BRAVE ENOUGH TO DARE: IN CONVERSATION WITH FRANCESCA SACCHI TOMMASI

FRANCESCA SACCHI TOMMASI Photo Credit: Gabriele Rigon

After attending the Koefia Academy of High Fashion in Rome, a brief stint organising fashions shows in Milan – Prada and Fendi amongst others – and working in art galleries in Positano, Francesca Sacchi Tommasi returned to her roots with the opening of Etra Studio Tommasi in Florence, an art space located in what used to be her grandfather’s studio. In this interview, she talks about beauty, passion and purpose, and why art is in her DNA. (Main photo by Gabriele Rigon, Black and Red Bracelet by Gaetano Pesce, Marble Eyewear…

JAVIER MARÍN: CORPUS

EN BLANCO - JAVIER MARÍN, 2015

Since the first time I saw the works of the Mexican sculptor Javier Marin in Milan – roughly 10 years ago at the Rotonda of via Besana, in the square of Palazzo Reale and at Piazza della Scala – I have been surprised by the monumentality and expressive power of his work. I have been lucky to see other works of his dotted around the world and despite the use of different materials, dimensions and subjects, each time my attention has been drawn to them like metal to a magnet.…

THE LIFE OF JULIE COPE: GRAYSON PERRY

A PERFECT MATCH - GRAYSON PERRY, 2015

Grayson Perry is exhibiting THE LIFE OF JULIE COPE at Colchester’s Firstsite gallery, in his home county of Essex. Perry describes Julie’s tale as representing ‘the trials, tribulations, celebrations and mistakes of an average life’, by portraying Julie’s life through tapestries, woodcuts, sketchbooks and an audio telling of her story. Seeing the smallest of details being studied and celebrated led me to reflect on other life cycles – I considered that of the gallery and the artist as well as that of the visitors. Firstsite is a relatively new gallery…

BOOM FOR REAL: JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

BOOM FOR REAL - JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

The Barbican is currently hosting the first comprehensive exhibition of works by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Together with Grayson Perry’s ‘The most popular art exhibition ever!’ at the Serpentine Gallery, BOOM FOR REAL left a deep impression on me. I was blown away. Whilst I found it moving, nostalgic and melancholic, some of my friends were more taken by the underlining racial tension, social criticism and pointy sarcasm. It is not difficult to understand why, though it is not immediately apparent. Licensing the images of his works to many popular…

ZANELE MUHOLI AT THE STEDELIJK

JULILE I - ZANELE MUHOLI, 2016

Zanele Muholi’s works at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam belong to three different ongoing series: ‘Faces and Phases’, ‘Brave Beauties’ and ‘Hail the Dark Lioness – Somnyama Ngonyama’. Dedicated to a friend who died of HIV related complications, “Faces and Phases’ is a visual record of black lesbians and transgender people in her home country of South Africa, a project she started in 2006. Though South Africa legalised same sex marriage in the same year, it remains a country plagued by discrimination and extreme violence against sexual minorities. A place where…

FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE: LA SAUTERELLE

LA SAUTERELLE - FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE, 1970

A few pieces have caught my attention at this year’s Masterpiece at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, but only one stole my heart in a flash. Or, more aptly, in a flutter. ‘The Grasshopper’ (La Sauterelle) by François-Xavier Lalanne is a striking Sèvres porcelain, steel and brass bar created by the artist in Paris in 1970. The influence of surrealism, art nouveau, modernism and more than hint of baroque can all be found in this eye-catching work of art. But it is the nostalgic journey back in time to a childhood…

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2016

JEAN - JEAN PAUL TIBBLES, 2015

An annual event to get excited about is the prestigious BP Portrait Award. Arguably the most important portrait competition in the world, based at the National Portrait Gallery, London. It is currently on tour and residing at Firstsite, Colchester, UK. Putting aside the politics of the sponsor, which is not without its protests, the competition produces incredible work. This is unsurprising with the high number of entries from an unrestricted geography. 2017 saw 2,580 entries from 87 countries resulting in talent, diversity and energy. The sum of these adjectives add…

NOBUYOSHI ARAKI: ARAKI AMORE

In the wake of the tradition of ‘shunga’, a 1600s sexually explicit version of ukiyo-e, the 76 year old photographer has long been recognised for his works exploring the underbelly of Japanese society. His focus is firmly centred on the great fault line between public and private, proper and inappropriate, sleazy and respectable. The blurred distinction between art and porn has caused more than a headache to the artist and various curators and museums whenever his pieces have been exhibited in the West. Whilst in the past he has found himself criticised broadly for…

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: THICK TIME

UNTITLED (BICYCLE WHEEL II) - WILLIAM KENTRIDGE, 2012

From the moment you step into ‘Thick Time‘ by South African artist William Kentridge, it is easy to understand why this new exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery holds such broad appeal. It is bold, dramatic, visionary and nostalgic, making art accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. The many children present seem to love it. The common denominators of the six large scale installations are themes incorporated in most of his works: time, space and history. The mesmerising whirlwind of theatrical compositions manages not to lose sight of the details whilst upscaling the spectacle. ‘The Refusal…

ANTONY GORMLEY: OBJECT

ANTONY GORMLEY - FALL 1999

‘Fall 1999’ is a collection of drawings somehow reminiscent of Antony Gormley’s ‘New York’ series of 1997-1998. Though the urban landscape has been stripped away and there is just one lonely figure per piece, they too revisit the interaction between human body and void. ‘Object 1999’ is a cast-iron sculpture of the artist’s body suspended from the ceiling of the Main Hall, a first for the National Portrait Gallery, eerily overseeing the flow of visitors on the escalator to the second floor. It can be seen from many angles within the gallery, reminding us to…