On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry (No5/3), 2015, co. Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery © Sinta Tantra

On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry (No5/3), 2015, co. Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery © Sinta Tantra

David Franchi, Sunday, 1st November 2015.

It has been an amazing exhibition “Fantastic/ Chromatic” by Sinta Tantra, at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London.

The exhibition of Sinta Tantra focused on chromatics of colour and geometry, and created a fantastic artistic environment by using structural elements of the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London.

The gallery itself is composed by three spaces where normally the exhibitions are set up. Therefore, Tantra considered using colours on the front space, where the main entrance is. She applied clear pink vinyl on the front window of the gallery and also hung up there coloured paintings. This sort of preparation created games of colours when the lights (and the occasional sun of the UK) were up, casting pinkish forms over the front wall and mixing with the paintings. The constant changing of sun and lights created new interaction between the colours.

The second room was focused on the colour blue, inspired by “On Being Blue: A Philosophical Enquiry” by William Glass. While reading the book, Sinta Tantraproduced the paintings. These canvases presented a contrast between the painted elements and the unpainted ones. Colours are layered in fields, inspired by the work of the Action Painting and Colour Field Painting movements, including Lewitt, Stella, and Buren. There is a distinction between the covered and the coloured parts of canvas, stressing the employ of tessellation and pattern and textile portion characteristics of decoration and craft as each work is hand painted.

The last space is the most intimate of the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London. The works displayed here are collages or assemblages of wall paintings, canvases and found prints, including prints from James Audubon’s famous Birds in America folio. This room puts together a studio and Victorian parlour, with pink decoration. Sinta Tantra explains: “I wanted this room to have a different feel to the previous one. This is more intimate, experimental, domestic – reflecting more on studio activity rather than a finished project.”

Fantastic/Chromatic was an exhibition of high quality, devoted more to decoration and design, where colour played the leading role. Sinta Tantra said: “Colour exists as an integral aspect to my work and I am drawn to it as a material which lies between the language of art and industry. Colour exists within its own structure: it is densely packed, hermetically sealed, contained. My work takes on a sculptural approach to ‘colour collage’ where colour is ‘cut’ as opposed to filled, ‘layered’ as opposed to mixed, ‘constructed’ as opposed to emerged. Geometric boundaries are definitive and illusionary highs ‘snap’ into place as you walk around the work.”

Sinta Tantra is a British artist of Balinese descent. She was born in New York in 1979. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London 1999–2003 and at the Royal Academy Schools 2004–06. Her site-specific murals and installations have been exhibited at the Southbank Centre, Liverpool Biennial, the Royal British Society of Sculptors and Transport for London. Tantra’s most notable work includes a permanent landmark commission for Canary Wharf completed for the Olympics in 2012 – a 300-metre long painted bridge. She exhibited in Cologne (2015), Yogyakarta and New York (2014), Hong Kong, (2013) and The Hague (2012). She has been awarded numerous times, including the Deutsche Bank Award, British Council’s International Development Award and the shortlist for the Jerwood Painting Prize, Tantra’s work has been featured in both UK and international press including Tate Shots, FAD Magazine, The Evening Standard’s Hot List 100, Nylon Magazine USA, the Jakarta Post and BBC Radio Indonesia. Tantra’s work is in the collections of the UK’s Government Art Collection as well as private international collections.

The exhibition “Fantastic /Chromatic” by Sinta Tantra was at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, from 11th September until 10th October 2015.


David Franchi – Monday, 12th October 2015.

Wallcovering © Eve Spencer, London

Wallcovering © Eve Spencer, London

It was a remarkable exhibition Eve Spencer at the Cock’n’Bull GalleryLondon.

The captivating exhibition “Untamed Company” by Helen Lucy Eve Spencer was focused on between art and design, a topic lately promoted in the exhibtion of the Cock’n’Bull Gallery, London.

Eve Spencer was founded by Creative Director Helen Spencer in the art districts of East London. It is a British art and design company. Spencer is a Central Saint Martins fine art graduate and was labelled ‘one to watch’ by the prominent school’s council.

