Sunday, 16 October 2011

An art stroll around London

Trafalgar Square
In the true spirit of “I was literally on my way” this is a stroll around London inspired by an invitation by my good friend Pat Kent, the Charles Saatchi of Beckenham, to a private view (my third this week) of ‘Prismatic’ by Ian Davenport at the Alan Cristea Gallery in Cork Street.

Arriving at Charring Cross I walked into Trafalgar Square and past the Fourth Plinth, which is currently home to a piece by Yinka Shonibare. A large bottle containing a 1:30 scale replica of HMS Victory plays tribute to Horatio Nelson while the multi coloured sails of the ship represents the diverse and multicultural mix that is London.

There is now a campaign to have the 'ship in a bottle' taken to Greenwich to be on permanent display

On my way to Cork Street I pass this reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International in the courtyard of the Royal Academy in Piccadilly. This is part of their Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935exhibition
Courtyard of the Royal Academy
Arriving at The Cristea Gallery my time is spent in good conversation, good art, patisseries and bucks fizz (it was 11 o’clock in the morning) and it was good to meet Ian Davenport in person whose work I have been aware of and interested in for a long time.

On leaving the Cristea Gallery I caught the tube to Regents Park and checked out the Sculpture Park as part of the Frieze Exhibition in Regents Park. There are a couple of ‘thought-provoking’ pieces but it was disappointing. There is so much interest to this type of event that Regents Park was distorted into a cultural Disneyland with young kids climbing over the exhibits. At least they were enjoying themselves which is more than can be said for the poor security guards charged with protecting the work.
'Icon' - Will Ryman
The tube to Embankment and a walk across Hungerford Bridge on my way to Tate Modern. On the south side of the walkway I noticed this screever at work. I’d like to think this modern day Bert (aka Dick Van Dyke) is a jack-of-all-trades, one man band, professional cockney and chimney sweep but very much doubt it.

The walk to the Tate takes me past this huge Ian Davenport that since September 2006 has hung beneath Blackfriars Bridge in Southwark Street.

'Poured Lines' - Ian Davenport
Arriving at Tate Modern I make straight for the Turbine Hall to see ‘FILM’ by Tactita Dean, which is a silent 35mm looped film projected onto a 13 metre tall monolith. This piece has received rave reviews but didn’t live up to the hype. The hall was full of people, as usual, which surprised me as there are so many other 'art events' going on in London at the moment.

'FILM' - Tacita Dean
From the Tate I walked along the river, through the Borough Market and onto Bermondsey Street and the inaugural exhibition at the new White Cube. I must admit that being from Bermondsey I was not looking forward to the gentrification and transformation this gallery might bring to an area that I care about. How wrong could I be? All the local bars and cafes were full  and the whole area has a new lease of life. The gallery is excellent and is currently showing work by Gary Hume, Damien Hirst, and Jake & Dino among others.

White Cube gallery, Bermondsey Street
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  1. I highly enjoyed this tour of public art in London. Lovely images as well.

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  4. I remember vividly taking the same walk between Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery and the NPG and Bermondsey Street, via the South Bank with my best mates back in the early '70's, when the only public art that was on display was in those two public galleries, amongst the statuery of London,in an odd stainless steel piece next the the Royal Festival Hall and in the middle of the Shell complex at Waterloo.

    From this great blog it is evident that the richness of public art and private/public gallery space that is available now is fantastic, culture and diversity in art to be appreciated and enjoyed by the masses.

    A great blog and gret pictures, love the ICON piece and the pieve in the RA, makes me want to get of my backside and go and experience it.

    I love the notion of making art as public as possible but if only you could view the public gallery works without all the pushing, shoving and creche like atmosphere that some bring to it in shovel-loads.

    Still mustn't complain to loudly, More art for the masses!