THE COURTAULDIAN The paper of the Courtauld Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union
In this issue Note from the editor
Cover illustration by TENNESSEE WILLIAMS SU PRESIDENT
2016 is by all accounts, a year to remember. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, let me be the first to congratulate you on your hermit status, and consider me duly impressed at the reach of our circulation. Unfortunately, my dear hypothetical reader, your blissful ignorance is rather exceptional. The rest of you have been bombarded by Buses, televisions and hashtags, all a flurry with opinion pieces and analysis. The media storm has in no way abated since June, and we are confronted daily with the what ifs, if onlys, and should haves. Yet, here we are, with one more iteration of events. Discussion of Trump seem to permeate every aspect of our lives and now it seems, even your favourite newspaper. But as our issue, and recent discussions at the Courtauld have broached, there is no safe-haven in the arts. Whether it is the artwork itself, curatorship, or available funding, there is no escaping current affairs. Nor, if we’re honest, would we want to. The dire political situation was compounded with the news of AQA’s decision to discontinue its Art History A-level, a choice which has hit close to home for many. Though perhaps not sensational, this is undoubtedly of immense interest to our student body. Even if, like many of us, the A-Level wasn’t available as an option to you, it has prompted a vital discussion on the perception of History of Art. The accessibility of the subject, whether real or perceived, makes an enormous difference in the variety of backgrounds and experience of practitioners, and thus the academic scope of the discipline. In this context, being deemed ‘elitist’ by commentators should be a cause for reassessment and revaluation. I will admit, it is unlikely that you’ll be surprised by our responses to any of these issues. We’ve tried to present a variety of viewpoints but realistically, we’re limited to our student body. Unsurprisingly, the more jingoistic and divisive attitudes are uncommon in a London based arts Institute. To find someone willing to vocalise these opinions, what’s more set their name under it, is even rarer. For those with liberal leanings this might come as something of a relief. Yet, as such a small and specialised university, we face a very real danger of becoming an echo chamber of likeminded individuals. Debate can only strengthen our ideas and it is with this in mind that we’ve taken the opportunity to present you with ‘Courtauldian about Town’. Combined with Alumni contributors, we hope to show you as many opportunities in London as possible, each a new way to expand your horizons and meet people of different backgrounds. (Naturally, being a student newspaper, this includes how to do it on the cheap). So yes, for many 2016 will have been a calamity. We don’t know the repercussions of the decisions made, which yet may have unforeseen consequences. But, privileged as we are, perhaps we can take this opportunity to engage in a way we haven’t before. Use the disappointments of 2016 to galvanize ourselves and act. Decisions, political or otherwise, are not a one off. We make choices every day; to participate, to be involved, to speak up. So, roll on December, I’m hopeful, but you won’t find me crossing my fingers. We can turn our hands and our skills, to more productive pursuits.
Deputy Editor Harr-Joht Takhar
Head of Illustrations Anna Seibæk Torp-Pedersen
Editor in Chief Deputy Editor Design Head of Illustrations Art, Architecture & Design Editor Books Editor Stage & Screen Editor Music Editor Fashion Editor Debate Editor Sundries & Diversions Editor
Illustrations by Sabina Jardim, Brittany Richmond and Emily Knapp
The Courtauldian c/o The Students’ Union The Courtauld Institute of Art
Ellen Charlesworth Harr-Joht Takhar Julia Rudas Julia Craze Anna Sejbæk TorpPedersen Harriet Lovejoy Irene Machetti Tom Powell Amy Page Pascale De Graaf Biance Schor Caitriona Burke Barbora Kozusnikova Shayan Barjesteh Van Waalwijk Van Doorn Ryan Cigana
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The Courtauldian is the editorially independent student paper of the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the individual authors to whom they are attributed and do not necessarily reflect those of The Courtauldian, the Courtauld Institute of Art Students’ Union, or any of their staff or representatives. Every effort has been made to avoid inaccuracies, to reproduce content only as permitted by copyright law, and to appropriately and fully credit the copyright holder(s) of any content reproduced.
Feature IN THE LAND OF THE TURQUOISE DOMES
Dear Jonathan Jones Save Art History Stop All the Clocks
Trump responses Trump
Art, Architecture & Design
Politics over the Public Alumni Art Gallery as Non Judgmental South Africa, The Art of a Nation Review Interview at the Courtauld Gallery Feature Paul Nash Tate Britain Review Uzbekistan Feature Radical Eye Sound and Vision - Bowie Collectore at Sotheby’s Review Tower Bridge Exhibition Teamlab Feature
The Tidal Zone Display Case Eyes on the Prizes The Brevity of Memory The Nose
Feature INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA GERSTEIN, CURATOR OF ‘RODIN AND DANCE: THE ESSENCE OF MOVEMENT’ 17 Feature teamLab: The ‘ultratechnologists’ of Tokyo 15
Let’s Talk About Hair Taking on Tailoring The Vugar Review Undressed Exhibition Review
Stage & Screen
‘Taking Shape - Young Choreographers in Rehersal’ Celebrating Cultural Diversity at SOAS Alumni A Movie Glimpse from the Venice International Film Festival ‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’ Film Review ‘Revolution - New Art for the New World’ Film Review
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE PEOPLE’S PERCEPTIONS OF ART HISTORY AS AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE?
Sundries & Diversions
Current Affairs Save Art History By Nerissa Taysom, Alumni Contributer the architectural differences between Greek and Roman temples. To have even a superficial familiarity with the visual world, with history and its makers was deeply empowering. I filled pages and pages of notebooks with new terminology, quotes, references, books to read, places to visit.
The first time I understood Art History to be a subject, rather than something you did at the weekends with your parents, was at my sixth-form open day aged sixteen. I had chosen my other A-Level subjects, but chanced across a classroom at the end of the school filled with pictures of paintings and stacks of colourful books. I could recognise some of them – Rubens, Gainsborough, postcards of cathedrals, Mondrian. All the students were smiling and saying how much they had enjoyed their lessons. I crossed Italian off my course choices and signed up that evening. Art History was the first class of term at this new school. I remember distinctly that we were shown two images, one of the Red House – a significant building of the Arts & Crafts movement – and the other, Richard Hamilton’s collage, Just what was it that made yesterday’s homes so different. Our teacher didn’t give us their titles or dates or much information at all, but asked us to spend some time working out what we were looking at. This was my first experience of a formalist appreciation for visual culture and the start of shaping my language of how to look and talk about art. From this followed the happiest two years of my school life. Our brilliant teacher, passionate about his subject and eager that we knew far more than the exam board required us, introduced my class to concepts and movements, artists and critics, steadily shifting us into critically engaged, knowledgeable young people. Lessons were a mixture of debate, discussion, presentations and endless numbers of slides. By the second year I had read (some of ) Baudelaire, questioned how feminist readings might change Henry Moore sculpture and could tell you
To think that a school subject could be so enjoyable was a revelation to me. In my A-Level year I wrote an extended essay on Botticelli’s Primavera and humanism. My bedroom floor was briefly filled with excerpts of Petrarch, postcards of the Medici and a pack of tissues bought in Florence with the faces of The Three Graces. This was the first proper bit of independent research I had done and I loved it. I still keep a rather dog-eared copy of the Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism on my bookshelf.
Today I am a researcher for an artist. I’ve spent the last three years in archives and libraries, travelling across the UK and Europe to retrieve material that last year was turned into a bestselling book. I still use all the skills I was equipped with at A-Level – the ability to identify at a glance what medium or period a work is, to link visual material with other sources and to consider the meaning of objects in their widest cultural context. I was privileged to have a good university education and I’m privileged to have a job now that is hugely rewarding, but its no coincidence that my drive for this hard-won career started in the classroom over a decade ago. After hearing the news last month that the exam board AQA have decided to remove Art History from their syllabus by 2018, I decided to set up an online campaign to lobby against the decision. It has since gained over 18,000 signatures, receiving support from the Association of Art Historians and circulation amongst university departments and online by leading art historians. The personal responses have been overwhelming and moving; accounts of how studying Art History from a young age has transformed university choices and career prospects, deepened cultural engagement and fostered a respect for history and its craft.
And what I learnt in those classes fed into my other A-Level subjects. When studying Schoenberg and serialism in music, I could think of the disjointed nudes of Egon Schiele, the ‘angst-filled voids’ of blank paper against the anti-academism of twelvetone composition. I could understand the terror Milton writes of in Paradise Lost after looking at Masaccio’s fifteenth century fresco, the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The contorted bodies of Adam and Eve and their faces of anguish gave the I’ve waited until now to add my thoughts to the poetry context, a potency that sometimes only im- many articles and blogs being written about this ages can give. change to the curriculum. My voice is a small one amongst the many well-known artists and art histoAll this didn’t happen at an elite private school. rians who have already expressed their doubts and These classes that brought wonder and fascination dismay about the decision. But this petition and the to me took place in a Cambridge sixth-form, a state reactions it has generated has proved that Art Hisschool known for turning out brilliant students, yet tory is about humanity. And surely, whatever our one of fifteen to offer Art History at A-Level. At the background, we should encourage and embrace time I didn’t realise how fortunate I was to have this that. chance love affair with the subject. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-art-hisAfter being encouraged to apply for an Art History tory-as-an-a-level-subject degree, I spent the next few years expanding the core foundation of knowledge I had gained at A-Level, Nerissa Taysom studied Art History at the Univerfirst as an undergraduate and then as a postgraduate sity of Bristol and the Courtauld Institute, where in architectural history at the Courtauld Institute. she specialised in medieval architecture. She now After graduating, I briefly went back to my sixth- works for the artist and writer Edmund de Waal in form to teach AS and A-Level. Only a few years Research, Publications & Engagement. Also trained older than the students in front of me, I was amazed in classical music, she is passionate about bringing by their curiosity and their willingness to challenge art and music together, and has programmed sound and critique. I had four classes, each bursting with projects at the Royal Academy, Kings Place, Turner interested students and at least a third of these were Contemporary, Fitzwilliam Museum and the Courgoing on to study Art History at university. In this tauld Gallery. She is currently working on a book small corner of the country, Art History was, and about sound and space in the 15th century writings still is, very much alive. of Margery Kempe. ■
December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Current Affairs
Comic by Anna Seibaek TorpPedersen
Dear Jonathan Jones, After reading Jonathan Jones’ recent article about the A Level art history scrapping where he derided the whole discipline I felt moved to write to him about his views Dear Jonathan Jones, I am writing to express my deep disappointment at your recent swingeing attack on the discipline of art history. Although I agree with several of the points you raised about the accessibility of the field, the throwaway act of denouncing it as “a bit of a posh subject” is guilty of exactly what you condemn – the insular and elitist perception of art history as a public irrelevance. Despite being educated in a northern comprehensive school (and with no History of Art A Level to my name), this summer I graduated from the University of Oxford with a first class degree in History of Art. Hard to believe, I know. I am now pursuing my MA at the Courtauld. I am particularly proud of these achievements and firmly believe that everyone with the desire and potential to study art history at university should be given the chance to, whatever their background. In order to achieve this positive public perception is essential. In your ill-informed and lazy article, you happily jump on the bandwagon of condemnation rather than suggesting a meaningful solution to the problem (the reanimation of Sir Kenneth Clark not withstanding). Thoughtless prejudice against an entire discipline and populist parodies of art history students published in national newspapers will not help the cause. As a “proper historian” it may surprise you to find out that we work just as hard as everyone else. Both history and art history attempt to make sense of the world and our predecessors’
contributions to it in a way that is meaningful and academically rigorous. Your repulsive anti-intellectualism rings true with the worst tactics of the Brexit campaign and is symptomatic of a wider and worrying trend in this country to denounce academia as something to be scared of. Now rigorous intellectual argument might not be exactly what the general public is looking for on the average weekend, but – as you know – millions of people do visit museums and exhibitions in their free time. These fantastic free collections are underpinned by the work and enthusiasm of art historians, as well as countless other professionals and academics with a vested interest in visual culture. The effect they exert on their visitors is profound. To suggest that no art history graduates are able to “share their knowledge with the general public” is frankly ridiculous and worryingly misinformed. While the latter-day Clarks and Gombrichs may still be forthcoming (and it would be good to note that however engaging they were, both were very much products of their time), many, many graduates of art history passionately share their love and knowledge of the visual arts every single day with as many people as they possibly can.
range of compassionate and transferable skills. When did you last sit in on a university art history seminar Jonathan? Oh wait, what was that? Never? I will hold my hands up and say that I am a committed member of the tribe of people determined to prove that art history is neither posh nor soft. But in my book that doesn’t lead to uncommunicable drivel. My seminars were filled with engaging and deeply passionate individuals (students and academics alike) who were cogent experts in understanding what images can tell us about society, politics, philosophy, gender, leadership and history, to name but a few issues included in art history’s remit. I firmly believe that each of us who sat around that table are now equipped to share these ideas and passions with the world at large. Your desire to make us fear intellectualism will not succeed.
