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…


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


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…


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…


Yippee, my fish & chips!!


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…


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…


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…


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….


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


Tate Modern’s new extension under construction…


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…


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

London Morning in Rain…

Yesterday, I took my car to the garage near Tower of London for an annual check-up.
It had been nearly a year since I bought the car as brand new and the car had clocked up less than 2000 miles. Yet one day recently, its tire pressure warning popped up on the dashboard and refused to turn itself off even after I checked the tire pressure. Since the arrival of winter was imminent, I thought it must be best to be examined by their mechanics.

The garage was located on The Highway, a stone’s throw from Tower of London…


After depositing the car, I headed towards Tower of London, but oh my, what an unattractive stretch of the road it was! And so many traffic police on the wayside. Later, I was told that the police were there to pull in any over-laden HGVs passing by in order to fine them…
Once I reached Tower of London, instead of catching tube home at Tower Hill, I thought ‘Hmmm… How about grabbing breakfast at Borough Market?’ So I walked towards Tower Bridge.
Tower of London, looking imposing & forlorn…


I had never been gifted with any sensitivity to supernatural presence but  still couldn’t help checking those medieval windows in search of Anne Boleyn and Kathryn Howard, poor wives of Henry VIII. And of course, I found none.

It had been raining heavily the night before. The weather forecast I checked before I left home predicted a dry spell during the day. However, the sky indicated otherwise…


At this point, the heavens started spitting. And the wind increased its strength…


On the bridge, I saw the Thames at low ride and its browny banks exposed under the blue grey sky. From Tower Pier, a river bus was gliding out, heading towards Greenwich. ‘Oh I must use River Bus instead of tube next time I visit Greenwich!’, I made a mental note.

Shall I visit Tower Bridge Exhibition?


Another madding idea. Alas, the door wouldn’t open until 9:30 and the prospect of having to hang around for nearly half an hour on the windswept bridge wasn’t so appealing. Therefore, I opted against acting upon my whim this time.

By the time I reached the City Hall, the spit turned to proper rain so I put up my umbrella.
Around London Bridge station, the sight was rather depressing. The pavements were awash with the crowd churned out by the station, all sporting frown lines across their foreheads. Dodging pedestrians as well as uneven paving stones, I made my way to Borough Market.
Unfortunately, all popular cafés were swamped by the people taking sanctuary from the pouring rain. I didn’t see the point of standing in the rain with coffee & pastry, therefore, I turned my heel and headed back to the station. *ARGH!*

Good old OZONE on Leonard Street near Old Street station…


Soothing murmurs in the place was a world apart from the miserable chaos around London Bridge…


I ordered flat white with almond croissant…


The croissant was enormous and rather dry. Peeling off layers of the pastry, I wondered if I fared better in Borough Market. Nah, it’s nicer to keep my feet dry in here.

Around 13:00 the garage sent me SMS, informing my car was ready for collection. So, I hopped on a No.15 bus after running a few errands in West End.
While the bus was crawling by St.Paul’s Cathedral, I saw temporary viewing stands being erected in preparation for the Remembrance Sunday…


Don’t you think the clouds look like a gigantic flock of sheep walking across the sky?…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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