Art: Shape Shifters

Hi Everyone,

How are you all doing? I have had a rough start to the week, unfortunately, I was down with a cough which then developed further to a very sniffly cold. On cue – the world’s smallest violin plays hehe! However, it did not stop me doing something to lift my spirits last weekend. Nothing is better than a bit of contemporary art!

The Hayward Gallery is one of my favourite art galleries in London and, so far, I love the exhibitions they have held. My previous visit was to see Lee Bul and this time it was to see their latest exhibition Shape Shifters – which is a major group show bringing together sculptures and installations that explore perception and space. It is available until the 6 January 2019 and I highly recommend a visit if you are in London. I thought it was one of the best exhibitions I have been to this year (possibly better than Lee Bul). Thus, scores 5 out of 5 pineapples!

The website has a very in-depth guide to a few of the key pieces, so in case you won’t be able to make it physically, hopefully, this post and the website would give you a good idea of what was there 🙂

The Favourite

WeltenLinie (2017) by Alicja Kwade

My personal favourite was the sculpture WeltenLinie (2017) by Alicja Kwade. I love art that is interactive and given that the whole premise of the exhibition was to explore space in a different way, this piece did just that! I was very confused with my surroundings when walking around the various mirrors and frames. It made the viewer engage with the sculpture (no touching, of course) and invites you to wander around in order to get a different perspective. True masterpiece.

“Using double-sided mirrors and carefully placed, paired objects, the artist achieves the illusion of sudden and surprising material transformations”

The Famous

20:50 (1987) by Richard Wilson

Probably one of the most famous piece in the exhibition was the installation 20:50 (1987) by Richard Wilson. I had the pleasure of seeing this piece of work about a decade ago whilst on a school trip and the memory was just as vivid as I saw it again. You will smell the artwork before you see it as his installation uses engine oil to create an “infinite” black surface. This acts as a giant mirror and whilst walking down the narrow pathway to the middle of the piece, it completely distorted my senses. You feel submerged as if the sound has also been swallowed into the oil and you are all alone. Truely an experience!

“The surface of the dark, dense substance mirrors the space above it and creates for the viewer the vertiginous impression of being suspended within a curiously doubled and seemingly infinite environment.”

Tip: The installation is right at the end of the exhibition on the top floor of the gallery. I recommend once you enter the start of the exhibition to take the stairs on the right and climb all the way up to the top of the stairs. This will lead you directly to the queue for Richard Wilson’s piece.

It is (understandably) popular and the website states a wait can be up to 1.5hrs long at peak times. Even when I arrived at 11am on a Sunday morning (first slot of the day), the queue was already a 20-minute wait; so I recommend getting there early!

The others

Notable other pieces include:

Have you had a chance to visit? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

 

Art: Oceania

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great weekend. I finally have visited an exhibition in London, I believe it has been several months since I visited a museum – so glad that I am back on it 🙂 Going to museums and galleries is my favourite activity, I find it therapeutic yet stimulating. This is one of my key recovery tasks. My boyfriend has always encouraged me to do what I love and always challenges whether I have thought about “life management” properly; do read his blog more on this concept.

People have often called me a sponge (or a nerd) because I just love soaking up new facts and learning about things. It often doesn’t matter on the subject matter either. I have started to recognise that this is one my core passions/values and will be a key focus in 2019.  I will touch upon this in a future post as I have been doing a lot to try and understand my “why“.

Image result for map of oceania

http://www.freeworldmaps.net/oceania/

Oceania

I asked some of my followers on Instagram which exhibition I should visit next for the blog and Oceania proved to be a favourite. Unfortunately, the 10 December (today) is the last day at the Royal Academy of Arts. However, I thought I would share with you some photos that I took from the exhibition and what I saw you are able to enjoy it through my eyes. The exhibition trailer is also awesome so do check it out because it showcases a few key pieces.

