Art: Christian Dior – Designer of Dreams

Dior

Dior. For many women, the four-letter word exudes iconic, feminine, aspirational – the list can go on. It is easy to understand when the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (“V&A”) announced their upcoming Christian Dior – Designer of Dreams exhibition there was much furore; so much so that the exhibition had to be extended to 1 September 2019, and even then, the tickets are all sold out

So far, there has been a mixed reception with some critics noting “style over substance” highlighting the display failed to set the scene and did not match the history of Dior with the social economic climate of the times. Others, have showered it with praise and described it as a wonderful show of Monsieur Dior’s fairytale; some even go as far to describe it as “the greatest fashion show the V&A has ever staged”.

Given the difficulty in obtaining the tickets to the exhibition, expectations were high. Located in the newly built and cavernous Sainsbury’s Gallery, with structural curves to die for. The new space was a welcomed changed to previous fashion exhibitions, such as Balencigia and Fashioned from Nature, where they were located in a dark corner of the museum.

The start of the exhibition centres around the iconic New Look with the Bar Suit. A white boxy suit jacket with an impossibly cinched (pretty sure it was the width of my one thigh!) and the voluminous skirts, which was a dramatic departure from the fabric rationing during the war period. The exhibition vaguely moves from the history of Dior fashion house starting with 1946 at Avenue Montaigne and ending with the final runway piece of 2019 by the inspirational Maria Grazia Chiuri. Personally, she is my favourite creative director in the history Dior, with her debut giving tribute to the iconic Dior “New Look”. Noting sadly that my body shape would ever fit into the ultra nipped waists of the look, one can still dream of the whimsical skirts of tulle.

As you walk through the exhibition navigating between dimly lit rooms to the beautifully decorated, such as the “flower” room by the design studio Wanda Barcelona and the finale Ball Room, one can’t help to be mesmerised. However, it was difficult to follow the theme throughout as each room seemed independent and did not flow onto the next. Each room was aesthetically pleasing and each garment beautifully displayed but it failed to share much detail on the pieces. The overall experience felt like an extravagant fashion show with mannequins, where guests had to walk around and fight for a closer view. Ultimately, the exhibition failed to tell a story.

Despite this, undoubtedly, there were elements of the show which made the visit worthwhile. It was an opportunity to see these beautiful garments up close and admire the details, where one would not have had a chance otherwise. The innovative styles, the intricate stitching and the structure of garments honour not only the designers but the ateliers who turned sketches to exquisite and alluring pieces of art. For those who have tickets to the exhibition, you have plenty to look forward to and it is worth the wait!

The Pineapple Chicken gives the exhibition a 4 out of 5 pineapples. Have any of you been yet? What were your favourite pieces? As always, I would love to hear from you!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

P.S The Little Big Movement is now back online! Check him out here!

Art: Don McCullin

Hi Everyone!

https://www.christies.com/features/Don-McCullin-6777-1.aspx

How has your week been so far? Work has been slow for me and the weather has been pretty miserable in London, but I am grateful for some downtime. Moreover, I have something really exciting to look forward to this weekend! This probably also explains why I have mentally checked out at work. My university friend is getting married in Chamonix, France, so I am going to go snowboarding for the first time (last time was about 10 years ago so I will consider myself as a beginner again!) and see some friends that I have not caught up with since I graduated!

Last Sunday, I went to the latest exhibition at Tate Britain – Don McCullin, it will be available until 6th May 2019, for those with an Art Pass, it only costs £9 or £18 for a normal adult ticketI love the Tate group and I think Tate Britain is one of the most beautiful art galleries in London. I highly recommend wandering around the free exhibits if you ever have the time!

Don McCullin

I love photography exhibitions (see my previous post on Diane Arbus) and as I am still working on my own photography, I was excited about this specific exhibition. I did not know much about Don McCullin, so I thought it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about him and see whether his photos would inspire different techniques of my own.

For the past 50 years, he has travelled the world capturing the horrors of wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. During this period, he was shot and hit by a bomb in Cambodia; an individual was standing in front of him and took a majority of the shrapnel, unfortunately, the Cambodian male died shortly after. He has been imprisoned, expelled from a country and even had a bounty on his head. I am completely in awe of him – he had the courage and bravery to go where other photographers didn’t and, most importantly, he ensured that every photo he took was with compassion and respect.

