Portrait of Olga Picasso by Pablo Picasso, 1923 © Succession Picasso/DACS, London

London - The National Portrait Gallery staged a major exhibition of portraits by Pablo Picasso.

The exhibition Picasso Portraits included over 75 works by the artist in all media, varying from well-known masterpieces to those less famous. Some pieces have never been exhibited in Britain before, including the extraordinary cubist portrait of the German art dealer and early champion of Picasso’s work, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1910), loaned by the Art Institute of Chicago; and from a private collection the exquisite portrait (1938) of Nusch Eluard, acrobat, artist and wife of the Surrealist poet Paul Eluard.

The National Portrait Gallery discloses a different side of Picasso, who generally has been always considered a selfish lady-killer. Here, the Spanish artist is presented as caring lover and kind father. Portraits of his children Maya, Claude and Paloma are beguiling, revealing his profound and genuine love for them. Equally, his lovers, Marie Therese Walter and Dora Maar, he often used at the edge of personal narcissism in his art production.

However, Picasso Portraits confirmed the humanity of his art, spanning through his entire career, from the first displayed piece, his self-portrait as a teenager, and ending with his own skull. It was the first large-scale exhibition devoted to his portraiture since “Picasso and Portraiture” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris in 1996.

Picasso did not work to commission and, usually, sitters were his friends or relatives. The exhibition includes a group of revealing self-portraits as well as portraits and caricatures of Picasso’s friends, lovers, wives and children. As a portraitist, he liked to have special autonomy and worked using different approaches, as well as many styles. Formal posed portraits coexisted with witty caricatures, classic drawings from life with expressive paintings created from memory reflecting his interpretation of the sitter’s individuality and personality.

The major lending was from the Museu Picasso, Barcelona where the exhibition will tour from 17th March until 25th June 2017. Other lending institutions included: the British Museum; Tate; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Musée national Picasso, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée national d’art moderne de la ville de Paris; Museum Berggruen, Berlin; Fondation Hubert Looser, Zurich; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Iceland. The exhibition also benefited from important loans from the artist’s heirs and other private collectors.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘We are delighted to stage Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, a collaboration with Museu Picasso, Barcelona, which focuses on the artist’s reinvention of time-honoured conventions of portraiture, and his genius for caricature. The exhibition gathers together major loans from public and private collections that demonstrate the breadth of Picasso’s oeuvre and the extraordinary range of styles he employed across all media and from all periods of his career.’

Bernardo Laniado-Romero, Director, Museu Picasso, Barcelona, says: ‘The two organising museums, one dedicated to portraiture and the other to Picasso, are the natural instruments to bring forth a reassessment on how Picasso, time and time again, redefined portraiture throughout the twentieth century. The exhibition will surprise and confront one’s preconceived ideas of what a portrait should be and how a portrait by Picasso ought to look like.’

The exhibition Picasso Portraits has been sponsored by Goldman Sachs, including a wide ranging Learning programme linked to the exhibition.

Picasso Portraits was curated by Elizabeth Cowling, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh and an expert of Picasso.

The exhibition “Picasso Portraits” has been running at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 6th October 2016 until 5th February 2017.

Self by Mark Wallinger (2016) © Freud Museum, London, Ph. Alex Delfanne

London – “Self Reflection” by Mark Wallinger has been an interesting exhibition, which also marked the 30th anniversary of the Freud Museum, but also the 160th anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Freud.

Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger made a transformative exhibition of the study of Freud, together with a permanent sculpture situated in the Museum garden.

For “Self Reflectionexhibition, the artist has installed a mirror across the entire ceiling of the archetypal study. The public received an impressive new point of view with the feeling to be in doubled space. “The relative posture of the sitting analyst and the recumbent analysand are latent in Freud’s chair and the couch. We can easily imagine his patient’s self-reflection”, Mark Wallinger said.

Located in the garden, the sculpture “Self” has the form of the letter ‘I’, in a self-supporting shape. It indicates probably the most basic expression of human existence for an individual. It is placed in the garden in clear view from Freud’s desk. In the environment of the Museum the sculpture has clear and strong significance; the formation of the id, ego, and superego is affirmed by knowledge of the self and how it is constituted.

These new works, alongside a selection or the artist’s earlier Self Portraits offered an inspiring and kind meeting with the collections of the Museum and the work of Freud himself.

The exhibition confirmed that the Freud Museum is a lively institution but also a patron for contemporary art exhibitions of indisputable intellectual meaning.