Perhaps you missed the memo: we’re not trying to tell “the story of art” anymore. What art history prizes is its interdisciplinary range, its diversity of research and practitioners, and its multifarious stories. These stories are what makes it possible for art history to be relevant to all, not just to those privileged few included in Gombrich’s single-strand story. Maybe you should head to a bookshop and I wish I knew exactly why art history is perceived read some art history written in the last 30 years. as an “obscurantist, elitist subject,” but what I do Or would that be too “dry and Byzantine” for you? know is that articles like your own do not help. When a state-educated sixth former who’s interest- We’re not elitist and we’re not irrelevant. ‘Proper’ art ed in art, history and intellectual debate reads it, I historians share a passion for the visual world which imagine it will close off the idea of engaging with anyone can be part of and which I hope will grow art history to them. The history of art is not an ir- even more relevant and engaging than it already is. relevant finishing-school course for hopelessly rich private schoolgirls and future monarchs, but a disci- Yours sincerely, pline which (like any other worth its salt) questions our place in the world and engages with significant Nathan Stazicker intellectual ideas whilst equipping graduates with a
6 Current Affairs | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December 2016
Stop All the Clocks By Oliver Jones The abolition of the History of Art A-level will be Often students are anxious they did not study Hismet with the same indifference north of Watford tory of Art at A-level, and see it as a disadvantage than as if a Martian were told the Thai king is dead. - one of the reasons many people are always alert to someone being ‘posher’ than them - like socialRegardless of what Jonathan Jones or Griselda Pol- anxiety dominos. lock think, regardless of Jones’ stoic ignorance or Pollock’s unintelligent polemic against Jones (not Many of us are at the Courtauld without an A-level I (yet)), the speed and sloppiness of Art History’s in History of Art. Those two facts are not exclusive defence is interesting. Less than 20 state schools of each other. Rather the field has larger problems. ran the History of Art A-level. Over 90% of British Internships are often exclusive forms of competitive pupils attend state schools. This whopping, gargan- slavery. The concentration of national collections tuan disparity in A-level choice is not reflected at in London means millions must travel to see the the Courtauld, where our state-private intake ratio collections. Today a staff member reminisced that is roughly 50/50. Clearly an A-level did not hinder in the early 2000s the Courtauld used to ask appeople from applying to the Courtauld; I daresay plicants ‘what was the last art gallery you visited?’. not having the A-level could level the playing field. Many children live nearer to the coast (never more
than 100 miles away in the UK), than they do to a gallery displaying more than 20 artworks. The cruces of it is: there are far more pervasive, off-putting elements to History of Art and the art world than a missing A-level. The art world we inhabit is decadent and lumbering, and off-putting to many. It is divided between dizzying international sales, and deeply insecure academia. Is it any wonder History of Art is taking on water? Our clocks are stopped, but the telephone still only rings for certain people, and the dog hasn’t been silenced. It is very sad that students will not learn of History of Art until degree level, but A-levels aren’t the be-all and end-all. ■
I wish I could tell you it’s not all Doom and Gloom. But it also kinda is. By Eliza Crosse I’ve watched enough House of Cards to know that playing dirty in politics does, in fact, grant you a first class ticket to presidency. And while untimely incidents involving public transportation did not play a part in this years campaign (although, who even knows at this point), the 2016 presidential race shaped up to be one of the most incredulous feats of downright filthy global sabotage. The question is ‘how?’. Trump is the first president to take office without experience in either government or the military, and he’s shown little sign of trying to make up for his shortfalls. He surrounds himself with sycophants and ego-massagers and he makes no attempt to even pretend he understands what it means to run a country. Therefore, how the hell did we wake up on Wednesday morning to the hideous news that this moronic demagogue had plonked himself down on the Oval Office chair? Sadly, Trump and his campaign staff were clever. He did, and will continue to, pander to his subjects cries for ‘change’ in the form of commercialised bigotry and ignorance. Trump played the people and the people fell for it. Slogans, t-shirts, chants, the people love that! Its like being a Brit at a Baseball game. Everyone gets riled up, you have no idea what’s going on but you like the team spirit and you join in. Before you know it you’ve stuffed 6 Hot Dogs down your throat, spent $150 on merchandise and become an expert on defensive strategy. Except in the case of a Trump supporter, you got carried away and elected Lucifer. That is perhaps the most devastating thing of all. Not that Trump won, but the fact that there are millions of Trumps crawling the earth. People actually agreed with his sex-
ist, racist, hate-filled thoughts and declarations. Yet, all the while Trump and his sickeningly obsequious supporters relished in the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provided during his campaign, what now for the Republicans post win? A leader inciting mass rallies even after his seat has been secured in order to quash the concerns of the remaining (majority, may I remind you) population, can only end in disaster. However, it was obvious, wasn’t it? To think we had allowed ourselves to believe that for once, diplomacy would grace us with the affable leader America so needed (gonna miss you Obama)... how was the world so stupid? The US now has a chief at the helm who’s entire candidacy was legitimised by non-stop media coverage and based on a disorganised, fractious campaign which made the Land of the Free the laughing stock of the world. I wish there was some way to reassure the US population that everything is going to be ok. Donald Trump, the man accused by many women of sexual assault, the man who has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and ban Muslims from entering the US now controls and will influence a large chunk of our modern world, and I am sorry about that. So, yeah, its probably not going to be a walk in the park. But don’t lose hope. Many of our friends and family, regardless of geographical location and proximity to the primary effects have had their hearts broken and hope ripped from their grasp. 2016 has been scary. The coming years are going to get scarier, if we let them. Look after yourself and focus on your needs in these difficult times ahead for our generation.
Trump managed to build a cohort of angry supporters intent on spreading hate but the opposition built something much stronger. You took it too far this time, life, 2016 was terrible. The only thing we have to thank 2016 for is the new breed of humanity born out of these tumultuous times, who are intent on rectifying the decisions of the ‘Disaster Year’. I have every faith that they will succeed.
Illustration by Harr-Joht Takhar
Books Editor’s Note By Amy Page Welcome to the Courtauldian’s Books section. Books are many things to me. Comfort blankets, objects of beauty, facilitators for discussion and windows into other worlds. The best books take up residence in a small part of one’s mind, settling in and remaining there until they become useful again, to console, to reassure or to question.
juices flowing; there really is something for everyone in there. We have a review of some nineteenth century Russian literature by Nikolai Gogol, sitting comfortably alongside something a bit more recent in the shape of Sarah Moss’s latest novel. We also have a bit of poetry, reflecting on Western eyes looking at African art in Display Case.
Unfortunately, it is common that reading for pleasure becomes utterly side-lined while studying, the first casualty in a series of sacrifices. What I hope you take from this section is inspiration for reading for when you do have time once again to read, or for a distraction when your head hurts from too much Derrida. Our article on literary prizes should hopefully get the
So dive in and savour reading about something totally unrelated to your course. If you’ve been inspired by these or would like to share your favourite reads with everyone, please get in touch; I know I’m not alone in being slave to the unending quest of finding new things for my ‘to read’ list. ■
Illustration by Laura Costard
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss By Amy Page The Tidal Zone is book that feels very close. It is about the pain of a loved one almost being taken away in seemingly random circumstances, and what that can do to family. It’s about the NHS, further education, politics, love and the first world problems of the middle classes being shrunk into insignificance.
cakes with butter and cream and chocolate and fill pies with caramel and condensed milk, we’re all obsessed with obesity and weight loss and also fucking baking.”
It is bravely set in the absolute present with the politics and culture in the book feeling very familiar. There are some delicious parts set in the history of art department at Warwick University, including a little tirade on the hypocrisy of Marxist academics in comfortable, affluent jobs who no longer know anything about the proletariat.
It follows Adam, a stay-at-home Dad who is writing about the history of Coventry Cathedral for a geolocative app, an attempt to revive his half-hearted career as an art historian. His wife is a busy GP, and family life is conventional until one day his eldest daughter, Miriam, stops breathing. Suddenly everything Adam ever thought about parenting, about life is questioned as he strives to help Miriam in her recovery and hold the family together.
The short chapters, jumps in place and subject and Moss’s clear, unadorned writing style make it easy to sink into the story and feel very present within it. Some have found Adam too irritating and unrealistic, arguing that the book is only getting attention because he is a stay-at-home Dad, and that if he was a woman, it would be classed as a woman’s domestic drama. This misses the point and makes me marvel at how female authors are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Choosing a Dad as a narrator opens up far more interesting avenues and adds another layer to the book; the way he is treated by the mums at school, how human characteristics are not always gender specific, and modern masculinity are all examined.
Sarah Moss is a formidable, intelligent writer who refuses to take any short-cuts or the easy way out. She faces trauma and pain head-on, and through the voice of Miriam (who is more intellectually and politically conscious than many people ever will be) picks apart the bullshit contradictions and inequality in our media today. “She never watches it at home, accuses her mother of being hooked on the opiate of the masses, stands about pointing out that costume dramas feed the English fetish for poshness, for the adulation of unearned wealth and privilege; that the news is hopelessly parochial and the cookery shows Emma enjoys glorify not only domestic labour but the consumption of exactly the ingredients we’re all being told to avoid. It’s an eating disorder on a national scale, she says, watching Emma watching people ice
interesting nonetheless), and the story of Adam’s hippy American father and English mother meeting (where it becomes increasingly probable that she died of what Miriam narrowly escaped).
The world of The Tidal Zone and its characters have stayed with me long after reading it. It’s one to savour, and to pause occasionally, to feel the pathos The story is woven with three strands: the present of the story. Soon after finishing, I greedily delved day where the family are dealing with the shock of into Moss’s previous books and am yet to be disapMiriam’s incident, bits of history of Coventry Ca- pointed. ■ thedral from Adam’s research (a touch laboured, but Illustration by Brittany Richmond
8 Books |The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December 2016
Eyes on the Prizes
By Sam Rielly
By Amy Page
I started, blankly, from her nape
Should we care about the literary prizes?
past rusted shaft thrust through her ear and human hair, and falcon feather, stopping at the eye torn out her gut stuffed fat with what were labelled potent substances. And I was glad, to see her desolate, behind the glass’s nowhere-in-particular. My children worshipped subtler beasts than this. Her ludicrous breasts looked like nuclear missiles. I heard the silence of the distant drums, I felt the absence of the distant gods, and stood my ground unmoved, staring them down. She – who was carved, primed upon her haunches, wordlessly tonguing torrents past my head – bristled. She felt my vision settling like sediment, and sinking drowsily into my gut, and sprang – dancing her weather back, pooling it over, descending congealing and glazing me blind, while all the lights the glass reflected snaked around and bound me tight and here we ogle me today. Statue of a warrior-poet. Wood, pigment. Provenance not known. This figure’s eyes have dulled; the genitals (strangely small) have now rotted – but the quiet, tranquil visage shows extraordinary refinement. It represents a major dignitary, whose wisdom, and whose readiness in battle, this unknown Master here commemorates. Illustration by Laura Costard
Autumn is the most exciting time of year for books. Hundreds of long-awaited titles are released in anticipation of Christmas gift sales and end-of-year awards and wrap-ups. As readers we can feel spoiled for choice and perhaps even overwhelmed by the assortment on offer, and it can be hard to know where on earth to start. This is where literary prizes come in. Phew! Thank goodness a group of judges have gathered together to decide what I should read! What would we do without them? Understandably, some readers hate the dictatorial judgements of value placed upon certain books and prefer to take the road less travelled and choose their reading material themselves. Personally, I am really happy for them. However even the most voracious of readers sometimes need a push or a nudge, a good recommendation, or a new read shoved into their unsuspecting hands. So, for those of you who haven’t read a non-academic text in years (or ever), for those who get through at least a book a week, and for those who are somewhere in between, I present you with a whistle-stop tour through the most exciting literary prizes out there, ready to inspire you. The Big One – The Man Booker Prize The juggernaut. The prize that the press and the literary world pay most attention to, and therefore the one most likely to sky-rocket a writer’s career. Also the most lucrative, with winnings of £50,000. The 2016 prize has just been won by Paul Beatty for his novel ‘The Sellout’, a satire about race relations in the States. He is the first American to win the prize, which has gotten some critics a bit nervy. Calm down now. The Foreign One – The Man Booker International Prize Sister of the juggernaut. Awarded to fiction that has been translated into English. A brilliant platform for highlighting translated fiction, which is all too often neglected. This year won by the dazzling ‘The Vegetarian’ by Han Kang and translated by Deborah Smith. It is the tale of a woman who decides to stop eating meat one day and the life-altering consequences this subversive act has on herself and those around her. Totally bonkers, totally gripping.
The Alternative One – The Goldsmiths Prize Established in 2013 by Goldsmiths University, this one celebrates novel novels that truly break the mould. Eimear McBride won in 2013 with ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ (a difficult read, but utterly transporting) and Ali Smith in 2014 with ‘How to Be Both’ (disorientating, clever, uplifting). This year’s winner is ‘The Solar Bones’ by Mike McCormack, the third Irish winner in four years. The Woman One – Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Formerly the Orange Prize, this one considers only female writers to address the gender disparity in publishing. Won by formidable women such as Zadie Smith, Ali Smith (again), Eimear McBride (again), Lionel Shriver, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Rose Tremain and Marilynne Robinson, every short-list is the making of an exciting to-read list. Lisa McInerney won this year with her rude, political, vibrant ‘The Glorious Heresies.’ Don’t you dare call this chick-lit. The Nature One – The Wainwright Prize The Wainwright praises excellent nature writing by writers who engage with the natural world in a meaningful way, often incorporating biography. The winner this year was the incredible ‘The Outrun’ by Amy Liptrot, her story of returning to her home in Orkney after living as a lost alcoholic in London, and how nature played a crucial part in her recovery. Other outstanding books that have been shortlisted include ‘The Shepherd’s Life’ by James Rebanks and ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald. Others to watch: The Baillie Gifford Prize, formerly The Samuel Johnson Prize, for excellent non-fiction. The Dylan Thomas Prize, for emerging young writers. The Folio Prize, for any genre, any country, judged by a diverse, international academy. The Costa Book Award, for good, solid, readable books. ■
9 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Books
The Nose by Niklai Gogol By Sonja Polimac It is that point in the term where everything feels a little like a fever dream; there seems to be an endless conveyor belt of reading and coursework to complete, there is a cacophony of coughing and sniffling all around, and everyone is so tired that they’re gazing blearily around at what may happen next. Enter Nikolai Gogol’s The Nose, a work of wild surrealism that is just the thing to reset your mind and lift your spirits. Although Gogol originally wrote the story in 1835-6, the tale is so absurd that it defies temporal boundaries and is as relatable and humorous today as it was then. Thankfully, it requires no great amount of time, or brainpower, to consume: no more than a leisurely afternoon with a cup of tea and this short story in hand. The Nose is an often-witty, sometimes biting, commentary of a rigidly structured social hierarchy that appears to have spiralled so wildly out of control as to allow a disembodied nose to be catapulted well above the social status of its original er… owner; Collegiate Assessor Kovalyov. It throws that concept of a person owning their body parts into question, further adding to the absurdity. For why could a disembodied nose not become its own person, asks Gogol. In Gogol’s world, the Nose is capable of anything. The Nose is much like a rebellious teenager, refusing to acknowledge its parent and running around St. Petersburg whilst simultaneously embarrassing Kovalyov simply for having lost it. In its fantastical way, Gogol’s story is a ridiculous and allegorical take on the table of social ranks introduced by Peter the Great that allowed almost anyone to rise from no social
The Brevity of Memory
By Joella Kiu
The one thing I remember about my grandfather is his love for persimmons. They sat in fruit bowls, and were replenished magically. As his teeth began to fail him, persimmons never did. He ripened them religiously by setting them out on the table, and squeezed them ever so gently before sinking his gums into them, just to make sure they were soft enough. I’ve often wondered why certain memories stay with you over others. Some seemingly trivial and unimportant things somehow cling to you; and like smoke in your hair, it’s hard to rid yourself of them. This has been a sobering year for the entire world — we’ve been ravaged by earthquakes, floods and typhoons; and many are losing faith in political systems as we speak. The prospect of finding sparkle and hope in the everyday seems to be fading quickly. Things that are good rarely seem to last, let alone stay. As a result, these thoughts have been swirling around in my mind lately: where do good things go, and who do we become when we lose sight of them? I read a book recently by the physicist Carlo Rov-
rank to a distinguished one through services to the state. It has the reader questioning the worth of social status and in some ways, finds a contemporary in the reality-star-celebrity world that surrounds us today. Often the characters in the story do not question why the Nose has risen to the rank that it has, and in so short a period of time. Instead, they flock to see this celebrity and are fascinated by it. Despite the seemingly heavy political commentary that can be read between the lines of the tale, it is a wild rollercoaster of a comedy, causing some laugh-out-loud moments that I’m sure were appreciated by my fellow passengers in the quiet coach of the train when I re-read it a few weeks ago. The self-important rushing of the Nose in full military attire around St. Petersburg must be read in Gogol’s words to be truly appreciated. Gogol employs a distinctive 19th century style in his writing that is direct and engaging: part of the reason I fell in love with 19th century Russian literature in the first instance. Shostakovich’s operatic adaptation of The Nose was recently featured in the Autumn 2016 programme at the Royal Opera House, accompanied by both a student only insight panel and a student only performance. The relative youth of Shostakovich when he wrote the opera and libretto (between the ages of 20 and 22) underlines the virtuosity of the composition: it is a musical tour-de-force that sweeps the viewer off their feet. It is a reminder to us all as students that we are capable of great things, and that some of the
