How uplifting art exhibits are helping us get out of lockdown
As art galleries begin to reopen, many are hoping to bring joy and lift the spirits of visitors after the lockdown.
Galleries such as the Tate Modern, the V&A and the Royal Academy offer a variety of new exhibits, ranging from contemplative and reflective performances to luminous and immersive experiences, to help us return to their spaces after a year of viewing art. online.
“Nothing quite replicates the experience of the real thing,” says arts psychologist Rebecca Chamberlain of Goldsmiths University, who missed her usual dose of art.
“Getting physically close to works of art that have been touched by an artist is a special experience and looking at them in a social space is great for well-being, which you just don’t get by looking on a screen. dish at home. “
Many galleries are now offering pre-booked time slots to help reduce the flow of visitors to their exhibits so that there is more room to enjoy, meditate and interact with their works as well as practice slow art.
For those feeling nervous about stepping into the gallery environment, Chamberlain advises checking out what’s on offer and getting ready. “Know what you’re comfortable with and what the restrictions will be,” she says.
Kew Gardens in London, for example, hosts yoga and forest baths alongside its exhibits to help reduce anxiety and put visitors in the mood for art.
And if you can’t make it to a gallery, many art institutions continue to put some of their exhibitions and collections online.
Whether relaxing or stimulating, art can help us “connect with an artist,” “engage with the world,” and “make us feel less alone,” Chamberlain says.
We take a look at a selection of some of the uplifting art exhibits on offer.
David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020, London’s Royal Academy
Spring has definitely arrived at the Royal Academy thanks to David Hockney. The figurative artist filled the gallery with baby pinks, vivid yellows and fluorescent greens while depicting the unfolding of spring in his garden in Normandy, France, where he worked alone last year.
He initially created the digital artwork on his iPad to cheer on his friends during the lockdown, and has now scaled them up on paper for the public to enjoy.
“Spring is exciting,” says Edith Devaney, curator of the exhibition, friend of Hockney’s and recipient of her work. “It’s about starting over, refreshing and it’s pretty remarkable that we don’t necessarily notice it when we maybe should.”
In his new works, Hockney also pays homage to painters who worked in France before him, including Van Gogh, Bonnard and Monet, whose garden in Giverny, northern France, delights visitors every year.
“Even when it’s all closed, nature continues and it’s interesting to think about it,” says Devaney.
The exhibition runs until September 26, 2021.
Joan Miró: La Gran Belleza, Newlands House Gallery, Petworth, West Sussex
Another artist who spreads joy is the painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miró. Fifty pieces of his work are on display at the Newlands House Gallery in Petworth, West Sussex, as part of an exhibition spanning the artist’s long and successful career.
“We wanted an exhibition that affirms life, that is colorful, positive and uplifting,” says gallery owner Nicola Jones. “Miró was inspired by the moon and the stars, and his art was influenced by nature.”
He also survived the Spanish Civil War and the two World Wars and sought solace in creating upbeat art.
Popular pieces in the exhibition include an ink drawing on corrugated cardboard (Tête, 1960), a playful stencil from his time with American sculptor Alexander Calder (Gouache-Dessin, 1934) and sculptures inspired by fruits and vegetables. in Spanish. village in which he lived.
“If he lived today, he probably would have been inspired by Banksy – come and revitalize yourself,” Jones says.
The exhibition runs until July 4, 2021.
Alice: curious and curious, V&A, London
The latest V&A blockbuster takes you down the rabbit hole (finally the gallery steps) in a maze of themed rooms containing hundreds of objects associated with Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland books.
Highlights include photographs by Tim Walker featuring models Naomi Campbell and Adwoa Aboah; stage costumes for the 2017 production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by the Royal Ballet and original manuscripts written for the real Alice, Alice Liddell, photographed by V&A photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
The exhibit also examines how Alice became a symbol of the surrealist and hippie movements with works by Salvador Dali and the San Francisco poster company East Totem West.
“You don’t just learn yourself about Alice, but you become Alice,” says Rosalie Fabre, who leads the show’s virtual reality game element. “You can smell the roses, stroke flamingos and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts. It’s a very vibrant and visceral experience, which is exactly what we need after being in the dark for so long.”
The exhibition runs until December 31, 2021.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms, Tate Modern, London
One of the biggest fans of Alice in Wonderland is Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. His new show at Tate Modern features two immersive experiences, including Chandelier of Grief and the return of his biggest infinity hall: Filled with The Brilliance of Life.
It’s actually filled with “hundreds of tiny LED lights with mirrors and water, like stepping into a galaxy of stars,” co-commissioner Katy Wan reveals. “While Chandelier of Grief suggests even in times of great sadness, we might be able to find beauty as fleeting.”
The exhibition runs until June 12, 2022.
Ryoji Ikeda at the Vinyl Factory, London
Ryoji Ikeda’s latest show isn’t so much thoughtful as an assault on the senses. The Japanese DJ and light artist takes you on an immersive journey through bright (sometimes strobe) light, a data storm (taken from Nasa and Cern), and high sound frequencies around The Vinyl’s dark basement. Factory in London.
The show also premieres two new works in the UK, including Point of No Return, an installation that the organizers describe as entering a black hole, and A (Continuum) – a work of art featuring six giant speakers. with 300 recordings of tuning forks resonating the note A, which Ikeda says is the visitor’s responsibility to interpret.
“Music is beautiful because we can’t see it and we can’t touch it, but everyone knows that. You don’t need special tools to understand it. You can change it with any meaning. alone, ”he said.
Contemporary composer Max Richter, who is an Ikeda fan, says: “His work has an immediate sensory impact. It feels like you are being asked a question and you are engaged by a mind. A very experience. rich and not the one you always get. with works of art. “
Just be sure to take your sunglasses.
The exhibition runs until August 1, 2021.
Naturally brilliant color, Kew Gardens, London
And finally, the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens has opened its doors to what it claims to be the brightest color in the world, pure structural color. It is the iridescent jewel like shimmer that you might find on the wings of butterflies, the backs of beetles, and on the feathers of hummingbirds.
It was created in the laboratory, to the delight of botanist painters who until now have always struggled to reproduce what they see in nature, explains artist and scientist Andrew Parker.
Parker worked with scientific researchers at Lifescaped to develop the color, which is used by companies to make products such as illuminated glasses and shiny running sneakers.
The exhibit also features what Kew describes as the world’s brightest painting and a large kaleidoscope filled with nature’s most vivid colors, while exploring the evolution of color and the science behind it.
Once dazzled, you can step into the peaceful Kew Gardens and enjoy the colors for real.
The exhibition runs until September 26, 2021.