Mark Wallinger is one of the leading contemporary artists of the UK. He is born in Chigwell, Essex. His formative schooling, from the age of 11, was undertaken at West Hatch High School, Chigwell, Essex. He first studied art at the Chelsea School of Art and later at Goldsmiths College where he was also a tutor from 1986. He exhibited throughout the 1980s. 

Wallinger won the Turner Prize in 2007 for his installation ‘State Britain’. His work ‘Ecce Homo’ (1999) was the first ever work to occupy the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. Later it was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2001 where Wallinger was Britain’s representative. As part of the Transported by Design programme of activities, in 2015, after two months of public voting, Mark Wallinger's Labyrinth work was elected by Londoners as one of the 10 favourite transport design icons. ‘Labyrinth' was also a major and permanent commission for Art on the Underground, was created to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground.

Wallinger has held solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Galleries, London, England (1995); Museum for Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland (1999); Palais Des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium (1999); Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England (2000); Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria (2000); Neu Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany (2004); Museo de Arte Carillo Gill, Mexico City, Mexico (2005); Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland (2008); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway (2010), Museum de Pont, Tilburg, Netherlands (2011); and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2012). His work is also displayed in the collections of many leading international museums including Tate, London, England; MoMA, New York; and Centre Pompidou Paris, France.

His exhibition, ‘ID’ at Hauser and Wirth in London last year and his curated H&W stand, “A Study in Red and Green” at Frieze 2014 drew on his engagement with Freud.

The exhibition was curated by Natasha Hoare. She is a curator and writer, currently living between London and Rotterdam. She holds an MA in Curating from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, and a BA in English Literature from Edinburgh University. In 2014 she was appointed Curator at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. Previously she worked as Assistant Curator for the Visual Arts Section of the Marrakech Biennale 5 (2014) and for On Geometry and Speculation, a parallel project for the Marrakech Biennale 4 (2012). She was also Studio Manager for artist Mark Wallinger and Special Projects Manager for artist Shezad Dawood.

The exhibition has been kindly supported by Arts Council England and Hauser & Wirth. Mark Wallinger’s work "Self" was acquired with Art Fund support.

The exhibition Self Reflection” by Mark Wallinger was at the Freud Museum, London, from the 28th July until the 25th September 2016.

Tamila lingerie set from the Agent Provocateur Soirée collection SS 2015 Photographer Sebastian Faena Model Eniko Mihalik, co V&A Museum, London, for Undressed exhibition

London - The V&A Museum exhibition “Undressed” is an involving narrative of the underwear. Spanning from the 18th century to present days, the exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” is focused on the protective character of the underwear, but also its improvement of the body, at the V&A Museum, London.

The V&A Museum exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” displays more than 200 examples of underwear for men and women. It presents the continuing topics of innovation and luxury, from the custom-made, such as a unique model of home-made corset worn by a working woman in England in the 18th century, to examples by designers, including Stella McCartney, La Perla, Fifi Chachnil, Rigby & Peller and Paul Smith.

Though the V&A Museum exhibition is focused on underwear, it considers also the correlated fashion - not only in London. Consequently, it is the notion of ideal body that is explored, and how tailoring, materials and shapes can reveal about gender and sex, so of ethics and morality, passing through the development of design and technology. Another topic that “Undressed” exhibition explores is the health and hygiene, together with the design and technological advances of underwear.

On display there are corsets, crinolines, boxer shorts, bras, hosiery, lingerie and loungewear alongside contextual fashion plates, photographs, advertisements, display figures and packaging. Highlights includes long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria’s mother; an 1842 man’s waist belt used on the wearer’s wedding day; a 1960s Mary Quant body stocking; a pair of gender neutral briefs by Acne; a sheer dress by Liza Bruce famously worn by Kate Moss; and flesh-coloured leggings decorated with a mirrored glass fig leaf by Vivienne Westwood.

Underclothes are the most personal garments in our wardrobe. Worn next to the skin and usually hidden, even the most practical garments are intrinsically erotic. Their cut, fit, fabric and decoration reflect changing attitudes to morality, gender and sex; shifting notions of private and public and innovations in fabric technology and design.

Underwear plays several roles. It is worn for modesty, cleanliness and comfort. Some garments such as corsets and contemporary shape wear, mould the wearer's body to match the fashionable ideal. Others are designed to be flattering and alluring.

Men's and women's underclothes from about 1750 to the present day are displayed in this exhibition, alongside garments which have been influenced by underwear or developed from it. Most of the clothes were made in Britain, France and North America.

The exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” is in Room 40, at the V&A Museum, London, on two floors. It opens with a “Fashion, health and hygiene” space. Underwear’s main purpose is to cover the body. Firstly, underclothes worn next to the skin were made of natural fibres which were not coloured and could be washed at high temperatures. This changed with the development of man – made fibres and advances in dyeing and laundry technology.

Until the 20th century women of all backgrounds wore corsets over their body linen. Appearing in public without a corset, or in a loosely laced corset, was considered indecent and immoral. Few men wore corsets to modify their figure or for sport and exercises purposes. Most people accepted corsets as a necessity. However, doctors and reformers constantly tried to discourage women to wear corsets for health reasons, because of breath restriction.

Another space is dedicated to “Volume”. Fashion and underwear are strictly connected. Underwear shapes the body to match the fashionable ideal, together with clothes. The function of structural garments is to separate and exaggerate parts of female anatomy, particularly breast, rear and hips. Nowadays, also male underwear is designed to enhance body parts, such as torso, buttocks, genitals, by using high performance fabrics.

“Lingerie and hosiers” are important underwear. The current use of the word lingerie dates to 19th century and it indicates delicate female underclothes. Before ‘Linge’ is a French word for linen, and it is was used for male and female. The term ‘hosiery’ derives from ‘hose’, which means stockings. Until the 17th century they were made of hand- knitted or woven clothes, and after they were industrially produced. In the 1920s, hosiery started to be produced with artificial silk, nylon and Lycra, so it improved its elasticity. In 1950s pantyhose were launched.

The search for a comfortable alternative to corset ended up in advances to specific garment for women breasts. “Support: bra and girdles” is, in fact, the next space at the V&A Museum exhibition. Patents for ‘bra supporters’ were registered since 1863. The term ‘brassiere’ was introduced in 1940-45. The transformation of corset into fully elasticated ‘girdles’ happened with the introduction of Lastex (1931) and it was surpassed when DuPont patented Lycra (1958).

“Performance underwear” is the next space. New high performance fabrics are constantly being developed. Innovations in design and technology are central to the development of functional, comfortable and attractive underwear.

At the first floor of Room 40, at the V&A Museum, London, the exhibition presents four spaces. “Temptation” relates to the possibility that our underwear might be seen, by accident or design, affect us. The potential presence of a viewer is compelling for both designer and wearer. Nowadays, eroticism and sexuality are predominant aspects, and while some believes women are demeaned and objectified by the explicit use of underwear, others argue that those garments give women control and confidence to express their desires.

“Relaxation” explores the meaning of ‘lounge wear’. Used before the 20th century to indicate clothes worn at home to undress, dress codes today are not so rigid and loungewear is now worn both indoor and outdoor.

About “Revelation” space, in Western fashion there is a long history in revealing underwear. Today is widely considered acceptable to show underwear and to display parts of the body. Since 1960s designers have pushed the boundaries between public and private, decent and indecent, by experimenting with visible underwear and underwear worn as outerwear.

The last “Transformation” focuses on how the role of underwear is socially changed. In the past, the shapes, fabrics and techniques used to make underwear were occasionally reflected to in outerwear for decorative or functional reasons. More recently, underwear has been recast in more provocative ways. For example, it has been used by the Punk movement; in pornography and fetish; and to challenge conventional attitudes to nudity, sexuality and gender.

“Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” presents numerous highlights, spanning from the 19th century until present day. It explores changes and developments in fashion and health, practical and functional underwear, types of fabrics used, approach to anatomy, and the aspects of nudity, gender, and sexuality.

“Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” is curated by Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A Museum. 

A version of the exhibition previously toured to three Australian venues, the Bendigo Art Gallery, Queensland Museum and Powerhouse Museum

The exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” is sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon.

The exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” takes place in the Fashion Gallery (Gallery 40) of the V&A Museum, London, from 16 April 2016 until 12 March 2017.

Peace Now Print, Revolution exhibition © V&A Museum, London.

London – “You Say You Want a Revolution?” exhibition positively transforms the approach to the 1996 – 1970 period, at the V&A Museum.

(Continues from part one)

The “Section 5: Revolution in living” focuses on the hundreds of thousands who flocked to the new experience of vast music festival, such as ‘Woodstock, An Aquarian Exposition’ on August 1969. It also considers early UK festivals, including Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival of Music in 1970.