elli titled Seven Brief Lessons on Physic”. As an art historian, this book was terrifying. I had a terrible track record with science, and was notoriously bad at physics. What intrigued me, in spite of this, was its first sentence:
greatest moments in art may be accompanied by a chorus of giant, tap-dancing noses. Gogol signs off his work with some consideration as to why he has written the story at all: does the country have any use of it? No, he concedes, nobody has any use of it whatsoever. “But the strangest, most incredible thing of all is that authors should write about such things.” – and readers should read them. Gogol’s work perfectly encapsulates that though the conveyor belt of reading thst we must be doing for our degrees rumbles on by, it serves us well to sometimes pick up a work outside of that structured regimen, be reminded that both the arts and life can be wild, humorous and absurd, and not to take everything so seriously. So if you find yourself in need of a few hours respite, I would strongly urge you to throw yourself into the surreal world of Nikolai Gogol’s The Nose. ■
Illustration by Emily Knapp
We rarely choose these small moments. Mostly, they choose us. Nestled within us are these little pearls that string up the whole — they fill the gaps in between momentous occasions with tiny significances. The things we live through define us, shape us, and have a heavy hand in our responses towards a world “These lessons were written for those who know lit- that we are all so intrinsically part of. tle or nothing about modern science.” Nelson Mandela once said, That won me over. “The time is always ripe to do good.” As soon as I got over the inertia, I started brushing the bare surface of concepts like quantum mechan- I think what he meant was that in waiting we lose ics and general relativity. The world started becom- much of the essence of doing good. One doesn’t ing larger, and I in comparison, smaller. When you have to have everything together before being able read something like that, everything becomes mi- to do good. Goodness is a choice, and when the opnuscule in contrast to the grandness of the cosmos. portunity arises, what matters is whether the call It is somehow comforting to know that we’ve come was met at all. a long way since the time of Einstein, and yet to see the road stretching out ahead of us - we barely know This will be the eleventh year since my grandfather’s anything. passing, and strangely, I think this story is my way The expansiveness of the universe paradoxically of remembering him in a time where forgetting and made my memories seem insignificant and signifi- losing sight of the whole seems to be happening an cant simultaneously. Of course, they are but a mi- awful lot. In this undulating sea of memory and croscopic speck in the fabric of time and space. Yet loss, where we grapple with things we have moved how my grandfather nibbled persimmons will al- past and things we are moving towards, I find comways haunt me; much like the feeling of being alone fort in thinking this tiny thought: the persimmons in a moving city, or being alone with a starry night will always ripen for those who choose to remember sky. them. ■
Art, Architecture & Design Editor’s Note By Tom Powell
Illustration by Jasmine Clark
‘Someone killed an MP . . . But it’s old news now. Once it would have been a year’s worth of news. But news right now is like a flock of speeded-up sheep running off the side of a cliff.’ - Ali Smith, Autumn It would be putting it mildly to say that a lot has happened since the last print edition of The Courtauldian. Since the MP, Jo Cox was murdered, Britain has voted to leave the EU by a margin of about three percent, we’ve seen the formation of a new government under Theresa May and in the US, Donald Trump has swept into the White House. Perhaps at a more local level, and of particular interest to students at The Courtauld, the Art History A-level has been dropped by exam board AQA (although at this rate it may well have been reinstated by the time you read this). AQA scrapped Art History A-level for financial reasons. It’s a sorry state of affairs when children are only able to learn those subjects deemed profitable enough to teach. How have we, as a society, got to the stage where it is acceptable to value profit-margins over access to our cultural history? I spoke with Nerissa Taysom when she first set up her petition to save the A-level and her fast thinking undoubtedly helped to unify a response in those early hours. Now, as decisions are made about the future of Art History in education, she reveals why, for her, studying it at a state school was such an important opportunity. When officials are elected on promises of intolerance and talk of ‘popularism’ invokes thoughts of racism, homophobia and sexism, history has a tendency to be used in the defence of the many against the few. However, now is the time to guard, nurture and share our plural histories. Lucy Byford visits the British Museum to explore South Africa’s numerous identities developed over hundreds of years at the cradle of civilisation. We also include a story from our two intrepid explorers, Jordan Quill and Oran Isin, who trekked to Uzbekistan on the trail of the Timurids. Frank invites readers to step outside the Eurocentric mind-set for a sensory experience of the digital kind in Tokyo from ultratechnologists, teamLab. Finally, I stay a bit closer to home to consider how Paul Nash, whose major retrospective is now at Tate Britain, explored the peculiar relationships that exist between identity, history and the British landscape.■
Politics over the Public By Clair Mead, Alumni Contributer
In June, the MA Curating class of 2015-6 I was part of organised a debate within the Courtauld’s Research Forum, ‘Politics over the Public: The Role of Museums’. With director of MIMA Alistair Hudson, Wendy Earle from Birkbeck University and artist Peter Kennard as speakers, chaired by Dr Anna Marazuela Kim, it addressed whether the public museum should remain a neutral space or encourage the inclusion of political art and discussion. The debate raised more questions than answers about where to draw the line about the museum’s role towards the display of art, and within society. Alistair Hudson argued that art is intermingled in everyday life whether or not it labels itself as “political”: the museum is a public space and needs to behave as such. Wendy Earle, in turn, considered that this viewpoint alienated works created for art’s sake rather than as a response to current affairs. The question of bias loomed heavily over a debate that happened, coincidentally, on the eve of the EU referendum results. Despite museums’ neutrality on the subject, the British and international art world united almost unanimously in the need to foster both British and European unity in the face of rampant nationalism and misinformation. The energy and optimism in the room from people believing in these issues and their vote was running high...and the Brexit outcome the next day was like a hangover following this giddy idealism. Now, the US election results have sent the art world reeling once more, as people and the institutions they are part of struggle to cope and respond. Many American museums are trying to tread this risky line between neutrality and involvement with varying levels of subtlety. The Brooklyn Museum waived its usual entrance fee on the weekend following Election Day and encouraged visitors to take this opportunity to take a look at their new American Art displays “which embrace an inclusive view of history.” The Queen’s Museum organised an “open house for unity” with resources for “vulnerable people”. A few
days ago, the Whitney Museum respected artist Annette Lemieux ‘s wish to have her work “Far Left Far Right”, 1995, made of political placards of photographs of raised fists, turned upside down. For her, doing this to a work about the inherent power of protest in a democracy represents “a world turned upside down”. If the world has turned upside down, maybe it’s time for the supposedly “neutral” museum to face up to the facts and make a complete U-turn as well. Public museums have changed drastically over the course of a few centuries, shifting and adapting to what a society needs the most at any given time. Pretending museums can still be a bunkerlike refuge full of distractions from what is happening outside feels like a privilege today’s society can no longer afford. I don’t want the art museum to coddle and comfort me when lives are at stake, civil rights could take a huge step backwards and people are consciously voting to put homophobic, racist and sexist government officials in charge. I want the museum to acknowledge what the society it is part of has become, and how its role can evolve within it. However, to do so, it needs to find ways to present insightful art while encouraging discussion amongst a diverse range of people rather than preaching to the choir and then hoping for the best. It needs to educate and discuss rather than point and laugh. Idealistic, left-wing people like me have definitely been trapped in a bubble, ignoring the real scope of populist far-right movements till it’s too late to prevent the consequences. I don’t want this to happen to a space that’s meant to be open to everyone and anyone that walks through its doors with the potential to experience the world in countless new ways and learn something in the process. How? No idea...not yet. Maybe a few. We’ve raised questions, now we need answers. That’s why the debate must go on. And it’s time for young art historians, curators and artists to join the conversation. ■
11 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Art, Architecture & Design
Is the art gallery the last non-judgmental public place? By Harriet Lovejoy, Editor
Illustration by Ellen Matin Charlesworth
We live in a world in which we judge and discourage one another to act ‘differently’. This human habit is complex and broad, so I won’t try to define it. However, what I would like to explore is how the contemporary art space veils its visitors with an all accepting attitude, which is seen in few other places. I decided to try out this theory, by lying on the floor in one of the permanent exhibitions in the Switch House. I received a few strange looks, however, generally people looked upon me with soft, non-judgemental eyes. It was as if the contemporary space allowed almost anything to become normal. Perhaps this is the ultimate purpose of a gallery today and fundamentally its successes in educating the public about art.
I decided to take this idea one step further by sitting down in a random selection of other public spaces. Primark, Oxford Street, Regents Park and Waterstones. As I expected the first two locations were extremely uncomfortable and I quickly felt the pain of hundreds of burning eyes staring at me. The park was unquestionably accepted. However it was sitting in a book shop that perhaps lead me to my conclusion. Within creative spaces, where the focus has shifted from people to object, we no longer judge the personas around us but become immersed either intentionally or not in the art and thus our own minds, creating beautiful judgement-free bubbles. ■
South Africa, the Art of a Nation Review By Lucy Byford Given recently unfolding events in America, a show heavily featuring the trappings of enslavement and apartheid may not sound like a terribly uplifting way to spend your weekend. Equally, for this very reason, it is an especially apt time to visit this exhibition at the British Museum. When you enter the Great Court you are greeted by a BMW to rule all BMW models, festooned with dazzling Ndebele tribal patterns. These have been painstakingly applied with chicken feather paintbrushes by 81-year-old artist, Esther Mahlangu, who learnt the craft from her grandmother. The exhibition later explains how the Ndebele embraced and exaggerated this style of their forefathers in response to government pressure to move from their homelands. These relocations were organised under pervasive laws like the Natives Land Act of 1913, which attempted to allocate barely 10% of South African land to 80% of the country’s coloured population. Creative resourcefulness in abject conditions proves to be a recurring theme. One bowl decorated with an intricately tessellated pattern was made using postage stamps by a Miss Hamelburg in the ‘Beth-
lehem’ Boer war concentration camp. On the opposite wall sit decommissioned rifles which have been refigured into traditional headrests, demonstrating how objects of warfare – in this case from the late 1800s in the Xhosa Frontier Wars – may be creatively subsumed into pre-existing material culture. From the domestic to the regal, gold animal sculptures, retrieved from the graves of 13th century kings, were also on display. They alone are worth the trip, as these beautiful objects have travelled out of South Africa for the first time, and provide a glimpse of the wealth of the region’s first capital, Mapungubwe. These and many other objects were written out of history to support the colonialist dictum of ‘terra nullius’, or justified rule of an ‘empty land’. Between the energetic re-contextualisations of art objects, the curators also sought to unpick tacit strategies for asserting colonial dominance, such as placing tribal objects in bell jars, thus ‘preserving’ items as scientific specimens, and pre-emptively condemning the cultures they were forcefully extricated from to historical records. Also addressed were the ways in which racism became embedded in language: the ‘Hottentots’,
Dutch for ‘stutter’, were so-called due to the proliferation of unfamiliar clicking sounds used in their native tongue. Rainbow nation memorabilia, such as the globally-worn anti-apartheid badges, took their place amongst high art as national treasures in their own right. Contrastingly, of the most large-scale, spectacular artistic responses to the resistance movement was Mary Sibande’s installation, ‘A Reversed Retrogress: Scene 1 (The Purple Shall Govern)’ (2013). Two female figures evoking the older and current generations face each other. The first wears the navy garb of a black maidservant, while the second rises up in a windswept purple gown of root-like tendrils, as a menagerie of suspended embryonic creatures swarm overhead. Royal purple alludes to the famous Cape Town Purple Rain Protests of 1989, where demonstrators commandeered the police water cannon and added coloured dye, creating some of the most arresting protest images of the century. In sum, ‘South Africa, art of a nation’ goes beyond simply tracing the rainbow nation’s turbulent colonisation and hard-fought liberation. Instead, it strives to present re-
contextualised objects alongside intellectual tactics of oppression to which they were subjected. Successfully reinstated here is South Africa’s role as a cradle of human civilisation, ‘where our ancestors fully became human’. At a time when America’s alt-right is experiencing a shift into the mainstream, exhibitions that uncompromisingly analyse and condemn racial discrimination deserve all the attention they can get. They should indeed strive to present these narratives as living history and ongoing struggle, not ossified specimens safely stowed behind a bell jar. The South African nation’s suffering, written into the fabric of its identity, continues to be processed as an artistic wellspring. I’m reminded of writer Toni Morrison’s observation on periods of political attack and demagoguery: ‘This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.’ ■
12 Art, Architecture & Design | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
“Samarqandga ikki bilet olmoqchiman iltimos....”* The Institute at large in a Country of Grand Proportions in the shape of two unlikely lads By Jordan Quill and Oran Isin *Uzbek for ‘I’d like two tickets to Samarqand please...’
Shah-i Zinda, Samarqand, Uzbekistan
View of the Itchan Kala from the watchtower of the Kukhna ark
Inspired by Dr Sussan Babaie’s course on the art and architecture of the Timurid dynasty (c. 1370-1507), the chance to engage with particular monuments from the period, emblematic of its flourishing artistic and cultural climate was one we could not eschew. The opportunity arose when we decided to apply for the John Hayes travel grant last Spring. A fund set up by John Hayes, a Courtauld Alumnus and former director of the National Portrait Gallery, which gives Courtauld undergraduates the chance to experience, in the flesh, art, architecture and culture beyond the doors of our esteemed institute. To quote a certain comic character whose origins can be
Bakers in the streets of Bukhara baking Non, Uzbekistan
The Samanid Mausoleum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
traced just over the border - drawn during Soviet occupation - from where we planned to travel, our application was a ‘great success’ and the following Summer we set out on our adventure. One of only two double land locked countries, it’s rich and varied cultural tapestry, beyond that of the Timurid’s own, was included in our itinerary, with visits to see monuments of the Samanids and Shaybanids in Bukhara, the Sogdians in Samarqand (made capital of the Timurid empire by its founder Timur), and the spectacular buildings of the Khanate of Khiva. Uzbekistan (if you haven’t guessed it already) beckoned. We flew into Tashkent, caught a taxi through the city, careered down the ten car wide avenues flanked by the imposing glass facades of modern buildings and encountered an equal number of half built, brick constructions, their naked frame yet to be clad in the sleek clothes of modernity. It was our mission to skip from the country’s capital and catch the first train to Bukhara, beginning our architectural journey chronologically. Here, we visited the Samanid Mausoleum, built between 892 and 943 A.D. as the resting-place of Ismail Samani. Its baked brick, ‘basket weave’ façade evoked that of the sand under which it is believed to have been buried, saving it from Chingiz Khan’s scourge of Central Asia in the early twelfth century. It was en route to this striking edifice that we chanced upon a ‘tandyr’ oven in which the national bread of Uzbekistan, ‘Non’, is prepared. Two bakers worked the proved dough,
hand stretching it and applying it to the mould, on which it bakes upside down. Brought out of the fiery furnace after just a few minutes, its golden brown exterior revealed the stamped pattern of holes particular to its maker. Arriving in the early evening, having sweltered on the slow train we walked through the backstreets of Bukhara, until we reached the Chor Minor (four minarets). Built in the nineteenth century, its name is indicative of its form yet it is a decidedly herring shaped shade of red, as the towers are not minarets at all. Instead their seemingly perfect proportions manifest an outstandingly beautiful example of Turkmen architecture. Furthermore, the Chor Minor’s intimate size encouraged close viewing of the brilliant blue tile work that adorned its uppermost parts. Next we travelled to Samarqand. The suffused evening light illuminated an avenue that led from the Registan to the awe inspiring Masjid-i Bibi Khanum, a path that reflects that which citizens of Timurid Samarqand would have taken daily through the bustling bazaar. The Bibi Khanum mosque’s colossal proportions truly evince Ruy González de Clavijo’s ambassadorial report, written for Henry III of Castile, during his envoy of 1403-05. Timur is purported to have ordered its destruction and reconstruction, having felt the initial erection was not towering enough for the mosque dedicated to his chief wife. Such was depicted by Kamāl al-Dīn
13 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Art, Architecture & Design
Behzād at a later date, the illustration serving as a chronicle of construction with elephants, captured by Timur on his recent conquest of Hindustan, assisting the numerous labourers. We then ascended the side of Afrosiob Hill next to the Shah-i Zinda, an ensemble of mausoleums placed one after the other in order to form a corridor of concealment and revelation. Domes disappear behind the façades as you stand below the thresholds of each tomb whose decorative delights did not fail to dazzle, although the contemporary restoration of previous Soviet restoration dampened the effect. Not surprising when one considers Uzbekistan’s rapid economic growth over the last decade and gradual cultural re-appreciation. Yet, the government’s increased interest in the county’s heritage is one that seems to ‘err on the side of ’ resplendent revival rather than careful conservation. At times this extends far enough to call it kitsch - one only has to visit the monumental shrine that is the Amir Timur Museum, in Tashkent, to attain a visual definition of the dictionary description. Such a point is only reiterated when we made a day trip to Shahr-i Sabz, to see the remains of Timur’s palace, Aq Saray. The gate, now all that remains, was somewhat distorted by what can only be described as a luxury housing estate and park, entirely soulless (in every sense of the word, we were two of around ten people there, all of whom were tourists), and dominated by an almighty effigy of the tumultuous Timur. Words cannot convey the oddity of this ghost town, however our taxi driver seemed to allude, in broken English, that it was due to a planned presidential visit by Uzbekistan’s beloved Islam Karimov, which will unfortunately never take place due to his recent death, one wonders what will become of the place? Samarqand, the city that became the sedentary capital of nomadic people, also boasts the dynastic mausoleum of the Timurids, Gur-i Amir, a direct engagement with which revealed Persian architectural strategies and angles of perception. Its central dome was masked by the entrance pishtaq, as we approached the building, yet just before entering, a magnificent view of the mausoleum was exposed, its towering dome framed by the foliated spandrels of the entrance. The pishtaq’s decorative tile mosaic scheme is one of the most intricate in Samarqand. Though partially restored, it is still breath-taking to see how wonderfully delicate and complex the interwoven tendrils and ‘arabesque’, foliated designs are, which sheath the entire surface in tightly controlled fields of geometric and epigraphic pattern.