It was a truly amazing exhibition because I realised that I had no previous knowledge of Oceania history, culture, and art. I would give it 4.5/5 pineapples. It was a great introduction to the variety of rich and diverse cultures in that region. The exhibition has now encouraged me to read more on this part of the world. If anyone can recommend a good book, I would be grateful as my 1-minute search didn’t really come up with much.  I bought the Oceania book from the RA as it seems to be a good starting point. For those who also want to have a look, RA is currently having a sale on the book and the paperback version is only £13. [Not an ad – just really loved the exhibition]. I am also considering whether I should do a course on Anthropology because of it! What do you think?

The Economist’s 1843 magazine also wrote an in-depth review of the exhibition with greater detail on the artists and history, which is a great short read.

Hope you enjoy the photos! Did any of you manage to check it out?

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Art: The EY Exhibition – Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy

Hi Everyone 🙂

I hope you are all having a great week so far! As promised, the latest update on the Pineapple Chicken Blog is the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern. I believe that this has hit London by storm. I wanted to see it the first week it opened but did not manage to get any decent times to visit, so I decided to go at the earliest entrance at 10am on a Sunday morning – as you do 🙂

I love perusing museums and art galleries in peace, so I would go the extra mile to ensure that I go at a relatively quiet time, i.e. anything before 12pm on a weekend. However, there was already a queue to enter and this happened in space of the gates opening to the Tate and me travelling up the escalators!

At the entrance there is a chance to buy an audio guide. I rarely use them but for some reason I decided to spend £4 on the “not so trendy” devices. But alas, IT WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER! I noticed throughout the exhibition there was little to no description for each of the paintings. Most just gave the name of the painting or sculpture. Note, you will be handed a little booklet upon entering the exhibition. A tip for all those who visit, you do not need to read what is on the wall in each of the rooms as it is copied verbatim in your booklet. Spend more time admiring the art! :). The audio guide provided insight into how each painting was produced as well as the economy and society at the time. Honestly, £4 really well spent!!

The exhibition was curated to show most of the artwork produced by Picasso in the year of 1932. It is debated how the artist dated each of his works, so I would argue that 1932 is loosely used subject title. However, this was a period of intense creativity for Picasso and he was clearly a prolific painter. The exhibition had a vast array of paintings shown in the same space for the first time. Indeed, many of the paintings are in private collections. It was exciting to see some of his most infamous paintings in the flesh, such as the “The Dream”. During this time, he used his secret mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, as the focus of many of his paintings. They were intense and loving studies, and I am grateful for the curators Achim Borchardt-Hume and Nancy Ireson for bringing this to London.

Personally, I am a big fan of Picasso, whereas, I have known others who don’t really like his work. The exhibition provided further evidence of Picasso’s phenomenal creativity and his broad spectrum of styles from classicists to cubism is draw dropping. I think you can tell from my glowing review, the exhibition earns, of course, 5/5 pineapples!

I am not sure where I will be off to this weekend as I will be celebrating my anniversary with my other half (not married but we like to celebrate little milestones). However, the weekend after I will be off to Cancun, Mexico! SO EXCITED! Really looking forward to sharing more photos and things to do then! Remember, I love comments, so feel free to like or comment below!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Tickets will be available until 9th September and priced at £22 for adults or half price with the Art Fund card.  

Art: Jasper Johns

Hi Everyone!

I had recently visited the latest Royal Academy of Arts exhibition: Jasper Johns “Something Resembling Truth”. It is currently still on and will be available until the 10th December. An adult ticket is £17 without donation but the ticket price does include audio guides for those are so inclined to use them!

I have not actually heard of this artist before until a friend mentioned that he was going to have a look. As always, I would jump on any opportunity to expand my knowledge of art and culture. When I googled, and saw the iconic paintings the US flags, I realised who I was going to see! Having said that, because of my lack of knowledge of this artist, I wasn’t very sure what I was in for!