He does not want to be known as a “war photographer” – just a photographer. Personally, I think he is much more than this; it really is no surprise that he is so critically acclaimed. He is described as a “legendary” photojournalist or “one of our greatest living photographers. I do not think my words in my post today will do justice in trying to explain how his photos made me feel – “impactful” had been used to describe his photography but I think this is woefully inadequate.  

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”

Exhibition

The exhibition spans from his first photos that were printed in 1959 that captured the gangs (The Guv’nors) in North London, to most recently, the war in Syria. It is split out into 23 sections and I was very surprised how large the exhibition was, as it highlights McCullin’s extensive experience in capturing key moments in our modern history, in addition to, his more artistic photos of still life and landscapes.

When coming up to the exhibition entrance, note the disclaimer on the side. There are photos of deceased people and extreme starvation. I didn’t pay it too much attention and I thought that I was a tough cookie and could view the exhibition without too many issues. How very wrong I was! I was shocked myself that I could even give an outward display of emotion. Therefore, this is a warning to my readers: the exhibition is not for the faint-hearted, (this is also why I have not shared my favourite photos in the blog) be prepared to be moved to tears, particularly his work on the Biafra war.  My tears reflected McCullin’s astonishing skill as a photographer; he was able to capture emotions or “the moment” that seems to be unparalleled by others. My personal favourites were his portraitures where I found myself captivated by the individual and wanting to know and understand the story behind the photograph. Though the topics were heart-wrenching, McCullin did everything to capture the truth and let the photographs tell the story.

“Photography has given me a life… The very least I could do was try and articulate these stories with as much compassion and clarity as they deserve, with as loud a voice as I could muster. Anything less would be mercenary.”

Given the topics that are covered, it was obviously not an uplifting exhibition, but very much an important one. It was a stark reminder of how terrible we, as humans, can be to each other and it is a topic that we cannot, and should not, shy away from. It is photographers like him that tell the unheard story and forces us to face reality, take action, and learn from the past. One of the best quotes I have heard from a speech summarises this perfectly:

“We seem to be able to all agree on the future, but we always argue about the past” – Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres.

I think that McCullin does just that. His photography is sensitive and poignant. I will revisit this exhibition before it closes in May. I managed to walk through the exhibition in an hour, but it was slightly rushed because I was meeting a friend after. There is a “slide show” nearer the end of the exhibition showing the photography that has been in The Observer and other newspaper outlets, unfortunately, I didn’t manage to sit through that.  I think for the second time around I am going to leave more time so I can enjoy the photos for longer. This is why this exhibition gets 5 out of 5 pineapples.

Have any of you been to the exhibition or have heard of Don McCullin? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

P.S. for those who want to learn more, there are other great reviews of the exhibitions in the link below:

 

Culture: I am Ashurbanipal

Hi everyone!

How has your week been so far? I am not going to lie – I feel like January is starting to drag, however, I can’t believe that it is already near the end of the month and I have Chinese New Year to look forward to!  To keep my spirits high and trying not to let the cold winter days bring me down I have been keeping my eye out for exhibitions in London to share with you all.

Last Sunday, I went to the British Museum to visit “I am Ashurbanipal, king of the world, king of Assyria” exhibition. Though I have been fascinated by the history of Babylon and the Middle Eastern region during this time, I do not know very much about that period apart from the beautiful statues that I had previously seen in the British Museum and the Louvre. As you can imagine, I was super excited to learn a little bit more about the Assyrian empire. The current exhibition will be available until 24th February, so if you are in town and want to keep out the winter cold, I would highly recommend the exhibition.

King Ashurbanipal of Assyria (r. 669–c. 631 BC) was the most powerful man on earth. He described himself in inscriptions as ‘king of the world’, and his reign from the city of Nineveh (now in northern Iraq) marked the high point of the Assyrian empire, which stretched from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran. – British Museum

The Lions and the Library

When you first enter the exhibition, there is a wonderful ambience. I personally, think it is one of the most tastefully displayed exhibitions that I have been to in a long time. The room was relatively dark but key pieces were highlighted with spotlights. From the start, the impression I got about King Ashurbanipal was that he completely understood the concept of “personal brand”. The beautiful artwork carved in gypsum clearly advertises his bravery through the killing of lions – the greatest beast in the Assyrian empire. Not only did he consistently boast how brave he was but also liked to tell everyone how smart he was. During his reign, he made it a mission to learn from the scholars at the time.  There were great examples of their clay tablets and writings at the exhibition, including extracts of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Lights & Action

