© Steve Sampson
The peacock has always been a powerful symbol of both the sacred (India’s national bird, it inspired the famous Peacock Throne) and the profane (some cultures think its feathers sport the “evil eye”). The Cult of Beauty, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s homage to the 19th century’s Aesthetic Movement is a decorative comeback for the bird.
But where, besides the blockbuster show, can London’...
A tall older man (I will learn he is 93) walks toward a seat in this London auditorium. About to see, like all of us, a film about the exiled Free French in the London of World War II. Is he perhaps one of those who appears in the documentary, telling us how that small band found life in those darkest days?
After all, tonight’s screening is a big deal. Seventy years ago this week, Géneral de Gaulle broadcast l’A...
© C. Rose
One wonders if memory has a colour. When we consider our work, for instance, do we sometimes do so in monochrome? Or is the past just perhaps a slightly faded part of our spectrum? Held in an 18th century residence on the Mile End Road, the installation Romilly’s Tools suggests many questions of tone.
Romilly’s Tools is both an artist’s book and an exhibition of photographs. In both, elegant black-and-white...
© Eley Kishimoto
The archive of husband-and-wife design team Eley Kishimoto is, to put it mildly, extensive. For two decades, Mark Eley (from Brignend, Wales) and Wakako Kishimoto (from Sapporo, Japan) have launched an ocean of pattern from their south London headquarters. Whether designing women’s fashion, wallpaper or crockery, these days their name is synonymous with masterful surface design.
Paris, London and Tokyo are home to thei...
© A. Sheppard
Perfume history might seem a natural choice for Harrods, with its acres of cosmetics. But the store’s transition from retail monument to upscale tourist trap makes it hard to imagine they could be showing anything special. Apart, that is, from that incomparable statue in wax of Mohammed Al-Fayed or – even more mind-boggling – its Dodi-and-Di memorial. (Inspiration: Hyde Park’s Peter Pan statue. Execution: a drea...
© S. Sampson
Are his works art brut or just sophisticated street games? Whichever, the mutant mosaics placed all over Paris by artist Invader ( a.k.a. Space invader ) are ultra-familiar.
Witty deformations of characters from the 1978 video game, all boast big eyes, funky crab-like feet and benign demeanor. Part of an ‘invasion’ begun in 1998, these site-specific pieces now cover the city. To Parisians, they are as much a land...
© S. Sampson
Since the days of Louis Quatorze, Parisians have prized the awe-inspiringly large. But they remain equally proud of their modern and cosmopolitan character. Fitting, then, that two equally epic installations should each offer their own version of ambitious modern grandeur. Both are fantastic, dreamlike spaces – and each was created to order.
Officially the sculptor Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan is an artwork, while archit...
© G. Panter
Introduction by Cynthia Rose So influential is artist Gary Panter that for the rare show of his work at Gallery Martel, fans have come from Berlin, Japan, Italy and London. His brilliantly hued paintings run end-to-end down the walls of the space – interrupted only by the frenzied lines of his drawings.
Gallery staff are delighted. “There are artists all over France who have been waiting years for this! Our vernissag...
© Musée du quai Branly
Today items such as the burqa have become political tools. Yet, at the Musée de Quai Branly, a former couturier and a curator have framed a look back into the world they first inhabited. The portrait that emerges from L’Orient des Femmes vu par Christian Lacroix is a special one. This is because the world it reveals is so firmly female.
Conceived by the Lebanese-born expert Hada Al-Banna-Chidiac and lavishly staged by...
© J.P. Poulet
The Paris sales take place twice a year, for five weeks, in both July and January. Since 1906, their actual dates have been set by the government. As with la rentrée (the re-entry from summer vacation) or the baccalauréat exams in June, les soldes function as a moment of national re-examination.
The sales are from being considered an aberration. That place is reserved for London’s after-Christmas frenzy, always a feature...