This is the first comprehensive survey of the work in the UK and it was an extremely large exhibition. I personally thought it was beautifully curated and the artwork was chronologically ordered. Each room you walked through was of a different decade. Obviously, to be difficult, I started with his latest work from the early 2000s and then making my way backward in time to the 1960s. I am glad that I did because I think it provided a different perspective on how his work developed. It was notable, how it became more vibrant and sophisticated over time, though admittedly more and more abstract.

There are some obvious reoccurring themes throughout his works, but my favourite pieces were definitely the recent paintings, which seemed to have a more Picasso feel; or the really early works with different materials, such as the Painted Bronze (ale cans) and The Critic Sees (1961).

Overall, it was a very well curated exhibition with a lot to see. For someone like me who was unfamiliar with his work, it was an eye-opener. However, personally, I am not a massive fan of his work and often found it difficult to emotionally engage with his art. Though, if you are a fan of his artwork, this is not an event to miss! As a result, I would give the exhibition 3.5 pineapples out of 5.

I would love to know your thoughts of this artist and whether you have had a chance to go and see the exhibition! Please leave your comments below 🙂

As always, with sweet & sour love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Art: Tate Modern

Hi Everyone! Hope you are having a great start to your week and welcome to another instalment of my adventures. This weekend I went to the Tate Modern to explore their Soul of Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power Exhibition which is open until 22nd October 2017.

Tate Modern

I personally love the Tate Modern, it is this beautifully vast open space dedicated to art. Though it can feel empty at times, it does add to the atmosphere of the place. Architecturally, it is also fascinating too with its mix of old and new, curves and straight lines.

The best way to travel to the Tate is from St. Paul’s Station (Central Line) and walk the Millennium Bridge over the Thames. It is roughly a 10-minute walk, depending on your leisurely speed and you have this wonderful view 360 degree view of London from the bridge. On one side, Tower Bridge, the Globe and the Shard, behind you is St. Paul’s Cathedral and in front of you is Tate Modern. Perfect post card shot, for sure!

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 

I have heard wonderful things about this exhibition and booked my tickets for last weekend, several weeks in advance just in case it is sold out. Tickets cost £15 for an adult or it is 50% off with the Art Pass. I arrived at 2:30 pm on a Saturday and it was crammed. I recommend choosing either earlier or later in the day when the crowds subside.

The exhibition explores the works of Black artists in America from the Civil Rights movement in 1963 to 1983. There are twelve rooms and it covered a whole range different art movements/expressions of the time; from art published in Black Panther magazines, to photography of daily life and to very abstract art work. You will be getting your money’s worth!

Personal Favourites

Though I had studied the Civil Rights movement back in school for GCSE History, we did not even mention art of that time and the struggles that Black artists faced. The exhibition brings to life how art developed within these two decades.  Some pieces are extremely emotive and one can’t help to appreciate the struggles of the artists to share their story with the world. Overall, it was a humbling experience and I felt the exhibition gave an insight to a unknown artists (well, at least to myself).

To give you a flavour of the exhibit, I have selected one art piece in each of the 12 rooms. Many of which were my personal favourites. If you visit, do leave a comment below to tell me what you loved and whether you agree with me!

