Saturday, 8 January 2011

Late night at Tate Britain

Went to the late night at Tate Britain last night. I went with a work colleague to specifically see the Muybridge exhibition.

Leland Stanford, Jr. on his Pony "Gypsy"—Phases of a Stride by a Pony While Cantering 1879
It was interesting viewing - his panoramics of San Francisco were particularly impressive! His studies of animals and people in motion are prolific and are used extensively by creatives around the world. He also invented the zoopraxiscope so that these stills could be put back in motion for audiences. A zoopraxiscope was on view at the exhibition, but sadly the projector that was supposed to project some zoopraxiscope images was not working :(.

About the exhibition: (taken from the Tate website)

Muybridge was the man who famously proved a horse can fly. Adapting the very latest technology to his ends, he proved his theory by getting a galloping horse to trigger the shutters of a bank of cameras. This experiment proved indisputably for the first time what no eye had previously seen – that a horse lifts all four hooves off the ground at one point in the action of running. Seeking a means of sharing his ground-breaking work, he invented the zoopraxiscope, a method of projecting animated versions of his photographs as short moving sequences, which anticipated subsequent developments in the history of cinema.

British-born Eadweard Muybridge, who emigrated to the United States in the 1850s, is one of the most influential photographers of all time. He pushed the limits of the camera's possibilities, creating world-famous images of animals and humans in motion. Just as impressive are his vast panoramas of American landscapes, such as the Yosemite valley, and his documentation of the rapidly growing nation, particularly in San Francisco. His dramatic life included extensive travels in North and Central America, a career as a successful lecturer, and the scandal of his trial for the murder of his wife's lover.

This exhibition brings together the full range of his art for the first time, and explores the ways in which Muybridge created and honed his remarkable images, which continue to resonate with artists today. Highlights include a seventeen foot panorama of San Francisco and recreations of the zoopraxiscope in action. His influence has forever changed our understanding and interpretation of the world, and can be found in many diverse fields, from Marcel Duchamp's painting Nude Descending a Staircase and countless works by Francis Bacon, to the blockbuster film The Matrix and Philip Glass's opera The Photographer.

I also viewed the Romantics exhibition and enjoyed looking at Turner, specifically Sun setting over a Lake (circa 1840) and some of Turners sketches. Henry Wallis' Chatterton (1856) and I had forgotten how much I like Lucien Freud, particularly his black ink sketches.

But the most unexpected treasure was to stumble upon the shadow operas by Matthew Robins and his band! They were joyful to watch and listen to! 

The shadow puppets and cut out stencils were projected and enacted live through an overhead projector and they were glorious to watch. Inspired no doubt by Lotte Reiniger. 

Flyboy goes to the Butchers, Matthew Robins

This week has been an arduous week at work, with so much to do (modules, assignments, course folder to prepare, training day and marking stacking up); it was only the fact that this was the only late night opportunity to get to see the Muybridge exhibition that forced us to make the effort on such a miserable, cold and rainy night. Although we were pretty exhausted at the end of the night, it was refreshing for the soul to go there and I'm glad I forced my weary body and mind to make the effort to go to the Tate!

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