Various Artists – The Lie of the Land

The portrait above suggests how the aristocracy and the English landscape are as harmonious and natural as the sun that shines down on the rolling hills of the estate over which its subject, Mr Plampin, lauds.

It was around the time that Gainsborough painted the picture that landed estates, sculpted by landscape artists such as Capability Brown, were opened up to the public as places of leisure and which came to influence the British obsession with parks and gardens. The first to do so was Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire and part of the theme of Lie of the Land is to trace a line between Stowe and the urban experiment that is Milton Keynes only 15 miles away and which forms the inaugural exhibition in the city’s sparkingly refurbished Milton Keynes Gallery.

Continue reading “Various Artists – The Lie of the Land”

Elmgreen and Dragset – This is how we bite our tongue

A few days ago I was sitting in a café in the east end of London when a couple of students came in and asked me some pre-prepared questions about how the area had changed over the past decades.

Without having to say anything, I pointed to my flavoured latte and to the vegan cakes on offer. We soon got on to the subject of gentrification, the high price of rents , the erosion of public amenities and the dominance of service industries. Continue reading “Elmgreen and Dragset – This is how we bite our tongue”

Desmatamento – David Elia

As you turn from the corridor of Somerset House’s West Wing into Room 12, you’re in for something of a surprise. It’s quite dark, for a start, with the only light emanating from the film of a tropical rainforest being projected on to a woodpile structure in the centre. Around it are stools created from cylindrical branches of wood on which you can sit and watch the film. And you’re enveloped by a soundtrack of the forest – the birds, insects and rainfall.  Continue reading “Desmatamento – David Elia”

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