  • Room 1 (Spiral): Norman Lewis – America the Beautiful (1960). This is an example of semi-abstraction. It is hauntingly beautiful as the white triangles, upon closer inspection, you realise are the cloaked figures of the Ku Klux Klan
  • Room 2 (Art on the Streets): I didn’t have a favourite in this room, but this room showcased the art work from Emory Douglas and artwork that was included in Black Panther magazines.
  • Room 3 (Figuring Black Power): Faith Ringgold – American People Series #20: Die (1967). This is the most striking piece in the room. It takes a while to take the whole all of it in, where there is a mix of black and blond characters with their eyes wide and staring at you. One of the most memorable pieces in the whole of the exhibition.
  • Room 4 (Los Angeles Assemblage): This is probably my least favourite room in the whole exhibition. I struggled to connect with the artwork in this room. Though, do spend time looking at Melvin Edwards‘ work labelled Lynch Fragments made from welded steel.
  • Room 5 (Africobra in Chicago): This is the most colourful room and the vibrancy of the artwork shows how this movement moved away from the red (blood) and the monochrome artwork in the earlier years and concentrated more on aesthetics. There were many pieces I loved, but one being by Jeff Donaldson Wives of Sango (1970).
  • Room 6 (Three Graphic Artists): This room is in stark contrast with the colours of Room 5. Though, the piece that would draw your attention in this room would be David Hammons, Injustice Case (1970), which is a portrait of the trial of Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale. It is really heart wrenching to see and the US flag border just makes it all that more shocking.
  • Room 7 (East Coast Abstraction): I am not a big lover of contemporary abstract art, but I really enjoyed the artwork in this room. I loved the different shapes and colours. Most were extremely large pieces, though the one that caught my attention is Jack Whitten’s Homage to Malcolm (1970), probably because it is shaped as a triangle and though it is mainly dark and black, various colours came through as you look at the piece in different angles.
  • Room 8 (Black Light): As a budding photographer, this room was my favourite. It portrayed life in the US during those two decades and really gave an insight of life at the time.  I spent most of my time admiring the beautiful monochrome photo and portraits prints. Favourite of mine is Beuford Smith – Woman Bathing/Madonna, New York (1967)
  • Room 9 (Black Heros): This is probably the most iconic room because of Barkley L. Hendricks Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved any Black People – Bobby Seale) (1969), which is featured as the piece to showcase the exhibition. However, my favourite piece was painted by him as well, Brilliantly Endowed (1977), a very tongue in cheek self-portrait.
  • Room 10 (Improvisation and Experimentation): This room contrasts from the rest of the exhibition. However, I found myself disconnecting with the artwork because it was very abstract and I failed to grasp the message. This is probably due to my untrained eye, though I was drawn to Joe Overstreet’s We came from there to get here (1970). The piece was created by different coloured canvases strung up together, which is supposed to recall the history of lynching.
  • Room 11 (Betyse Saar): I will be honest, I did not spend too much time in this room. The pieces were rather disconcerting, but one of the pieces I was drawn to was by Senga Nengudi Internal II (1977, 2015). It was eye catching and explored the role of women, particularly black women – an interesting piece.
  • Room 12 (Just above Midtown): The photos on the right hand side of the wall dominates this room, but again my favourite piece is from Senga Nengudi RSVP XI (1977, 2004).

Overall, I loved this exhibition and has made me want to explore more art and photography from black artists that was shown. I guess that is a great outcome from any exhibition. It was an educational day out and I had a wonderful time, therefore, the Tate Modern gets a snazzy 4 out of 5 pineapples. If you do get a chance to go, I would love to hear what you thought about the exhibition! Leave your comments below or on my Instagram!

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

 

 

 

Culture: Imperial War Museum

Hi Everyone! Welcome to another instalment to the Pineapple Chicken Blog. I hope all my readers in the UK enjoyed a great bank holiday weekend! I had a few adventures so I am going to split up the days into several posts so I do not inundate you with too much information :)!

Imperial War Museum

First stop was the Imperial War Museum (“IMW”), the closest station being Lambeth North on the Bakerloo Line. I went to museum specifically to see the People Power: Fighting for Peace which has unfortunately closed on the 28th August. However, I thought that I would share with you what I saw and encourage you to visit the museum for all the other exhibitions.

I had never been to the museum before (despite living in London for 28 years) and was thoroughly impressed. It is housed in a beautiful building and it is amazing that it is possible to fit in a relatively small space! You walk through a beautiful park to reach the entrance where you come face to face with these two massive naval guns and ammunition shells (see photos above). If you keep walking around, you will also spot a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Once you enter the museum (please note they do bag checks), I was blown away by the sight in front of me. There were fighter jets, spitfires and other planes artistically displayed, dangling from the ceiling! The IWM is also not as crowded as other London museums making it a much more tranquil experience. You can wander the floors in your own pace and reflect in peace.

