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.

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Antony Gormley – Lunatick

The moon is deeply embedded in our artistic culture – we sing about it, write about it, make films about it and in return it affects our very being through its lunar cycles. It’s been 50 years since man took his first steps on our nearest planetary neighbour. Since then only 12 astronauts have done so. Now, we too can get a taste of what it’s like to walk on the moon thanks to a virtual reality experience designed by the esteemed sculptor Antony Gormley.

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Rebecca Appleby – Inner Order

Rebecca Appleby is more than a ceramicist. She is an all-round artist who uses ceramics as her canvas. Her abstract pieces are sculptures informed by art, architecture and industrial archaeology. Her work over the past two decades has centred on an exploration of the contemporary urban landscape and its relationship with nature. Now she has a mostly new body of work, Inner Order, just opened at London’s Contemporary Ceramics Centre. 

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Recycle Group – Nature of Non-Existence

As the latest in a series of artists who use Virtual and Augmented Reality as part of their working practice, the Gazelli Art House, London features a new exhibition by Russian duo, The Recycle Group, named because they use both recycled imagery and materials. The pair have won awards for their pioneering use of technologies and the way they bridge incompatible subjects such as the classic and the contemporary. They represented Russia at the 57th Venice biennale. Now they examine the relationship between man and machine.

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Chiharu Shiota/Jonas Burgert

Me Somewhere Else is the latest installation by Berlin-based Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota to use thread as its medium. It forms part of a two-handed exhibition with Jonas Burgert’s Schlagen und Bleiben. A billowing cloud of blood-red thread hovers over the ground floor gallery, anchored by a pair of bronze feet. These are casts of the artist’s own feet and their solid, weighted nature contrasts with the ethereal quality of the rest of the work. 

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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”

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