The exhibition displayed fascinating design decoration with nature inspired motifs. The entire gallery was transformed into an artwork itself, with paintings hanging from the wall, carpet, rugs, furniture and a bizarre sculpture in a corner. The ceiling was furnished with long linen fabrics.

Important is the design which is stimulated by the nature with animals, insects, and vegetables. These motifs are very common in the Italian countryside design as well. They remind me of the decorative items I used to see in the country houses, when visiting family or friends, in Maremma, South of Tuscany – particularly during the 1970s.

This exhibition opens a series about Central Saint Martins ‘one to watch’ artist designer, also featuring Miranda Donovan and Tim Noble, and curated by Rebecca Lidert, CNB Gallery Director.

Helen Spencer explains: “I’ve been humbled and truly excited by the opportunity to work with Mark Hix again, and

Wallcovering © Eve Spencer, London

Wallcovering © Eve Spencer, London

to get back to my fine art roots. The exhibition gives visitors a real insight into my world, what gives me reason to pause each day. It is said that the reality of art is the reality of imagination, and because my designs lean so heavily on my background I look to interiors as a canvas. eve spencer is a palette and philosophy for those who want to escape the beige and banal, and for those with a vision beyond the ordinary – but a distinct appreciation of the functional.”

Graduated from Central St Martins with a degree in fine art, Helen Spencer still lives in London, in the East art districts. The company name ‘eve’ was chosen for its affectionate recurrence across generations of women in her family. Her work for the family run Eve Spencer design house is a lavish celebration of life and nature in all its splendid integrity. With wallpaper or fabric prints of geometrically aligned insects whose beauty contradicts their reputation, rich, colourful montages that crackle with autumnal leaves, and wholly disciplined vegetables, the exhibition is for those who really see the wonder of life in itself.

The exhibition “Eve Spencer” was at the Cock’n’Bull Gallery, London, from 9th September until 3rd October 2015.


Jack Newhouse – Sunday, 11th October 2015

A Dream in Green, 2015, co. 71a Gallery, London © Juno Calypso

A Dream in Green, 2015, co. 71a Gallery, London © Juno Calypso.

It has been a sensual exhibition the Juno Calypso, at the 71a Gallery, London.

London based artist Juno Calypso creates self-portraits in which she performs as sensual Joyce, a fictional character who enthralled visitors at the 71a Gallery exhibition.

The exhibition was quite interesting, but displaying few works, some photographs and a video lasting a couple of minutes.

The atmosphere is nice in the small 71a Gallery. Run by young people, there is a sort of café at the entrance of the rooms in the basement, and a couple of tables with plastic flowers and sequins covered.

The Juno Calypso works are focused on her own body, a full and shapely figure of a young female. Sexy and eye-catching, the images show part of bodies, which are the true artwork, located and surrounded of luxurious places, for example the location is a very expensive hotel bathroom.

The highlight of teh exhibition is the video. It is made in a bathroom of a very pricey hotel. Juno Calypso takes a bath in a foamy bath tub. She keeps on standing up and down, repeatedly in a continuous loop, showing her gorgeous body and her red hair beehive. The sensual movement repetition gives an idea of a prelude to a sexual intercourse – which will never happen.

In her work, Juno Calypso investigates the habits of nowadays seduction and beauty, and the elaborated creation of femininity. For her most recent series Juno travelled to a Pennsylvanian honeymoon hotel, where she stayed alone for a week producing unsettling new photographic and video work.

Juno Calypso is a 2012 BA Photography graduate from London College of Communication. So far, she had exhibitions in London, New York and Miami, and was featured in The British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, Dazed & Confused, The Sunday Times, VICE and The Huffington Post.

Sensual exhibition Juno Calypso was at the 71a Gallery, Shoreditch, London,from 2nd until 4th October 2015.


David Franchi – Monday, 5th October 2015.

 Culture Clash! , 2015, co. Fine Art Society, London, ® Jacky Tsai

Culture Clash! , 2015, co. Fine Art Society, London, © Jacky Tsai

Future Past” was a fascinating exhibition by Jacky Tsai, at The Fine Art Society, London.

