Despite spending his whole professional life in the Belgian seaside town of Ostend, James Ensor was very successful in his lifetime and exerted considerable influence on the development of Expressionism. An innovator and an outsider, he rebelled against the conservative art teachings of the late 19th century academy in Brussels, drawn instead to the avant-garde salons where his radical creative vision could thrive.
Ensor’s childhood spent among the fantastical treasures of his family’s curiosity shop offers a clue as to how the seeds of this wild imagination were sown. The imagery of masks and carnivals runs through much of his work, from vibrant colours and flamboyant costumes to an ever-present sense of drama and satire.
We invited the artist Luc Tuymans, a fellow Belgian and admirer of Ensor, to curate this unique exhibition. Taking a personal view, Tuymans looks back at Ensor’s singular career through a selection of his most bizarrely brilliant and gloriously surreal creations.
Revel in some of the most interesting, most transgressive moments in cinema, as we explore the trashier side of celluloid.
From famously grubby origins as a fairground attraction, film is looking pretty respectable these days: there are reviews in broadsheet newspapers, directors recast as ‘auteurs’ and the pomp and circumstance of international festivals.
But for all this, the movies have never been entirely co-opted into official ‘high-culture’. Part art form, part mass entertainment, they have always had a trashier side, and this has made it one of the great pleasures of cinema-going across the years. If we stick with only ‘good films’ and ‘acceptable’ content, well, we’re missing out on some of the greatest moments in all cinema.
In this spirit, Barbican invites you to revel in some of the most interesting, most transgressive moments committed to celluloid, carefully curated by our team.
Featuring work by Catherine Breillat, Werner Herzog, Douglas Sirk and ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters, among many others, this season of arthouse shockers, exploitation classics, ‘failed art movies’ and outrageous melodrama feature questionable morals, shocking endings, a bit of nudity and a whole bunch of raised-eyebrow moments.
The original contemporary late night event. Friday Late celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with leading and emerging artists and designers through live performance, film, installation, debate, DJs and late-night exhibition openings.
This October the V&A is teaming up with online magazine and collective gal-dem. Made up of over 50 women of colour, gal-dem offers their take on the world. With an all-female line up, as we invite you to twerk to empowerment, share a soul food recipe and hear London’s best MCs.
This is the first of two events in collaboration with gal-dem, as part of preparations for V&A East, our new museum planned for East London opening in 2021. Part two will be held close to the site of the new Museum in February 2017 – watch this space for further details!
‘Day of the Dead’ party with set to include a scare fest of surprises; Tarot Card readings, circus performers, fire eaters plus a world class magician in Marcus Lewis, formerly of Head Hacking.
The club will receive the Halloween makeover with spiders, clowns and ghouls floating around the venue for a once in a lifetime crazy golf experience whilst DJs keep players going into the night. With four diverse courses on offer and Halloween themed cocktails.
Unlock the future with an in-house Tarot Card reading, watch in marvel of the London’s finest fire eaters and dodge circus performers taking over the space in between courses all at the city’s best crazy golf venue.
Expect scary creatures jumping out from hidden spaces around the four courses sure to keep the most fearless clutching on to your (golf) balls.
Bart’s Dog Kart will be on hand to supply hot dogs and nachos throughout the fright fest alongside special tasty-yet-horrifying cocktails the many bars.
The club will continue to open seven days a week from 12:00 until 11:00pm. Weekday and Sunday tickets are priced at £9.50 per person with Friday and Saturday tickets priced £10.50.
Straight from the sold out run at Vault Festival where it was awarded Pick Of The Year, Skin a Cat is a bracingly candid account of sex and shame, gut-wrenching and side-splitting by turns, this is a truly alternative coming of age story about going all the way.
Every teenager thinks they’re the only one not having sex. But for Alana, it may well be true. She really wants to, but luck is clearly not on her side. Soon she can’t help wondering: Is it this tricky for everyone else? Because no one ever said it was going to be this complicated. 😫
The show follows Alana on an awkward sexual odyssey with a kaleidoscope of off-kilter characters: from getting her first period at nine years old and freaking out her frantic mother, to watching bad porn at a house party with her best friend’s boyfriend, to a painful examination by an overly cheery gynaecologist – all in the pursuit of losing her virginity and finally becoming a woman, whatever that means…
A significant architectural installation exhibited for the first time since its initial presentation in 1971. It is one of the earliest instances of the artist producing built environments to intentionally discomfit or disorientate the viewer.
