Friday, June 26, 2015

The Summer Exhibition & something exciting

My birthday is always celebrated with a visit to either somewhere arty or a garden followed by a special curry and a bit of fizz. This year was no exception although our plans had to be changed from the garden visit to something arty at the last minute to cut down on the walking part as Mike was feeling a bit wobbly following a fall, poor love.

So it was that we headed off to visit the Summer Exhibition again. Same venue, the Royal Academy in central London, but with different exhibits (although some were very similar to last year and decent paintings were in rather short supply this time much to Mike's annoyance).

This is a very photo-heavy post, even though I've left loads out, so apologies in advance. I'll let them tell the story with a few words thrown in occasionally:

An adventure always starts with a coffee at Bistro@thestation
The train was on time (hoorah!) on the outward journey but was delayed on the return sadly due to a fatality on the line. A young woman had jumped from a bridge onto the railway line and a 74 year old man had gone onto the track to save her but lost his life in the process. She survived but was in a critical condition. So sad.

I was trying to capture the enormity of the work going on at London Bridge station but most of it is hidden behind huge barriers

A moody shot of the Shard

The grand entrance to Waterloo station

The milennium wheel and a purple cow thing (what is that??????)

The traditional pose outside Charing Cross station (notice I've managed to get THE hat again!)

I was looking at rooftops on our walk to the exhibition and the cuppola atop the National Gallery caught my eye because of the way it's weathered with shades of grey

As we were there bright and early there were hardly any people about so I was able to snap this section of Trafalgar Square.

The latest display on the 4th plinth is a skeletal horse by Hans Haacke. It's entitled 'Gift Horse' and is derived from an etching by George Stubbs who was famous for his amazing paintings of horses some of which are held in the National Gallery. The round thing on the horse's front leg is an electronic ribbon which displays a live feed from the London Stock Exchange. This is supposed to link power, money and history.

Fairy-tale turrets

A sit down for coffee and cake at Caffe Concerto on Haymarket. We played at people-watching which is always fun.

Another glorious cuppola; copper this time.

Were were walking along Piccadilly and I loved the shades of grey

I think this is my favourite of the day

We were still a bit early for the Exhibition so we popped into St James's Church which was consecrated in 1684. It was designedby Sir Christopher Wren (who also designed St Paul's Catherdral).

The magnificent organ

This fabulous carving is by Grinling Gibbons who also carved the font seen below. As always there is symbolism and he has used the traditional image of a pelican pecking its breast to feed her young which represents God who though Christ is said to feed all people.

The poet William Blake was baptised here.

The highly ornate ceiling

Our final destination!

Each year there is a different installation in the courtyard. This one is entitled 'The Dappled Light of the Sun' by Conrad Shawcross.

I loved the shadows it created…...

...….and looking at its shape against the blue sky

Looking back at it from the entrance steps it looks as if the artist in the statue is conducting an orchestra!

The staircase to the exhibition had been decorated with strips of tape. You can read about it in the notice below. 

It made my eyes go funny on the way down!

There were many interesting sculptures this year.

Sheep heads with a goat on the end which I couldn't fit into the photo.

This pile of tat made me cross - how can that be classed as 'ART'?!!!!!

These 2 chairs caught my eye because I love things with holes in (as anyone who's seen my pottery work will know).

This one had mirrors inserted into the holes which gave distorted reflections - I appear to be upside down and on my side!

This is the sort of sculpture I'd love to have in the garden

Just imagine that with the light shining through it.

These 3 abstract figures were glorious and I really wanted to touch them but it wasn't allowed.  I didn't make a note of the sculptor unfortunately. I always admired Henry Moore's ethos that sculpture should be enjoyed by all and he loved people to engage with his pieces rather than them to be shut away in a gallery.

This was an interesting piece which refracted light and images as you moved around it

There were a couple of Bill Jacklin's paintings to keep Mike happy but overall he was disappointed by the lack of good paintings this year

I liked this piece entitled 'Origami A - Z'. It was paintings of origami animals and was quite charming.

These lights caught my eye 'cos they looked like bubbles…….

……just as they were supposed to!

Something very similar to this was exhibited last year by the same artist and we saw lots of items that were very like things artists had produced last year which seems to go against what the exhibition is supposed to be about - ie fresh and innovative ideas. We must be getting old and grumpy!

A striking tapestry by Grayson Perry - detailed photos below

This sculpture is entitled 'Darwin accelerated' and I liked the idea of a shell being divided into a sort of honeycombe.

Finally we have a photo from the Concept room,  where architects produce amazing avant garde designs, which we always enjoy.  I loved this quotation 'The art of landscape is tricking nature into improving your design'. How true; it's what we gardeners try to do all the time!

As we left the exhibition we spotted a sign for the Society of Antiquaries' collection for a free exhibition about Magna Carta throught the ages so we popped in and it was really interesting. Well worth a look if you're in the area.

After that it was time for a jolly good curry nearby in Albemarle Street and then home for some champers. Perfect.

The Exciting news

2 bits of excitement actually:

i) I received my DNA sample kit for the PROTECT study . Of course, I have said categorically that I do not want to know if I am going to develop dementia but am quite happy to take part in the study as someone "who has not received a diagnosis of dementia". 

It's so important for researchers to be able to monitor a large group of people over a number of years to learn more about how the disease develops and who may be more at risk. 

Research is they key to unlocking the secrets of dementia and I urge everyone to volunteer to help learn more about this devastating disease so that future generations don't have to experience it.

My 'spit-kit' as I call it

ii) The lovely Wendy Mitchell, who I've mentioned a lot recently, will be accompanying Piers Kotting to the House of Commons for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research's 2015 Summer Drop-In to promote Join dementia research

How fab is that?!!!

I shall be contacting my local MP to pester him, politely of course, to attend to find out more about JDR.

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