at Dumpling Legend…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Pop-Up Book Sale ICA @ The Mall

The recent London has been blessed with a blue sky and fluffy white wispy clouds. And the weather of the last Saturday was no exception.
‘We are going to the ICA today!’ Hubbie declared breezily. He explained that we were to visit a weekend-only pop-up bookshop held at the gallery. Oh, okay…

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I was not an avid Royal calendar follower and therefore I had no idea what was held at Horse Guard Parade that morning but along the stretch of The Mall, a row of crowd-control barriers was in place on both sides and onlookers were milling about…

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We had a quick bite at the gallery’s cafe before plunging our nose between pages of precious prints…

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The coffee at ICA was not bad at all and the sandwiches were really tasty.

After climbing two flights of stairs…

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And we were greeted with table tops and shelves laden with vintage art & photography books…

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While Hubbie was wandering between stalls, I came across intriguing looking pins at one of the venders…

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The staff explained to me that their designs were inspired by fonts and borders. I decided to take two of them home with me, the pins in the first and second row, because they reminded me the artworks of James Turrell…

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A corridor of the ICA…

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Once outside, we headed to the nearest ice cream van. They were making a brisk trade as customers swarmed around the window, wanting to have an icy treat…

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We licked our soft ice-cream and sauntered to the Royal Academy…

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Alas, the Summer Exhibition was not on yet so we headed home.

A back view of the statue in the courtyard resembled a bullfighter, squaring at a bull in the ring, I thought…

Do you agree with me?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Sensing Spaces @ RA

I am still together, even though feeling rather fragile.
From last night’s practice, I joined the premier’s session fully and went through a yet more lactic acid inducing session. The final straw which broke my back was stop & dash drill between blue-lines. In the end, I was panting like an animal on all fours.
Then, I left my stick on the car roof while stuffing a kit bag into the rear seat. By the time I settled into a driving seat and started the engine, about the stick left on the roof was completely forgotten. So when I performed a three-point turn and headed up the street on the right way around, I heard a loud noise *CRANG*! Did I ram into a car?? I stopped the car and froze like a frightened rabbit, ‘What the hell?!’ Then it dawned on me that it was the stick on the roof. Surely enough, I could see in my rear mirror that the poor stick in question lying on Tarmac in the distance. It was lucky that no car was behind me. Shaking my head, I trotted to retrieve my stick…

It had been quite a while since I visited the exhibition, Sensing Spaces, at the Royal Academy with my lovely friend, Fei Wang.
Fei arrived at the venue earlier than me and bought tickets for both of us. It was almost 5pm which meant we would only had an hour to spare and therefore we headed straight to the exhibits without consulting the leaflet we were given at the entrance.

The space created by Grafton Architects…

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The space resembled an elaborate underground bunker or a tomb. Thick concrete slab-like structures hovered above us, defying gravity, reminding me the scene from the original Total Recall.

The next space was a work by Pezo von Ellrichshausen…

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A towering structure, resembling a Greek temple, were made of rough-hewn timber.

A viewing platform was hoisted up by four robust columns…

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Yet, the inside of each sumptuous column was in fact hollow and occupied by a spiral staircase…

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On the platform, we discovered that some parts of the timber wall were cut out to reveal the gilded angels on the cornice adorning the original space…

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The next exhibit was created by Diébédo Francis Kéré…

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A semi-opaque tunnel was bridging two original gallery spaces.
Upon our close inspection, the structure’s main material turned out to be polycarbonate sheeting with honeycomb like profile.

Thin long plastic straws in various colours were stocked together by the tunnel, offering exhibition visitors to participate in decorating its external & internal space by connecting the straws to it…

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We took a few straws and did our contribution. Wished if we had more time so we could wrestle out something more original…

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A riot of fluorescent colours was mesmerizing…

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Walking through a “hairy” tunnel…

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Then, we entered a work by Li Xiaodong…

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The structure was designed like a maze and an illuminated white translucent path reminded us a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining…

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The walls were made from thin twigs clustered tightly together…

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How strange I felt when my own shadow was removed from the underneath. Rather unsettling and otherworldly. Do you remember the room in 2001: Space Odyssey?

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A small hut was tucked around the passage and a woman inside was working with her iPad in there…

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Amongst all great exhibits, the most spectacular one had to be Kengo Kuma’s…

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Inside the darkened gallery, a dainty willow twig-like objects were standing in row…

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The individual twig was illuminated by a tiny light bulbs from underneath…

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So delicate and organic. The way the objects were lit up was such, they resembled wisps of golden vapour rising from the ground…

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The effect was absolutely magical….

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The exhibition will end this weekend. If you are around in Central London and haven’t been there yet, why don’t you make detour to RA? I can’t recommend the show highly enough. And please allocate more than an hour because we ended up sprinting between the galleries towards the end. Oops!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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