‘In the gallery, there were some skylights above one wall. I installed blue fluorescent lights below the sky lights. It messed up your ability to see the space clearly because when you got under them you started getting a lot of afterimages. Everything became a little jumpy… There was nothing else in the space. So the idea was that it would be hard to know what to focus on and even if you did, it would be hard to focus.’ – Bruce Nauman
While in many ways representative of the minimalist aesthetic of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Natural Light, Blue Light Room also reveals a specific set of ideas that concerned Nauman at the time. He devised Natural Light, Blue Light Room at a time when artists were attempting to reduce to the barest minimum what was necessary for an action, object or intervention to be declared an artwork. He had already started to explore how to change the emphasis from the production of an inert art object to an installation that would create a particular physical or psychological experience for the viewer. In order to fulfil this aim, he set aside the convention of representing light, temperature or space in a sculpture or image, and instead used these phenomena as the actual raw material or media of his work.
Walking into the gallery, viewers experience a physical response to the empty space and unfamiliar light. With time, they discern two different light sources – the natural daylight and blue fluorescent lights. This initial physical stimulus grows more confusing as the atmosphere in the room changes and resets itself with the shifting light outside. Meanwhile, the blue light remains wholly consistent, becoming a strangely tangible presence in the room, thus acting like an image or symbol, almost an object in itself, inviting the viewer to interpret their own reaction to the disorientating experience of the room.
*This art installation is best experienced during daylight hours
The Celestial Chain spearheads a new generation in Time Run’s evolving model of elevating traditional live gaming experiences. Running concurrently with the critically and publicly acclaimed Lance of Longinus, this ground-breaking, interactive experience allows Time Runners to travel through multiple fast-paced time zones.
An exemplary scoring system will enable teams to chart their achievements against other Runners and offers the opportunity to return time and again to beat previous scores. The new format of the game boasts the capability to allow larger groups to compete; in just over two hours, seven teams will be able complete the experience. With a set amount of time in each time period, The Celestial Chain is a high-octane, adrenaline-fueled quest which immerses teams in more beautifully crafted worlds than ever before and offers a number of possible endings to the quest for a truly indulgent experience of pure escapism and action adventure.
Behind an apparently unremarkable warehouse door in London Fields, time traveler Luna Fox and her robotic companion, Babbage, are once again recruiting Time Runners as they battle with an ancient force bent on revenge. A rogue goddess, once imprisoned, has broken free of her shackles – the titular Celestial Chain – and is moving freely through time; wreaking havoc and leaving a trail of devastation in her wake. Time Runners must journey from the distant past to the far-flung future, gathering lost and concealed artefacts to bind the goddess once again; or risk the end of the world as we know it.
Time Run is at the forefront of the new generation of live gaming experiences, developing the phenomenon by combining intricately planned game design with high-end technology and impressive production values. Created by a team of expert game designers, production specialists and live event organisers, Time Run is perfect for thrill-seekers and families, novices and experienced gamers alike. Time Runners can enjoy the new mission in teams of 3-4 people, and have one hour to complete their quest by piecing together the story, solving puzzles and finding hidden clues. For those who succeed, the dream of being an action adventure hero can become a reality.
Three days of World Class Music from well over a hundred bands and performers in venues right across Stoke Newington.
The vast majority of the gigs are free and there’s a no ticket policy throughout the festival.
With everything from Top Rock Bands to Inspired Classical Spotlight’s and some truly irreverent Spoken Word thrown into the mix, there’s nothing stopping you from checking out all the venues and seeing some of the most talented musicians and wordsmiths playing in London today.
Enter the weird and wonderful mind of Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams as he brings the Barbican’s Curve gallery to life with his quest into The Gulch.
Navigate a succession of surreal and theatrically staged scenes as you embark on a journey conjured by one of the contemporary art world’s most exciting and innovative artists. From a pair of singing running shoes to a depressed hypnotist and a talking goat, Bedwyr’s curious and often subversive internal dialogue plays out along the Curve’s space in this fantastical installation. Physical and metaphorical twists and turns will guide you through the gallery and ultimately inspire you to give your own performance, one that will fill the cavernous gorge of the gulch for those following in your footsteps.
Minute observations are elevated to a monumental scale and compelling scenarios come to the fore on this intriguing and immersive journey.
An exceptional fifteen minute experience, encapsulating the unique history and alchemy behind the creation of Dom Pérignon.
Opening its doors on South Molton Street, in the Lanes of Mayfair, the striking installation entitled ‘Transformation’ will take you on a multi-sensory journey to uncover the magic of Dom Pérignon, through the exploration of sight, sound and taste, starting with a tasting of Dom Pérignon vintage 2006. Open for just four days, ‘Transformation’ is a one-off experience, not to be missed.
Dom Pérignon is unique, only releasing vintage champagnes, created using the best grapes from an exceptional year’s harvest. Transforming in the cellars over time, each vintage evolves in a succession of peaks known as Plénitudes, offering different expressions of the same vintage. Dom Pérignon’s champagnes reach their first Plénitude (P1) after seven years and the second Plénitude (P2) after 15 years.