Design Museum, London

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On my extensive museum tour of London I also managed to visit the new building of the Design Museum. It used to be located in a relatively small building by the Thames, and now it has a much more representative space to go wild with the exhibition displays.

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The former Commonwealth Institute building has a spacious interior and exhibitions spread out on all levels. The permanent collection is situated on the top floor and it shows many design aspects, and the whole display ends with a working 3D printer.

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The main theme of the permanent collection is the connection between the designer, the maker and the user. You can also see ‘how it’s made’ videos of certain object, and the process of making tennis balls was particularly mesmerising for me.

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Tate Britain, London

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This was my first time visiting Tate Britain and after seeing the collection and the exhibitions it immediately became one of my favourite London museums.

The day I visited was quite rainy, it was drizzling the whole day, which gave me an excuse of exploring the whole building for about 6 hours.

As soon as you walk in, you notice a striking design of the “foyer”.

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It is rather difficult to try and summarise the whole experience in just a few sentences. I found myself surprised at almost every step, as every room was unexpected and the art varied from classic to contemporary.

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Henry Moore Room

What is beautiful about Tate Britain, apart from everything, is the dedication to preserving British art. We often visit museums with international art collections, but celebrating one’s own puts a focus on artists that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.

I was quite taken with some of the striking architectural elements of the exhibition spaces, particularly the ceilings.

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One of the most beautiful and most famous paintings at the museum is Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais. Of course all of the gift shop items have the flower print from the painting, but there is something to be said about the artwork. Seeing it in person is breathtaking. The light in the painting is so delicate on Ophelia’s face, the colour of the flowers is so beautiful and rich that it touches your heart. For me it was the most emotional piece in the permanent collection.

Besides this painting, the coolest piece exhibited was the latest commission by the museum, and it’s a wow factor. It’s an installation by Cerith Wyn Evans called Forms in Space… by Light (in Time).

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Another good reason for visiting Tate Britain would be the Turner Collection, which is the biggest collection of Turner’s work in the world. Seeing the film Mr. Turner was actually my only preparation for this trip. I recommend viewing the film as it gives you a better understanding of the ideas behind his way of painting and experiencing the world.

 

As the last part of my post, I present you the exhibition Queer British Art 1861-1967. It was my main reason for visiting the museum in the first place. The exhibition explored the period between the abolishment of death penalty for sodomy and partial decriminalisation of sex between men. The display evoked various emotions, from sadness to anger, and it was beautifully curated.

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Here are some of the other pieces from the museum:

Royal Academy of Arts, London

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Luckily I managed to visit this two-month long exhibition that included over 1200 artworks, most of which were for sale. Some of the prices were very spicy.

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It was fun walking around the gallery space with the booklet of every artwork and their price. One of the most expensive artworks for sale cost over  £285 000.

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It was really wonderful to see so much contemporary art and to be moved by it.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition:

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, V&A London

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Victoria & Albert Museum is currently exhibiting the incredible artistic legacy of Cristóbal Balenciaga. There are more than 100 pieces on display that showcase the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century.

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The exhibition is actually the 100th anniversary celebration of the opening of Balenciaga’s fashion house in Spain. Among the stunning dresses and jackets, you can also see shoes and hats.

This exhibition was my main reason for visiting London, which says a lot about my love for the fashion of Balenciaga. There is such poetry in his designs, complex technical construction that looks so simple to make, but only at a first glance.

So many of his designs feel fresh and modern even today, and that is why he has been such a long-lasting influence in fashion.

He was one of the few designers who designed everything himself, and going behind the genius of his construction and idea is very inspirational. The exhibition has x-rays of dress constructions, videos of runway shows, beading, and sewing patterns.

My favourite exhibition pieces were the dresses which were spinning inside the glass boxes, where you could get a sense of how dramatic and sculptural his designs were.

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The second part of the exhibition are designs of modern designers that have been inspired by Balenciaga. It is a lovely exhibition space with some of the craziest fashion designs I’ve seen in a long time.

 

The exhibition is open until February 18, 2018 and definitely have a look if you find yourself in London. You will be inspired!

