Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. Water Lilies and Sunflowers among paintings being resurrected using 3D scanners

    Artists using cutting-edge technology and forensic analysis have reconstructed a series of lost masterpieces, including versions of Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

    The re-creations are the work of Factum Arte, a group of artists and technicians whose projects have included an exact reproduction of the burial chamber of Tutankhamun. The Concert, a 17th-century work by Vermeer which was stolen in 1990 in the biggest art heist of modern times, has also been re-created, along with a 1954 portrait of Winston Churchill by Graham Sutherland, which the wartime leader’s wife, Clementine, destroyed in disgust.

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  2. Head of Space network issues warning in book marking 50th year of studios set up by artists Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgely

    The head of a leading arts organisation has warned that London’s status as a world-class creative city is at risk because artists are being forced out of the capital.

    Anna Harding, the chief executive of Space studios, which provides premises for nearly 800 artists including three Turner prize winners, blamed rising property prices and shrinking studios for dramatically squeezing the time and space available for creative activity. Artists now face a choice between working full time to pay the rent and fitting in a few hours in their studios at weekends, or giving up entirely, she said.

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  3. The artist in traditional Mexican costume photographed by her Hungarian-born lover Nickolas Muray at the end of their secret affair

    The Hungarian-American photographer and Olympic fencer Nickolas Muray took this photograph of Frida Kahlo in traditional Mexican dress and cigarette in hand on a rooftop in Greenwich Village, New York, in March 1939. The pair were at the end of a secret love affair that had begun in Mexico eight years earlier.

    Kahlo, whose life will be celebrated in a large-scale exhibition of her personal belongings at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London opening on 16 June (for which tickets have just gone on sale), was then 32. She was in a moment of typically contrasting fortune, having just returned by boat from France where the surrealist André Breton had organised an exhibition of her work and where a painting of hers, the self-portrait The Frame, had been purchased by the Louvre. While in Paris she had, however, been ill once again: in hospital with a kidney infection. A few months earlier, her first solo show in New York had been a great success – the actor Edward G Robinson had bought four of her paintings – but all the time she was aware that, back in Mexico, her incendiary marriage to the painter and revolutionary Diego Rivera was unravelling.

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  4. Urban Sketchers (also known as USk) is a worldwide group of more than 60,000 people who create drawings of the places they visit. Founded by journalist Gabriel Campanario in Seattle in 2007, the movement quickly went global with the help of social media. It is important that the drawings are done in situ. “It makes you look at things,” says Simone Ridyard, architect, senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art and a founder of the Manchester and Salford Urban Sketchers group. “Some of the things I really like are the tramlines and litter bins and postboxes – the urban clutter. It’s not about drawing beautiful things; it’s about what’s in front of you.”

    Ridyard mainly uses fine-liner pens overlaid with watercolour, and has drawn places from Rio de Janeiro to Singapore to Padstow. The Manchester branch has more than 2,000 members, many of whom meet regularly to sketch individually or in groups. ”There’s no pressure; you might do one drawing, you might do five,” says Ridyard. “It’s about slowing down and enjoying the view.”

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  5. From arctic surfing to a special election in the US, protests against gun violence to the shooting of a popular politician in Rio, Russian fashion to the diplomatic row caused by the Skripal incident; we take a look at the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists

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  6. To mark St Patrick’s Day, the Photographers’ Gallery in London is releasing newly restored pictures of rural Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s by a pioneer of British and Irish postcard art, John Hinde

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  7. From Claude Monet’s radiant water lilies to PaulCézanne’s rendering of the verdant French countryside to the rosy pigments of Auguste Renoir, more than 65 masterpieces on loan from Paris’s Musée d’Orsay celebrate the 19th century’s most important art movement.

    Tony Magnusson, coordinating curator at the Art Gallery of South Australia, talks Guardian Australia through the latest show

    Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsayis on at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 29 March – 29 July

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  8. David Zwirner, London
    The painter dealt with the advent of communism in Poland by creating ambiguous works that hint at deep cultural trauma

    The driver, an unnatural blue, like the inside of his cab, keeps his back to us. I suspect he is deaf to requests. Framed by the vehicle’s split front windows, a landscape unfolds before us, two abstract planes of blood-dimmed sky and bone-white earth. It is a journey without end and one that seems to go nowhere. Are we even moving? His upper arms are invisible, as if his hands were fixed on the unseen steering wheel. Or is it that they have been chopped off at the elbows and there are no controls at all?

    Blue Chauffeur is one of the great and earliest works of the Polish painter Andrzej Wróblewski’s tragically brief career. It was produced in 1948, when he was just 21 and coming of age in a world that demanded its inhabitants take a position. Literally so, in the case of the Soviet-sanctioned social realism that would soon dominate the early 50s, with clearcut stories of war’s heroes and villains and newly empowered workers. More acutely, as his friend and posthumous champion, the director Andrzej Wajda once explained, this was a generation that felt they “were the voice of the dead”. Aged 14, Wróblewski himself had witnessed his father die of a heart attack while Nazis searched their home.

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  9. Quantum physics and contradictions unite the vast number of works on display for a biennale that goes beyond mere spectacle

    There is a simple and quiet work by the Belgian artist Michaël Borremans called The Bread (2012) in this year’s Biennale of Sydney. It recalls the work of Flemish 15th century portraits, close and intimate, but it’s a modern picture too. It’s of a girl’s upper body, dressed in a blue top, her hands in front, her gaze downwards. I was fairly certain I was looking at a photo of a painting. On closer inspection, it appeared not to be a real person at all, perhaps a model … And then the girl blinked.

    Related:Lady and the Unicorn: Mona Lisa of the middle ages weaves a new spell

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  10. National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, London
    Unknowable thoughts cross faces, pears dissolve and Hockney wanders around … companion shows offer breathtaking film portraits and curated works that compellingly give pause

    In a room in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, hung with portraits including John Donne and William Shakespeare, three groups of jewel-like miniatures, lit in such a way that they appear from a distance as glimmering points of light, sit on the grey wall. The rhythmic clattering sound of a projector rumbles.

    On a screen no wider than a hand’s breadth, three actors pose for the camera. Sometimes seen alone, sometimes all together, David Warner, Ben Whishaw and Stephen Dillane sit and lounge and stand. The light shifts across their faces. All of them have at some time played Hamlet on the London stage, and the title of Tacita Dean’s film, His Picture in Little, is taken from the play. Sometimes appearing to exchange glances, at others ignoring one another entirely, the three actors have nothing to do, no part to play, except to be there and to be filmed. There are private expressions, appeals to the camera (and by implications, ourselves), smiles and twitches and wry glances. You watch them thinking, waiting, being. They don’t even have to be still, as they would were they being painted. Sometimes one or other disappears. Trees appear, clouds, the light shifting along with the sitters’ unknowable thoughts. Warner does some wry actorly grimacing and eye-twinkling, as if he’s thought of a private joke. His resplendent eyebrows do their thing. Whishaw examines a mug of tea, and stands beside a window, coruscated by daylight. We only imagine their thoughts, their patience and unease. Dillane sits as though in a photo-booth, waiting for the camera’s flash. Sometimes they lie down under a big sky. Actors rest and actors wait.

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