London is an inspiring place to live and work at any time of the year, but there’s something about the longer and warmer days that gets us itching to get out and about and explore. The city, as ever, hosts an unrivalled wealth and breadth of enticing cultural events throughout the summer months – from exhibitions to pop-up installations and everything in between. Keeping up to date with what’s new and exciting in the world of the arts is an essential part of our work – and it doesn’t hurt that we enjoy it very much too.
We thought we’d share with you some of the most inspiring exhibitions taking place across the coming months – ones we definitely won’t be missing, and which you might want to check out yourselves…
Missoni Art Colour at the Fashion and Textile Museum
This fascinating exhibition originally opened at the Maga museum in Italy, and reveals a little-known fact about this dazzling fashion brand, known for its bold use of stripes, zigzags and most importantly of all – colour. The surprising revelation is that the Italian fashion label, set up in 1953 by Ottavio Missoni and his wife Rosita, took its original inspiration from futurist and Orphist art, such as works by Sonia Delaunay and Giacomo Bella.
To demonstrate this influence, some of these paintings are on display in the exhibition, and come from the family’s own private collection. Many of these works have never been exhibited before in the UK.
Left to right: 1 Sonia Delaunay, Untitled, 1936, 64×46 cm, gouache on paper and ‘ Gino Severini , Ballerina, c.1957, 81×59 cm, oil on canvas
For those who want to see clothing, however, the exhibition won’t disappoint – with a breathtaking centerpiece featuring 42 mannequins arranged in a pyramid, wearing garments from Missoni’s archive to the present day. The exhibition is partnered by The Woolmark Company, as many of the fashion pieces on display are made from delicate merino wool. As Luca Missoni, director of the Missoni Archive reveals, “Wool is an essential ingredient in our work, so much so that wool has practically become a synonym for Missoni: Missoni, knit, wool; wool, knit, Missoni.”
‘Le forme della moda’, The Forms of Fashion installation of Missoni garments dating from 1953 to 2014.
Flowers in a Serpentine Vase by Osaias Beert the Elder and Glass Vase with Flowers with a Poppy and a Finch Nest by Jan van Huysum
Twenty two paintings in one single gallery make up the Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National – many of which have been loaned from private collections. From the preview pictures we’ve seen, we can’t wait to view these amazingly vibrant paintings in the flesh. No wonder the collection of these magnificent artworks has been described by the Telegraph as “like a psychedelic version of a florist shop”.
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, ‘A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase on a Ledge with further Flowers, Shells and a Butterfly’, 1609-10
Showcasing paintings from the beginning of the 17th century right through to the late 18th, Dutch Flowers examines the origin of the genre as well as the height of its popularity in the Dutch Golden Age. What’s most remarkable about these paintings are the colours, used to portray a depth and intensity that truly brings them to life. But lifelike though they are, many of the arrangements are simply not possible in reality – the flowers pictured together in many of the paintings do not bloom at the same time of the year. They are works of beautiful imagination.
Dutch Flowers is a free exhibition that runs until 29 August 2016; more details here.
Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery at the V&A
We have a little confession to make – this exhibition doesn’t open until October. However, it was so up our street that we had to include it. It’s always good to plan ahead! The first exhibition in more than half a century to showcase the work of medieval English embroidery, Opus Anglicanum is already creating a real buzz among those who appreciate the fading art of needlework. It may come as a surprise to you that in the medieval days, the English were renowned for their exquisite needlework – so renowned in fact that many of the items on show were created for royalty or religious dignitaries. Several of the pieces are even on loan from the Vatican.
Incredibly opulent materials, from gold and silver thread to pearls and unique gemstones, are all carefully and intricately stitched into the fabric to create pieces that are as mesmerising today as they were when they were first made. The exhibition promises to explore this incredible level of craftsmanship and the world within which these items were created.
Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery runs from 1 October 2016 to 5 February 2017 at the Victoria & Albert museum. Full details of the exhibition can be found here.