Monday, September 10, 2012

Art and travel: Voyages

A short walk from Oxford Street into Fitzrovia (and near the famous Newman Street Post Office) is The Piper Gallery, and it is currently showing an exhibition of works by artist Francis West. Called Voyages, it is an opportunity to explore West’s voyages through the series of his works on display. Never mind if you find travel exhausting, each voyage reflects West’s experience of locations.

Figurative forms that are in different states of metamorphosis feature throughout, along with combining fragments, dreams and memories. The end result is quite fascinating to look at and admire.

Le Désert (2008)
West was born in 1936 in Scotland. After moving to London he studied at the Chelsea School of Art (1957-1959). His first solo show was in 1973, at the Hamet Gallery on Cork Street and in 1981 his work was included in the Arts Council’s Hayward Annual. Although grounded in reality, West’s concepts blur symbolic forms with fragments from poetry and historic painting.

 It is all on show in the lovely and seriously cool space of The Piper Gallery, which opened this summer. It is dedicated to showcasing artists who have had a career spanning at least forty years and the intention is to highlight their skills and experience to a new generation. Well worth a look. The exhibition runs through to 5 October.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Music: Australian Chamber Orchestra with Dawn Upshaw

An opportunity to see the Australian Chamber Orchestra should not be passed up as they thrilled audiences at Cadogan Hall over the weekend. It was a varied concert that included ACOs artistic director and leader Richard Tognetti's composition Caprice on Paganini Caprices (featured above) and songs by Schumann, Schoenberg and Schubert performed with American Soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Dawn Upshaw's arrival in the second act was warmly received but the star of the show were the musicians or the ensemble of soloists as they are sometimes known, who were full of such passion, precision and energy.  An evening of very fine music making, with an ensemble that moved as one providing a incredible sound. Keep an eye out for future tours via their website.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Surprise the (Piccadilly Circus) Circus is in Town

Today the streets of central London have been taken over by a pop up circus called Piccadilly Circus Circus. From lunchtime today until the finale at 8pm more than 240 international circus artists including aerialists, high wire trapeze artists, hula hoopers, jugglers, stilt acrobats, not so stilted acrobats, tightrope walkers, looserope walkers, acrobats, Chinese pole artists, Polish Chinese artists, aerial dance performers, contemporary clowns, musicians and the like will be around to distract shoppers and force you whip out your camera-phone and experience it all...

I caught the opera singers and drummers earlier today but events continue throughout the afternoon. The finale at Piccadilly Circus will be where French artists’ Les Studios de Cirque presents the UK premiere of Place des Anges. The piece is about a renegade group of angels who are drawn down to the Earth, and begin to shed their wings, and their feathers fall on the unsuspecting spectators below… With zip wires strung across Piccadilly Circus, it is likely to be a one of a kind event. If you can't get to it, or you are worried about feather allergies, it will be streamed live from the website at 8pm.

The event is part of Surprises, which is part of the Mayor of London Presents programme. It is free secret performances that have been popping up all over the capital this summer on the unsuspecting public... Enjoy it all while it lasts!