Assyrian artists seemed to have enjoyed depicting their success of wars through cruelty and brutality in extremely graphic detail! The museum made wonderful use of projectors, which I had never seen before. By projecting an outline on a different part of the panel, you were able to follow the intricate story; it really gave an insight into how stories were told to the masses during that time. With sound and lighting effects – it was just like a movie. I found it truly jaw-dropping; even if you might not be interested in the history, it is worth just to see the use of projectors!

I spent roughly two hours at the exhibition, and this was also not at my usual pace of reading every single thing possible. There was so much in the exhibition, unfortunately,  I did get fatigued with all the information and intricate objects that I found myself skipping certain items or sections because I just couldn’t absorb any more facts.

If I was to give feedback to the British Museum, they should have provided an option of an audio guide, so that it was easier to step back and observe an object and listen to commentary rather than rely on the information written on display. There was exclusive curators’ commentary available through Apple Music and Google Play. However, by the time I found out about it, I was already inside the exhibition with no reception so I couldn’t download the audio guide and I also didn’t have my headphones either…

Nonetheless, it was a great exhibition; so it gets a 4 out of 5 pineapples. Have any of you been? What were your thoughts? As always, I would love to read your comments and thoughts. Do share any interesting facts about the Assyrian empire with me; or if you have any questions on the exhibition, please comment below!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

P.S The Guardian does a great review of this exhibition as well if you want to learn more!.

 

 

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

Travel: Paris

Hey everyone,

How is it a going? I am doing something new today! Currently, I am blogging on my phone, my poor attempt at being mobile and agile. This is also to prove to myself that I have no excuse not to update my little blog!

Let’s see how this works out, happy for anyone to put on a bet on how many spelling and grammar mistakes I make 🙂

I had not been back to Paris since I was probably 12 years old. However, since the summer of 2017, I have returned 3 times in the space of a couple of months. I anticipate I will be visiting even more this year as one of my best friends has moved there to work but also I think I have genuinely fallen in love with the city. In all honesty, I recall not enjoying my experience when I was younger; apart from Disneyland Paris, of course. As a result, it has never made it back into the ‘Places I want to go list’. However, this has all changed. Maybe I have grown older and have the freedom to do what I want (likely) or I have become more sophisticated (very unlikely).

This time round I spent about 2.5 days in Paris and made it to a culture and shopping trip! Here are some top tips and places to visit:

  • The Louvre – you must be thinking, dude… Like everyone puts this on the list. Lame. However, I would also be stupid to not put it on here. It was amazing! I had not been back in roughly 15 years, so for me it was a brilliant experience. There was a massive queue to enter without prepaid tickets. However, it did move relatively quickly. Really worth the wait. Or you can be smart and just prebooked a ticket but for a premium if €2.50 (personally, worth it, just was disorganised). They currently have a massive exhibition on Delacroix, where infamous French Revolution painting is displayed. This is free of charge (after you pay admission), though you have to select it as an option. It is showing until July 23, so hurry!! Other recommendations include the relatively new Islamic Art space, Napoleon living quarters and the Apollo Gallery where the Crown jewels are held. Is it just me, but when diamonds are that big… They just look fake to me? So I wasn’t that impressed but the interior of the gallery is definitely not to be missed. Of course, I said hi to Mona but you have to battle against a sea of tourists to even catch a glimpse of her. I recommend just having a quick look and move on to the rest of the museum. I can go on and on, but as you can tell, it is a definite 5 out of 5 pineapples!
Apollo Gallery
  • Musee D’Orsay – I have never been before and I think it is wirth visiting if you are particularly interested in more modern art and the Impressionists movement. It is located in an old train station and the architecture alone is worth the visit. Definitely worth visiting the Van Gough gallery where his self portrait is located. Again just look for the sea of tourists. My favourite was on the top floor where through the clock face you can see the Sacre Cour across the river. It is a picture perfect moment that is worth the hard climb up the stairs… Or take the lift haha. I give the museum 4 out of 5 pineapples, just because I prefer the Louvre more and the layout is a bit odd.
Overlooking the platform
  • Shopping at La Marais is a must for all those fashionable and trendy and have a hefty wallet. I struggled because I couldn’t find things that were really within my price range but worth just wandering the little streets. You never know what treasure you might find. For that reason I give the area 3.5 pineapples.
  • Pink Mamma is probably one of the most hipster and beautiful restaurants in Paris. It had a cult like following on Instagram and there was a massive queye waiting for it to open at 6.45pm. We arrive at 6pm and there was a queue of 30 people in front of us (weekend). We were so chuffed when we got seated in their beautiful and infamous greenhouse on the roof! The restaurant specialises in beef, however, I don’t eat red meat so it is a shame I couldn’t give a review. Though I did note most people went for their pizza and pasta. I also recommend their homemade lemonade which includes yuzu and pineapples! It was a lovely dining experience and the service was very friendly. However, I was not blown away by the food. Go for great pictures but not great food. Overall, 3 out of 5 pineapples.
A portal to another world

