Smoke and mirrors

Thursday, June 1st 2017

Courtyard, Royal Academy
Courtyard, Royal Academy

The Royal Academy of Arts is currently hosting an exhibition entitled America after the Fall, painting in the 1930s. We went along to have a look. As usual, there was a crush of people in the exhibition which sometimes made it hard to view the paintings and read the labels. Apart from that, it was interesting and worth the visit. Unfortunately, though understandably, photography was not allowed, so I cannot show you any pictures.

Afterwards, we went for one of our rambling walks and eventually came to another exhibition. I’m not sure whether this was by chance or whether Tigger had planned it. I must remember to ask her.

Anyway, where we hauled up was an art gallery at 48 Albemarle Street called the Focusing Room. We met with a pleasant welcome and had a look at the artworks. These were… well, I’m not sure how they would be classified. Briefly, the works consisted of installations made of any combination of metal, wood, plastic and glass (and possibly other materials), animated by lights and motors and, in at least once case, smoke. I think that that was my favourite but we’ll come to it in a moment.

Anything with changing lights and colours is hard to photograph. Well, impossible, really, because a photo catches just an instant and the charm of the work may lie in its continuous variability. Ho hum. Anyway, here are a few example views. When you see these, you will understand the title of this post.

Untitled
Untitled
Adolf Luther, 1970

This work by Adolf Luther is divided into 64 squares each containing a mirror that inverts the reflected scene. So for what it’s worth, you have a square containing 64 upside-down SilverTigers. That’ll do for the mirrors component of the post.

Rotor
Rotor
Heinz Mack, 1960/2

This one, by Heinz Mack, is called Rotor but unfortunately a still photo does not show in it all its mobile glory.

Lumino
Lumino
Nicholas Schöffer, 1968

I think this is Lumino by Nicholas Schöffer but I am not entirely sure. The supplied catalogue is in black and white, which makes it a little difficult to identify coloured displays! If I have it wrong, I’d be pleased to receive a correction.

Focussierender Raum
Focussierender Raum
Adolf Luther, 1968

And this, of course, is the smoke. I found it quite impressive though I don’t claim to ‘understand’ it (or any of the others, for that matter) but anything that gives off smoke has to be interesting, doesn’t it? Well, I thought so.

The luminous bluey-white object you see in the background (and in the photo below) is Diaframma (1968) by Nando Vigo.

General view of the gallery
General view of the gallery

Quite apart from anything else, this exhibition made an interesting contrast with thr Royal Academy’s exhibition of American painting of the 1930s.

Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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2 Responses to Smoke and mirrors

  1. WOL says:

    Art is one of those “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.” sort of deals. I would say if the artist has gotten you to look at some aspect of light, shape or color in a new or different way, then they have achieved success — for whatever it’s worth.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Likewise, we all respond to works of art in different ways, according to our nature. I will admit to having a fairly narrow appreciation of art: a work has to ‘speak’ to me directly before I can interest myself in it.

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