Gloucestershire newspaper article: Rodin sculpture at The Wilson

My Rodin article in Gloucestershire EchoI was very pleased to write a second article for the local newspaper, Gloucestershire Echo, during my internship in the Collections department at The Wilson, Cheltenham’s art gallery and museum. The Wilson had just put their newly acquired Rodin sculpture on display and I thought this would be a good topic to write about – plus, I had written the gallery label for this artwork, and studied some of Rodin’s later sculptures (and photographs) for my MA dissertation.

This Echo article was published on Saturday 29th August.

Dance Movement E by Auguste Rodin, about 1911, bronze, edition 3 of 11, 430 x 124mm

This striking sculpture, entitled Dance Movement E, captures a full figure in the middle of a lively dance. Designed by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in about 1911, it was never shown in Rodin’s lifetime, but was cast posthumously in bronze. Dance Movement E was given to the art gallery and museum by PJ Crook, President of the Friends of The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, in May 2014 to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Friends.

My Rodin article in Gloucestershire EchoIt is particularly exciting to have the sculpture here at The Wilson as Rodin has several links with Cheltenham. The artist stayed in the town for five weeks in 1914, visiting the art gallery and museum numerous times during his stay. Then nineteen years later, the curator at the time, Mr Herdman, requested that Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss be shown at the art gallery and museum. It was on display for three years before being transferred to the Tate. The Kiss returned to The Wilson last year as a loan for a temporary exhibition, entitled Embrace.

Rodin rarely took traditional anatomical rules or details into consideration. Instead, he created increasingly abstract sculptures, noting the shapes produced by flexible body parts during specific expressive moments. Critics believed that many of Rodin’s creations were merely studies or unfinished works. In contrast, much of the sculpture produced by Rodin’s contemporaries tended to be highly conservative and a large quantity was commissioned by the French government for heroic public monuments. Among his peers, however, were the Impressionists (Rodin and Monet were born the same year), whose innovations in painting moved away from the constraints of classical imperatives. Rodin also moved away from conventional boundaries and his inventive and ‘modern’ approach is one of the reasons why he is one of the best-known sculptors of the late nineteenth century.

It was Rodin’s novel subject matter as well as his style that made his art stand out and appear radical. For instance, as his sculpture Dance Movement E suggests, Rodin was inspired by modern dance. In particular he was fascinated by Alda Moreno, an acrobat and dancer at the Opéra Comique, Paris, who became his regular model from 1910 to 1913. This subject marks one of his later, and largely private, prolific investigations; indeed, Dance Movement E is one of a series of nine figures that are individually labelled from A to I.

We are delighted that now, over one hundred years on from Rodin’s visit to Cheltenham, we can enjoy another of his sculptures here, as part of the art gallery and museum’s collection. You can see Dance Movement E on display in the Friends Gallery at The Wilson, a venue managed by The Cheltenham Trust.

Matisse Live: Tate Modern

This article is published in Trebuchet Magazine

The Parakeet and the Mermaid

The Parakeet and the Mermaid

On Tuesday 3rd June, Tate achieved its first live broadcast to cinemas across the country with Tate Modern’s Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition. This was definitely an evening of experimentation and the start of a new way of experiencing art at the Tate. There were high expectations, excitement and some nerves for those participating in the event and members of the public eagerly awaiting it in the cinemas.

Virtually led through sections of the exhibition, the audience was taken on an intimate private view. The exhibition rooms seemed uncanny without their normal heaving crowds, and the format was an ideal way to take in the cut-outs – artworks that demand lots of space in which to be viewed, as well as inviting movements from the spectator within that space. Neither the art nor the film encourages you to stay still.  Continue reading

‘Curating Performance’ workshop at the Arnolfini

Published on the Arnolfini and Young Arnolfini blogs

Thursday 12th – Friday 13th September 2013

This two-day workshop on curating performance at the Arnolfini comprised of lectures and artists’ talks considering themes such as the relationship between social spaces, aesthetic experience and the audience, as well as similarities between curator and dramaturge. The opportunities and limitations associated with contextualising time-conscious work and live art were also considered. Additionally, notions of staging, movement, image and body were pertinent tropes throughout.

Jamie Eastman, the Arnolfini’s curator of performance, introduced the workshop and set the scene by asking the burning and complex question of what is a curator. He suggested a curator was a mediator of live moments, someone who is concerned with the production and presentation of narratives, and whose role links to theatre. Another memorable moment from the introduction was Eastman’s suggestion that the context for live performances is highly important as each event is made up of narratives told in social spaces.

Anja Dorn, a curator and guest professor for curatorial theory and dramaturgy at the University of Design Karlsruhe, began the first session with her workshop entitled ‘Curating the Audience’. She offered the notion that the increasing numbers of performance programmes were largely due to consumer culture and attempts to engage with, and even be dictated by, a wider consumer audience. Due to this, performance art takes place in what is called social spaces. (This breakdown of boundaries between art and the public dates back to the 1960s where de-bordering art was taken into new accessible places). From this observation, Dorn was keen for us to discuss how far these social spaces enable aesthetic experience and what implications this powerful consumer culture has for curatorial decisions.  Continue reading