London Exhibitions and Tate Modern’s Extension

23 Aug

Although the London exhibition summer season draws to a close there is still time to see some excellent shows. Irving Penn Cranium Architecture at Hamilton’s runs until September 20th and whether the subject matter is to your taste or not the craftsmanship and silver gelatine print quality is a tour de force and a rare opportunity to so many from the series in one place. Penn was a man of few words as his explanation of the project and its inspiration from the first exhibition catalogue in 1989 illustrates “An exquisite edifice of living machine. Hard chambers of bone to guard soft organs, protected conduits and channels”


Tate Modern is always worth a visit, especially at the moment as the new extension is being grafted onto the right hand corner of the entrance to the Turbine Hall that is currently closed to the public to enable this work. During August the unclad structure has yielded, somewhat appropriately, abstract photo opportunities. This dramatic new wing hovers over the Oil Tanks that were opened up last year to reveal an exciting new space for interactive and performance work. Once complete it will double existing space, Tate Modern will be the biggest exhibition space in Europe steeling its near neighbour the White Cube at Bermondsey’s crown. Inside its more or less business as usual while the alterations are happening, on the 4th floor as part of Energy and Process is an exhibition of William Eggleston imagery largely from the 1970s. All the usual themes, cars, interiors, gas stations street works and a selection from his coverage of the 1972 presidential election. The emphasis on bold colours, especially reds, underline what a loss Kodachrome is! The oddness of Eggleston’s unconventional compositions, a non-symmetrical symmetry seems part of his contra jour thinking, is always as captivating as it is confusing. This work is newly acquired by the Tate for the permanent collection and is on free show until May11th 2014, without a doubt a must see.

tate modern extension 8-13web

Also at the same venue is a retrospective from two decades of Ellen Gallagher’s mixed media and graphic work. Difficult to define, she is always engaging and surprising, each room being quite different than the last. However the work shows clearly a singular individual approach brought about by the complex nature of physical process; texture, translucency, colour and minutiae all play a part in this interesting overview of Gallagher’s investigation into and inspiration from a variety of themes and motifs. AxME concludes on September 1st, the tile is a play on the black American ‘ask’ and ‘Acme Corporation, a fictional mail order company in the Road Runner cartoons from whom Wile E. Coyote buys his various capture devices!


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