 

Diana: Her Fashion Story, London

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In the year when we are commemorating the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing, in her former home there is an exhibition of her fashion, for which she was very much distinguished.

Being only 10 years old when she passed, I was not aware of her so much, especially not why she was beloved by so many people. Recently I watched a new documentary featuring her sons, called Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, a very moving piece of television from which I found out many wonderful things about the Princess and it kind of broke my heart that she was only 36.

This exhibition is located in 6 smaller rooms on the upper floor of the Palace, and it traces her style evolution. You can see some of the most iconic pieces she wore, and photos to remind you of the occasions she wore them in.

For someone who was in the spotlight so much, she commanded and spoke through her choices of clothes so well that it has become one of the reasons we remember her so vividly.

It is an exhibition worth visiting, especially if you are fond of fashion and its history.

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After you exit the building, visit the memorial garden called the White Garden. It is a beautiful piece of garden design.

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Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, Berlin

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Exhibition Surreal Worlds is currently open at the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg Museum, which is located across from the Charlottenburg Palace.

The focus of the exhibition is on Jean Dubuffet, French paintor and sculptor who founded the Art Brut movement.

It is a short but nonetheless an interesting exhibition of mostly paintings, including a Giacometti sculpture too.

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Since I haven’t learnt about the Art Brut movement much, but am a fan of surrealism, it was a nice introduction into the world that is between the two movements.

I recommend the exhibition to art lovers that have half an hour to spare in observing distorted figures that could bring a smile to your face.

 

Bröhan Museum, Berlin

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Exhibition Kiss. From Rodin to Bob Dylan is another stellar offering from the Bröhan Museum. It explores the meaning of kiss through many different art forms and covers the period from the late 19th century onward.

Through the exhibition you can see the political and social meanings of the act, as it also covers subjects of identity and feminism. Some of the artists on display include Bob Dylan, Edvard Munch, Cornelia Schleime, and Marina Abramović.

It is open until October 3rd and every first Wednesday of the month the entrance is FREE so definitely have a look if you find yourself around the Charlottenburg area, or plan ahead even.

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img_00271.jpgMarina Abramović

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Sofia City Art Gallery

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The last museum space from my Bulgarian trip is the city gallery. It is one of the most important cultural places of the capital. The gallery only opened in its current location in 1977.

The exhibition Viva Italia! was nearly over when I visited, but it was one of the most colourful and diverse exhibitions I have seen in a while.

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the national art gallery + the ethnographic museum, sofia

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Both museums are located in Sofia Palace dating back to the 19th century. It is a Turkish administrative building that was remodeled into a palace. It has been a heritage site since 1978.

Even though the exhibitions that I saw are not active anymore, the building itself is a very interesting space to explore.

I was one of the few visitors that day, but perhaps everyone was preparing for the exhibition opening that night – The Highlights of Croatian Art – 20th and 21st century. They simply must have known that I would be in town that day to see my people’s art.

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As soon as you walk into the building you notice the beautiful glass windows in the staircase.

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On the ground floor was an excellent exhibition of B&W photography by the family Karastoyanovs. It was a great introduction to Bulgarian history and folklore, with a big focus on the destruction of war. There was also a short documentary about the family and its most prominent members.

Upper floor was designated for paintings and a few modern installations in the most lavish space of the entire building.

Across the hall is the entrance to a small collection of the Ethnographic Museum. Unfortunately a lot of the artifacts got destroyed in the fire during the Second World War.

From all the things on display I was mostly excited about the clothes, its craftsmanship and the meaning behind its elements.

For anyone not familiar with Balkan traditions, it would be a nice little introduction to visit this museum.

City Gallery of Fine Arts, Plovdiv

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This lovely gallery is situated in a cobbled street uphill from the city centre, and when you pass these gates you can feel a wave of calm while walking up the stairs to the entrance.

Me and my dear friend were the only people inside the gallery and it was nice having the whole space to ourselves, to roam around in silence.

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The gallery has three floors of exhibition space and it displays mostly paintings and sculptures.

Here are some of my favourite pieces.