Home » Art Life
Category Archives: Art Life
If after the excitement of the festive period, you are suffering January blues, it might worth making your way to Canary Wharf for their Winter Lights Festival.The Winter Lights festival returns for a fifth year bringing together some of the most imaginative light artists to create spectacular artworks, installations and experiences.
Some old favourites return and each year the festival seems to get bigger and better. The festival is great for all the family with plenty to entertain the children.
Although the festival does not open till the 15th, here is a sneak preview of what to expect.
1: Prismatica by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3, Jubilee Plaza
Prismatica turns heads with the countless colourful reflections made by its giant prisms. Visitors can walk amongst them to see city life in every colour of the spectrum and spin the prisms to make them dance.
2. BIT.FALL by Julius Popp, Chancellor Passage, Middle Dock
The speed at which information is sourced, exchanged and updated in our modern society is almost inconceivable, and more ephemeral than ever before. The work BIT.FALL translate this abstract process into an experience for the senses as an ever-changing cascade of words, derived from a live newsfeed on The Times website, falls down on a wall of water.
3. Two Hearts by Stuart Langley, projection in Newfoundland Place, viewing point at Cubitt Steps
As the structure of this iconic residential skyscraper grows, lower level windows flicker and shine with light to momentarily form two illuminated and transient hearts, symbolic of the life and energy the building is poised to support.
4. Whale Ghost by Pitaya, Cubitt Steps
This monumentally-scaled kinetic sculpture echoes the marine mammal and fossil skeletons seen in natural history museums. Whale Ghost invites the visitor to spend a moment thinking about the impact of mankind on our biodiversity.
5. Sasha Trees by Adam Decolight, Westferry Circus
Westferry Circus becomes a magical winterscape as we illuminate this beautiful location with glowing fir trees. The striking neon colours of the trees create a fantastic contrast with natural foliage surrounding them.
6. Blue Neuron by Zac Greening, Columbus Courtyard
Blue Neuron is a beautiful kinetic light installation built from reworked heat-treated plastic bottles. Zac’s inspiration comes principally from nature. Working in a wide range of media, from discarded plastic bottles to laser projections, his works often comment on issues such as sustainability, environmental degradation and consumption.
7. Time & Tide By Paul & Pute, Columbus Courtyard
Time & Tide, with its hourglass design and colours inspired by nature, aims to remind us of the urgency of halting the plastic pollution of our oceans. Its form tells us that time is running out to repair this problem before the damage to our planet is irreversible.
8. Heofon Light Maze by Ben Busche of Brut Deluxe, Cabot Square
Heofon is an old English word for the sky. This fascinating light maze is based on triangular geometry which reflects and shifts light rays along the entire colour range of a rainbow. On the outer perimeter the panels are covered with a mirror film converting the interior into an infinity room.
9. Colour Moves by Rombout Frieling Lab, Adams Plaza Bridge
Colour does not exist. Colour is in the mind. It is the result of complex processes of adjustment and comparison. Colour Moves is an immersive installation of pigments that react with specific wavelengths of light.
10. Recyclism by Oskar Krajewski /Art of OK, Crossrail Place, Level 0
Artist Oskar Krajewski is working towards a new chapter in art history – Recyclism. Recyclism is a platform for artists and like-minded people who care about our global environment. Oskar’s sculptures are made almost entirely of recycled materials such as unwanted toys, obsolete electronics, plastic packaging or any everyday use objects.
11. Aura by Ronan Devlin, North Dock, Adams Plaza
Aura creates a stunning spectacle on the water by combining art and technology. Camera sensors capture participant’s form and feelings and mirror them in real time onto a giant water spray in the dock.
12. We Could Meet by Martin Richman, Crossrail Place, Quayside Level -1
A permanent installation of more than 500 illuminated acrylic rods installed in a water channel, this engaging art work was commissioned by Canary Wharf Group in 2015.
13. Vena Lumen by Fontys Vena Lumen team, Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Level -1
Vena Lumen means pulsing light. Take a seat on this stunning bench, place your hand on the sensor and watch it transform your heartbeat into dancing light.
14. Enchanted Connections by Tine Bech Studio, Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Level 1
Enchanted Connections invites visitors to the Crossrail Place Roof Garden to interact with light and each other in an imaginative way.
15. Last Parade by Alexander Reichstein, Crossrail Place Quayside, Level -1
Last Parade is a site-specific video installation that creates a wildlife reserve filled with rare animals and birds, where the shadows of endangered and threatened species march perpetually along the Canary Wharf Riverside, slowly fading out as their march ends.
