06:00 - early start ready for a three hr bus journey. Deacribed as more of an experience. I’ll agree with that.
None the less looking forward for one exhibittion in particular.
Below I have attached a report on my opinions of the doig to bacon exhibition, but other than that there was a lot in the gallery, and I thought I’d just mention this Freud piece. There was a few of his on display. And I haven’t ever seen any of his work in the flesh, and was quite underwhelmed by them, perhaps they photograph better.
So much art on display, from many great artists but Peter doigs work was by far my favourite.
Exhibition not on for much longer - if you’re over Cardiff way it’s definitely a must see.
And the natural history isn’t to bad either:
Visit to National Museum Cardiff, 29 November 2017.
National Museum Cardiff
Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection
18th February 2017- 31st January 2018.
The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff is currently showcasing a private collection to the public from now until the 31st of January 2018. It has been described as an exhibition not to be missed and one of the most important British collections of the 20th century. The works have been lent to the museum by Ian and Mercedes Stoutzker, who have given the public the opportunity to view their private collection of work created over several decades. They brought the work by artists who at the time were not famous, but as of now are huge names in the art world. For the chance to see the works in such a small gallery for free offers an unmissable opportunity.
On Arrival to the museum, I was delighted by the atmosphere of the building. The striking architectural design and features both inside and out make looking at the works a real experience. The hallways and staircases are tastefully presented with sculptures and art that are in-keeping with the feeling of the building, and the signs and directions give clear easy direction and accessibility to the exhibitions. Something I really loved was the addition of quote on the walls from artists that were displayed somewhere in the building, such as a quote by Francis Bacon on the “contemplation of things as they are”, which I think really links the building and the exhibitions to one and other.
Currently on the art side of the museum, there are three temporary exhibitions which are all free of charge; Who Decides?, Swaps- Photography from the David Hurn Collection and Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a private collection, as well as a variety of collections from the 16th century until present, which include a variety of art, drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, installations, video art and much more. For such a small gallery, they have some hidden treats, with a lot of famous works, including paintings by, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso and other greats. Each of the galleries have a consistent use of space and show off the works to their finest, with their limited space, the rooms do not feel cluttered and it is easy to move around and absorb all the works.
With this in mind, there is plenty of work to look through and is a must visit, with something for everyone. The “Who decides?” exhibition is particularly interesting as it was curated by service users from a charity that help people of wales who have been in some way affected by homelessness, and is perhaps one of the biggest exhibition’s on currently until September 2018. It displays a large collection of contemporary art works described as for everyone, including paintings, sculptures, prints and installation art by big names such as Paula Rego, Richaard Deacon, and Bedwyr Williams who are a few of my favourites displayed. I particularly liked the addition of the writings on the wall, which stated things such as “Does art matter?, What is art for?” which give questions for you to think about whilst looking at the works. The works have been curated well for the theme, as there really is something for everybody, opening up the views of contemporary art to the public.
Nonetheless, the exhibition that most stood out for me was the private collection of modern masterpieces “Bacon to Doig”. What instantly caught my attention was the difference the way the works are labelled, and instead of being stuck on like a piece of card in plastic, they are stuck flat to the wall, which for some reason I found interesting. The collection is made up of works on loan from Ian and Mercedes Stoutsker’s and showcases work by British Artists from the 20th and early 21st century, displaying works by Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, Grayson Perry, Peter Doig, David Hockney, George Shaw, Leon Kossoff and others. Although the collection only takes up one exhibition room, they have packed a lot of work in, but still using the space well, and each work can be viewed independently. There is an adequate amount of information about the collection and more available in a book from the shop, which you can pick up for £18, which seeing as the exhibition is free is fairly reasonable.
Artists whose works which particularly stood out for me from this exhibition, were the works by Peter Doig, Peter Blake, George Shaw and Grayson Perrys vases. But the collection as a whole is astonishing, and to see the works from artists who were not famous at purchase date, but are such big names now in a small gallery makes the experience much more personal. The collection is titled modern masterpieces, and that it is. Each artist is represented with works that are powerful, and stand out on their own, the same way they would in a larger costly gallery, in fact I wasn’t quite expecting so much from a small-scale museum.
Without giving too much away about the collection, as photos are not prohibited and there isn’t too much information about which works are exhibited online, I would just like to mention two pieces which stood out to me, and the rest you must go and see for yourselves.
Peter Blake. Boy and Pigeons. 1954. Oil on board.
Firstly, a piece by world famous British pop artist Peter Blake, titled “Boy with Pigeons” really caught my eye. This piece stood out to me for its iconic British pop art style of early Blakes work, the influence from America, style, the addition of badges, the clothes worn etc. However, what I find most intriguing is the size of the painting being much smaller than I thought and this photo does not do it justice. Overall this piece particularly attracted my attention by the way Blake combines real life with themes from popular and commercial culture, and it is fascinating to see the work in comparison to his later work, where the application of paint is entirely different. This piece is free, the brush strokes are visible, and the colours are not bold and vibrant, it is almost childish, which gives the work authenticity, such ideas that he abandoned in the later work.
Peter Doig. Daytime Astronomy 1999.
The second artist whose work displayed I most enjoyed was Peter Doigs’. He is represented with two paintings one from 1999 and the other from 2002. His work was by far my favourite of all the works displayed in the gallery, and this can only be proven by viewing them in person. For me he brings a breath of fresh air to painting, and uses paint as paint, with simple compositions which really pack a punch. I love the way the paint is applied thinly, allowed to drip and built up in other areas which lets the paint live. In the painting pictured above titled “Daytime Astronomy” I was initially drawn to the fact that he has used such a large block of dark colour at the front of the image which in theory should make the image flat, especially with similar colour in the background. But in fact, for me it gives the image depth, and simplifies the grass and poppies in a way which makes it easier to read, which he also does with the houses in the background, where the object is simplified but shows so much. The hints of white, also add to the painting, with grid like lines that move the eye around the image.
As these works are from a private collection none of them could be photographed, which made viewing them very special, unlike looking at works through a magazine or online. However, due to the similarity of the works in the exhibition in regard to taste, this exhibition isn’t for all, and if British 20th century painting is not in your interest this exhibition is not for you. But still these works are of high quality, and are displayed beautifully, and to see them in this kind of environment is an unmissable opportunity. In addition to this exhibition, close by there is a small exhibition on British Art from 1930’s which also includes work by Freud and Bacon as well as work a treat from Pablo Picasso, which again although small, only occupying a couple of small rooms, has some brilliant works, however in my opinion, it doesn’t quite have the same feeling as the Bacon to Doig Exhibition.
Summing up my experience at the National Museum, I can definitely say that it is worth a visit, with some excellent works on display. The current exhibitions are greatly varied for a small-scale museum, and the permanent collections contains works from the 16th century until present which include some hidden treats from some of the greats. Undoubtedly, there is something for all, be it video art, photography, sculpture, pottery, prints, drawings or paintings, there really is a broad variety. The Gallery gives a consistent use of the building which allow all the work to be equally enjoyed. All the staff are friendly and know a lot about the works on display, even giving guided tours which provide everyone the chance to engage with and learn more about the works.