The Curious Incident… | National Theatre

God were we lucky to get tickets to the National Theatre’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best selling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It’s difficult to actually convey how impressive the performance was. Besides Luke Treadaway‘s ability to capture the mental complexities of the main character, Christopher, perfectly, the stage was mind-blowing in its transformations and the supporting roles were beautifully constructed. We found this little review given by The Guardian (who rightly gave the performance 4stars) and we couldn’t agree more with it:

Simon Stephens, for a start, solves the problem confronting any adapter. First he has a teacher (Niamh Cusack) reading aloud the story that 15-year-old Christopher Boone has fashioned from his Holmes-like investigation into the killer of his neighbour’s dog; then, against Christopher’s wishes, the novel is turned into a play. This not only frames the action, but also sets up a rich tension between fiction’s invention and the obsession with facts, forensics and systemised data that is a symptom of Christopher’s autism. His mathematical mind is also brilliantly reflected in Bunny Christie’s design of glowing geometric grids, and in Paule Constable’s lighting, which conveys the hero’s love of the night sky.

A remarkable performance from Luke Treadaway captures all the hero’s zeal, obduracy and terror of tactile contact, and pins down behavioural qualities all of us, at some point, see in ourselves. The movement direction, from Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, also conveys Christopher’s confusion when confronted by the bustle of London life. I flinch from manipulative touches such as miniaturised trains and a live dog: two things calculated to send audiences into swooning raptures. But this is a highly skilful adaptation, and Paul Ritter and Nicola Walker as Christopher’s parents movingly remind us of the messily contradictory human emotions that co-exist with their son’s world of perfect patterns.

The Curious Incident… on at the National Theatre until Oct 27th 2012.

Article adapted from Michael Billington for The Guardian.

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Bold Tendencies | Sculpture (car)park

In the unlikely setting of a multistorey carpark on Rye Lane, Peckham, is the most amazing sculpture park you are ever likely to visit. I know, bold statement, right? But this is a bold statement for project that is successfully altering, if not changing, the way in which we view contemporary, public art. Bold Tendencies, now in its sixth and biggest year, is a non-profit, summer sculpture park that brings together emerging international artists and provides them with a platform that catapults into public consciousness.

The space is not glamorous, white walled and “fabulous dahhhling”. It’s shabby, worn down and the stairwell still retains that certain car park odour. However, it is also a location that can legitimately claim to have the best view of London. The panoramic horizon is one that has been carefully punctuated and fractured by the positioning of huge, beautiful installations such as Byobu from Laura Buckley and Fountain I by Peles Empire. From certain angles the plethora of new, contemporary work can seem to be standing alongside the Gherkin, the Shard and the Millennium Dome.

The location of the project is intrinsically connected with the artwork it includes. Speaking to the artist Mary Redmond, the industrial nature of the space is vital to the experience of her work. The piece, Seven Split Overglide, combines bamboo and plasticised organic shapes with scrap metal that appears to have been blown in from across the neighboring railroad. Redmond explains that the piece has been inspired by the Glaswegian tower blocks and Le Corbusier styled buildings she used to live near as a child. As we speak, a train rushes by and dust, grit and hot air is blown through the space forcing the scrap metal and fake flowers in her work to tremble. This wind tunnel effect, says Redmond, is akin to that created in the towerblock carparks she would walk through as a child.

Bold Tendencies opened earlier this month and welcomed over 1,000 guests to its launch party. To find anyone willing to drop the Del Boy/Rodney stereotype of Peckham can be difficult, so 1,000 people for a first night? It must be pretty damn good.

Check back for reviews of events held at Bold Tendencies this summer. For more information visit the website here

To be continued…

All images courtesy of Bold Tendencies: Byobu Laura Buckley, Fountain I Peles Empire, Seven Split Overglide Mary Redmond.

Little Ghost in Pictures | June

We know we’ve been unusually quiet this month, we’ve been busy bees (and the site had a few minor technical errors that put us out of action for a while) but we have lots coming up. We’ve been to the Bold Tendencies launch party in Peckham (which was, without a doubt, the busiest launch we have ever been to) and have been knee deep in mud at Latitude Festival. Reviews of both coming up shortly. There has also been a graduation, a trip to Stockholm and a new job so THAT is why we’ve been quiet. Lots coming up in July. Check back soon you lovely people. Thanks again. x

Food Revolution | Eat Street.

We’re talking about a revolution. And we’re talking about it with our mouths stuffed full of delicious, homegrown food.  It’s a food revolution, street food to be precise. It’s been bubbling and boiling under the surface since 2009 and this summer, what with the Olympics and all, is the proving to be the perfect time for it to really kick off. LG’s editor Sian Gray, took to the streets and undercovered the must see, must try, must tastes of the summer.

1) The Rib Man (above)

This man knows good ribs and he is willing to share (THANK GOD!). Head to Brick Lane‘s food market every Sunday to taste babyback ribs from pigs outdoor reared in the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside. Try them with The Rib Man’s homemade smokey BBQ and hot sauces (one sauce appropriately named Holy Fuck! by unsuspecting customers). He’s also the leader of the pack on twitter so follow him for more info!

