London Architecture Diary - February 2016 Guest Editor Benjamin O’Connor

Monday 1 February 2016

I am delighted to be the LAD guest Editor for February! As the days start to get a little longer and the rain lets up, I hope you’ll enjoy some of the amazing events and exhibitions that London has to offer to get over those winter blues.

As an art enthusiast, I hope you’ll forgive my indulgence by focusing on a couple of excellent exhibitions that blur the lines between art and architecture. London is packed full of galleries and a firm favourite of mine is the Frith Street Gallery where you can currently catch some incredible works by Bridget Smith. Smith is motivated by her passion for the architecture and aura of cinema spaces, with her work encompassing a range of media including film, photography and found objects to consider the various elements that make up an auditorium.

Smith´s ´Blueprint for a Curtain´ works are scale cyanotype prints depicting ruched-silk cinema curtains. The prints seem to roll down the walls of the gallery and spread across the floor in fluid motion. In another series of work entitled ´Blueprint for a Sea´, Smith alludes to the wave like pattern formed by rows of cinema seating, intense blue forms refract light on the surface of the ´sea´.

On the 15th, join ground-breaking collective ´Assemble´ at the AA for a discussion about their Granby Four Streets urban regeneration project which saw them claim the Turner Prize, making them the only architecture collective ever to have won the prestigious prize!

The lecture entitled From Toxteth to the Turner Prize will discuss the ways in which Assemble are blurring the boundaries between multiple disciplines, ensuring that architectural collectivism gains its place as an art-form.

If, like me, you have a mild obsession with all things Sherlock Holmes then you can take part in a crime inspired cryptic challenge in partnership with Hidden City and Time Out London. For ‘Hidden City – Moriarty’s Game’ you will need to gather up three friends to solve a trail of clues prepared by Moriarty himself! Explore exhibitions celebrating contemporary architecture, drink in Georgian public houses, scrutinise 15th century art in a Mayfair townhouse and finally find his safehouse to receive an exclusive offer...

From the 22nd January at The Photographers’ Gallery, you can find a retrospective of Saul Leiter’s work. It features more than 100 works, including early black-and-white and colour photographs, sketchbooks and ephemera and is Leiter’s first major show in a public gallery in the UK. Inspired by his neighbourhood in New York, Leiter’s photographs cover street life, portraiture, still life, fashion and architectural photography. Despite his prolific career, Leiter did not receive due recognition for his pioneering role in the emergence of colour photography until late in his life.

Finally, head over to the Guildhall Art Gallery’s ‘Visscher Redrawn’ where one of the most iconic images of post-Renaissance London has been recreated to show the capital’s modern landscape, as part of commemorative events to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Artist Robin Reynolds reimagines Visscher’s landscape in a modern context that will be displayed alongside Visscher’s original print at Guildhall Art Gallery from the 20th February.

It may be cold in February but as a keen horticulturalist I try to get out into the City’s open spaces to enjoy the snowdrops and crocuses and the promise of Spring! So don’t lock yourself away, enjoy the frost and flora on your way to one of the City’s amazing sites.

Benjamin O'Connor, Director, The City Centre

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