16. Lightbench by LBO Lichtbank, Canada Square Park
These firm favourites light up Canada Square Park every evening as part of the permanent collection. The benches subtly change colour and are lined up to create a pleasing spectacle along the pathway.
17. Submergence by Squidsoup, Montgomery Square
Submergence is a large, immersive, walkthrough light experience. This is the largest version ever shown, comprising of some 24,000 individual points of suspended light, that transforms the space into a hybrid environment where virtual and physical worlds coincide.
18. Light, Stone, Pavement by Raoul Simpson, Jubilee Park
Light, Stone, Pavement is a playful, contemporary take on the simple game of hopscotch, where the chalk lines are replaced by a glowing outline of electric luminescent ribbon triggered by the player’s progression through the game.
19. Flow by Squidsoup, Jubilee Park
Flow is a series of explorations using dynamically controlled points of light to visualise the flow of energy, data and objects. The piece is inspired by the myriad of cultural references to energy and flow patterns, from Aboriginal dreamtime paintings to Japanese wave and ripple designs.
20. Floating Islands by Mürüde Mehmet, Jubilee Park
Community artist Mürüde Mehmet will be working with local children in Tower Hamlets to construct colourful organic floating forms made from recycled bottles. The creations will be displayed on the running water streams at Canary Wharf, encouraging awareness of how much waste is created by single use plastic water bottles.
21. Angels of Freedom by OGE Collective, Jubilee Place
These beautiful illuminated wings travel around the world, connecting people by allowing everyone to become an angel in their own way.
The Festival takes place from Tuesday 15 – Saturday 26 January 2019 between 5-10pm throughout Canary Wharf, the festival is free to attend.
In the run up to Remembrance Sunday, Canary Wharf presents the 2018 Remembrance Art Trail which is an exhibition of works by artist Mark Humphrey.
The artist has created 11 pieces of art that will be displayed across the estate to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One. Six of the artworks displayed in 2016 are on display alongside 5 new pieces including Every One Remembered, courtesy of the Royal British Legion who commissioned the work in 2014.
The works illustrate the way our perception of World War One has changed over the years, they display the sacrifice and human costs rather than the glory of the conflict. The works are inspired by the artist’s own family upbringing and explores the nature of service, sacrifice and remembrance.
1. Lost Armies, Jubilee Park – a piece remembering the fallen and those who made sacrifices for countries who have fought for the British Armed Forces.
2. Lost Soldiers, Montgomery Square – a work examining healing, remembering and forgiveness.
3. Jutland Capsule, Art Window Gallery, Canada Place – the poppy capsule floats on water, sinking beneath the waves over the shipwreck of HMS Invincible. The copper and brass memorial, full of heartfelt supporter messages, commemorates all sailors who fell at the Battle of Jutland, in the largest naval WW1 conflict.
4. Life Blossoms Again, Design Window Gallery, Canada Place – every time we see a poppy grow, we shall be reminded of an individual who made the ultimate sacrifice.
5. Brothers in Arms, Crossrail Place Roof Garden – an exhibit demonstrating human sacrifice, comradeship and remembrance for all military conflicts.
6. ANA (Army, Navy & Airforce) Triptych, Adams Plaza – using parts of military transport vehicles from the British Armed Forces, this work displays poppies in an abstract form.
7. Fallen Soldier, Cabot Square – this work remembers our servicemen and women from all conflicts.
8. Nick Beighton Part 1 (Trauma To Champion: Windows Of The Soul) Hepatych, 2017-2018, lobby, One Canada Square – a work about life’s trauma and triumphs, the resolve for resolution, searching deep into the soul, that death is not an option in the pursuit of illumination.
9. Nick Beighton Part 2 (Tragedy To Triumph: Metamorphosis Of Life) Pentatych, 2017-2018, lobbby, One Canada Square – a work demonstrating the strength overcoming disaster, finding the power to heal, rebuild and stand strong. The ability to grow, develop and emerge into something beautiful.
10. Every One Remembered, Jubilee Plaza – thousands of poppies dedicated by the public throughout the UK flutter around the soldier, paying tribute to each and every one for their sacrifices made.
11. Point of Everyman’s Land, West Wintergarden – this piece delves into war in time and space, alongside moments of battle.
Whilst the art trail is open, there will be charity pop-ups where you can make talk about their work and give donations. Charities involved include The Royal British Legion, Combat Stress, 68 Squadron and The Poppy Factory. There is also a series of Walking Tours around the Remembrance Art Trail.
The artworks provide a reminder to the many thousands who work in and visit Canary Wharf that although the First World War is a distant memory, the nation has not forgot the sacrifices made and over the next two weeks a series of events will take place in London including one on the Isle of Dogs in Island Gardens and culminating with the Remembrance Sunday event at the Cenotaph.
For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website here
Last year, I had a look around The Forge which is one of the few buildings that survive from the great Victorian shipbuilding industry in Millwall.
If you would like to look inside this fascinating old building it will open during the Open House weekend on the 22nd and 23rd September 2018. Recently the Forge was turned workshops and gallery space for Craft Central.
However, many original features remain and The Friends of Island History Trust will be on hand to explain about the building and the surrounding area.
The Friends of Island History Trust have recently become a recognised charity and will show a variety of images and prints that celebrate the remarkable history of the Isle of Dogs.
Emrys who redesigned the Forge for Craft Central will be exhibiting their innovative designs, shortlisted for several awards and commended for a New London Award.
There will be a Glass at the Forge exhibition with twenty international glass & metal artists in The Gallery.
Darren Appiagyei, one of a new generation of woodturners, will be showcasing a range of his work.
There will also a Pop-up cafe available.
Getting to the Forge
Craft Central at The Forge is a five-minute walk from Mudchute DLR which connects at Canary Wharf with Bank and Stratford. The Forge is close to Masthouse Pier for Thames river bus services from Central London and Greenwich. It is also a short walk from the Greenwich foot tunnel.
Regular readers will know that I am fascinated by the Trinity Buoy Wharf area which is one of the most unusual places in London. The area has a fascinating history, The Corporation of Trinity House were a company responsible for buoys, lighthouses and lightships and in the early 19th century established Trinity Buoy Wharf as its Thames-side workshop where wooden buoys and sea marks were made and stored. Eventually new buildings were constructed during the Victorian period including the Electrician’s Building and an Experimental Lighthouse whose roof space housed a workshop for the famous scientist Michael Faraday.
By 1910 Trinity Buoy Wharf was a major local employer, with over 150 workers on the site and carried on until 1988 when it finally closed. In 1998, Trinity Buoy Wharf which was then an empty, derelict site was taken over by The Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust which began to develop the area as a centre for the arts and creative industries and the location is now home to a working community of over 350 people.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, Trinity Buoy Wharf will explore the site’s rich maritime history of Trinity Buoy Wharf; its buildings, lighthouse and the Thames, River Lee and their banks nearby with a night of special events will take place including specially installed light projections, art shows, films, images, stories and guided tours.
6pm- 6.40pm Maritime Heritage talk
6pm- 6.40pm “The Wharf” by Rupert Murray screening
6pm- 7pm Supercomputer performance
7.20pm- 7.55pm Guided Site Tour
8.30pm- 9pm TBW Drawing Prize PV
Open from 6pm- 9pm:
Story Box installation
3D projection light show
Andrew Baldwin’s Sculpture Park
Elisabeth Bond Exhibition
RioFoneHack interactive experience
Fat Boys Diner + The Orchard Cafe
Open Studios including:
Royal Drawing School
English National Opera
Trinity Art Studios
One positive aspect of the trust taking over the site was that it has preserved many historical aspects of this important part of London that may have been lost. If you would like to see how this was achieved, why not visit the Anniversary party on the 26th September, attendance will be free and there are plenty of cultural delights to enjoy.
For more information, visit the Trinity Buoy Wharf website here
I was delighted to contacted recently by writer, illustrator and broadcaster Jude Cowan Montague who we featured on the website when she was writing her Young Hitch series of books about Alfred Hitchcock.
Jude’s latest work is on a more personal level and illustrates her changing personal life against the background of a changing Isle of Dogs in the 1990s.
Jude Cowan Montague lived on the Isle of Dogs with her husband in the early 1990s, it was a whirlwind romance and a very difficult time for her as she became quickly pregnant and her husband’s mental health began speedily to degenerate. The stress increased and the knock on effect for both after the separation dominated their lives for years to come.
The work is very much her story and a love story told with affection but also humour as her style is comic and tender.
The backdrop is the changing times of early 1990s Docklands. The level of construction taking place on the island at this time echoes the confusion of the relationship. The sounds and remaking of the physical world of the Isle of Dogs, the erection of Canary Wharf, the cranes embody the frustration of trying to build a family life.
Her husband was one of the participants in the self-build scheme on Westferry Road. Their house was close to Mudchute Farm, which provided a bucolic escape and a much-needed space for reflection.
In her drawings the Isle of Dogs is a ghost land, full of memories and fear as well as happiness, love and sheer dogged determination of a young pregnant woman and young mother trying to hold the world together.
Holding her domestic world together turned out to be impossible and there are some moments which are too painful to share in this tender narrative which has a wider interest for its psychological interaction with the changing landscape.
The work is still in progress. If you’re interested in keeping in touch with the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Spencer Rowell, l’enfant (1987)
Since the creation of Canary Wharf, the arts have played an important role in the developing the 128-acre Estate. Canary Wharf has one of the UK’s largest collections of public art, with more than 70 permanent works by over 50 artists.
Photo Jillian Edelstein, Nelson Mandela (1997)
On the 16th of April, the estate will hold a major exhibition of photographic images, Canary Wharf celebrates 50 years of the Association of Photographers by hosting an exclusive exhibition, AOP50, a major retrospective comprising of iconic images by some of the world’s most well-known and respected photographers from the past 50 years.
Photo Alan Browning – The Pregnant Man
Formed in 1968 by a group of leading advertising and fashion photographers, AOP is today one of the most prestigious professional photographers’ associations in the world which has played a major role in promoting photographers’ rights and copyright protection.
Photo Zed Nelson, Mike and Baby Dallas, Texas (from the series Gun Nation)
In recognition of this important milestone, the exhibition, curated by leading photography expert Zelda Cheatle, will present a collection of images that define 50 years of the AOP. Photographs have been selected to illustrate the impact, diversity and quality of work by AOP members since 1968, including Nadav Kander, Duffy, Tim Flach, Tessa Traeger and John Claridge.
The exhibition covers a wide range of subjects from celebrities and stars to photographs documenting some of the world’s turning points, including wars, famine and humanitarian disasters. The exhibition will be separated into decades and grouped around Advertising, Editorial, Still Life, Portraiture, Fine Art and Landscape genres.
The exhibition will be free and held in the One Canada Square lobby in Canary Wharf.
If you are interested in photography and would like to see a number of images you may recognise and some you may not, it should be worth taking a look around the exhibition.
In October last year, I wrote about a statue that used to adorn Island Gardens. Regular contributor, Eric Pemberton had sent a couple of photographs which shows a classical style statue entitled Diana the Huntress.
According to the page from a book “Greater London by Christopher Trent which was published in 1965, the statue was there in the 1960s. It is in the 1970s that the park was transferred to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and it was around this time that people think the statue disappeared from the gardens.
The story generated considerable interest and a number of people began to make enquiries into the statue, one of the first leads was that there was a similar statue in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Island Garden statue was considered a copy of this statue.
However, further investigation into the V & A statue began to create considerable interest.
The interesting part about the V & A Statue is that it does have a connection with East London.
The Marble statue at the V & A is called Diana Hunting by Giovanni Maria Benzoni born 1809 – died 1873 and was made in Rome in 1859.
Diana is shown carrying a bow and arrow with a dog by her side. It was exhibited at the International Exhibition in South Kensington in 1862. The statue is adapted from the 4th century B.C marble known as the Diane de Versailles in the Louvre in Paris.
The statue was part of the Dixon bequest, Joshua Dixon was a merchant and art collector who bequeathed his collection of 295 oil paintings, watercolour drawings, bronzes and statuary to the Bethnal Green branch of the South Kensington Museum in 1886 for ‘the use of the public of East London’.
So the question arises is the V & A statue, the same Diana that was in Island Gardens ?
I decided to visit the V & A to have a closer look, the statue is not hard to find being in the middle of the café.
On close inspection, the statue is practically identical with dog looking quite appealing and arrows in quiver, it would be quite a coincidence if there was this statue in Bethnal Green and an exact copy in Island Gardens.
If the statue had been placed in Island Gardens by the local council, why are there no records ? is it possible that the statue was part of a wider campaign to bring art to the people that was popular in the 60s and 70s ?
We will only know for sure, if the V & A have records about where the statue has been and a number of people are asking the museum for more information.
Only then we can confirm that the Island Gardens Diana and the V & A Diana are the same statue.