From left to right: The extant gate at Timur’s White Palace, Aq Saray, Shah-I Sabz, Uzbekistan Kalta Minor as the sun sets, Khiva, Uzbekistan
Our route took us nearly 750 kilometres North West, to Khiva. A night train chugged through the Kyzyl Kum Desert, in which we awoke to the sun rising over the tangerine sand. The intensely cultured atmosphere that permeates the Khivan streets creates the feeling that the city is lost in time. Preserved behind the broad walls of the old town are more than 50 historic monuments mostly dating
The Kalta Minor is perhaps the most iconic of Khiva’s many landmarks. It stands squat, truncated after its patron Mohammed Amin Khan - who according to legend wanted to build a minaret so high he could see all the way to Bukhara - died and lack of further funds terminated the construction of the minaret that was intended to rise over 70 metres high. As we stood and gazed up at the minaret’s lavishly covered, glazed surface, the shadows of birds as they danced about the blinding sunlight were cast upon the shimmering tower. A magical experience further intensified when we climbed the watchtower of the Kukhna Ark and watched the sun set beyond the minaret, whose vivid turquoise seems to have resulted from a huge gasp, the structure inhaling all the surrounding hues through its chimney like form and forcing them on to its exterior, leaving behind the dusty sand and the corresponding coloured buildings. Akin to this condensed colour is the abstraction and reverberation of a historical, as well as spiritual atmosphere in the Juma Mosque. Established in the Hand dyed silks in drying in a textile workshop, Khiva, Uzbekistan tenth century and rebuilt in 1789, we wandered from the eighteenth or the nineteenth centuries. through the forest of carved wooden pillars that However, the city’s place upon historic routes pre- make up its celebrated hypostyle hall. 112 columns dating these and its role in the ancient Silk Roads have been taken from ancient structures and repurremains very clear today. The traditional arts endure posed with woodcarvers renewing unstable supports in the Itchan Kala (inner city), where wood carving, to this day. suzani embroidery, ceramic work, carpet making and ikat weaving take place throughout the town’s Before leaving, we watched the sun set upon the city walls and on our trip. The darkness like that of many workshops. the Juma Mosque was percolated, as stars appeared over the buildings of the Itchan Kala, shining like jewels in the sky, sharpened by the darkness of the surrounding desert. An indescribably exciting, exhilarating journey of discovery, along the Silk Road and ancient caravan routes of Uzbekistan came to an end. ■ Photos by Jordan Quill & Oran Isin
From left to right: Restorer working on the mosaic tilework of the Shir-Dor Madrasah, Registan, Samarqand, Uzbekistan Column from the Juma Mosque, Khiva, Uzbekistan
Art, Architecture & Design | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
Paul Nash: Mysterious Places Review By Tom Powell, Editor
Paul Nash, We Are Making a New World, 1918. Image Source: Imperial War Museum/Tate
There are places, just as there are people and objects and works of art, whose relationship of parts creates a mystery, an enchantment, which cannot be analysed. * Paul Nash, Outline, 1949 Paul Nash needs almost no introduction; a renowned war artist and painter of surreal landscapes, he is arguably one of Britain’s most well-known twentieth century artists. However, there is a tendency to see Nash as somewhat separate from the development of modern art in the twentieth century. Perhaps this is due to the way we historicise painting traditions - associating landscape with the parochialism of an island mentality and contrasting it with the metropolitanism of more avant-garde moderns. Or maybe it’s our romanticising of the artist; he is often portrayed as something of a loner in British modernist circles. It’s these kind of received ideas that Tate Britain’s Paul Nash exhibition sets out to challenge. Discussions of Nash are usually centred around two key periods in his life; his time as an official war artist in the First and Second World Wars. Paintings like We Are Making a New World or The Menin Road (both 1918) cannot fail to impress upon us the horror with which Nash saw the landscape ravaged by madness and destruction. Then, during the Second World War, Nash developed his interwar explorations of incongruous objects in the landscape. His painting Totes Meer (1941) confuses the eye with a
sea made of the churned-up wreckage of Luftwaffe aircraft. Nash’s paintings of this period reflect a more nuanced response to war. Twenty years previously, Nash had depicted the horrors of the trenches, here he focuses on the more absurd impact of war on the English countryside. This exhibition constantly makes links between the developments Nash was making and those being made by other, perhaps apparently more avant-garde European modernists. This is possibly too forceful for some (link), however, modernist artists in Britain seem plagued by accusations of parochialism and conservatism and it’s a point that needs to be made. Nash, despite romantic depictions that portray him as an outsider, was instrumental in the development of modern art in Britain. Whether in Dymchurch or Oxfordshire, Nash was at the centre of the growing debates in Britain centered around abstraction and surrealism. In 1934 he founded the modernist group, Unit One, which included the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson. The exhibition also draws attention to his importance in international dialogues, highlighting the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition as one example of his relation to the broader surrealist movement. What’s interesting are the moments of transition between more well-trodden ground. The photographs, collages and assemblages produced during the time of Nash’s early infatuation with Eileen Agar in Swanage pinpoint an important moment in his thinking about landscape and the inanimate
object. Included is a sculpture, Moon Aviary (1937), long thought lost by Nash experts, reconstructed and exhibited for the first time since 1942. Many of Nash’s other assemblages have been destroyed since being exhibited in the late 1930s and early 1940s, so the addition of Moon Aviary to the small collection of sculptures on display provides an unprecedented opportunity to appreciate this period of his work. However, the real strength of the exhibition lies in making sense of Nash’s connection to ancient landscapes. Nash is often described as a ‘surrealist’ and while he shared surrealism’s interest in the unconscious, it’s through his relation of history and the individual to landscape that the ethereal elements of his paintings come about. Throughout his career he is persistently exploring what makes up the genius loci - the spirit of the place. From the first poetic and mystical ink illustrations, through the blasted terrain of the First World War, to architectural assemblages and surreal objet trouvé photography and then full-circle to the Wittenham Clumps again, Nash’s obsession with natural and synthetic primordial features is rightly at the core of this excellent exhibition. Now is the time shrug off our inferiority complex and celebrate Britain’s twentieth century modernists. Paul Nash is at Tate Britain until 5 March 2017. Students £13, National Art Pass £7.50.
15 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Art, Architecture & Design
teamLab: The ‘ultra-technologists’ of Tokyo By Fred Shan
Black room. Swirling patterns descend from overhead, surrounding, enveloping. Birds of light perch on branches. Suddenly they take off. I chase after them through space. The trails are bathed in light, now purple, now green. Florae emerge where the light trails remain, rays forming and dissolving into complex patterns. Then a great explosion. Gigantic flowers blossom in mid space. I am no longer in the human realm. I am one with the cosmos, at one with birds and flowers. The mastermind behind my interstellar journey at the Mori museum in Tokyo this summer is the ultra-technological art collective known as teamLab. Founded in 2001 in Tokyo by Toshiyuki Inoko, the group defines itself as a team of “ultra-technologists” composed of CG animators, mathematicians, architects and artists whose goal is to ‘achieve a balance between art, science, technology and creativity.’ Since the group’s formation they have gained recognition not only in Japan but also across Asia, Europe and North America, with works featuring in the permanent collections of museums in San Francisco, New York and Istanbul. They most recently exhibited at the Frieze Fair under Pace Gallery.
nated by attempts to capture a fleeting moment of beauty. The themes of transience and superficiality can be seen in an earlier Japanese artistic tradition that rose to great fame – the Ukyio-e. Literally translated as ‘images of the floating world’, Ukiyo-e is a woodblock printing tradition that rose to prominence in Japan (and later in the West) in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although Ukiyo-e is often associated in the West with scenes of nature, like Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Hanagawa, Ukiyo-e of the seventeenth
arose on the periphery of the dominant culture: Ukiyo-e came from the mercantile class in a city and society dominated by the military elite while teamLab emerged in an elitist and insular contemporary scene centred on the West. By depicting scenes of Kabuki, Ukiyo-e advanced a subculture based on pleasure, which presented an alternative way of living to the strict moral codes and hierarchies of the martial elites. In the same way, teamLab challenges the Western definition of fine art by pursuing sensory beauty for its own sake. Where in western art the status of the artist as individual is paramount, teamLab prefers to be known as a group, stressing the collaborative effort in their creation of art rather than the individuality of the artist. As such teamLab’s decision to exhibit works in unconventional spaces like carnivals or theme parks should be understood as a way of liberating art from the physical confines of the museum or gallery and their elitist associations, and thus as bringing art to a much wider audience. Because there is no underlying message that must be decoded to appreciate teamLab’s works, the audience is freed from the constant need for references to the catalogue tags and the nagging fear of not really ‘getting’ the art. Their role is no longer that of the passive observer, but to participate in and become part of the artwork. Their only task is to experience and enjoy in whatever way occurs to them. Whereas in contrast soberly dressed figures gazing silently at objects hanging on blank white walls populate the London gallery scene; one must wonder what percentage truly enjoy the experience (on a personal level) As a result of this difference of approach teamLab’s projects attract children, parents and seasoned museumgoers alike.
teamLab seeks to create a digital visual feast that inspires and impresses. Their projects are known for their interactive aspect; vast empty rooms are transformed into fantastic dreamscapes inhabited by florescent flora, fauna, animals and birds that react to the viewer’s every touch. teamLab’s projects are known for their interactivity. Their previous exhibitions have seen audiences interacting with flowers in bloom; standing in water with koi swimming around their feet, or allowing them to compose calligraphy in mid-air while wearing VR headsets. Visiting a teamLab exhibition is to be spirited away to a mystical realm. With their focus on visual stimulation, teamLab could appear to the Western art critic as lacking in nuance and depth of thought. One could potentially dismiss the swirling lights and blossoming flowers as superficial, and one might even deride teamLab for exhibiting in non-traditional spaces such as the Lotte World; a theme park owned by the multinational conglomerate Lotte Group in Seoul. One might apply the Marxist model of the ‘spectacle’ to teamLab and claim that the group’s emphasis on sensual animations serves the interests of the elites by distracting the audience from realising their oppression.
While most of their contemporaries are still working with age-old media such painting, sculpture or film, teamLab’s 3D projections, animations and movementsensory technology herald a new age in artistic innovation. In an art scene that is western-centric and insular, teamLab’s works offer a fresh breadth of diversity, showcasing the talents of artists beyond the blinkers of Europe and America and bringing to light a completely new approach to the creation of and, crucially, the enjoyment of art.
But to reduce teamLab’s work to mere spectacle would be imposing a Eurocentric perspective onto something that is situated in an utterly different cultural context. The pursuit of surface beauty and recognition of its transient nature are themes inherent to the Japanese artistic tradition. The expression of these themes can be found in a range of media; from poetry and calligraphy to painting and print. Appreciation of the surface-value is deeply rooted in a culture
century primarily depicted urban life in Edo; the seat of the military Shogunate government. These seventeenth century works depict scenes from the nightlife in Edo: portraits of famous courtesans or Sumo wrestlers were created alongside scenes depicting packed Kabuki theatres. It is in these works that qualities associated with the genre – contrast of bright colours and animated patterns, and the flattening of the pictorial plane – developed and matured.
governed by strict social etiquette and codes of conduct. On the other hand, Japanese literati have long been fasci-
Yet it is not just the skilful juxtaposition of vibrant colours that teamLab shares with Ukiyo-e. Both art styles in a sense
[Editorial note: You have a rare chance to catch teamLab’s work in England during the upcoming show ‘What a loving, and Beautiful World’ in the Derby QUAD, 10th of December until February the 5th. The show is free entry, so if you’re headed north for Christmas it would be well worth the detour.]
Art, Architecture & Design | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
Interview with Alexandra Gerstein, curator of By Bianca Schor Dr Alexandra Gerstein, curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Courtauld Gallery, has curated the new exhibition ‘Rodin and Dance: the Essence of Movement’ in collaboration with the Musée Rodin, Paris. The display focusses on Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) intimate research and production around dance moves. Although the master’s workshop was extremely popular and prolific at the turn of the twentieth century, a significant part of his oeuvre consisted of drawings and small scale sculptures which were made as experimental drafts to capture expressive movements and acrobatic poses. In fact, Rodin seems to have been obsessed with the Royal Cambodian dance troupe when they visited Paris and was also close to great dancers of the time such as Loïe Fuller (1862-1928) and Isadora Duncan (1877-1927). While many of the dance drawings were exhibited during his lifetime, the sculptures were seen only by his very closest circle of friends and supporters. They may be considered his last major project, reflecting how the final years of his life were a period of playful experimentation. Dr Alexandra Gurstein, previously educated at the Ecole du Louvre, Paris and the Courtauld Institute, London, tells us more about Rodin’s intriguing passion and her experience as a curator at the Courtauld Gallery.
