Thursday 31 May 2018

Body, Psyche and Taboo

Body, Psyche and Taboo,

at the MUMOK  (Museum of Modern Art), in Vienna.

We saw this exhibition in 2016 when we visited Vienna. The show explores the links between Vienna Actionism (the violent, transgressive movement from 1960s Vienna) and the pioneers of turn-of-the-century Austrian modernism, such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. The show suggested that it is no coincidence that both movements responded to the question of human flesh as a site of suffering or shame in response to their respective political climates: the end of the decadent, complacent Austro-Hungarian empire, and the repressed memory of Nazism in the stagnant conservative culture of post-war Austria.

This post is not an accurate depiction of the exhibition, as I could not relate to the work of the Vienna Actionists and found some of it distasteful. The work of the early 20th century Austrian modernism on the other hand, was delightful, and this is what I have concentrated on in this post.

Egon Schiele, Dead Mother I, 1910

In this painting Schiele shows a child with gesticulating hands in warm and vibrant colours, which contrast with the pallid face of the mother. The child is wrapped in a blackness that can signify both black cloth and a womb. In the context of the high mortality rates of insfants and mothers during and after delivery, the juxtaposition of birth and death was omnipresent at the time.

Schoenberg Family, 1985

Judith as Mrs Schoenberg, 1986

Otto Muehl, Movement, 1962

Otto Muehl, Material Painting, Sardine in Oil, 1961-62

Egon Schiele, Two men with Halos (Klimt and Schiele), 1909

Egon Schiele, Mother and Daughter, 1913

Egon Schiele, Naked Girls, Embracing, 1914

Egon Schiele, Two Men, 1913

Egon Schiele, Two Female Models, Lying Entangled, 1915

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Head Lowered, 1912

Hermann Nitsch, Altar, 1983

Egon Schiele, Poster for the Exhibition at the Galerie Anot, 1915

Guenter Brus, Sheer Madness - For Aachen: The Architecture of Sheer Madness, 1968

Robert Kushner, Rivals, 1978

Bela Kadar, Village Departure, 1925

Francis Picabia, Ganga, 1953

Hugo Scheiber, Geometric Figure, 1929

Rudolf Belling, Female Head, 1925

Christina Ramberg, Ticklish Construction, 1974

Ray Yoshida, Fabrication, 1971

Maria Lassnig, Caryatid, 1974

Oskar Schlemmer, Group of Three with One Nude Seen from the Back, 1929

Sunday 27 May 2018

The gallery at the Guild, Chipping Campden

When C.R. Ashbee (English architect and designer who was a prime mover of the Arts an Crafts movement that took its craft ethic from the works of John Ruskin and its co-operative structure from the socialism of William Morris) and other members of his Guild and School of Handicraft left the East End of London and moved to Chipping Campden in 1902, the town became known as a centre for the Cotswold Arts and Crafts movement. They set up their workshops in the Old Silk Mill, specialising in metalworking, producing jewellery and enamels, as well as hand-wrought copper, wrought ironwork, and furniture.

Today, the building is a co-operative of artists and craftspeople who exhibit their work here. As usual, I was mainly interested in the ceramics on display.

Hilary LaForce, tea bowl

Hilary LaForce

Hilary LaForce, tea bowls

Hilary LaForce, tea bowls

Hilary LaForce, Volcanic landscape

Alice Shepherd, Spotty Jugs

Hilary LaForce, crystal glazed dish

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Chipping Campden

On builder-free days we tend to go to the Cotswolds as it's near. I have been longing for a trip to London to visit some galleries but we are usually too tired to have a whole day away, so it's the Cotswolds instead -  convenient and relaxing.

Chipping Campden was our choice last Friday. We parked opposite this wisteria-covered cottage.

Chipping Campden was one of the most important of the medieval wool towns and famous throughout Europe. It is this legacy of fame and prosperity that give the town its character


First stop, the Robert Welch shop as we wanted to buy some coasters and add to our collection of cutlery.

It's a lovely shop

The cutlery he designs is stylish, functional and long-lasting.

But, he designs much more than that

I particularly liked this salt and pepper set

and these candlesticks.

We then wandered around the village

The ancient Market Hall (now a National Trust property) was built in 1627 for the purpose of giving shelter to the local market selling cheese, butter and poultry.


The main street is long and broad and curves in a shallow arc flanked on either side by an almost unbroken single terrace made up of many different architectural styles. It is lined with a succession of ancient houses each grafted to the next but each with its own distinctive character.

It's wisteria time and there's lots around

This house is the oldest in Chipping Campden and was built by William Grevel in 1380. The house would have been one of the first to have chimneys instead of just holes in the roof. William Grevel was one of the country's most influential wool merchants, a citizen of London and financier to King Richard III.

The Alms Houses were built in 1612 for £1000 - their simple style shows the early influence of the Renaissance in Britain. They were and still are used as the homes of twelve pensioners.

Each dwelling has an upper and lower room and each front door is shared by two houses.

We reached the gate to the Banqueting House. It was built in 1613, a noble house in the latest fashion, with elaborate gardens. Thirty two years later it was destroyed by the Royalists, as they withdrew from the town.

Two buildings were left. The buildings, (East Banqueting House and West Banqueting House) are now available as Landmarks. We stayed here many years ago.

St James church was our next stop. We took the path up to the church

turned right into this enchanted path.

We turned around and started retracing our steps, past the Eight Bells

past this grand house

and walked down the High Street

I like the sunken pavement

It was time for lunch so we stopped at the Cotswold House

and their restaurant,  the Bistro on the Square.

The garden is glorious.

People chose to eat indoors, but we headed for the sunken terrace, which we had to ourselves.

We ate in glorious isolation

and enjoyed the garden.

As we were leaving

we stopped to have a look at the water feature and then headed for home.