art / culture

Dutch Girl Does Art & Books January-March 2016

You might have noticed it’s been rather quiet on my website lately. To be honest, I lost my blogging mojo, aaaaaaargh!!! I have about 10 posts in my draft folder, but due to a lack of inspiration, I’ve been unable to finish any of them. For example, I started writing this post 3 weeks ago and just couldn’t set myself to finishing it. On a more personal note I’ve been occupied with mysteriously swollen and sore fingers on my right hand. First the doctors thought it was an infection and I was rushed into A&E on Valentine’s Day. After some antibiotics I thought it was cured, but it’s now back, and with a vengeance. The doctors have no idea what it could be, first they thought of arthritis, then eczema and now it supposedly is an allergy. Also the antibiotics have left me with a terrible breakout on my forehead. People often think I’m younger than I am and with my current breakout they probably think I’m about half my age. I’ve tried so many different creams for both my hands and face now, that I’m a bit lost at the moment. I guess the best solution is to wear gloves and avoid looking in the mirror 😉 On top of this I’ve been the victim of the flu virus that’s been doing the rounds over Europe and haven’t been able to stay awake for most of the day the last week.

Despite all these minor personal ‘issues’ I’ve still been out and about of course to report on the best art exhibitions and give you my book recommendations!

Art

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture @ Tate Modern (closed on 3 April 2016)

A fun exhibition showing the works made by American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976). He is known as the inventor of the mobile, a little instrument we’re so used to this day and age hanging above baby cribs (and no, I don’t mean the mobile phone). He also created static sculptures, called ‘stabiles’ and fun wire figures that cast very clever shadow figures. Unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to take photos in the museum, but you can see his works and learn more about this artist on the Calder Foundation website. You can find more information about the exhibition here.

Big Bang Data @ Somerset House (closed 20 March 2016)

From the first transatlantic telephone cables (did you realise they were actually laid on the ocean floor?) to tubes of DNA and the visualisation of the abstract term ‘data’.
The exhibition offers a good combination of eye-pleasing installations, interactive interfaces and interesting facts about (tele)communication. Did you realise that on a daily basis we produce the incomprehensible amount of 2.5 trillion bytes of data?! I can’t even work out how many Instagram photos that would be 😉

Clangers, Bagpuss & Co @ V&A Museum of Childhood (open till 9 October 2016)

When I visited this exhibition dedicated to the classic British children’s TV series made by Smallworlds production company, the majority of the audience were 40+ years old. These were the people who watched these series on a weekly basis when growing up. I had never heard of these cute figures before, but I was happy to tag along with my hubby. I guess for me the equivalent would be to see an exhibition of the Dutch 1970s children’s TV series De Fabeltjeskrant (The Daily Fable), which I would definitely love to visit!

Read more about the exhibition and related events here.

Hilma Af Klint: Painting the Unseen @ Serpentine (open till 15 May 2016)

Way before the concept of abstract art was even born, Swedish painter Hilma Af Klint (1862-1944) created abstract paintings. Af Klint was classically trained and graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, but after having painted landscapes, portraits and other classic topics, she joined four other female artists to form ‘The Five’. These five women were attracted to the mystical and occult and experimented with otherworldly topics. They would hold sĂ©ances and ‘contacted’ spirits who communicated through pictures. Hardly anyone knew her works: she had made sure that her works weren’t to be seen by the public till 20 years after her death out of fear that people would misunderstand her and her works.

An intriguing exhibition about a pioneer, a real must see! More information here.

Jheronimus Bosch: Visions of Genius @ Noordbrabants Museum (open till 8 May 2016)

This is a true once in a lifetime exhibition featuring a great collection of works by the 16th-century painter Jheronimus Bosch, a true genius whose masterpiece ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ hangs proudly at Prado museum in Madrid. This exhibition is held in the Dutch city of Den Bosch where Jheronimus (or simply Jeroen as we call him in Dutch) was born and coincidentally I went to secondary school. I went to the exhibition a week after the opening in February and was pleased to hear it proved to be such an international success that the museum had to extend its opening times from 9am till 7pm. Shortly afterwards it was open daily till 11pm and when I returned to Den Bosch last week I heard it’s now open till 1am! It’s difficult to get hold of tickets at the moment, but do try to go to Den Bosch to see this extraordinary show and of course enjoy the beautiful city that inspired this great artist.