Chinese artist Jacky Tsai had a solo exhibition at The Fine Art Society of London. It was a mix of different works and styles at The Fine Art Society of London, Jacky Tsai produced for this exhibition, such as lacquer carving, embroidering, and dresses.

The major themes were the juxtaposition of Western and Eastern society, and the skull motif Jacky Tsai created when collaborating with Alexander McQueen.

As a former stylist, Jacky Tsai is a real master in the embroidery technique. His suggestive panel of Su-Xiu embroidery on silk satin, ‘Chinese floral skull,’ was amazing.

Other interesting works were the lacquer carvings. “Future Past”, in fact, was an exhibition of western pop art aesthetic blended with eastern artistry by using the emblems of Chinese mythology. In a bizarre context, Jacky Tsai reproduced battles between western superheroes with characters from Chinese folk tales, including Wonder Woman is wooed by the Monkey King, Empress Wu is saved by Tarzan.

Western superheroes are taken from 1940s comics, such as Superman, and the battles represent aircrafts and machinery used in the II World War. The other characters, instead, are coming from the narrative of the four great novels of Chinese literature (Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, and Dream of the Red Chamber). From the Ming and Qing dynasties, in the 14th – 18th Century, these great heroic stories still are the foundation of much Chinese popular culture, from opera to television and are considered to be the most important stories of pre-modern Chinese.

The work of Jacky Tsai symbolises a vigorous feeling of severe political and social debate, with an eye to globalisation. He said: “I’ve chosen them, because they represent the battle between West and East. There is a clash between the two parties for the control of the world, for who is the leading nation. So, I decided to use these characters to represent this clash.”

Other works present at The Fine Art Society exhibition present the trope of the ‘flower skull’. Jacky Tsai collaborated with Alexander McQueen the famous fashion designer. However, he claims the creation of the famous motif was fortuitous. While studying at the Central St. Martins, Tsai was called as the young talent to do internships at Alexander McQueen. One day, McQueen asked him to make a flower skull, because apparently everyone else had failed to do it for months. Tsai was successful and the skull just became a worldwide trend.

The work of Jacky Tsai today includes a wide range of media and traditional Chinese crafts and techniques of ancient

Chinese Floral Skull, 2015, co. Fine Art Society, London, ® Jacky Tsai

Chinese Floral Skull, 2015, co. Fine Art Society, London © Jacky Tsai

and dying skills dating back 2,000 years, for example wood-engraving, cloisonné, ceramic and Su -Xiu embroidery.

Tsai works alongside the elderly craftsmen, who were initially unhappy to employ ‘non-traditional’ imagery. Despite the masters’ reluctance, Tsai’s determination was convincing and revitalised the declining crafts.

Since his collaboration with Alexander McQueen, Tsai has continued to work with fashion and founded his own label. Today, he works together with luxury retail brands. In 2014, he collaborated with the luxury Chinese brand Shanghai Tang on a critically acclaimed collection.

At The Fine Art Society exhibition, for the first time was displayed the new clothes collection of Jacky Tsai dresses. Refined dresses for women were on show, witnessing the artist ability to mix different styles. The pieces were presented in partnership with Shanghai Tang, enduring a long-term working relationship that has resulted in joint exhibitions and shows in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

While at The Fine Art Society, Jacky Tsai also participated to the charity event ‘BE INSPIRED’. It was an art exhibition, at the Club at Café Royal, London, organized by ‘Save Wild Tigers’ from 22nd September (and extended) until 8th October 2015.

‘BE INSPIRED’ had a programme of high-profile creative events to raise awareness and much needed funds for the quandary of the wild tiger. Alongside other artists, Tsai helped the cause, which seems to see the wild tiger’s survival in deep troubles, with only ten years left to double wild tiger numbers or else risk their extinction.

The exhibition “Future Past” by Jacky Tsai was at The Fine Art Society, Bond Street, London, from 17th September until 2nd October 2015.