Victoriana: The Art Of Revival
The Guildhall Art Gallery isn’t somewhere that I would readily think of visiting. Even without their latest exhibition Victoriana: The Art of Revival it has an interesting collection of paintings by world-renowned artists.
What drew me to their latest exhibition is the photograph of the moustache gentleman on their promotional leaflet with what looks like a miniature bottling plant on his head which is, in fact, not even in the exhibition!
On display are over 70 modern works of art, film, photography, ceramics, taxidermy, furniture, textiles and fine art that has been influenced by Victorian attitudes. The exhibition has four major themes: The Neo-Victorian Identity; Time Travel; The Cute and the Curious; and The Re-imagined Parlour. Many of the works, executed since 2000, explore the idea of the altered image and re-interpret the nineteenth century for a modern audience.
The exhibition includes 12 photographs by Yinka Shonibare exploring the role of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray in popular culture and the appeal of the dandy; and nine lithographs by Paula Rego illustrating Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
Perhaps the most eye-catching for me was Dan Hillier’s Mother 2006. Its image recalls the Victorian obsession with the mermaid although in his picture he substitutes the fish tail for octopus tentacles. The picture plays with the ideas of femininity, and the Victorian cliché of prim order barely concealing a dark underbelly of animalistic impulse.
Worth considering visiting on either 26 Sep; 17 Oct; or 21 Nov when, included in the price of your ticket, is a 30-minute tour by the curatorial team, every hour on the hour between 11am and 4pm.
The Gallery also houses the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre dating back to AD 70, which was discovered in 1988.
Admission free to the gallery’s permanent collection and amphitheatre. Admission to ‘Victoriana: The Art of Revival’ £7.00 (£5 concessions). Finishes 8 December, 2013
Open Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm Sunday Noon – 4pm
Guildhall Art Gallery and London’s Roman Amphitheatre, Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AR; Tel: 020 7332 3700
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