All temporary exhibitions are located on the 3rd floor, so my sister and I took the lift straight up to for People Power: Fighting for Peace. Unlike other museums, the ticket did not require us to enter at a specific time slot. The ticket was just valid from 10am (when the museum opens) and we were allowed multiple entries into the exhibition, which I must admit is the first time I have seen! (It is a very nice change!)

The exhibition explored how different peace movements influenced the perceptions of war. The main historical periods covered started with the First World War, moving to Second World War, to the Cold War and present day. It told the stories of individuals who stood up to conscription (conscientious objectors), who organised marches, and even one man’s decade long fight for peace (Brian Haw). It was a real eye opener for me because it is not an area that I had ever explored and thought much about. However, it is very relevant to all the threats that we face today, especially with the current tensions between American and North Korea.

Through all the paintings, letters, banners and even music, it gave an insight into the struggles of the anti-war protesters and gave reflection on what it must have felt like being a pacifist during a particular period. One particularly letter that stood out, was when a friend during the First World War wrote to a conscientious objector and called him a “livered cur”! Personally, I thought it was a humbling experience and wished that I went to see to the exhibition earlier to encourage you all to visit!

During my visit at the IWM, I also took an opportunity to visit a free exhibition. Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria. It is the first UK exhibition from the photographer. I highly recommend a walkthrough, especially if you love photography. The exhibition, however, is not for the faint-hearted, though the photos are not graphic (i.e. gore-y) it was heart wrenching for me to see the suffering of other individuals. There are two parts to the exhibition. First is “Assad’s Syria” which gave insight into how people lived in government controlled areas of Syria. Second, “The Exodus” covered the stories of families and individuals who sought asylum in Europe. This really hit close to home and was very humbling.

In my opinion, the IWM is a gem and often overlooked when people visit London or even living in London. I encourage everyone to stop by if they have a chance to wander through the free exhibits, if not, the temporary exhibitions. The IWM gets a well-deserved 4 starts from Pineapple Chicken!

There is also a new exhibition at the IWM, Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 which will be available until 28 May 2018. I hope to be able to go back again really soon to cover the Age of Terror and wander through the other floors.

Next up on the blog will cover my second day of the bank holiday – Richmond Park and some food reviews! Can’t wait to share with you all!

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Tickets to the exhibition cost me £5 with the Art Pass

 

Science: Whale Exhibition at the Natural History Museum

Hi Everyone! Welcome to another fun filled adventure on the Pineapple Chicken Blog. This post is especially close to my heart as it covered all my shenanigans my 28th birthday. As per tradition, I do not work on my birthday and took the day off. Luckily, my sister was also able to join me in my wanderings.

Palm Vaults, Hackney

First stop, I visited the most instagrammable cafe in London. I would honestly say that it was love at first sight! Pink and with hanging plants in pots, just my idea of heaven. The staff are super friendly and given that I was there around 12pm on a Tuesday the atmosphere was chilled. A great way to start the day.

They are famous for their smoothie bowls, so I ordered the mango smoothie bowl with blue algae. It was surprisingly not too sweet and refreshingly cold. If only the London weather was warmer! My sister ordered their banana cake topped with coffee mascarpone and cocoa nibs. Though sweet, the texture of the cake was dense and moist.

Accompanying my smoothie, I ordered the “layered matcha” drink. I had no idea what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it. My sister gave a scrunched-up face of dislike. It came iced and when mixed together became this rather unappetising grey/purple colour, (I am really not selling it!) but tastes of a refreshing matcha latte. I loved it and I would recommend it as a good alternative to coffee. My sister ordered an iced latte – good coffee, no complaints.

Though, Palm Vaults was out of the way for me, I really loved it there and it gets a smashing 4/5 pineapples from me. For the first time, I believed in the hype, so much so that my sister bought the t-shirt!

