A fantasy of literature and art: Stephen Chambers’s ‘The Court of Redonda’ at the Biennale Arte

A fictitious royal court, a symphony of colour and a capricious cast of characters join together to create a fantasy constructed from literature and art — this is Stephen Chambers‘s monumental presentation, The Court of Redonda, currently on view as an Official Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia.

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Installation view, The Court of Redonda at Ca’ Dandolo. Photo by  FS@SCS.
The show which is presented by the Heong Gallery at Downing College, University of Cambridge and curated by Emma Hill takes its home at Ca’ Dandolo on the Grand Canal from now until 26th November, showcasing 101 portraits that represent a utopian society dominated by creators and known as Redonda.

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Keith Coventry: ‘White Black Gold’

Keith Coventry‘s latest exhibition at the Pace Gallery in London, ‘White Black Gold,’ will be on view at the ground floor galleries of 6 Burlington Gardens until 28 May 2016.

The artist archly monumentalises the bleak debris of our cultural landscape with an exhibition which ‘ennobles the ignoble’.

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Destroyed Shop Window (2016), Bronze

McDonalds ‘Golden Arches’ are now a well-worn emblem of late capitalism, so programmed into the popular imagination, that Coventry need only depict a colorless fragment of the golden ‘M’ for his audience to be bombarded with a litany of red, yellow and white memories – of bombastic adverts, Happy Meals and any host of relatable motifs that have come to represent 20th Century American capitalism.

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A Classic Goes Contemporary: ‘Botticelli Reimagined’ at the V&A

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Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in ‘Dr. No’, 1962, Directed by Terence Young

What does a Bond girl have to do with a Botticelli? Quite a lot, actually. This is what I realise at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Botticelli Reimagined’ exhibition, almost as soon as I walk through the door. A large screen is playing a scene from the 1964 Bond film Dr. No, in which Ursula Andress (as the dubiously named ‘Honey Ryder’) emerges from the sea, in the little white number that is now one of the most famous bikinis of all time. Why on earth are we looking at this? Where is the obligatory timeline of Sandro Botticelli’s life, giving us the overview of his developing career, and leading us towards the paintings recognised as the works of one of the greatest Renaissance painters of all time?
It shouldn’t be that unusual to find a reference to a blockbuster film in an art exhibition. We know that popular culture and ‘high’ art aren’t incompatible – that’s what Pop Art was all about, after all. But that’s Pop Art. This is an exhibition about the Renaissance, and Botticelli’s influence on other artists since that time – even if one of them was the ultimate Pop Artist, Andy Warhol – so why not begin at the beginning? Though Honey Ryder does look quite a bit like the Birth of Venus (1482-1485), it feels unusual that she is our mediating guide (along with Uma Thurman, shown on the same screen as Venus in the 1988 film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) through this trajectory. There is something to be said for the fact Honey Ryder belonged to a moment in history often referred to as the ‘birth of the sexual revolution’ – but isn’t this quite a tenuous link to Venus’ titular birth?

 

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Sandro Botticelli, ‘The Birth of Venus’, 1482-85

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Shapero Rare Books Goes to TEFAF!

This year’s TEFAF is home to a new and exciting must-stop stand thanks to renowned  Shapero Rare Books, setting up shop.

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Courtesy of Albany Arts Communications

The London-based rare book and print dealer’s purpose-built stand designed by JSI Design Ltd.’s own  Jamieson Innes, in collaboration with Bernard Shapero himself, definitely ‘hits the wow button,’ which Shapero explains was his goal for the structure, one that will now accompany him to antique and art fairs worldwide. Shapero rightly explains that ‘one of the challenges of fairs is to stand out,’ and this stand definitely does the trick! Both eye-catching and lusciously contemporary, the structure is engaging and immersive, inviting viewers to step in and take in the magic.

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Courtesy of Albany Arts Communications

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‘Myths are a link to a collective past of symbolism and meaning’ – Joe Machine at CNB Gallery

CNB Gallery present Britannic Myths, the gallery’s second solo show by the acclaimed British artist Joe Machine.

3. Math, Son Of Mythonwy, 2015, Courtesy the artist and CNB Gallery
Math, Son Of Mythonwy, 2015 | © Joe Machine. Courtesy the artist and CNB Gallery

The twelve paintings that make up the exhibition have been created in collaboration with the academic and writer Dr Steven O’Brien, and are based on a dialogue around his soon to be published book, Britannia Stories.

I had the chance to speak to Joe about the exhibition and his artistic practise.

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‘I think art has the power to transform the way that you look at the world’ – ArtAttack interviews Australian sculptor, Rosalind Lemoh

On 22nd January, 2016, ArtAttack attended the Art Rooms London press preview at the Meliá White House. The event showcased a number of carefully selected emerging artists from all over the world in a unique hotel setting – one artist per hotel room. The result was a village of art and an evening of exciting discovery. 

An artist who’s ‘room’ we never wanted to leave was sculptor, Rosalind Lemoh, who’s work is a beautiful paradox — industrial yet comforting, clean-lined yet nostalgic. Upon seeing it, we knew we had to get an interview with this rising Australian star as soon as possible.

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‘the way we were,’ Rosalind Lemoh; Photo Credit:

Damien Geary

ArtAttack: What is your first memory of art and what made you decide to pursue it as a career? Continue reading

‘Federico Beltran Masses: Under the Stars’ Preview

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Salome, 1918. Oil on canvas, 141 x 165 cm.

In Joris-Karl Huysman’s 1884 novel À Rebours, the solitary aesthete Jean des Esseintes is ‘obsessed’ with the Biblical figure of Salome, ‘a mystery to all the writers who had never succeeded in portraying the disquieting exaltation of this dancer, the refined grandeur of this murderess.’ Salome was a fixture in the mind of many such writers and artists, as a seductive enchantress of the femme fatale variety, the (in fact unnamed) dancer who requests the head of John the Baptist on a platter in the New Testament. She has cast her spell on the likes of Titian to Rubens, in particular igniting the artistic imagination of the fin-de-siècle and the Symbolist artists. Oscar Wilde’s 1893 play Salome famously invented her ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ striptease, whilst in the paintings of Gustave Moreau, ‘Des Esseintes at last saw realized the superhuman and exotic Salome of his dreams’ – a revelation he subsequently delights in waxing lyrical about for several more pages.

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