This double height gallery space focuses on festivals and revolutions in gatherings. It demonstrates how record-breaking crowds gathered to listen to music, often driven by a utopian vision of living together in harmony and in nature. Instruments, costumes and ephemera are shown against a theatrical backdrop of large screens playing festival video from Woodstock (1969), which saw more than 400,000 people joining together for four days of peace and music, and live tracks recorded at the event play throughout the space. Performers’ costumes are on display including a kaftan worn by American rock diva Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, a native American style suit worn by The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltry and a jacket and guitar belonging to Jimi Hendrix. Also on show is hippie-style fashion, from a Thea Porter kaftan to Levi’s® jeans styled with an Ossie Clarke shirt. The exhibition also looks at the behind-the-scenes of Woodstock, showing the organisation behind, from artists’ contracts to the canteen menu for staff.

Dedicated to the transformation of the counterculture into cyberculture, “Section 6: Revolution in Communicating” presents the changes in the USA, San Francisco and the West Coast, as the 1967 Summer of Love faded into the 1970s.

This section examines the alternative communities living on the USA’s West Coast during the period as the birthplace of a revolution in communications. Alternative communities in California and elsewhere lived in parallel with those of the modern computing pioneers. The firsts were involved in psychedelic rock, sexual liberation, refusal of institutions and a ‘back to the land’ philosophy. Both shared a belief that partaking human knowledge more equitably was the basis of a better world. This emphasis is epitomised by the Whole Earth Catalog, the American counterculture magazine published by Stewart Brand and later referred to by Steve Jobs as ‘Google in paperback form’. A soundtrack reminding the force of communal living includes California Dreamin by The Mamas & The Papas and The 5th Dimension’s Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In. On display is a replica of the first ever computer mouse designed by Douglas Engelbart and a rare Apple 1 computer. The exhibition also looks at the emphasis on environmentalism beginning in the late 1960s, with a poster for the first Earth Day designed by Robert Rauschenberg presented alongside a psychedelic Save Earth Now poster.

The last one is “Section 7: an ongoing Revolution”. It looks back at the 1960s, which still generates heated debate. The roots of many of today’s crucial worrying can be identified with this period. This section closes by tracing the idealism of the late 1960s to its heirs, from civil rights to multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism, computing, communality and neoliberal politics. It reminds to visitors how the ideals of the 1960s have shaped today. It supports unearthing an imaginative optimism to improve our tomorrow. Here a unique vitrine closes this back in time trip, showing memorabilia from the iconic song ‘Image’ by John Lennon, which ends a path of handwritten lyrics from The Beatles or their single members running through the entire exhibition.

The title of the V&A Museum exhibition, in fact, comes from a song which handwritten lyrics are on display too: “You say you want a revolution / Well, you know / We all want to change the world” (The Beatles, Revolution, 1968).

In the 1960s, Vidal Sassoon revolutionised the hairdressing creating geometric haircuts that defined the decade style. Therefore, within the exhibition “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970” a hair salon was opened. At the ‘Sassoon Sunday Salon’, a proper and live haircutting, every weekend visitors can see competitor winners receive a signature style.

Martin Roth, the now resigning Director of the V&A, said: “This ambitious framing of late 1960s counterculture shows the incredible importance of that revolutionary period to our lives today. This seminal exhibition will shed new light on the wide-reaching social, cultural and intellectual changes of the late 1960s which followed the austerity of the post-war years, not just in the UK but throughout the Western world. Our collections at the V&A, unrivalled in their scope and diversity, make us uniquely placed to present this exhibition.”

Objects are drawn from the extensive V&A’s varied collections, alongside important loans to highlight connections between people, places, music and movements across the UK, Europe and the USA.

The collection of the cult radio presenter and musical tastemaker John Peel provide a musical odyssey through some of the greatest music and performance of the 20th century from Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come to The Who’s My Generation to Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock.

Music is played through Sennheiser headsets using innovative audio guide technology which adapts the sound to the visitor’s position in the gallery. Sound is integrated with video and moving image, including interviews with key figures from the period including Yoko Ono, Stewart Brand and Twiggy, psychedelic light shows and seminal films including Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey to create a fully immersive and dramatic audiovisual experience.

The exhibition is curated by Geoffrey Marsh, Director of the V&A’s Department of Theatre and Performance and Victoria Broackes, a curator in the Department of Theatre and Performance and Head of Performance Exhibitions.

2D graphic design and 3D exhibition design by Nissen Richards Studio Ltd. AV software design and production by FRAY Studio. Sound design by Carolyn Downing. Lighting design by Studio ZNA.

The exhibition is in partnership with the Levi’s brand; Sound experience by Sennheiser With additional support from the Grow Annenberg Foundation, Fenwick and Sassoon.

“You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970exhibition was at the V & A Museum, London, from 10th September 2016 until 26th February 2017.