Ecole des Beaux-Arts would have acquired the casts for different reasons - because they showed an arm in an extreme position. Are there any pieces that you are particularly fond of in the exhibition? I love the sculptures that can be turned around and placed in various different positions, and still work, like ‘Mouvement B’ (with or without a head!). I also have always been captivated by the intensity of the little ‘Nijinsky’. It is just so unlike anything else and so recognisable despite its tiny size. I also am particularly fond of some of the exquisite watercolours such as the drawings after Cambodian dancers.
the little sculptural figures, which he differentiated only through variation of hairstyle. The body itself was the focus of his attention, and he examined it without sentimentality or an overt narrative (even though some drawings are associated with a theme he called the ‘creation of woman’.) By scrutinising the body in motion, and, specifically, the dancer in her flow of movements as she limbered and prepared for various poses, Rodin seemed to be working to-
To what extent do you think Rodin was influenced in his research on movement by the Ballets Russes and other dancers, such as Loïe Fuller, who came to Paris in these years? The short answer is 'a lot'. But it's complicated because he never simply transcribed these things onto paper or sculpture. He internalised, understood and responded artistically to these new styles of dance that liberated the body and offered new forms of expression.
The exhibition is remarkable as ‘the first major exhibition to explore Rodin’s fascination with dance’. What was the original inspiration that led to this take on Rodin’s work? The original inspiration was the fact that in the Courtauld's collection we have two bronze 'Mouvements de danse' and a bronze ‘Nijinsky’, representing one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the Ballets Russes. They were all cast posthumously by the Musée Rodin and bequeathed to the Courtauld by the Cork Street dealer (and former Do you think Rodin's use of ballerina) Lillian Browse. small-scale statuettes to embody dance moves is repreWhile you were researching for the exhibition, was sentative of how people conthere anything you came across that surprised you? For sidered dancers and dance example, artworks you were not familiar with, or in- at the time? Can this be reteresting facts about Rodin himself? lated to a need of appropriaThe moulds for the ‘Mouvements de danse’! I had tion of the dancer's body for no idea we would find these. Also, and in the same their viewer or owner? technical vein, the moulds for the plaster casts of In terms of scale, actuarms of dancers - perhaps Javanese dancers. These ally the size of the ‘Mouvements de danse’ would were not cast by Rodin as they are in fact casts of not be considered small: it was often Rodin’s startlife casts (i.e. casts of casts made directly from the ing point for working on a sculpture which could arm of a live model). Seeing the same plaster arms then develop into a larger work. And he did in fact in the collection of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris enlarge one of the figures (Mouvement A). I don't was also very surprising. Rodin must have had the know if I'd call it appropriation but it's interesting moulds made because he admired the gestures rep- how de-personalised most of Rodin's drawings of resented by these plasters but the professors of the dancers are and how he reused the same head for all
wards an expression of something almost disembodied - the movement of bodies in space. Of course there is a context for his interest in dance, both literary and artistic – whether in the ballet dancers observed by Degas or Forain, the music hall performers Toulouse-Lautrec painted or the acrobats of Kees van Dongen and most famously Picasso. Symbolist literature is full of dancers as femmes fatales
17 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Art, Architecture & Design
‘Rodin and Dance: the Essence of Movement’ and they are often a figure of misogynistic disdain, so in that domain, yes, the dancer’s body was very much available for ‘appropriation’. But with Rodin, his relationship to his models is different; he did not look upon them from above as specimens of the lower classes. At the same time, he was a celebrity in his late years and people – men, women, bourgeois women too – flocked to his studio wanting to pose for him.
Were there any borrowed works that were particularly difficult to acquire for the duration of the show? Could you describe your experience of collaborating with the Musée Rodin, Paris. The drawings, and especially the cut-outs, without a doubt! They are so often requested for exhibitions because they are so beautiful and modern and quite a surprise in relation to the Rodin we all think we
know, and the Musée Rodin in Paris has by far the largest group of drawings of any public or private collection (upwards of 7000 drawings, of which about 5000 are from the late years). The exhibition is a collaboration with the Musée Rodin, and that is manifest at first sight by the fact that they lent us, with incredible generosity, the entire series of ‘Mouvements de danse’, and several pieces from storage that have never been shown before, including the newly-discovered moulds used to make the figures. But the collaboration was much more than that. The curators, conservators, registrars and archivists, as well as the librarians, photographic rights managers and marketing staff all put so much time and effort into this project, contributing to the catalogue and advising along the way. It was a fantastic opportunity – for them too– to bring together material and expertise from across the museum. For those who have visited and enjoyed the exhibition, are there any Rodin artworks around London, or works of a similar theme that you would recommend? I would say to go to the V&A and in their sculpture gallery, you cannot miss the group of bronzes by Rodin, which he gave to the British as a gesture of friendship at the start of World War I. In particular, look at the hulking figure of the ‘Crouched Woman’, and the striding figure of ‘St John the Baptist’. These are powerful works that speak to the same idea of expressing movement in sculpture. The earlier Age of Bronze shows Rodin’s mastery in depicting the human body. As a student body of prospective curators, it would be fascinating to know what some of the challenges you faced while putting on the exhibition. The first challenge for me was a personal one in the writing of the catalogue: how to live up to the
standard of scholarship that already existed on Rodin and yet also say something new? After that, the challenges had to do with the display mainly, and also with finding a sympathetic and not off-putting way of explaining the technical aspects of the making of the sculpture. I wanted to retain this as a driving element of the exhibition – so visitors could understand why the figures look the way they do – but at the same time I didn’t want it to dominate. I am proud of the solutions we found, and when I say we I really mean ‘we’ because it was teamwork. An exhibition like this one, with such a variety of works (sculpture, archival material of various kinds, and light-sensitive material such as drawings and photographs, ephemera…), can only work if it’s a collaboration with experts in the adjacent fields of design, mount-making and graphic design. We worked together at every step of the way, making mock-ups and drawings of every part of the installation. In a similar vein, do you have any advice for young aspiring curators? Was there anything in your own education or training that you think have been particularly helpful for your career? I’d say try to understand how art is made; I would have loved to have done more of that as a student, and I think it’s an essential way into the subject. Look at installations when you visit an exhibition and ask questions about lighting, labelling, order of the exhibits – trying to understand the rationale from a practical as well as an intellectual perspective. And lastly, we would like to ask about any highlights from the permanent collection. Are there any underappreciated gems, or perhaps works in storage or conservation that you are fond of? I am very fond of our collection of Islamic metalwork, most of which is on view in ‘Room 1’, the medieval and early renaissance gallery. The most beautiful and exquisitely made example in our collection – which counts as among the most extraordinary pieces of the kind anywhere – is the metal ‘bag’, made in Mosul,Northern Iraq, around 1300, probably for a high-ranking noblewoman. Its specific purpose remains obscure but the decoration on the outside, and especially on the lid, speaks of a highly elaborate court culture in which the metal bag itself must have played an important role. The Exhibition ‘Rodin and Dance: the Essence of Movement’ is open to the public in the Courtauld Gallery until 22 January 2017. Courtauld students can enjoy it for free and will find the exhibition catalogue in the student library. Illustration by Anna Seibaek Torp-Pedersen
Art, Architecture & Design | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection Tate Modern On until 7 May 2017 5/5 Irving Penn’s Elton John (A) greets us as we enter the exhibition and provides the perfect sample for what is to come. As is suggested by the print, this exhibition is as much a display of Elton John’s personal passion for photography, as it is a celebration of some of the best photographers of the period and the boundaries they pushed through experimentations like Penn’s distortion of John’s face. The exposition is arranged thematically and covers the key preoccupation of photographers during the first half of the 21st century: delivering a succinct history of modernist photography. Examples from the likes of László Moholy-Nagy, Edward Weston and Walker Evans are used to exemplify the ways in which photographers challenged the supposed mechanical and objective qualities of photography, asserting it instead as an art form that was as creative, versatile and subjective as any other.
composition in portraiture. The majority of their impact does, however, come from the fact that they are in effect photographs of celebrated figures of the 21st century taken by celebrated figures of the 21st Century. Andre Breton and Brancusi are presented to us through the lens of Man Ray, Dali through that of Irving Penn and Johan Hagemeyer. Some portraits feature quotes on photography made either by the sitters or the photographers. Beneath Man Ray’s Pablo Picasso, for example, is a quote by the latter that reads: "Now at least we know everything that painting isn’t". As we walk around the room reading the other quotes, it almost feels as though we are going back in time to listen in on a congregation of legendary artists, writers and musicians discussing what photography ought to be.
The rooms that follow focus on the avenues explored by modernist photographers such as experimentations with subject, photomontage, perspective, The portraits section of the exhibition is the larg- cropping and other distortions. Herbert Bayer’s Huest, and includes works by key photographers of the manly Impossible (Self Portrait), Dorothea Lange’s period who were playing with cropping, pose and Migrant Mother and Alexandr Rodchenko’s Shuk-
hov Tower all stand together as challenges to the preconceptions that surrounded the medium at the time. All the works on show are purposely displayed in the frames in which they hang in, in John’s home. They present the photographs as John’s personal belongings and invite us into his home. We recognize, through them, that there has already been a level of curation by John before they reached the Tate. Ray’s Noire et Blanche Positive & Negative are not just ‘famous’ prints; they are objects that hold a personal connection to a celebrity of our own time. In the featured exhibition film John tells us that they hang above his bed side by side just as they have been arranged at the beginning of the exhibition. Elton John’s collection is enviable and its range and quality is what has enabled an exhibition that traces some of the most important developments in the history of photography; it is only a shame that no more of his 8000 plus print collection was on show.
Tower Bridge Exhibition By Harriet Lovejoy, Editor
If you fancy spending a couple of hours taking in some of the most breath-taking views over London from the top of one of the most iconic bridges in the world all whilst learning about its history, Tower Bridge Exhibition is a must. At a very affordable price of £6.30 for students the attraction offers a historical overview of the bridge itself from conception to construction. The engaging exhibition provides visitors with information about the design of the bridge, its architects and the practicalities of building the largest and most complex bascule bridge of this time. Real footage from the Victorian period, interactive displays and a digital realisation of the construction of the bridge all add to the exhibition experience. In addition to the compelling insights into Tower Bridge from the nineteenth century to the modern day, also displayed along the walkways are facts about some of the other ‘Great Bridges of the World’. Usually entrance to the engine rooms is included in your ticket where one can see the original coal powered engines used to lift the bridge (these will be reopened in mid-November).
Tower Bridge, which was completed in 1894 and consists of a structural framework of over 11,000 tons of steel, is worth a visit purely for the spectacular panoramic vistas across London which can be experienced from the top walkways. If you are feeling brave enough you can get a unique thrill by walking across the glass floors located on the walkways which are suspended 42 metres above the River Thames – perfect for for an adrenaline rush or an Instagram photo! The exhibition is a hidden gem housed within one of the most emblematic structures in London encompassing both its historical and modern status. A visit takes approximately two hours and is carried out at your own pace, allowing you to enjoy spotting other city landmarks. Be sure to check the website: www.towerbridge.org.uk for information on opening hours, special events and for the up to date bridge lift schedule, probably the best time to arrange a visit.
19 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Art, Architecture & Design
Sound & Vision: Bowie / Collector at Sotheby's By Tom Powell
Frank Auerbach Head of Gerda Boehm, 1965 Oil on board. Credit: Sotheby’s
“The only thing that I buy. addictively and obsessively, probably, is art.” That was David Bowie in an interview 17 years ago and having been to Sotheby’s to see his collection, I can tell you he wasn’t lying. This month, Sotheby's played host to hundreds of works of art from the late David Bowie’s personal collection. Much like Bowie himself, his collecting habits seem hard to pin down at points; the vast number of artists included paint an eclectic picture and encompass contemporary, African, surrealist and outsider art. However, at the core of the collection were many works by some of the most important twentieth century British artists. Paintings by Harold Gilman, Wyndham Lewis, C. R. W. Nevinson, sketches by Eric Gill and sculptures by Henry Moore and Paolozzi seem to be most representative of Bowie’s collecting interests. Most well represented were Leon Kossoff, Frank Auerbach and their mentor, David Bomberg, whose paintings featured in almost every room at the New Bond Street auction house.
Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting (1995), by Damien Hirst with David Bowie. Credit: Sotheby’s
Auerbach was a particular favourite of Bowie - his topographical handling of paint seeming to appeal directly to the musicians own enjoyment of sculptural painting. Bowie said of Auerbach’s portrait, Head of Gerda Boehm (1965) that: I think there are some mornings that if we hit each other a certain way - myself and a portrait by Auerbach - the work can magnify the kind of depression I’m going through. It will give spiritual weight to my angst. Some mornings I’ll look at it and go, “Oh, God, yeah! I know!” But that same painting, on a different day, can produce in me an incredible feeling of the triumph of trying to express myself as an artist. I can look at it and say, “My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks.”
affinity for both the ordinary and also the extraordinary,” she says. “But he would never look for the extraordinary in fashionable places.” Also included in the sale was a painting produced in concert with Damien Hirst. One of Hirst’s many famous spin paintings - Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting - gives Bowie equal status as the artist. Hirst described Bowie as “like a child, childish and childlike when he came to see me in the studio”, elaborating that while making the spin paintings, “you have to live in the moment and give up all your preconceptions and let yourself go and just have fun and let the universe do its thing, he was brilliant fun to spin with”.