2) Hardcore Prawn

Oh come on, with a name like that you can’t NOT love it. Set up by York born, Chinese Londoner Dan, this is food that has been put to the test. With chopsticks originating from sustainable bamboo plantations and with exotic and freshly sourced ingredients this is some of the best Asian fusion food you can get in the capital.

3) Every Day is Like A Sundae- Sunset Ices

Being served a REAL 99 ice cream by a lovely woman in a fifties dress is the epitome of the retro dream. Based in Morecambe, expect the traditional, old school ices here: Snowballs, Oysers and Angostura Ices. Inside the van are hanging paintings making this both my favourite ever foodie van and mini art gallery. 

All traders here are part of the Eat Street collective which holds residence at Kings Boulevard, N1C every Monday-Friday. All images courtesy of Eat Street. For more information check out the website here.

“Modern Life…Modern Bodies” Jenny Saville Preview

My name is Sian, I’m a Saville addict. And as such I am extremely excited for her first ever solo show in the UK. I’m itching to write a review but the exhibition opens on June 23rd (at Modern Art Oxford and the Ashmolean Museum) so it will have to wait a few more days.  Instead, I point you in the direction of Rachel Cooke, who interviewed Saville for The Observer earlier this month.

‘…In 1994 Saville returned to the US to observe operations at the clinic of a New York plastic surgeon. She then painted women with the surgeon’s black markings on the contours of their bodies, so that they resembled living, breathing dartboards. This led in turn to closed contact, a series of photographs by the fashion photographer, Glen Luchford, of Saville’s naked body pressed against Perspex and shot from below (Saville fattened herself up for this, the better that her flesh appear squashed and distorted). The subtext of this work is, of course, familiar now. But it wasn’t at the time.

“When I made Plan [showing the lines drawn on a woman’s body to designate where liposuction would be performed], I was forever explaining what liposuction was. It seemed so violent then. These days, I doubt there’s anyone in the western world who doesn’t know what liposuction is. Surgery was a minority sport; now that notion of hybridity is everywhere. There’s almost a new race: the plastic surgery race.”

These experiences, however, have cast a long shadow. She is still interested in the idea that many people hold fast to a notion that their natural self isn’t the “real” them, and her work continues to be preoccupied by what she calls a sense of in-betweenness. “That’s why transsexuals and hermaphrodites have become interesting to me. I want to be a painter of modern life, and modern bodies, those that emulate contemporary life, they’re what I find most interesting.”

The heir to Lucian Freud, the painter of Modern life and modern bodies, Jenny Saville’s work is eye-opening, eyebrow raising and simply incredible.

Read the interview here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jun/09/jenny-saville-painter-modern-bodies?intcmp=239

Exhibition 23rd June- 16th September at Modern Art Oxford

Free.

Up Close and Very Personal | Skin Deep @ HayHill

We’ve got to be careful with how we word this. Firstly, because we don’t want this to come across too pornographic but mainly because the search engine will pick up on particular words we use and the blog will only attract the sexually promiscuous, as happened when we wrote a post on Art and BDSM.

The difficulty is however that Jamie McCartney’s latest exhibition at HayHill gallery on Cork Street is sexual, it is explicit and it is completely unashamed of being so. In fact, for Skin Deep, McCartney actively forces his audience to confront what has for so long been hidden away in Art and society at large: the vagina. There, we said it.

The Great Wall of Vagina is McCartney’s most striking piece in the exhibition. It is a 9 metre long polyptych that consists of four hundred plaster casts of vulvas. The Great Wall effectively breaks down the barriers of public and private and in doing so destroys all previously conceived notions of ‘normal’. The effect it has is surprising. Despite the shock tactic and the wall’s ability to fixate, we didn’t leave the exhibition with the overwhelming sense of being unusual or different or even with the reassurance of being ‘normal’. The reason for this, we can conclude after getting up close and personal with 400 vaginas, is that normal simply does not exist. It’s not a cliché, it simply doesn’t. Instead, McCartney achieves in lifting the anxiety that has for so long encircled female genitalia.

Despite the humorous name and the spectacle created, McCartney has used his artistic ability to very cleverly confront genitalia, make it a talking point and release it from the ties of embarrassment and shame. As McCartney says: ‘It’s not vulgar, it’s vulva’.

Skin Deep also features McCartney’s latest body of work Physical Photography which photographs the human form without cameras but with honesty. The exhibition continues until June 2nd and we thoroughly recommend it.

The Other Side to Easter.

“My belief in art is religious, it gives you salvation”- Damien Hirst.

Perhaps a load of images by a man who is quite possibly the devil reincarnated and whose name is an anagram of Mr Death isn’t the most sacred thing we could do on Easter Sunday but nonetheless here they are. In a strange and messed up way we feel it’s sort of appropriate. Apart from making a lot of money, Damien Hirst does achieve one thing at least: he makes you think. When asked the meaning of life at aged 17, he replied “to get to the other side…”