East Wall – Storm The Tower, directed by Hofesh Schechter

I know it’s a sign of climate change – I’ve even stopped checking my weather app – but I do love it when you can plan an evening out and know it’ll be warm and dry. This was the case for East Wall at the Tower of London, part of LIFT festival.

Photo by Caroline Banks

A collaboration between East London Dance,  Hofesh Shechter Company, Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT ,   the evening celebrated the variety and diversity of East London.                          Hofesh Schechter’s trademark percussion instruments stood at the back of the stage, Photo by Caroline Banksready to accompany the different young amateur dancers. One of my favourite pieces was Three, choreographed by Duwane Taylor (I’m a fan of Krump.)Photo by Caroline BanksThere were 6 pieces in all, exploring migration,  the immigrant experience and the history of East LondonPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banksculminating with an exuberant  finale where the Band of the Irish Guards joined the other performers in the moat.Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banksall overlooked by a sole archer and the ever-present plane passing overhead.Photo by Caroline Banks

Mark-making workshop by Modern Eccentrics at Cass Art

Ever keen to learn new skills I signed up recently for a workshop run by Ross and Jonny of ModernEccentrics at Cass Art where we learned about making our own brushes and ink.

Here are some of Ross’s beautiful brushes – these are not actually intended for use.
Photo by Caroline Banksand the trolley selection of materials to make our own.Photo by Caroline BanksAnother trolley set up for ink production Photo by Caroline Bankswith avocado ink on the boilPhoto by Caroline BanksHere’s my first attempt at brush-making: a multi-branched combo that began disintegrating almost immediately with use as you can see.Photo by Caroline BanksIt has to be said I was quite hard on them so once I’d broken off the limbs drew exuberant dancers using a concentrate of oak gall inkPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksContact Modern Eccentrics for info on more of their courses.

A couple of Amin Taha Architects’ buildings in North London

It’s exciting that 15 Clerkenwell Close by Amin Taha Architects , will be open for this year’s Open House London Weekend. It’s built on the site of an 11th century Norman Abbey which stood here till the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century and now houses the architect’s office as well as flats and a small public garden.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksI cycle past Barrett’s Grove, N16, another project by the same practice, on a regular basis and am fascinated by the use of brick as a covering for the entire structure, including the roof.  The actual structure is cross-laminated timber (CLT) and won the RIBA London Award 2017 and RIBA National Award 2017.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksI’m not sure this will be open during Open House London but you can see both buildings close up from the outside as shown above.

Ilhwa Kim at The House of Fine Art

A new art gallery has recently opened in the West End of London, The House of Fine Art (or HOFA for short). I went along there recently and saw these works by Ilhwa Kim. Photo by Caroline Banks Each little piece of mulberry paper is hand dyed and rolled up into a “seed”. some contain messages (never to be read) giving each picture hidden stories. The process is highly labour intensive and could be viewed as obsessional – my take on it is that it is a meditative, almost ritualistic activity, creating worlds and landscapes to be viewed initially from above but then explored from any direction.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksYou can easily lose yourself in these pieces. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

The Florence Trust’s 2018 summer show

As it says on its website, The Florence Trust provides a dynamic mentoring programme and studio residency in London for twelve international artists each year. Each residency programme lasts for 12 months and is a real lifeline for artists to develop their practice in  London.

I went along to the summer exhibition private view in the atmospheric  decommissioned church tucked away in Aberdeen Park, which also houses the studios. Not all the artists  are represented here as it was too dark for some of my photos. Visit the website for information and click on the artist’s links to learn more about their work and concerns.

Francisca Prieto – work with paper and metal

The Chilean artist Francisca Prieto is someone whose work I have followed for several years now, having first spotted her along with her impressive storage cabinet at Cockpit Arts during an open studio visit.

Photo from Uppercase Magazine

She works with metal as well as paper, bending and folding her materials from 2 dimensions to 3. It isn’t just the aesthetics, strong as they are, that appeal to me: the ritualistic and repeated activity is meditative; her aim to record and reinterpret something redundant and unwanted into something desirable, to breathe new life into paper, moves me.

All photos (unless otherwise indicated) are from her website as I couldn’t find any decent ones from my own archives.

Events from Block Universe

I hadn’t come across Block Universe, London’s leading international performance art festival, before but, after hearing about it through word of mouth, attended a couple of events – see photos below and links for more info.

“You would almost expect to find it warm”, by Laura Wilson, took place at the British Museum in connection with the current Rodin and the art of Ancient Greece exhibition. Rodin modelled in clay before carving in marble hence the use of dough which shares many qualities with clay. Watching these performers moving slowly amongst the visitors over a period of time was quite  meditative.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banks

“Allusion to a body no longer present” by Tyler Eash and Sara Rodrigues , one of the satellite events, was held at St Giles Cripplegate with a script derived from interviews with members of the Swiss Church congregation on the significance of self, search for meaning, and remembrance after death. Some statements were very poignant with the evocative imagery well suited to such a venue.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

Shape of Light at Tate Modern

I often enjoy going to exhibitions unprepared as that can give me a cleaner sensory experience than having read reviews; such was the case for The Shape of Light at Tate Modern.

There is something about Minimalism that resonates deeply and here are some of the pieces that stood out for me: part of  Alison Rossiter’s  expired photography paper seriesPhoto by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksBarbara Kasten’s cyanotypes Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Edward Ruscha’s parking lot photos next to Carl Andre’s Steel Zinc PlainPhoto by Caroline Banks

Black by Inge Dick  (the people and shapes are all reflections)Photo by Caroline BanksOne of Jay Defeo’s Untitled pieces Photo by Caroline BanksJohn Hilliard’s Seven Representations of White (with more reflections)Photo by Caroline Banksand, seen at the end, Thomas Ruff’s massively scaled virtual photogramsPhoto by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks


Tacita Dean – Landscape at the Royal Academy

The inaugural exhibition in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries at the Royal Academy is LANDSCAPE, one of the three concurrent London exhibitions by Tacita Dean. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was really impressed by the scale and sensitivity of the work shown. Zooming in and out is an essential part of the experience (I use those terms deliberately).

Here’s a view through to The Montafon Letter, a huge chalk drawing on blackboard of a mountain (there’s a bit more to it than just that).  Photo by Caroline BanksMajesty, one of a series of works on paper from 2016Photo by Caroline Banks

Cloud drawings, also from 2016,  in front of her collection of round stones.Photo by Caroline BanksI really liked the contrast of jade reflected in the glass frame of this massive print Quarantania.Photo by Caroline BanksHer film Antigone is also on show – I wasn’t able to see all of it so will complete the experience on my next visit.

The expanded Royal Academy

This is huge in the history of the Royal Academy and it’s such a positive development. The reconfiguration of space and intervention by David Chipperfield Architects to connect both buildings of Burlington Gardens and Burlington House now takes you through a myriad of environments. Here are a few photos of some of these spaces – not all quite finished when I visited – which will, I hope, give you an idea of the journey now possible.

The steps down from Burlington House show The Vaults towards the Weston Studio with a glimpse of the stairs up to the Weston BridgePhoto by Caroline Banks

Looking back from The Vaults to the stairs.

Photo by Caroline BanksOne of the RA Schools corridors just before reaching the Weston Studio.Photo by Caroline BanksUp the stairs from the Weston StudioPhoto by Caroline BanksDetail of the staircasePhoto by Caroline BanksView of the Weston Bridge windowPhoto by Caroline BanksFinal touches to the Benjamin West Lecture Theatre Photo by Caroline Banks