Bowie/Collector was at Sotheby’s New Bond Street, Kate Chertavian, Bowie’s curator from 1992 to from 1-10 November. Auctioned 10 & 11 Novem2000 recalls that Bowie wasn’t just interested in ber. collecting for the thrill of the chase, he was a real student of art. Always true to his non-conformist personality, “you could see this is a man who had an
Fashion Let’s talk about Hair By Barbora Kozusnikova, Editor
In 2013, curator Tory Turk was archiving celebrated fashion hair stylist Sam McKnight’s collection of paperbased material, ranging from editorial tear sheets and press clippings to advertising campaigns. When Somerset House fashion curator Shonagh Marshall saw the finished bound books, she was “truly blown away not only by the amount of work Sam had produced over his forty year career but the notable shoots and campaigns that he had
expression of wealth and taste, while the hairdressers of the time came to be influential men, setting up the Academie de Coiffure in Paris as Legros de Rumigny has done in 1769, or, like Leonard and Larseueur, became the stylists of fashion icons such as Marie Antoinette. The profession, therefore, stood alongside, and on the same level, as fashion, both being crucial elements to one’s appearance. This view of hairdressing as essential to a successful overall look is somewhat lost in today’s society, our locks becoming an afterthought, victims to the lack of time in our hectic lives. The only time we actually consider what we want our hair to look like is before an important event or when we are after a dramatic
covers internationally, all of which are proudly displayed within the exhibition in two impressively long and expansive vitrines. His first for British Vogue in February 1984 started an incredible relationship with the London-based publication, making McKnight’s creations appear on more of its covers than any other model or photographer. This alone would make him an interesting subject for an exhibition, but the iconic hairstyles he has conjured up for editorials, celebrities and models make him, without a doubt, the most influential hairstylist of the past four decades, and counting. His hands and tools, varying from various hair products, myriad of hairbrushes, tints, pins and clips, wigs, donuts, curlers, straighteners, dryers, rollers, bands, diverse types of scissors and a great deal more, all of which are laid out in a large display cabinet upon entering the exhibition, have overhauled the looks of Agyness D e y n , Kate Moss,
Madonna, Lady Gaga and, perhaps most famously, of Princess Diana, whose official hairstylist he has become after working with her on a 1990 Patrick Demarchelier photoshoot for, who else, British Vogue. Beautiful Above: Shonagh Marshall installing the Chanel Section; Right: Sam McKnight putting the finishing touches on the Chanel large photographs of the princess sporting a section - Photos bySuzy Menkes McKnight ‘do sit alongside newspaper clippings been a part of.” That was the beginning of Hair change. This is when we really feel the transformative announcing her new, slicked-back hair, while by Sam McKnight, the latest in Somerset House’s power of hair, its effect on our lives, our confidence, handwritten Christmas notes or ones announcing long list of blockbuster fashion exhibitions, which the way we carry ourselves and the way we interact “the boss needs a haircut when you return” on a opened on November 2, 2016. with others. A lot can be read from a person’s head Buckingham Palace stamped paper are almost tearAlthough the way we style our hair every morning of hair, as it can from their clothing. With the recent jerking. is as integral to our look as what clothing we choose stratospheric rise of fashion exhibitions all over the These close and profound relationships McKnight and how we do our make up, tresses appear as world, a closer examination of hair and its impact has formed with his clients, models, photographers, almost secondary consideration in editorials where was long overdue. Marshall said to me, “I felt that stylists and make-up artists come through beautifully the stylist’s credit is below that of the photographer, as the fashion exhibition becomes evermore popular in the exhibition, further stressing the huge role hair the model, the stylist and the make-up artist; they it seemed a wonderful moment to explore another plays in creating influential images. In a particularly are relegated to the back pages of fashion magazines facet of the fashion industry. I have always felt that inspiring section which pays homage to McKnight and do not receive nearly as much attention as other the dress exhibition is something that people can and his key collaborators such as photographer topics, while fashion show reports mention how relate to, in the very primitive sense that we all wear Nick Knight, make-up artist Val Garland and editor models’ hair has been twisted, plaited, straightened, clothing. This was one of the reasons why Hair by and stylist Carine Roitfeld, larger-than-life images coloured, covered by wigs or otherwise manipulated Sam McKnight was something I was so passionate that best summaries the relationship between the only in passing. In the seventeenth century, to curate as it pushes this into a subject even more creators hang form the ceiling and spill to the however, elaborate hairstyles and adornments accessible- hair!” floor. Complete with artefacts from the chosen (decorations such as ribbons, flowers, lace, feathers and jewellery were particual favourites) became the
Throughout his career which spans some 40 years, collaborators, personal photographs and snippets Sam McKnight has created the hair for 190 Vogue from interviews conducted by Marshall, the visitors
December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Fashion can really get a grasp on the way a spot-on hairdo can unify and tie together an image. Although one of the most challenging rooms to put together due to having to coordinate “members of the fashion industry who work to a very different timeline…I am so pleased we held out as to include their words explores Sam’s process in a very personal manner,” Marshall told me. As with most things, the more challenging a task is, the better the final product. The collaborator section really delivers and manages to juggle the difficult distinction between focusing on one person, the subject of the exhibition, and making clear the significance of team effort crucial to McKnight’s work and its dissemination, ensuring Sam shines through but also that the essence of how he works is clearly portrayed. I found the balancing and negotiation of these two somewhat contradicting aspects of McKnight’s corpus fascinating, and so I enquired further with Marshall about how she managed to do so with such success. She commented, “ I learnt an awful lot about how to look at a fashion image in a different way. Sam looks immediately at the hair. He taught me how to do this, to consider the photographer, the stylist, the
adorn the heads of the most famous models. While working with fashion’s most resilient designer must be incredibly exhausting, coming up with ideas three weeks before a show based on Lagerfeld’s drawings, which visitors can also have a glimpse at within the exhibition, experimenting in London, testing the looks in Paris, doing a two day dressrehearsal on all the hundred or so models and then finally getting them ready for the show, complete with a punishing schedule, McKnight nevertheless loves working with him. In an interview for SHOWstudio’s ‘Transformative’ series, he tells Nick Knight, “it’s such a great honour to be asked to do a Chanel show, or anything with Karl, really. The Chanel machine is so well-oiled, it’s fantastic. It’s a luxurious experience. It’s still a bit stressful, but it’s not chaos at all. It’s very polished.” He is clearly incredibly passionate about the industry, and is in
fashion shows. This immersive experience is “a great way of expanding upon the objects on display, and adds to the narrative,” says Marshall. Furthermore, the personal experience of the environments as one is submerged and enveloped within it makes a great case for the need of these physical spaces rather than digitalised, virtual exhibitions. As photos of Hair by Sam McKnight can be seen all over instagram, I wondered whether this might prevent potential visitors from coming to see the show, making the pilgrimage to central London, purchasing a ticket and walking through the curated spaces, when they could see most of the spaces from the comfort of their homes on various screens. Again, I put this to Marshall, “I certainly don’t think it puts people off coming, quite the opposite I think social media drives people to visit exhibitions. We are living in a time where technological advancements are
make-up, the model but for my eye to be ultimately trained on the hair. Working in this way ensured that the images we presented told his story, asking the visitor to focus upon the hair first and consider Above: Wall of Sam McKnight Vogue covers; Left: Collaborators Section - Suzy Menkes it’s place within the image.” McKnight does not only work on editorial imagery, turn loved by its main actors. No wonder then, that changing our ‘experiences’ at a very fast pace.” however. The majority of his year is taken up by archive pieces by Vivienne Westwood and Chanel Indeed, the final section of the exhibition focuses on coming up with elaborate styles for the international have been lent to Somerset House to be displayed McKnight’s own instagram feed, a humorous collage fashion shows. Ready-to-wear, haute couture, resort, within the Hair by Sam McKnight exhibition, of backstage, his beloved garden as well as selfies all of them call upon the most in-demand hairstylist adding yet another dimension to the Sam McKnight sporting his fabulously wigs. Marshall continues, to elevate their clothing and create a character for story. Seeing the garments in flesh, which not many “we touched on how the Internet and social media the season. Vivienne Westwood first got her hands of us are fortunate enough to experience on a regular has changed the fashion industry over Sam’s career. on McKnight for her 1992 catwalk show and today, basis, we can understand the co-dependency of the It almost feels as if in reaction to these changes, and he is “acknowledged as a key part of the team that hair and the clothes, how they play off each other, democratisation of the industry, things are in flux so we wanted to draw attention to this. Hopefully makes up the Vivienne Westwood legend,” creating complement each other and create a fantasy. classic looks such as the Marie Antoinette ringlets, The place where the magic happens, however, is, it will leave the visitor considering what this might mohawks or the rick-racked candy floss-like afros, for the hairdresser especially, the backstage. The mean in the future.” With Shonagh Marshall at the the creation of which is geniously illustrated in mysterious space, the domain of the hairstylist as well forefront of major fashion exhibitions, the future a little tutorial within the exhibition space. His as the make-up artist, too, is unveiled at Somerset can only bright and incredibly exciting. With hopes relationship with Karl Lagerfeld, however, is the House. The genius set design by Michael Howells to explore other facets of the fashion industry, such most well-known one. Since 2009, McKnight has really brings McKnight’s backstage universe to life. as make-up and nails, we are very much looking created looks for six Chanel fashion shows a year Lines of chairs face TVs where GoPro footage shows forward to Marshall’s next venture. For now, Hair as well as their advertising campaigns (plus two for models having their hair sculpted into the latest by Sam McKnight is the most exciting fashion Fendi each year), and is the author of the pastel of his visions, tables full of backstage passes and exhibition in London. On display until 12 March bows, the colourful fabric off-cuts weaved through utensils making the visitors feel they have stepped 2017. ponytails, the croissant-hair and the various wigs into the forbidden yet oh-so-exciting territory of Illustration by Laura Chiew-Fah Costard
22 Fashion | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
Taking on Tailoring By Helena Fletcher Phoebe Gormley met me in her new space on Savile Row, which she shares with the tailors Cad & The Dandy. Waiting in the plush sitting area, surrounded by mannequins and fabric books, she wears a simple white blouse and a pair of smart black cigarette trousers, with a fringe trim. Gormley informed me that the trousers were actually a
divulges. Her first customer was Jayne-Anne Gadhia the CEO of Virgin Money, who bought four jackets, four dresses and four skirts and set up a direct debit for a jacket and dress every month. With the help of Gormley, the leading women in business are starting to turn away from ill-fitting pieces from the high street and over-priced designer labels, turning instead towards tailoring.
if it went well that was great and if it didn’t, it didn’t - but you should just start it and see how it goes, risk everything.’ Her first ventures included hosting and organising charity events in which she would sometimes raise hundreds and even thousands of pounds with her peers.
me, so generous with his time and expertise… I don’t know if I would be doing G&G if I hadn’t met him,’ she adds.
Although she was aware there was a large gap in the market for women’s tailoring, whilst researching, Gormley quickly realised that there was some disparity within the relationIn her teenage years she start- ship between quality and ed doing work experience and price in menswear and woquickly realised she wanted to menswear. Unlike in men’s gain the know-how in tailor- fashion, where generally, the The decision to drop out of ing. It was at this point, whilst amount of money spent cor-
customer’s, who changed jobs and decided not to take them, ‘but they were too short for me so I decided I would just add a fringe to give them an extra inch,’ she revealed. It quickly became apparent that the trousers were indicative of her ethos, ‘I’ve always been very much a make-do-andmender,’ Gormley laughs as she tells me about her love for creating and customising her clothes as a teenager. the costume design course that she was enrolled in at In January Gormley and Gam- Nottingham Trent, to instead ble became the first women’s focus on building her business tailors on Savile Row. After was strongly, yet pragmaticaldropping out of university, ly, supported by her parents. Phoebe Gormley founded ‘I really had expected them to the company in 2014. Since say no but they advised me to then the brand has gone from write a business plan, take a strength to strength, making gap year to start the business, made-to-measure clothing and, if within a year I hadn’t accessible and obtainable for made any progress or sold anwomen. ything, I’d have to get a job,’ she confided. Although not exclusively, Gormley’s clientele is the But, from an early age, entrewoman executive who wants preneurism was normalised her clothes to be ‘so on point for Gormley. ‘I learnt from that you don’t even notice my Dad that it was just norwhat she’s wearing,’ Gormley mal to start a business and
heart of Gormley and Gamble. With the realisation that her only main competitors were the big name brands, it became clear that from the clothes offered, and especially in the case of work clothing, apart from the level of quality and materials, ‘the clothes would look great on maybe twenty percent of people but just wouldn’t suit most people.’ Gormley wants to make women feel good in their clothes. ‘I wanted to put more of the decision back into the consumer’s hands. I’m trying to dispel the notion that custom made or made-tomeasure is ludicrously expensive and not accessible. I’m not trying to build a brand empire on fashion, I want to build a brand that can offer personal experience and personal products.’ Gormley and Gamble does not produce pieces or collections dictated by the fashion calendar. Similarly trends do not always correlate to the clothes she produces; instead Gormley has put the customer back into the driving seat, pushing for quality and fit.
spending her summers working on Jermyn Street, she met her friend and mentor, the late Gary Kingham. Under Kingham’s wing Gormley was taken on her first walk down Savile Row. ‘He introduced me to a lot of people and taught me everything I needed to know, all of these great skills from how to measure people perfectly to handling difficult clients. He was always a fountain of knowledge and advice.’ At this point Kingham was about sixty-five years old and had been working on Savile Row since his midteens, a true tailoring veteran. ‘Gary was so influential to
relates to an increase in quality, in womenswear, there is a different trend - even if you spend more money the quality levels out at a point. ‘Quality seemed to be substituted for fast-fashion and following trends for women,’ she explained, adding that ‘sometimes designer clothes aren’t always suitable for the office, especially for women working in the city.’
She aims to change perceptions of tailoring, make people shop more intelligently and make customers more aware that perfectly tailored clothing is accessible and a smarter investment whatever your gender.
Despite the growth of her business and team, Gorm- Photographs by Stephen Smith ley still does every single fitting with her clients and her preference for personalisation and customisation lies at the
December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Fashion
The Vulgar: Fashion Redfined By Daniela Sevillano The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined spans 500 years of fashion, exploring its relationship with vulgarity in all its glory. Curator Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips dissect ‘the vulgar’, providing us with multiple avenues for getting to grips with it. Haute couture, ready-to-wear, text and film are all called upon to analyse this controversial term. Each room in the exhibition tackles a different aspect of ‘the vulgar’, each complicating and adding to the simplified dictionary definition we are given at the beginning. Here, vulgarity is defined simply as that which is common and familiar, however, the exhibition soon moves on to provide a more comprehensive analysis. Always defined as excess, Phillips describes vulgarity as something that is too big, too revealing, too common, too unoriginal, too elaborate - put simply, too much. Eighteenth-century English fans and a Maison Martin Margiela for H&M dress exemplify the vulgarity of mass production and imitation. Moschino represents the popular and Russell Adage’s dress made from £6000 worth of bank notes,
the indiscreet. In spite of the negative connotations usually associated with vulgarity, this exhibition celebrates its different facets through the decadence of the displays. It not only asks: What is vulgar?, but also: So what if it’s vulgar? In the central section of the exhibition, titled 'Showing Off', two pieces standing side by side raise this question in particular. One is an ensemble by John Galliano for Dior Spring/Summer 2003, the other is a Raf Simons coat for Dior Autumn/Winter 2014. Both are pieces created as a part of the house's haute couture collection and both use the same colours: somber black and bubblegum pink. Galliano’s piece is the larger, more elaborate, more spectacular and vulgar of the two. The Simons is subdued in comparison, carrying the straight minimalist lines and simplicity the designer is associated with. Both show off stunningly, but Galliano’s piece is my favorite. Vulgar or not – it doesn’t matter by this point. The exhibition also features a short film featuring multiple designers explaining their take on vulgar-
ity. Zandra Rhodes compares the designer to a tight rope artist who has to carefully navigate a fine line between ‘vulgarity, the shocking and the experimental’. Stephen Jones reminds us of the way in which the boundaries of vulgarity change over time and according to the subjectivity of the interpreter. Despite the dissection of the term throughout the exhibition, it is difficult to ascertain any piece on show as definitively vulgar, especially not in line with our mostly negative preconceptions of the term. No piece really emanates the clear repulsion induced by vulgarity. The gallery setting definitely contributes to the neutralization of that usual repulsion and allows us to give vulgarity a chance. As I leave the exhibition I can see the first display again; it’s there to test us. Clark and Adams are asking us to redefine the pieces before we leave. The display case holds a chasuble fragment from c. 1500 and a 1937 Elsa Schiaparelli evening ensemble. Both from completely different contexts but united by the uninterrupted, all-over use of gold. They’re still vulgar, but their vulgarity isn’t a damning label as it seems to be when you first enter.
