Anime Architecture

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan, Main Gallery at House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1, until 10th September 2017

Background illustration for Ghost in the Shell cut 341 by Hiromasa Ogura
©1995


Being totally unfamiliar with Anime, this exhibition came as a delightful surprise.  The technique involved in producing these films seems quite complicated but the results are well worth the trouble.
Perhaps the most well-known anime film is Ghost In The Shell, recently remade as a live action film with Scarlett Johansson who looks as much like a Japanese as I look like Scarlett Johansson – the beard of course doesn’t help!
Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolours for the anime Ghost In The Shell are on display and are based on photographs of Hong Kong and depict a slightly exaggerated contrast between a derelict Chinese town and the extreme development of the urban space.  They are quite haunting and intriguing and somewhat reminiscent of film noir of the forties and fifties.

Concept Design for Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence by Takashi Watabe
© 2004 Shirow Masamune KODANSHA

Pencil drawings by Takashi Watabe whose fantastically realistic style has become a hallmark for Japanese anime films are also on display.
By the end of the exhibition I was very keen to see an anime film and in the last room of the exhibition my wish was granted as there are three short excerpts from two anime films.  I now look forward to watching more on DVD.

 

 

 

Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays

 

houseofillustration.org.uk.

 

Treasure Houses: The homes of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry

 

BOUGHTON

The House, its People and its Collections

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 5 3 
£17.95 / $21.80 / 81.41 TL 

 

 

 

BOWHILL

The House, its People and its Paintings

Introduced by Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Edited by John Montagu Douglas Scott

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 2 2
£12.95 / $15.73 / 58.73 TL
 

 

DRUMLANRIG

The Castle, its People and its Paintings

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 4 6
£10.95 / $13.30 / 49.66 TL
Paperback, 96 pages, Second Edition
 

These three guidebooks are much more than just that as they provide a fascinating introduction to the houses and collections of the incumbent Dukes.  You will encounter Rembrandt, Canaletto, Van Dyck and El Greco, as well as family portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Ramsay, There are miniatures, French and English furniture, Sèvres made for Louis XV, items commemorating Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Monmouth, silver and a huge variety of textiles and rugs. It is an extensive and engaging collection in three very different houses, two, Bowhill and Drumlanrig, are in Scotland and then Boughton in England which the late John Cornforth once described as ‘the English Versailles’.

These books are of serious appeal to anyone interested in the fine and decorative arts, architecture and historic interiors.

http://www.bowhillhouse.co.uk

http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk

http://www.drumlanrigcastle.co.uk

http://www.caiquepublishing.com

 

Tall buildings not wanted in Westminster!!

A West End Labour survey has today found that residents overwhelmingly oppose plans to build more tall buildings in Westminster. More than 80% of respondents believe that Westminster Council is wrong to want to develop more skyscrapers and tall buildings. Residents cited the following concerns: Tall buildings and skyscrapers pose a threat to Westminster’s unique character. Tall buildings block out light; block out historic views and […]

via Revealed: 80% of West End residents oppose Westminster Council plans to build tall buildings — labourwestminster

London – Adam Style

Robert Adam’s London, Sir John Soane’s Museum: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2, until 11th March 2017

Adam office, drawing made for publication showing the Admiralty Screen, Whitehall, 1759

Adam office, drawing made for publication showing the Admiralty Screen, Whitehall, 1759

It is hard to believe that this is the first time that the work of Robert Adam (proposed and realised) in London has been focused on in a London museum. Whitehall’s Admiralty screen, Portland Place, the Adelphi, Lansdowne House, Buckingham House (now Palace), Kenwood and monuments in Westminster Abbey are among the projects on show.  The Museum has the largest collection of Adam’s surviving drawings.

Adam office, finished drawing showing a funerary monument to Major John André , Westminster Abbey, c.1780-82

Adam office, finished drawing showing a funerary monument to Major John André , Westminster Abbey, c.1780-82

As one contemplates these designs one is reminded how Adam designed complete, detailed schemes for his projects whether exteriors or interiors. I could not but wonder what he would make of these modern-day buildings with their huge expanses of glass which so clearly reveal the detritus of office or domestic living to passers-by and thus lose their aesthetic appeal.

Adam office, finished drawing showing a longitudinal section through the interior of an unexecuted scheme for Lloyds Coffee House, probably on Freeman's Court, Cornhill, c.1772

Adam office, finished drawing showing a longitudinal section through the interior of an unexecuted scheme for Lloyds Coffee House, probably on Freeman’s Court, Cornhill, c.1772

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Last entry 4:30pm

Adam office, design for door furniture for 31 Hill Street, c.1777-79

Adam office, design for door furniture for 31 Hill Street, c.1777-79

 

Adam office, design for an unexecuted urban palace for the Earl of Findlater on Portland Place, c.1771-73

Adam office, design for an unexecuted urban palace for the Earl of Findlater on Portland Place, c.1771-73

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.soane.org

Zaha Hadid at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Zaha Hadid – Early Paintings and Drawings, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, West Carriage Drive, Kensington Gardens, London W2, until 12th February 2017

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (8 December 2016 – 12 February 2017) © Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Hugo Glendinning

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (8 December 2016 – 12 February 2017)
© Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Hugo Glendinning

It is totally appropriate that this exhibition should be held in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery because the firm of the late, celebrated architect Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) was involved in the renovation and extension of the gallery space.  These early works by Hadid show how important drawing was in creating and depicting her designs and ideas.

