My sister and I gave The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse to our mum for Christmas – a wise present it turns out, seeing as I’ve now read it more times than she has. Looking at it again this past week has been a comforting escape. The book is formed from a collection of beautifully expressive ink illustrations with handwritten words, stitched together by a gently anchoring narrative. We follow four friends: an inquisitive boy who asks questions about the world and ponders his relationships with the others; a mole full of reassuring words, whose thoughts are also largely occupied by cake (which makes for some of my favourite moments); a fox who is reserved and quiet because of their past, yet loved by the others no matter what; and a wise horse who reveals an ability to fly. The story’s subtle linearity stitches the order of the pages together, but you don’t need to read it cover to cover. Each page is an isolated piece of art and storytelling in its own right, so dip in and dip out; you’ll never be lost in the story. Continue reading Reading Corner: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Last Friday night I went to the RAMM for just the second time since I’ve lived in Exeter. As an English student and exhibition lover, I find it strange that there is such a valuable resource in the centre of town that I have never used. The RAMM Lates event highlighted the fact that the RAMM is a great resource that has real relevance to the student community. Museums allow us to experience culture up close and without the filter of computer screens that we have become accustomed to. After learning about Native American culture and history last term I found it eye-opening to be able to see firsthand authentic artefacts – such as traditional clothing and weapons – from Native American culture. So surely this is a resource we should all be using more often? Continue reading Review: RAMM Lates
On Saturday night, I walked into Unit 1 at 6:45 (truly the earliest I think I have ever set foot there), excited for a night of fashion. The main dance floor had been filled with chairs, set up to include a runway right through the middle. We took our seats, second row from the front – the front rows were reserved for the designers responsible for the garments we were about to see grace the runway (this was the moment when I felt like I really was at a real fashion show). The Re:Claimed Fashion show, put on by Exeter Fashion Society, aimed to showcase local and student ethical, sustainable brands with a focus on celebrating the diversity and creativity of the sustainable fashion industry. The show promised a celebration of fashion’s creativity, as well as performances from URBN Dance, Pole Fitness, Breakdance, Dance Society and Mishaal Javed. Continue reading Review: Re:Claimed Fashion Show
If you asked the general person what they picture when they imagine a Vogue cover, for many the same portrait would spring to mind: a perfectly shot photograph printed on glossy paper, peeping through the other magazines at the airport or newsagent. However, Vogue Italia has totally shaken up this image with their January 2020 edition, scrapping the photoshoot for one edition only, instead filling the magazine cover-to-cover with illustrations. Conde Nast, Vogue’s publishing company, announced in a press release that the purpose of this move was sustainability. Continue reading Illustrated Vogue Italia: An Environmentally Conscious Approach
There goes the age-old art centric debate; what constitutes nude and what naked? Nudity is often viewed as the artful posing of the naked human form, whereas nakedness is often perceived as more vulnerable, unrefined and bare – in such a sense nudity is often elevated to a higher artistic and cultural standing, with nakedness being largely associated with censorship and stigmatisation. The terms are often used interchangeably, and while this may not be 100% linguistically correct, I would argue that it is important to destigmatise the taboos surrounding nakedness; a naked body is just that, whether it can be perceived as sexually attractive should not be central to the manner in which we address it. As demonstrated, both words mean the unclothed human body, so how did such a differentiation in contextual understanding occur? Art critic John Berger previously argued the meaning of the nude has changed over the years; in his 1972 book ‘Ways of Seeing’ he says that the nude has been continuously utilised to portray the female body in a manner that is sexually pleasing to the viewer, whereas a ‘naked’ piece of art depicts a sitter embodying their own space and pleasure. Whether this is true is dependent on the subjective opinion of the viewer, something that has undoubtedly changed throughout history. Continue reading Arty Nudes
This winter the Royal Academy of Arts has exhibited Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits. The collection of portraits ranges from his early career in 1940, to his most recent work in 2001. This masterfully curated exhibition focuses on the self and demonstrates how Freud’s painting style has changed and matured over time. The exhibition progresses from his early surrealist painting, to his later brutally realist work, exposing the frailty of his aged body. The style of his portraits is striking and contradictory as Freud resists being exposed and “known”, he hides in his paintings, yet also maintains intrigue as the subject of the portrait. Continue reading Review: Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts
The exhibition runs at the British Museum until 26 January 2020 (£12 for student concessions).
If you happen to be in London over the Christmas break, I would really recommend making a trip to this exhibition. The exhibition was laid out skilfully as you would expect from the British Museum, yet it is still worth carefully choosing your time to attend. Ideally go early or late so you have a chance to get close to the artefacts and are able to double back and see things in light of later objects. Some of the first things you see are drawings of Ottoman costumes which still have the vivacity of a contemporary sketch by a designer. These drawings work in brilliant concord with the later portraits. These draw on Ottoman models or are drawn from life. One particular portrait which stood out to me was of Sir Robert Sherley, by Anthony van Dyck, which shows an Elizabethan gentleman who was also the envoy to the Papal court for Shah Abbas I of Persia. As such you can see how complex identity can be and how fashion, as a form of art, expresses culture and social affiliations. Continue reading Review: ‘Inspired By The East: how the Islamic world influenced western art’ @ the British Museum