Undressed: a fashion journey that matters By Bianca Schor With its temporary exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, the V&A celebrates the underrated history of lingerie, underwear, biancheria, ropa interior, bielizna, whatever you wish to call it. This is an interesting choice considering the exhibition had to compete with the important show held in Paris three years ago at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs: La Mécanique des dessous: une histoire indiscrète de la silhouette. To my surprise, the V&A exhibition is quite small and does not follow a chronological order. The window cases are ordered rather thematically which somewhat reduces our perception of the historical evolution of fashionable body shapes and of the corresponding underwear. The show becomes much more interesting though if you take the time to read the comments on each separate item, as some garments are truly remarkable. While some plates use technical, sometimes obscure, terminology and therefore address an informed public, they also convey interesting details about things that the bare eye might not be able to see. The religious, political and poetic messages embroidered on the inside of garters or engraved in the busks of corsets show how people used underwear to declare their personal beliefs or interests. Elsewhere, an X-ray image of an eighteenth-century
working woman’s home-made stay, weighing around 1.6kg, will convince you - if you were not already of the harsh physicality of corsets at the time: the rib cage is visually constricted and deformed by the range of vertical whale bones sewn into the armourlike corset; and yet, the bone rods are always ready to break under the pressure.
minds you that wearing underwear is not ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’, but rather a social construct underpinned by moral, religious, aesthetic and hygienic values which have dramatically evolved but still exist today. The tendency to go braless since the end of the sixties, for example, unveils women’s growing awareness of this long established control over their bodies. This also applies to the masculine body with items such as the contemporary AussieBum low-cut push-up briefs. An example of it is here displayed next to a commercial picture of a reclining, supramuscular man with his genitals strongly emphasised by the pants. Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear will appeal to everyone interested in human bodies, not just those passionate about lingerie. The show reiterates the idea that Western societies’ beauty diktats are as active now as in they were in the past, whether In addition to the focus on the construction, the in the form of shaping underwear or psychological fabric and the unseen details of lingerie, Undressed pressure to always exercise more or get skinnier. It brings to light how competitive the market of un- seems that we are still not ready to embrace and truderwear has been since the eighteenth century. From ly accept our bodies as they truly are: the liberation the manifold patents on specific designs of corsets is yet to come! to the paper disposable pants for men and women launched in the sixties, it is clear that technical in- Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the novations and marketing strategies have played a V&A Museum until 12 March 2017 significant role in shaping our underwear and con- Tickets: £12, concessions apply. sequently our bodies. In fact, this exhibition matters inasmuch as it re- Illustration by Katie lloyd-Hughes
Stage & Screen Student insights: ‘Taking Shape - Young Choreographers in Rehearsal’, an intimate viewing at the Royal Opera House By Bianca Schor, Editor
To all the direct and indirect victims of terrorist attacks over the past year. May the arts and our humble writings inspire you to live and shape a positive future for yourself and people around you.
Illustration by Brittany Richmond
‘VIVEZ JOYEUX’ François Rabelais (1483-1553) Dance Company’, to promote a new, self-empowering wy of dancing for women urban dancers. Whilst classical ballet choreographers can use an efficient array of technical vocabulary to communicate their thoughts for each step, Kloé pointed out at the alternatives she had to come up with in order to work in harmony with the dancers. More than by simply counting steps, she uses her own body and singing voice to guide them towards emotionally-charged movements. Not that hip-hop technique does not matter, on the contrary, locking and minimalist patterns are noticeable in her work, but it chiefly pertains to feelings and moods as they are embodied and interpreted by the dancers. Their bodies do not conform to a stereotype and their faces can sometimes become the most noticeable feature of the act. The photograph above brilliantly encapsulates the smiles of a living and touching trio of individuals with a strong friendship uniting them together.
As traditional as it may sound, the Royal Opera House (ROH) hosts state-of-the-art initiatives at the heart of Covent Garden to create an intimate environment for young dance-lovers. As a lifelong adept of ballet, urban and popular dances, the Student Insight event which took place on Monday 7 November came as a revelation, a breeze of fresh air in a world where dance is definitely underrated. The ROH invited four young choreographers and a few of their dancers to showcase what their rehearsals look like and answer the questions of a small but deeply absorbed audience. Last but not least, Jamaal Burkmar introduced another genre and approach to this art with two After losing ourselves in the maze of staircases and women contemporary dancers. Once again, the trielevator of the huge and, quite frankly, impressive angular dynamic functioned differently and was inOpera House, my Australian friend Ryan and I dis- terestingly based more on speech than movements. covered the studio, a high-ceiling square rehearsal Jamaal, who has benefited from formal training room which had turned into the main stage for the at the Northern School for Contemporary Dance night. The first contribution was by Robert Binet, (NSCD), was commissioned his first piece by the a Canadian ballet choreographer who has worked NSCD as he was still an undergraduate, taking an for the Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada unusually early start into choreography work. Both since 2012. Robert offered us a preview of his new women often asked him for directions but also exshow about to be performed at the ROH with a changed ideas between themselves, thus raising the heterogender duo. Not only could we listen to the question of the theory and abstractionism underdialogue between the choreographer, or team leader, pinning every of their moves. The choreography and the dancers, as his experimental assistants, from progressed more laboriously but as a result felt even an incredibly close position, but we could hear their more thought through and assimilated by the dancbodies move, breathe and perform. Their toned sil- ers. They did not fear to express their doubts nor houettes, without a hair out of place, were a whole hesitations and the figure of the male choreographer show in themselves, subjugating the public as soon did not enforce himself into the limelight but rather as technical figures were created out of the dynamic gave them space to work out the steps in parallel to flesh. In fact, the power relation and emphasis of his comments. the show was really much on the high control exerted on the bodily matter, if not even more on their Followed a discussion on their different practices mental endurance. and perspectives on dance, joined by a ROH choreIn sharp contrast, the second young choreographer, Kloé Dean, immediately turned the traditional hierarchy upside down. With a duo of two female coloured dancers, she demonstrated how women can perform hip-hop outside of the over-eroticised and often objectifying frames globally spread via the mainstream mass media. As a non-obedient dancer, Kloé was fired from her previous crew and subsequently set up her own female collective, ‘Myself UK
ographer student, Charlotte Edmond. The public’s questions shed light on their personal conceptions of the role of music as inspiration and the narrative or politically-engaged paths opened up by a few set of steps. As my head was buzzing with questions, I could not resist asking them about their means of transcribing the work-in-process and final performances into written or audio-visual media records, as self-reminders and precious archives. I was amazed to hear them describe a wide range of
creative notations and recording methods: Kloé stressed the importance of video and social media in the process and diffusion of her work (you can find some of her choreography on youtube and I highly recommend the kaleidoscopic ‘Grind real slow’ despite the mediocre quality of the recording at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1442q-hDwg). On the other hand, Jamaal confessed he used to sit in a car with his dad to draw the flow of steps on the front window, an unheard and very creative way of proceeding. So whether you are more a hip-hop fan, a ballet addict or totally new to the dance world, the ROH Insight events open the backstage door for you to get an intimate and invaluable, new experience of today’s professional dancing practices. The ROH student scheme is made by young professionals to inspire, educate and entertain young people; each event costs between 1 and 25 pounds so no, dance is not exclusively reserved to an older, wealthier social group and these shows are really open to the curious, adventurous minds. Professional dance performances are only a few steps away, do not miss out! Do check out these extremely talented young dance professionals on their websites: Robert Binet - http://robertbinet.net/ Jamaal Burkmar - http://www.jamaalburkmardance.co.uk/ Kloé Dean’s company - http:// www.myselfdance.com/ (also offers open classes in London. £4-£6) Charlotte Edmonds - http://www.roh.org.uk/people/charlotte-edmonds More information about the ROH Insight events at: http://www.roh.org.uk/insights. Photograph of Nicole McDowall, Kloé Dean and Jazmyn Alicia Raikes in rehearsal during Student Insight ‘Young Choreographers in Rehearsal’ © ROH Brian Slater 2016
December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Stage & Screen
Celebrating Cultural Diversity at SOAS. Part 1: The Middle East! By Alexandra Etienne, Alumni Contributor The student union at SOAS may well be the most dynamic and culturally diverse I have been a part of since I first started university 4 years ago… The range and breadth of societies there reflects the students’ passionate response to current societal issues, tackling these from a cultural or more overtly political perspective. Afghan, Kurdish, Syrian, Iranian, Kashmiri, Solar/Environment, Marxist and many more… In this issue I will focus on the Middle East, offering you an outline of my personal favourites, alongside a selection of upcoming ones which you may like to join! SOAS’ ethos of inclusiveness ‘free, open to all’ is meant to raise awareness with a maximum of people, so tell your friends and come along! Note that some of these may require registration, but that’s a breeze thanks to facebook/Eventbrite.
and English. Part slam poetry part beatbox, part drum n’bass and hip-hop, their music and words defied any categorization and filled our ears with poignant, fiery rhythms and thought-provoking lyrics to match: a fusion of poetry and music that so eloquently echoes the tragedy of war, displacement, lost identity; or conversely love, hope, and faith. Their ‘art’ literally reverberated through our bodies, the depth and hypnotic sound of the beats like soothing drums. The slam poetry in English was infused with raw, powerful emotions –love, hatred, despair, hope in the face of conflict or displacement… Effectively, these artists’ music expressed a creative force that felt incredibly strong, and who knows? I may be lucky and see them on stage again soon? I hope that the spirit and quality of their music brings them all the success they deserve.
Wednesday 16th of November, 7 to 9 pm: Middle Eastern Foodscapes: Iran and the Post-Ottoman World - Venue: Room FG01, SOAS, Faber Building, 23/24 Russell Square, WC1H 0XG Find more information on the line-up on the SOAS Speaker: Sami Zubaida A memorable Arab hip hop night on the 25th of Eventbrite page. September kicked off SOAS’ series of fundraising Wednesday 16th of November, 7 pm: “Women events for Syria, with a special line-up of artists, Without Men” by Shirin Neshat - Room 286, Main mostly female, singing and rapping in both Arabic Building
A Movie Glimpse from the Venice International Film Festival By Irene Machetti
Anyone who has a passion for cinema must have heard at least once about the Venice International Film Festival. This year it was all about intense, incredibly moving films. Now that November has come, the films start to be released all over the world, so everyone can enjoy them at the cinema. Having seen them at the Festival this summer, I am very glad to share some glimpses of the best stories with you.
achieve the highest notes of heart beating emotion.
ARRIVALS Director: Denis Villeneuve Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker The storyline may seem like youe usual extra-terrestrial forces coming to earth to take over. It turns out to be nothing like it. Instead of talking about the commonplace it brings out an innovative way NOCTURNAL ANIMAL of treating the subject. Aliens are no longer the Director: Tom Ford threatening power, as many cowards and ignorant Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams scientists have tried to depict them, but are just a In this highly tense psychological thriller there are foreign body coming to Earth to communicate with two stories intertwined, and continually superim- humans. posed. There is the dramatic story of Amy, whom ineptitude echoes Joyce's Molly. In her marvellous After the arrival of a singular object on the Earth’s art-permeated house she looks back at her youthful, surface, a team of scientists is hired to solve the mysnaive choices, while reading the draft of the new tery behind it. Interestingly, among all the mathebook her ever regretted lover has just written and matic-minded people a linguist takes the decision sent her. The second plot is specifically the one re- to approach the aliens and try to communicate with counted in the book, which comes alive in a series of them. She risks her life many times to find common long, intense flashes of revenge and injustice. Apart ground with the aliens, eventually codifying their from the extremely compelling and page-turning language. The bottom line is that ‹ different › doesn’t plot organised, the film’s worth lies on the magic mean ‹ dangerous › and that humans, as a whole, and effective setting and traits d’unions between the should just try to be more understanding and openscenes that Tom Ford ideated. Music, colour, set- minded, without rejecting a priori what is distant to ting, clothing; everything is spectacularly staged to their traditions.
LA LA LAND Director: Damien Chazelle Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone Probably one of the most enchanting films of the Venice exposition of this year. ‘La La Land’ is a kind of musical and indeed recreates all the standard view of a musical, but in a very modern and mesmerising way. The story seems a typical, normal, even plain love story between two young artists, a musician passionate about jazz and an actress. Both are striving to find their way in an LA which turns out to be more a destructive trap that a city full of opportunities. Everything is only a mere, fragile frame. ‘La La Land’ forces us to think about how hard it can be to pursue our dreams, how difficult it is to live in relationships, but even how magic it can be to live a great love story. Music plays a central role in this film, and the soundtrack powerfully underlines every important scene. Colours, emotions, feelings, moving situations, everything has been created to deeply plunge spectators in the story. From the very first scene you know that you are going to love this film. Just one warning: the songs will get stuck in your mind for ages!
Stage & Screen | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’ (2016) Film Review
By Anke Therese Schulz
In‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’, the Dutch anthropologist and war photographer Teun Voeten and the cinematographer Maaike Engels present a compelling, and at times provocative, visual ethnography of the "Jungle," a refugee camp in Calais, France. Until recently it was occupied by Middle Eastern and African migrants seeking to travel to, and establish residence in the UK. Filmed over the course of more than a year, Teun and Maaike repeatedly visit the "Jungle" to document the physical and social conditions, conduct interviews with the inhabitants, and investigate how the camp represents a "microcosm" of the global refugee crisis. The resulting documentary provides viewers with a thought-provoking look at the wider crisis via a micro-examination of one of its most sensationalised hot-spots. The film also offers an important counter-narrative to the often extreme, and historically decontextualized, visual imagery of the "Jungle" that regularly appears in daily newspapers, and especially in the tabloid press.
the film takes its title: "Welcome to the jungle it gets worse here everyday You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play If you got a hunger for what you see you'll take it eventually You can have everything you want but you better not take it from me!"
In this detailed documentary, Teun and Maaike are not only concerned with making visible the camp's physical and social architecture, makeshift as it is, they also turn their lens toward the issue of state and institutional non-response to the migrants' needs. In their interviews with representatives of charity organizations such as L'Auberge des Migrants, the filmmakers discover that the refusal of the British and French governments to take positive action, or to provide centrally-organized aid, has created "jungle-like conditions" in the camp, which have nothing to do with the origin of the migrants residThe narrative begins in September 2015, with a few ing there. Instead, despite the governmental nonpleasant and stereotypical shots of the harbor town response, the migrants and volunteer aid societies and transit hub of Calais - think: the harbor, pret- admirably succeed in making the camp "work", ty sailboats, a town square with a musical band, a however unevenly and provisionally. The film docupommes fritterie, a boulangerie and so on. The focus ments these positive aspects of the camp, as well as quickly shifts to the "other Calais” though, namely the more troubling ones such as the violence, poverthe "Jungle" located on the periphery of town. In ty, and sanitary challenges, in equally nuanced and conversations with the filmmakers, Calais residents revealing ways. unreservedly express their disgust, fear, and hatred for the migrants, sentiments that are echoed by the One highlight of the film is a scene that takes place accompanying musical soundtrack, Guns-N-Roses' on New Year's Eve outside a local pub, where two 1987 song, "Welcome to the Jungle", from which Calais drinking buddies discuss, in front of the cam-
era, the question of whether immigration is beneficial for, or detrimental to, (French) society. While this issue surfaces at various earlier points in the film (in discussions with French officials, an English journalist, a Dutch academic, and other parties knowledgeable about the global refugee crisis), perhaps the most eloquent answer to this question is provided by these two Frenchmen, one of whom is of Moroccan ethnic origin. They agree that immigration yields a "melange des cultures" that renews and improves society, thus unwittingly echoing Argentinian anthropologist Néstor García Canclini's (2005) positive theories of cultural hybridity and transformation. It is a light-hearted exchange, full of bonhomie, and it stands in positive contrast with much of the negativity expressed by other people in the film. To sum up, the film provides a complex picture of a complex situation that, even with the camp's recent forced closure, has not been resolved. While the film ‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’ does come to an end, the political and social problems associated into the "Jungle" have, in reality, only just begun. To date, ‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’ has been shown at film festivals in Amsterdam, Mexico City and Budapest, and universities in New York (Columbia), Texas (UTEP), Holland (Leiden), and most recently at University of Cambridge (England). We look forward to viewing the film at upcoming film festivals in the UK. Image: still from film, ‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’ (2016) dir: Teun Voeten and Maaike Engels
December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Stage & Screen
Revolution - New Art for a New World Review By Oliver Jones The world seems to be doing a stock-check on Russia. Pussy Riot’s notoriety in the Guardian (2012), then, the elegant Svetlana Alexievich’s ‘SecondHand Time’ (2013). On awarding her the Nobel prize, the Swedish Academy praised the Belarusian writer’s work as a ‘monument to suffering in our time’. Abundantly clear is the suffering of these women for Russia’s sake — Alexievich has been called a traitor, Pussy Riot were prosecuted by the Kremlin. In contrast, the Russian Art Week (London) was far less laboured. For example the amicable ‘Russia and the Arts’ at the National Portrait Gallery, or Puskin House’s ‘Russian Contemporary Drawings. No Limits’. http://www.russianartweek.co.uk/exhibitions-5/ These beautiful artists defied the Russian state in their small ways. Not so for the Russian avant-garde’s featured in Margy Kinmonth’s new film, who instead helped form the ‘alternative to democracy’ in modern human history.