Temple of Hackney (Seitan), Hackney

Whilst I was already in the area, I thought I would go to the Temple of Hackney to try their vegan fried chicken. Yes, VEGAN! When I mentioned this to my colleagues the next day, everyone just gave me a “Gross”/”Yuck” comment, but that is because they are all meat eaters (haters!). I, on the other hand, am grateful that there is a restaurant out there trying to accommodate vegetarians and vegans need for fried chicken tasting things!

When we walked over from Palm Vaults (10 minutes), there was a queue outside of shop. The few seats out in the front were also filled with patrons. Clearly, there is a very loyal following. I spent a lot of time looking the menu. It was diverse, ranging from burgers to wraps to just the meat itself. They have chicken wings and pops with a variety of sides. This is definitely an attempt to being the real deal and not your average Chicken Cottage!

I decided to go for the 2-piece meal (fries and a drink) with a side of gravy as this is what I would have normally ordered when I was a meat eater. I was excited and anxious to see how seitan would taste as a meat alternative. For those who are unaware of seitan, it is made from wheat and has been used in many Asian dishes as a mock meat. I have had it in very traditional forms of cooking in Hong Kong temples but this is the first time I have had in a fast food context. It has been nearly a year since I have had fried chicken, so you can imagine how I was feeling (wiping the drools)!

I was disappointed with the food – I am sure I am upsetting many loyal patrons, so I would like to apologise in advance. Firstly, the gravy – do not order it. It was extremely watery and tasted like salty water. Considering I had paid £1 for a very tiny pot, it was not a good start. The size of the chicken pieces was large so you are getting your money’s worth. The batter was crispy but lacked texture – it was just a thin covering and the seitan, though flavoured was just a poor substitute. It is extremely dense and after a few bites, I gave up because I ended up chewing for too long. The fries were good, but I don’t think I need to go to a vegan fried chicken place for good chips.

I am glad that I tried because I have wanted to for a long time. However, I left disappointed and will not be going back any time soon, therefore, it only gets 1 pineapple out of 5 from me. (I apologise that I don’t have any photos of the food, I forgot to save the photo from instastory – FAIL)

Whales: Beneath the Waves – Natural History Museum

The grand finale of the day is visiting the Natural History Museum for their new whale exhibition to celebrate the new Blue Whale display (who has replaced our beloved Dippy the Dinosaur). The Natural History Museum is my favourite place in the whole of London, I have joined as a member and loved the fact that I can go to certain exhibitions for free and skip the long queues to get in! Personally, I think it is worth every penny and it is supporting an institution that pioneers in research, education and conservation (all my favourite things!).

I have seen part of the Whales: Beneath the Waves exhibition when I attended the launch party of the new Blue Whale display in the Hintze Hall (see some photos on my instagram) but didn’t have a chance to go all the way round. This time, dragging my sister along, I was looking forward to the rest of the exhibition. Though it was not as large as I hoped it to be, it was very informative. It is suitable for all ages filled with interactive activities and videos – it wasn’t just a bunch of skeletons and some letters on a wall.

The most memorable feature was the display showing the gestation stages of a whale. It was so bizarre and I was convinced that it was fake until my sister assured me that it was the real deal! They were perfectly formed but could fit onto a size of an A4 piece of paper. Mind-blown! Another impressive feature was the skeleton of the Thames Whale that sadly died in 2006.

I really enjoyed myself and I think the Natural History Museum did a great job of using other media to bring whales to life. It gets a solid 4 out of 5 pineapples. I left with a big smile on my face and an AWESOME retro baseball styled tee with a whale on it!

The exhibition is available until the 28th February 2018 and an adult ticket costs £11.50 online.

Until next time…

I am just organising all my photos but I hope to post about my day trip to Paris (and the shopping I did!). I have some exciting adventures this bank holiday weekend! AHHHH can’t wait to share that with you all as well. I hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

  1. Do comment below if you think that there is anything I should visit or you would like me to review! (: