All Good Things Must Come to an End

…..the weather that is

I’m not talking about the weather that we’re experiencing today but the weather that we had when we were in London, England back in October. Most people think of England as being foggy, cloudy and teaming with rain with a bit of sunshine here and there. Fortunately for us that was not the case. Out of the 14 days in London we only had one rainy day. That happened on Day 8.

Originally we planned to take the train to Brighton and enjoy the seaside. The relentless downpour that day changed our plans. Instead we took a bus to Brick Lane. Brick Lane is in the East End of London and is famous for its curry houses. Having said that I found it unusual that our son wanted us to try a deli where they serve salt beef sandwiches. I guess they’re pretty popular because there was a huge line-up to order one of these massive buns. The weather certainly didn’t keep people away. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the area because the rain was really lashing down.

After sampling the salt beef we ventured back outside and maneuvered our way down the street with umbrellas overhead. We made our way to the Whitechapel Gallery to see the Elmgreen and Dragset show. It was to say the least, a most unusual show. On the ground floor gallery they present the ghost of the Whitechapel Pool. IMG-9035
fullsizeoutput-7576
IMG-9038
Throughout the exhibition there are more sculptures, such as, a cash machine, in front of which a baby has been abandoned. This supposedly acts as an emotional precursor to sculptures in the rest of the galleries. These include a rifle on the wall, a judge’s wig, a pregnant maid and a frightened schoolboy.

IMG-9041
IMG-9042
IMG-9045
IMG-9048
IMG-9050

Later that evening, closer to our accommodations, we all went out for dinner together. It would be our last night together with all six of us. Andrea and Josie were heading for Scotland and my husband and I were moving to a hotel in South Kensington the following day. Our son picked his favourite Ramen restaurant, Kanada-Ya, Ramen Bar on Upper Street.

IMG-9057
IMG-9058
IMG-9059
IMG-9062

Not only did the good weather come to an end but so did our time with our daughter and daughter-in-law. Luckily for us the good weather did return for the rest of our trip but Andrea and Josie had quite different weather farther north in Scotland.

Ai Weiwei – Part 2

…..one week to go

If you live in Toronto or are visiting this is your last chance to see the Ai Weiwei show. Last week I posted some of the installation pieces at the show. Featuring photographs, sculpture, installation art and audio and video pieces, Ai Weiwei: According to What?examines how the artist spotlights the complexities of a changing world and probes such issues as freedom of expression, individual and human rights, the power of digital communication and the range of creative practice that characterizes contemporary art today both in China and globally.(as cited in the AGO newsletter).

ImageImage

China Log 2005

This sculpture is made from 8 pillars salvaged from Qing Dynasty temples that were carved at the centre and when joined together they formed an opening through the entire length of the ‘log’ in the shape of China. The China log implies that present day China is made up of a variety of cultural and historical elements.

ImageImageImage

Kippe, 2006

This sculpture is made with parallel bars as the frame for a three dimensional puzzle of tightly fitted pieces of wood salvaged from Qing Dynasty temples. Ai Weiwei’s memory of childhood school yards that were equipped with a set of parallel bars and a basketball hoop were part of the inspiration for this sculpture. The other part came from the beautifully stacked firewood outside his family home that was openly admired by the people in his neighbourhood.

ImageImage

Wenchuan Steel Reebar, 2008-2012

Ai Weiwei uses rebar recovered from the rubble of collapsed schoolhouses following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. It is a large physical work, designed to remind people of the individuals in danger of being forgotten.

Image

Forever, 2003

These 42 Forever bicycles were dismantled and reassembled to form a circular sculpture. The Forever Co. was established in 1940 and became the largest manufacturer of bicycles in China. In recent years with the onset of modernization the bike is disappearing from city streets but many Chinese still cherish memories of their bicycles that will last ‘forever’ in this work.

Image

Coloured Vases, 2007 – 2010

This series consists of Han Dynasty vases dipped in industrial paints covering the patterned surfaces of the jars with bright modern colours while maintaining the original forms.

I love this man’s work and I discovered today that we share the same birthday. The show will be leaving Toronto this coming weekend and will move to Miami, Florida to the Perez Art Museum (November 28, 2013 – March 18, 2014) and then moves to Brooklyn, New York to the Brooklyn Museum (April 18 – August 10, 2014).

Cheers!