Thursday, August 18, 2011

Music, art and Arrietty: one day in London

It might have been raining (and hard at that) but JP's had a great 24 hours.

Yesterday went to the Roundhouse to hear a performance of solo cello performed by Steven Isserlis, which was great for three reasons. Firstly of course he's a great musician, and was playing works by Bach, Britten and Australian composer Carl Vine.

Secondly recently (ok, relatively recently) the Roundhouse has been transformed into a wonderful circular performing space.

And thirdly it is currently host to Ron Arud's installation Curtain Call. This is ring of 5,600 silicon rods, 8 metres tall, that surrounds the performing space and on to which are projected images and videos to create a real 360 degree experience.

It was a bit like the proms - no seats, just the floor (concrete, hard) or standing, but you could walk in or out of the curtain. During the Bach the videos were music scores, Britten clouds (as above) and for the Carl Vine (which actually turned out to me my favourite as the solo instrument was accompanied by tape) floating highly magnified pollen.

Afterwards there were some more Curtain Call works, including this one that reminded me a bit of the Global Communication gig at the British Library. Then two others wasn't so into before a final one that started off as a man dozing on a train and then went into his dream of him and some woman, which would happily have seen again. Great fun.

Then today took the day off to enjoy life a little. Instead of one mega art exhibition packed in a whole series of small scale ones:

1. The Vorticists at the Tate Britain - think short lived blighty version of Futurism. They had a manifesto that included the assertion that "the English character is based on the sea" -  liked that bit.

2. Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril, beyond the Moulin Rouge, at the Courtauld. Just a couple of rooms but interesting and its in a lovely building:

3. Falling up, the Gravity of Art, also at the Coutauld which basically a few pics plus just the installation below:

4. Quick look at the Courtauld's main works as they have some top-notch Degas, Seurat, Cezanne, Gaugain, Renoir, Modigliani, Manet, Picasso etc and Van Gogh's self portait after he chopped off his own ear.

Then it was time for lunch, and luckily the nearby Covent Garden had a food fair so was spoilt for choice and in the end had one of those proper burgers (with rocket, mustard, gherkin etc) then cup tea and chocolate something in Pret a Manager to give strength for the tube plus long walk in the pouring rain to......

5. Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. This year its a very sombre black affair with at its centre a secret garden full of scented plants:

6. Serpentine Gallery's installation by Michalangelo Pistaletto. This was disappointing for two reasons: firstly they didn't let you take pics with your phone (how 20th Century) and also was basically coils of corrugated cardboard with the odd mirror. No pictures for obvious reasons.

Then it was a bit of dash back to Shaftesbury Avenue to see the latest from Studio Ghibli, the pastoral Arrietty, which was simply gorgeous! Wonderful art work, leisurely pace (no explosions here thank you very much) and moving central relationship. If you know the Borrowers books then you know what happens, but here with Japanese green tea of course.

And with that it was back to JP HQ.

Not a bad day......


AnnL said...

I was supposed to get to the Vorticists today but felt a bit grotty after trying out the bus from Oxford to London. Funny if we had met there. And my evening was Don Giovanni at the Soho Theatre but similar sort of day in plan if not in execution. Thanks for the write-up and the encouragement to see Arrietty. Really want to and did love The Borrowers...

JP said...

That would have been one those "small world" weird in a good way moments.

Yup, Arrietty is a lovely film (must go and correct the single t in the title asap)

How was the Don Giovanni?