Jheronimus-Bosch-Temptation-of-Saint-Anthony-Jeroen-Bosch-verzoeking-van-de-heilige-antonius

Triptych ‘Temptation of Saint Anthony’ by Jheronimus Bosch (1495-1515)

A more detailed blog post about Jeroen Bosch will follow here (and has been in the making for the last two months…). In the meanwhile you can read more information here.

Kai & Sunny: Whirlwind of Time @ StolenSpace Gallery (closed 10 April 2016)

I’ve reported a few times on urban art shows at East London’s StolenSpace Gallery and last month I ‘discovered’ the works by the great UK design couple Kai & Sunny there. I wasn’t the first one to discover them though as this was apparently already their 4th solo show at the gallery and they’ve even collaborated with people such as Shepard Fairey and Alexander McQueen! Their works are all created by ballpoint pens and consist of thousands of single lines. The exhibition also included skate board decks, silkscreen prints and an exclusive short story by acclaimed British author David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas.

Otherworlds: Visions of Our Solar System @ Natural History Museum (open till 15 May 2016)

If you don’t have the patience or the money to join Richard Branson into space, then this exhibition is a good alternative. We are all familiar with the cinematic representation of the Moon, the Sun or Mars from sci-fi films, but the extraordinary photos of our solar system are even more incredible than any of these films! In the exhibition you see the most stunning photos of outer space from the last 60 years, provided by NASA and ESA and curated by artist Michael Benson. While you walk through the gallery, you’ll be able to enjoy the accompanying music score by Brian Eno.

More info about the exhibition and ticket prices here.

World Goes Pop, The @ Tate Modern (closed on 24 January 2016)

An exhibition about pop art, but probably unlike any other pop art exhibitions you’ve seen before. The pop art movement emerged in Britain in the mid-1950s and made its way to the United States at the end of the 1950s. Instead of focussing on the works and artists from these countries, this exhibition at Tate Modern showed how this art movement inspired artists all over the world during the 1960s and 1970s. Although the exhibition didn’t appeal to me as much, it was good to learn that ‘pop was never just a celebration of western consumer culture, but often a subversive international language of protest’ (Tate Modern).

World-Goes-Pop

Books

‘Girls Who Travel’ by Nicole Trilivas

This debut novel by American author Nicole Trilivas was a fun read and set me off dreaming about travelling the world. Main character Kika Shores returns to her 9 to 5 desk job after a year of backpacking. After a humiliating disaster at the office, she gratefully accepts a nanny gig in London. While she explores the vibrant city and describes many neighbourhoods and sites I’m well familiar with (and one of the main reasons why this book appealed to me), Kika is about to be reunited with Lochland, her Irish boyfriend she met during her travels and is deeply in love with, or was it just a holiday fling?

‘I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban’ by Malala Yousafzai

Whilst reading this autobiography by Malala I felt ashamed to be so bothered with my current acne-riddled forehead! Of course I had heard the story of this poor girl to be shot by the Taliban in her home country Pakistan and how she received care in the UK. However, I didn’t know the full story about her incessant efforts and protests to enable education for all children. You might not always enjoy going to school, but what we in the West don’t realise is how privileged we are we have access to education and how important it is. Malala and her family have achieved so much in their lives whilst they knew they were endangering themselves. I have a great respect for this girl and felt quite emotional at times whilst reading. On a personal level it was special to me as I have Pakistani roots and I asked myself what my life would have been like if I would have grown up there instead of in the Netherlands. Would I then have a blog called ‘Pakistani Girl in London’? 😉

Street art

In the last weeks I’ve been so spoilt by my friends who gave me some great street art book as presents. New additions on the bookshelf are the books Stik, Graffiti Woman and New Street Art by Claude Crommelin. The latter is a reprint of Claude’s successful street art book, which will be back on sale from 1 May 2016. The official book launch takes place on 1 June at the Brick Lane Bookshop and I’ve been told Stik, close friend of Claude’s, and more street artists will be present to sign your fresh copy.

Watch this website for an interview with fellow-Duthie and professional photographer Claude London! 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to sleep again. Hope to return soon with some new-found inspiration!

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