Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Blog favorites Emin and Ofili to design Olympic posters

YBA’s Tracey Emin and Gary Hume are amongst twelve artists selected to design a set of posters for the Olympic and Paralympics Games in 2012.

Poster idea? Installation by Anthea Hamilton

The posters will enable these talented British artists -- including Chris Ofili, Sarah Morris and Anthea Hamilton, but not Damien Hurst -- to have their work showcased on a world stage as millions watch the events unfold next summer.

Sporting sprit: Chris Ofili

The nominated artists were chosen from a list of around a hundred. Reuters reported that organisers would not disclose how they came to the decision, or why Hurst wasn’t included. Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad, said: "I think the answer is, we're not going to go there."

Emin -- whose recent Hayward Gallery exhibition has gone down a storm -- told reporters at an event at Tate Britain gallery, held exactly a year before the London 2012 Festival event gets underway (yesterday), that she wanted her poster to be a celebration of life in London.

"(I want to) show the world that London can really throw a party and that was what it was like with the royal wedding," she said.

"In times of depression, what came across as really, really cool was the arts. Arts and culture is the soul of the country," she added. "I'm interested in the party scene, the celebration."

Contemporary conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, who creates colourful images such as the one below, has also been selected.

Poster idea? Michael Craig-Martin

"Artists always bring something different, because you are bringing a personal language to it," he said.

Sarah Morris

The full list of commissioned artists is:
* Fiona Banner
* Michael Craig-Martin
* Martin Creed
* Tracey Emin
* Anthea Hamilton
* Howard Hodgkin
* Gary Hume
* Sarah Morris
* Chris Ofili
* Bridget Riley
* Bob and Roberta Smith
* Rachel Whiteread
Source: Reuters

Friday, 17 June 2011

Isle of Wight Festival 2011

My face is sunburnt, my legs are weary, my nails are dirty, I have some suspicious looking bruises, all my possessions are damp, yes – I have just been to the Isle of Wight Festival.

All worth it of course.

The festival du jour due to Kate Moss’s ubercool presence this year for her festival hen do, I didn’t really know what to expect after being told by a friend it was “a chavvy Glastonbury” (as it turned out, a pretty accurate description). But chavvy Glasto or not, I loved it. As a Glasto lover I had to keep holding back the entire weekend from the immortal phrase “But at Glastonbury…” as the two are very similar, but IoW is smaller, more humble, dare I say – less pretentious? (…OK more chavvy).

Friday we unexpectedly stumbled on Laura Steel in the Big Top, a pleasant surprise and a great way to kick off festivities with her quirky dress, powerful stage presence and belting voice set against catchy rock beats. We Are Scientists put on a typically animated show on the Main Stage, their ad-lib dry commentary adding to the overall performance. The Courteeners were a personal favourite, the audience were just getting warmed up and their classic “Not Nineteen Forever” went down a storm. We held back in the crowd to watch Kaiser Chiefs as I’m not a huge fan, but the indie britpoppers can always be relied upon for a quality set. Kings of Leon, headlining the Main Stage, were a triumph. Although for many hardcore fans the southern US rockers have lost their sheen with their latest arena-tour type album, the brothers (and a cousin) can still belt out a TUNE. The spectacular firework display over the stage during the last song was the icing on the soul-filled cake.

Kings of Leon

Saturday saw an old-school vibe with an amazing Pulp and Iggy and the Stooges (who pulled Dave Grohl of the Foo’s on stage to dance), as well as the brilliant Seasick Steve. Foo Fighter’s headlined and the rockers pulled out all the stops to put on another mind-blowing show. The Vaccines in the Big Top were also amazing, with a surprise HUGE turnout despite the unusually hot weather.

Foo Fighters

The Vecks, a band who won a competition to play on the Main Stage on Saturday, are definitely a name to remember, with their indie catchy tunes and the lead singer’s grainy voice. Stornoway, Hurts and Lissie all played impressive sets.

The torrential rain on Sunday lead to a dismal turnout for Soul Circus on the Garden Stage (I think there were around six of us watching) the band were great, but I couldn’t help feeling very sorry for them. Twenty Twenty, on the other hand, had the advantage of playing in the under-cover Big Top but were ABISMAL. The Busted-style side-parted self-conscious young upstarts had an annoyingly large crowd despite their terrible pop disasters. Springbok Nude Girls, the unusually named South African rock/metal band, seemed surprised but appreciative of the huge crowd and provided a welcome relief from the previous pop rubbish, as did Various Cruelties.

Two Door Cinema Club were great, but my feet were beginning to lose feeling, there was about 50% rain water in my cider, and Pj had the onset of hyperthermia…so it was a little difficult to enjoy.

After heading back to the tent to change and put on so many layers I resembled Joey in the episode when he puts all Chandler’s clothes on (I could hardly even lift my arm to drink) we were ready for Beady Eye. The hype beforehand with backstage filming on the big screens of Liam flattening down his mod-hair revved up the crowd, but I think the festival curators decision to put them on as the second last act was a little off, I have the album but don’t know all the songs, and it seemed like the audience thought the same. A good performance however from a surprisingly polite Gallagher. Kasabian put on a stellar performance ending the festival on a high, all be it a muddy, sodden one.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want

The Haywood Gallery provides the perfect setting for Tracey Emin's dramatic, imposing works, as I found upon visiting the South Bank gallery for her latest cacophony of personal and intimate yet loud and spectacular pieces.

Even when queuing to buy tickets (£12 / £9 for students) you’re met with 47 year old Emin’s intimate musings when the artist wrote for the Independent “My Life in a Column” -- an interesting read when waiting for a late friend. I was already familiar with Emin’s intensely personal works so knew the exhibition would be on the self-obsessed side, the columns are like a pre-warning for those who don’t know.

And yet, I don’t dislike her, her colourful, beautiful yet violent and angry tapestries (above) are a look to the traditional and provide an insight into Emin’s passions and hates.

The large pier (above) with a crumbling little shack encompassing the first room of the exhibition portrays a delicate, fragile relationship with her father due to his long term alcoholism --it is both a loving and kind dream for her father and a tainted almost nightmarish piece.

The dark room (below) filled with eighties style neon lights with sayings such as ‘Love is What You Want’ are mesmerising and her installations such as an embriodered chair and a glass cabinet filled with keep-sake trinkets and items are a look into her fascinating life.

A video shows YBA Emin talking about her abortions and miscarriages -- heart wrenching topics much of the works are centred around, as well as the obvious amount of sex and masturbation frequent Emin observers have some to expect.

The works are gripping, passionate, and, at times, uncomfortable. For me, Emin as an artist is unrelatable, her tales of sex, hatred, passion, love and death are in themselves relatable, but the way they’re conveyed through intimate sketchings and sumptuous installation and paintings are less so.

This does not make it an unenjoyable experience 'Love is What You Want' is thrill to behold -- gripping, intriguing, amusing, and absorbing -- but expect to be let in to Emin’s world, and Emin’s world alone.


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