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (8 December 2016 – 12 February 2017) © Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Luke Hayes

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (8 December 2016 – 12 February 2017)
© Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Luke Hayes

Her words of 2007 sum up her approach: “I have always been interested in the concept of fragmentation and with ideas of abstraction and explosion, de-constructing ideas of repetitiveness and mass production. My work first engaged with the early Russian avant-garde; in particular with the work of Kasimir Malevich – he was an early influence for me as a representative of the modern avant-garde intersection between art and design. Malevich discovered abstraction as an experimental principle that can propel creative work to previously unheard levels of invention; this abstract work allowed much greater levels of creativity.”

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (8 December 2016 – 12 February 2017) © Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Hugo Glendinning

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (8 December 2016 – 12 February 2017)
© Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Hugo Glendinning

The show is supported by Swarovski and one of their board members, Nadja Swarovski, sums up their involvement: “We are pleased to be supporting the Serpentine Galleries for this exhibition. Swarovski was honoured to collaborate with Zaha for over a decade, creating an incredible body of work which ranged from lighting installations to sculpture, jewellery and home decor. Her vision always pushed us outside our comfort zone, and the results were breathtaking. I feel extremely privileged to have known her both as a friend and as a creative collaborator.”

hg4_1917

http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/

Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, Tate Modern, until 7th May 2017

Man Ray 1890-1976 Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932 Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper 229 x 298 mm Collection Elton John© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

Man Ray 1890-1976
Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper 229 x 298 mm
Collection Elton John© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

Held in the Switch House building the wonderful new extension to Tate Modern this is a world-class exhibition featuring iconic images from the 1920s to the 50s.  It is the first such show of Modernist photography in the UK.

Arranged thematically it features still life, social commentary, portraiture and looks at the experimental techniques that helped change the approach to photography from copying other art forms to its own highly unique path. André Breton, Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar, Henri Matisse, Man Ray, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and André Kertész are among the greats whose work you will encounter and no doubt linger over.

Sir Elton John summed it up saying: ‘Collecting photography over the last 25 years has opened my eyes – it’s one of the most important and progressive art forms of the 20th century. I want everyone to go away thinking about the artists behind these images and marvel at how they experimented and changed the way we see things forever. They were going where no other photographer had gone before. I consider them true adventurers and what they did was extraordinary. Many people may not even realise I have this collection. But art should be seen. That’s why I’m so happy that Tate Modern is sharing these iconic works with the public. These photographs have given me so much pleasure for a long time and I hope visitors will experience as much joy in seeing the works as I have had in finding them.’

 

I rather think you will do just that!

The new Tate Modern Switch House Photo copyright Iwan Baan

The new Tate Modern
Switch House
Photo copyright Iwan Baan

www.tate.org

BOOK REVIEW: Empire Style

Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris

Written by Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben, Photographed by Francis Hammond

 Flammarion
ISBN: 978-2-08-020272-7
£95

empire-style_cover

It does not come as a surprise to me that over ten years research has been undertaken to bring about this splendid monograph on the Hôtel de Beauharnais.

Built in 1713-15 by the architect Germain Boffrand it was when Josephine Bonaparte bought it for her son Eugène de Beauharnais that the real story of this “hotel particulier” begins. He had the building decorated and renovated at great cost and the results preserved to this day are the remarkable Consulate and Empire interiors which make it such a jewel among Parisian interiors. The costs were so high that his step-father the Emperor Napoleon was angry and took over the use of the building as a place for important visitors.

The wall facing the windows in the Four Seasons Drawing Room boasts unique furnishings of draped mirrors above a sofa flanked by chairs and armchairs. © Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

The wall facing the windows in the Four Seasons Drawing Room boasts unique furnishings of draped mirrors above a sofa flanked by chairs and armchairs.
© Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

Following Napoleon’s fall the building was bought by the King of Prussia and the building became the Prussian Legation and eventually the German embassy and today it serves as the Ambassador’s residence.

While the history of this building is of great interest and expertly recalled it is the interiors and furnishings that make this such a special book.  As well as a detailed tour of the main rooms there are special essays looking at the decorative paintings, Empire furniture, fabrics and trimmings and at the ideals behind the Empire Style.

The ceremonial bed in the Hôtel de Beauharnais, dated 1804–05, is probably the only one of its kind still in situ. According to legend, the hole in the mirror in the back was made by a stray bullet fired during the uprising of the Commune in 1871. © Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

The ceremonial bed in the Hôtel de Beauharnais, dated 1804–05, is probably the only one of its kind still in situ. According to legend, the hole in the mirror in the back was made by a stray bullet fired during the uprising of the Commune in 1871.
© Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

This beautifully illustrated book is a great celebration of a historic building and its spectacular interiors. A must for all interested in history and interior decoration.

 

http://editions.flammarion.com/