That is all I have for this post but I am sure I will be back to Paris soon, so please do give me recommendations. Would love to try out new things!!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

An apology and revival!

To my dearest readers,

I cannot believe that it has been so long since my last post. I wish I could give an awesome excuse as to why I stopped writing – like trying to save the world and didn’t have enough time to go on the internet. However, as some of my followers on Instagram knows, this is an absolute lie.

Unfortunately, life happened and, very much so, a lack of self-discipline. One of my best friends moved away from London (due to the draconian immigration laws in the UK) so I spent most of it trying to share time with her (this is not an excuse btw). She was also my inspiration for my blog and re-introduced me to the world of art and culture through the Art Pass.

I had forgotten how much I loved all this stuff and how much London has to offer. The blog was to get me off my butt and do something different. Whilst my best friend is wandering the beautiful streets of Paris, I have been inspired to post on my blog again because I really love sharing my experiences with you all. If you can share a bit of love and beauty in this world – that can’t possibly be a bad thing.

Therefore, I would like to say SORRY to all my readers. I don’t think I should make any more promises, as I feel I will be lining myself for failure. Maybe we should all try and bet how long I can keep this up for! Do leave a comment below, I would love to see the range of guesses 🙂

Though I have not been blogging, it does not mean that I have not been keeping busy! Below is a quick round-up of all the exhibitions I have been to in 2018 and that is currently still open. Take a deep breath – this is going to be a whistle-stop tour!

  • Royal Academy of Arts (RA)
    • Charles I: King and Collector, available up to 15 April SO HURRY!!!!. 4/5 Pineapples. It is the first time since the 17th century that all these pieces have been reunited. It provided an extensive look into how art was shaped during the time of Charles I, and it is always great when there is a bloody history as part of the story.
  • Southbank Centre, Hayward Gallery
    • Andreas Gursky, available up to 22 April 2018 (SO HURRY). 4.5/5 Pineapples. Again, being a budding photographer, I always get excited about photography exhibitions. Gursky is famous for selling one of the most expensive photos in history. If you google it, it does not look like much … but the size of his works and the detail – truly phenomenal. It is also located in the spacious Southbank Centre, which is always worth visiting for its Brutalist architecture. This was one of my favourite exhibitions this year.
  • Natural History Museum (NHM)
    • Venom: Killer and cure, available up to 13 May 2018. 3.5/5 Pineapples. This was an interesting exhibition and the first time I have seen that there is a live animal on display. There are some really awesome animals in the collection and I always learn loads 🙂
    • Wildlife Photography of the Year, available up to 28 May 2018. 4.5/5 Pineapples. I love this exhibition and I go every year so this might be a biased review but this year there is a great portfolio of photos.
  • Barbican Centre 
    • Another kind of life:  Photography on the Margins, available up to 27 May. 5/5 Pineapples. This was one of the most humbling experiences. I went very early in the morning and it was so quiet and I think it resulted in a very different experience. The exhibition was just truly beautiful and curated very well. There are a variety of photographers on display, I probably should write a separate post on this for those who are interested. but ultimately, it was really worthwhile – a true eye-opener. This was also one of my favourite exhibitions this year.

You have done it, you have reached the end! Now you can breathe out 🙂

As you can see, it has been a busy first quarter of 2018 and I really looking forward to sharing it with you all. Next stop will be Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at Tate Modern.

Until then, with Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

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