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Review: Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts

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

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Review: ‘Inspired By The East: how the Islamic world influenced western art’ @ the British Museum

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

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Crafty Christmas Decorations on a Student Budget

Christmas is not only the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ but also the most expensive.  For students, the plethora of costs can make the difference between actual meals or solely instant noodles for seven days a week. However, one of the most magical parts of this festive season is decorating our flats and houses, without our families dictating the exact number of millimetres that have to be between each bauble on the tree. Becoming the next expert on ‘Grand Designs’ is an expensive venture though, so I’m here to help you give your home a student-friendly Christmas makeover that won’t break your bank – and that’s sustainable too! Continue reading Crafty Christmas Decorations on a Student Budget

Review: Olafur Eliasson’s ‘In Real Life’ @ Tate Modern

The Tate Modern’s exhibition, In Real Life showcases Olafur Eliasson’s work at a scale that is truly breath-taking. This particularly immersive exhibition places the spectator at the centre of the art itself. Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist and this exhibition offers 40 of his works from 1990 to today. In Real Life features his sculptures, immersive installations, photography, and painting. Eliasson’s art is often inspired by his time spent in Iceland and is predisposed to concern elemental forces of nature and investigate human perception and our collective ability to sense the world around us. His installation pieces are abstract and the message behind his art can seem ambiguous. Therefore, the reception of his work is highly subjective. Continue reading Review: Olafur Eliasson’s ‘In Real Life’ @ Tate Modern

Review: Mary Quant at the V&A

Mary Quant is the pinnacle of 60s youth culture, revolutionising fashion and culture in a decade known for change. The V&A’s current exhibition honouring her both acts as a frozen capsule and transcends linear time. The exhibition’s historicism plays out through transporting you to her original BAZAAR shop in Knightsbridge, gazing into its shop window. The mannequins have playful poses, with some lying on the floor and jumping through the air, and hold eccentric props that Quant used herself – most notably a red lobster attached to a gold chain. This encouraged the exhibition’s engagement with visitors, replicating Quant’s vital and innovative interaction with the customer. Continue reading Review: Mary Quant at the V&A

Nan Goldin at the Tate Modern

“In spite of it all, people have a need to couple. Even when they’re being destroyed, they’re still coupling. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency starts and ends with this premise, but in between there is the question of as to why there is this need to couple and why it is so difficult.” – Nan Goldin (1986)  Continue reading Nan Goldin at the Tate Modern