Kinmonth’s film makes clear her conviviality with the Russian state’s cultural apparatus - one, the State Hermitage St Petersburg, presented exhibitions in Somerset House’s ‘Hermitage Rooms’ until 2007. In the film’s first 20 minutes there is a slew of curators, academics and artists who talk about their national treasures (artists, thinkers) with a proud Russian spirit. What becomes clearer over the film is the polarisation of the time. Those artists, like Konchalovsky, who did not lurch to the left were unfairly regarded as conservative. The left became romantic, believing those like Malevich could construct a different world. Some travelled on ‘education trains’ around the countryside, others like Marc Chagall were commissioned to decorate their towns on the Revolution’s first anniversary. They might have constructed a different world, but not without first relying on inside government connections to have them considered ‘workers’ and be eligible for food tokens. A small snippet of interview was played, along the lines of ‘people were starving, but they found the money to decorate the streets’. These artists, in their “workers’ committee”, were role-played by Art His-
tory students (not ours, though). The Imperial Academy of Saint-Petersburg was included in the film, which gives a good impression of the artistic acumen of Russia’s up-and-coming artists. Kinmonth’s film is predominantly self-indulgent as she tours the great and good of Russia and London, intent to interview everyone her ‘fixers’ in Moscow and St Petersburg could find. Courtauld students will delight at an interview filmed in the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre — the projector shone in the background, brighter than it manages to for our lectures. Kinmonth brings to the screen a reiteration of our understanding of the Russian avant-garde. See it if you can, and align it to your own views.
7/10 Image: Kustodiev – Demonstration in Uritsky Square (image courtesy of Arts Alliance/ Foxtrot Films)
How can we improve people’s perceptions of Art History as an academic discipline? Introduced by Shayan Barjesteh Van Waalwijk Van Doorn, Editor Those studying or learning about art history have a unique opportunity to engage with and to think differently about the world around them, understanding its histories, cultures and societies through arts, objects and materials. Students gain valuable and sought-after research and analytical skills, useful within education as well as in the wide range of careers that they can go on to pursue.” The above is an excerpt penned by the AAH (Association of Art Historians), a community that - according to our own Debbie Swallow - is committed to continuing a strategic approach to securing the future of art history education in the UK, in response to the news that the exam board AQA is discontinuing A Level History of Art. Simon Schama, historian, tweeted: “Axing art history deals an-
other blow to the creative capital of this country: ever confronted with a Beraud or Borovikovsky, this government determined to impoverish the next the blood currents rise in the medial orbitofrontal generation.” cortex and I submerge in radiant and undiscovered depths of the soul. I do indeed unapologetically However, an AQA spokeswoman has claimed that indulge myself here, but it is disgraceful that the "Our decision has nothing to do with the im- government has been plotting (and unfortunately it portance of the history of art.” Instead the board has done more than just plotting) to deny this same claimed it was struggling to recruit "sufficient ex- pleasure to next generations, and by God they get perienced examiners" to mark and award specialist away with it too. topics. This makes one wonder: how come there are insufficient experienced examiners at the moment? Even if the study of art has no importance to society Or has this always been the case? as a whole (a premise with which I viciously disagree), many individuals owe it a life of beauty and This entire debacle has whipped up the question of contentment. For in the tangle of brushstrokes and how pivotal art history is to our (daily) lives, if at all. the leopards of racing colours many find solace and Some responses indicated that certain people seem peace of mind. to view art history, and indeed art itself, with indif- ference, and sometimes even contempt. How do we go about changing people’s perceptions of art history as an academic discipline? How do Art, to me, is the most intimate manner of commu- we craft new wings for this most wounded angel nication. To study art throughout the ages remains, amongst academic subjects? despite the inevitability of universitarian formalities, a sensory experience first and foremost. When- Illustration by Katie Lloyd-Hughes
“Where there is power, there is resistance.” ― Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction It takes courage to change things. And the typical university art history department in a typical university in England needs changing. The problem in art history is that everything is so western-centred, and so centred on the white males that live in the European geographic location. In art history women are heavily underrepresented, which is all the more ironic considering that the majority of those doing art history at university is female. Also, it would help if our lecturers would focus more on artistic achievements by women in history, but many of them specialize in the same boring old white-skinned Renaissance men about whom we already have read a thousand books. F**k them! Also, too little attention is being paid to the role the sexuality of queer and gender-neutral people has played in art made before the twentieth century. People’s perception of art history as an academic discipline will only change if we do actually change art history as an academic discipline. There needs to be resistance where there is power. Penny Laurie-Cook
Some three years ago I was given the opportunity to teach art history at a primary school. I was a volunteer working on behalf of a charity that offers school projects to children from poorer neighbourhoods that wouldn’t usually get the chance to participate in things such as orchestras, ballet dancing, or indeed art history. With cooperation of the school board we organised a little daytrip to Westminster. Though the school is on the outskirts of the city, the children had never been to the centre with school before – in any case not to visit the galleries. Though we didn’t visit the Courtauld Gallery, we did have time to visit the National Portrait Gallery and the Sir John Soane House which the children enjoyed a lot. I feel really fortunate to have had this experience with these children, and seeing them enjoy themselves in places that are usually associated with highbrow elitism
( museums, private institutions etc. etc.) really made me happy. Edgar Degas said that “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” It really worries me that the government in planning to scrap art history A-levels, because this will effect these children more than children from affluent families/ that go to schools with better resources. This is not the way forward in bettering people’s impressions of art history.
29 December 2016 | Issue 14 | The Courtauldian | Debate
Improving people’s perception of art history and humanity/art subjects in general, relies on removing the idea of binary subjects. Currently, we don’t perceive people as polymaths, or the interlinking nature of subjects. By failing to realise the knock on effects of learning, whether that’s through skills of confidence, communication, critical and abstract thinking, do we then begin to realise the quality in all subjects. Elizabeth Prettejohn discusses this idea, when looking at the Pre-Raphaelites: “Yet the disciplinary arrangement in our universities and art galleries also tend to segregate the studies of the Pre-Raphaelite art and Pre-Raphaelite literature from one another” Even within higher education and among academics, thoughts on the realisations that come from interdisciplinary work, are hardly sought after. Prettejohn emphasises the benefits that would come from removing these boundaries and begin to see worth in all forms of rigorous academic study. By doing this, it would of course elevate Art History as an academic discipline by clarifying the skills gained from it, and how art is just another aid, into understanding the past, present and future WIlliam Perkins
Perhaps we should first ask: how come people’s perception of Art History needs improving? Now, for some reason politicians like Little Marco (Rubio) and Donkey (the alleged university nickname of alleged conservative statesman Michael Gove) have chosen to rubbish the academic subject in public. The inability to partake in art history’s tingling ecstasy (it sure gets me excited) is surely indicative of a neurological underdevelopment? I do not expect we can change the views of these creatures, for most of them are wholly resistant to conversion through aesthetic pleasure and the sheer rationality of sound arguments. They are far too unprepared and, dare I say it, reluctant to change their minds. So I come to suggest that we
should strap these miserable tots (Trots and Tories alike) to their prams and guide them through the Gallery. Give them a taste of Manet and Monet; in fact, give them the art-historical equivalent of the Orange Clockwork horror-show treatment, and the problem will be solved in no time whatever. Now, I don’t deny that the damage inflicted on the art world by the Young British Artists brigade is almost irreversible. They have been to the art world what Anthony Blair’s New Labour has been to Socialism. But if at least the minds of politicians can be changed, the art history curriculum may still be saved. Sam Robson
I feel that the root of the problem lies in how the general consensus appears to be that a discipline’s worth is measured entirely by economic prospects. If Art History is ever to be truly accepted by the mainstream, we need a society that places as much onus on a subject’s cultural value as it does fiscal. Failing that, take out Gove.
Neill Wellmen (pseudonym)
People perceive art history to be simply the study of fine art, rather than a broader survey of cultural development through imagery; Art History students should not have to justify the academic status of their subject. The solution to improving peoples’ perceptions lies in the need to more widely educate people on the complexities of the subject.
The background of the subject does not only broaden the mind of students, but it teaches those who undertake an Art History course the developments of life across the millennia.
I am happy this question has been asked, for it challenges us to look for a serious but positive approach to solve this big issue. Do I think art history is elitist? Definitely. Do I think this is a problem? Not necessarily. Across the centuries we have had elites, and they have been wonderful patrons for the arts. To claim, as some people do, that the rich and the educated, in other words the establishment, ruin the perception of art is plain silly. We need people in society who can dedicate time and effort to studying art, and if you inherit this passion from your family, I don’t see any problem. So, if anything, we need more elitism in art history, and then maybe our academic research will see improvement in quality.
in the expanding world of social media.
Art History as an academic discipline provides the means by which we can understand our human past and its relationship to our present, The study of History of Art as an academic because the act of making art is one of humanity’s discipline requires students to think critically, most truthful and revealing activities. analyse and have an eloquent writing technique. These are undeniably crucial skills. This enables No matter which piece of art or architecture you students to better understand and perceive the see, there were personal, political, sociological world around them, through visual analysis. and religious factors behind its creation. Visual analysis has become a desired skill in This makes the study of Art History such an contemporary society, which has become interesting discipline to study. increasingly saturated with images, particularly Howard Corley
Sundries & Diversions SKATE - Get your student discount Ryan Cigana, Editor Illustration by Katie Lloyd-Hughes
When out and about, in conversation, with someone you have just met, you sometimes get to a point when you face a screening of your suitability; where are you from, what do you do, where do you study. I am sure when you reply, The Courtauld Institute, many people look at you blankly. YouknowSomersetHouse is always the quick way to orientate them, never mind their ignorance. This happened to me last week, the person I was chatting to said ‘That is where I take my kids iceskating every year.’ Well done! Yes, it is that time of year - Skate - in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House. Students will be requested to present their student ID at the rink, or at the box office if buying their ticket on-site. These tickets (£8.50) are available during the off-peak season on the following session only: Monday – Friday: 12:30, 13:45, 15:00. The off-peak dates are from Thursday 17th November through to Friday 2nd December and Tuesday 3rd January until Sunday 15th January. Sessions sell out quickly, so it is advised that visitors book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment on the day. For first time skaters; the Skate School will run throughout the season, led by a qualified instructor. If you are not on a budget, then hit the ice and lap up all the after-dark activities that Skate has on offer. Club Nights are scheduled on selected Wednesdays-Fridays throughout the season, host-
ing DJs from internationally renowned festivals, venues, labels and stations, transforming the ice into a dance floor. Ministry of Sound’s 25th Birthday will be a party on the ice, with their legendary dance DJs leading the celebrations at Skate. If that is not your scene, then maybe Morning Gloryville is. On 30th November the team will bring the feel-good factor to the ice giving dawn skaters the first chance to glide their way into the day. Still not your thing…Jazz Skate is one for everyong: EFG London Jazz Festival brings music to Skate at Somerset House on Sunday 20th November with DJs playing a classic mix of soul, jazz, R&B and hip hop, with live musical accompaniment from renowned trombonist Ashley Slater. If you just want a chillax and spoil yourself, or a loved one, then a Skate + Wine & Fondue for Two (£70) may do. The Skate Lounge, beside the rink, has a front-row view of the ice. New for 2016, the Skate Lounge will serve a selection of Jagermeister long drinks and cocktails, which skater and spectators can enjoy within a rustic alpine setting whilst enjoying the scenes outside. Not a skater at all just a shopper - get your Christmas shopping out of the way at the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade – a one-stop rink-side shopping pop-up filled with festive gifts – will be bringing the spirit of Christmas to the West Wing of Somerset House. Drink responsibly. Skate safe.
WHATS YOUR DAMAGE? With Margot and Prudence
Margot and Prudence are here to help with all your burning questions and innermost secrets. Send in your problems whether they be about life, love, friendships, sex, university or anything else and they might just be answered in our column… Dear Margot and Prudence What should I do? I obviously live in London but my friend from home, who hasn’t gone to university, won’t stop messaging me on all forms of social media. Whilst I obviously want to be friends with him, his insistent messaging is becoming overwhelming and affecting our friendship. I have a very hectic life in London with uni work and with my friends here that means I can’t always talk to him or be at his beck and call. Do you have any advice? Anonymous Margot: This is a very difficult situation. My experience with friends from home is that obviously we are still around when we need to be, but don’t need to talk all the time. A lot of us haven’t spoken in a while as it happens. Personally, my advice here would be to firmly tell him that whilst you still want to be good friends, that you can’t talk all the time. It would also be good to say to him that its better for you to catch up in person and talk about your lives, rather than tell each other what you’re doing at every second of the day! Insist to him that it will make the time you do spend together much more interesting and fulfilling. Prudence: I see this as an issue of growth, and sometimes it just becomes clear that two people have grown apart. In this instance it seems that you have moved on and grown in a new environment with new people and he probably feels somewhat left behind in that sense. What you need to do in this situation really depends on how much you value this friendship, as I see it you have two options. A) Talk to him, be honest and explain that this is becoming a strain on your friendship and work with him to come up with a solution. B) you could simply cut him off. If you see no way to resolve this friendship and have even lost all interest in a resolve then you should feel no pressure to continue in a friendship that you are getting no joy from. Sometimes people just grow apart.
Sundries & Diversions | The Courtauldian | Issue 14 | December2016
Crossword by Oliver Mitchell
1 Form of divorce in Islam (5)
2 On a ship (6)
4, 9 Our Father (5, 6)
3 Wait in line (5)
8 Light fitting (6)
4 Nip (5)
10 Embankment (5)
5 Limit (6)
12 Book (5)
6 Savoury jelly (5)
13 Wash (5)
7 Treasure (5)
14 Royally favoured breed of dog (5)
10 21 x 3 in Roman numerals (5)
16 Cardinal direction (5)
11 With 19 Across, McCartney and Wonderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1982 hit (5)
19 Material of Courtauld Galleryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passion Diptych (room 1) (5)
14 Small group of trees (5)
22 Spiritual healer (6)
15 Amuse (6)
23 Medicinal measure (6)
17 Stay (6)
24 Cotton fabric, often blue (5)
18 Despised (5)
25 Domestic helper (5)
20 Viciousness (5) 21 Artist of image shown in centre (5)
Answers: Across (1) talaq, (2) aboard, (3) queue, (4,9) pater, pince, (5) extent, (6) aspic, (7) prize, (8) sconce, (10) levee, lxiii, (11) ebony, (12) codex, (13) bathe, (14) corgi, copse, (15) regale, (16) north, (17) remain, (18) hated, (19) ivory, (20) venom, (21) Rodin, (22) shaman, (23) dosage, (24) denim, (25) nanny