thu 23/11/2017

Visual Arts Reviews

The Machines of Steven Pippin, The Edge, University of Bath review - technology as poetry

sarah Kent

Our universe seems to be in a state of equilibrium, neither collapsing in on itself nor expanding ad infinitum. The metaphor used by physicists to represent the delicate balance of forces needed to maintain this happy state of affairs is a pencil standing on its tip. In his sculpture Omega = 1, Steven Pippin miraculously turns the metaphor into physical reality.

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Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery - light-filled northern vistas

marina Vaizey

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the National Gallery's exhibition of four paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kalela (1865-1931) of a very large lake in central Finland is a beguiling glimpse of the passion its inhabitants attach to its scenic beauty, in winter darkness and here, summer night. Finland possesses almost 190,000 lakes, depending on your definition.

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Highlights from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 - raw emotion, not always human

Bill Knight

What does it take to be included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition? This year 2,423 photographers entered 5,717 images: 2,373 of those photographers are left wondering what it takes to make the grade.

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Red Star Over Russia, Tate Modern review – fascinating history in a nutshell

sarah Kent

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s Tate Modern exhibition features an installation made in 1985 of a Moscow bedsit, its walls lined with political posters.

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Impressionists in London, Tate Britain review - from the stodgy to the sublime

marina Vaizey

Jules Dalou, Edouard Lantéri, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Charles-François Daubigny, Alphonse Legros, Giuseppe de Nittis?

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Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11, Imperial War Museum review - affecting but incoherent

Katherine Waters

The Imperial War Museum’s Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 brings together art made in response to the immediate events and long-term consequences of the events of 11 September.

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Monochrome, National Gallery review - colourless but not dreary

Florence Hallett

Might a painting ever achieve the veracity of a sculpture, a "real" object in space that we can walk around and view from every angle? Could the documentary quality of an engraving ever be equalled by a painting? And how could painting respond to photography – drawing with light – an invention that in the 19th century prompted a thorough reconsideration of painting’s purpose.

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Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery review - eye-opening and heart-breaking

marina Vaizey

Some 50 portraits by Paul Cézanne – almost a third of all those the artist painted that have survived – are on view in this quietly sensational exhibition.

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Tove Jansson (1914-2001), Dulwich Picture Gallery review – more than Moominvalley

Rebecca Sykes

Born into an artistic Swedish-speaking household in Helsinki, Tove Jansson’s first, and most enduring, ambition was to be a painter. Although best known as the illustrator behind the creatures of Moominvalley, those plump white hippopotamus-like folk with an existential longing for adventure, Jansson came to regard her widely successful creations as a distraction from what she considered to be her “real work”.

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Soutine's Portraits, Courtauld Gallery review - a superb, unsettling show

Alison Cole

This is the latest in a line of beautifully curated, closely focused exhibitions that the Courtauld Gallery does so well. Its subject is the great Russian-French painter Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) who, remarkably, has not had a UK exhibition devoted to his work for 35 years.

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