Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Illusionist

Last weekend I went to see The Illusionist at the Cornerhouse; I was reallly excited about this film by French director Sylvain Chomet as I am a big fan of his previous film Belleville Rendezvous. The Illusionist was completely different to the first film; it had a very melancholy feel to it and had more of a serious edge to it. I thought it was absolutely beautiful, the animation was perfect; the exaggerated characters and the soft palette of colours worked so well to create something that was charming and just lovely. It was so good to see hand drawn animation that had real character to it rather than digitally produced characters that are perfect and hollow. It gave me some hope for my own career and style of work which has so many handmade elements.

Screen capture from Pathe International.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Tatton Park Biennial

Last weekend I went to Tatton park for the 2010 biennial which was an absolute treat. There were about 25 pieces spread out across the gardens and house; it was so exciting to see the pieces so out of context, it was really strange to see contemporary installations and sculptures inside a stately home or elaborate garden and that really added charm to the exhibition. My favourite piece by far was the feather sculpture/installation 'Evacuate' by Kate MccGwire which was a huge piece spilling out of a range, made of feathers of birds that would have once been cooked on the giant stove.

Picture taken from

I also loved Marcia Farquhar's giant rocking horse sculpture:

Jem Finer's 'Spiegelei' a giant silver ball on top of a wooden shed which was actually a camera obscura projecting the upside-down shadow of the Japanese gardens around the inside of the ball.

and Helen Marten's 'Coveting Keratin' and 'Milk on white', a huge truncated sculpture of a lion and a billboard.

photo also taken from

A lot of the pieces had links and themes relating back to Lord Egerton and his family, the last of the Egerton family who owned Tatton Hall. I was really impressed by the range of pieces and the intriguing layout of the exhibition.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Surreal House

This week I went to London to visit ContainerPlus (post to come on illustration blog) while I was in London with my mum we decided to visit the Surreal House exhibition at the Barbican. I've never been to the Barbican before and I was quite surprised by the area and the building itself as they were all pretty ugly, very 1970s, tall blocks of flats. However the inside of the Barbican was lovely and there was a giant courtyard with fountains/lots of water and giant reeds and plants which would be a great thing to look out onto!

The exhibition itself was fantastic, there were so many pieces by artists that I've been looking at or influenced by during my final year so it was quite a thrill to see the pieces up close, in particular the boxes by Joseph Cornell and a small sample of his collection of photographs and images etc which made up his extensive studio. I managed to watch the whole of Jan Swankmajer's 'The Jabberwocky' which was fascinating, I had only seen a fraction of it when I'd researched him in the past and the full film is amazing, there is so much detail, I was in awe of it all. I also watched a film by Maya Deren called 'Meshes of the Afternoon' which was really unusual but very enjoyable following a sort of surrealist dream of a woman repeating the same action of entering her home after chasing a mirror-faced figure, each time she looked around her home objects had moved or were changing in front of her eyes. Some of my favourite pieces were ceramic sculptures by Rachel Kneebone which were a mass of objects and figures all merged into 1 glossy white web, they were so detailed and beautiful I would have liked longer to have studied them properly as there was so much to see.

Rachel Kneebone sculpture 'In the midst of quietness, branched thoughts murmur' image from

Jan Swankmajer 'The Jabberwocky' from youtube

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

'Seasons' - Yuri Norstein

Another fantastic animation on Sky Arts, 'Seasons' by Yuri Norstein was made in 1969, it's a stop frame animation made using Russian lace and toys showing 2 figures moving through different seasons to Tchaikovsky's music. It's a really beautiful piece, the figures move very gracefully through the landscape and the landscape itself looks as though it is made up of delicate glass and jewels. The toys switch from being completely motion less to moving in quite a human way which is quite eerie looking but adds to the beauty of it being like a dream world. I love the layering of the setting, the rows of trees and houses and the other figures all motionless in the streets of the little world.

Video from