Sound installation St Augustine’s Tower, Hackney

St Augustines Tower Alex Baker has a sculptural sound installation in our local clock tower on Mare Street in Hackney, St Augustine’s Tower. It is absolutely magical, to go into this space and experience it with the sound work. There is a reciprocal relationship where I think both the art and the tower gain a great deal from having the other around it. For the piece, titled A Recurring Sequence of Events, Alex has installed 72 speakers throughout the tower which are playing in a recurring ‘sequence’ of notes, which is controlled by a sculpural-audio-amplifying set up in the top of the tower. If you are in in Hackney you absolutely must take this opportunity to check out the tower, or go back if you have been in before, if you are in London anywhere else, then this is a really good reason to come visit us here in Hackney! You can get in there every weekend afternoon until the 14th October, but check out Alex’s website below for exact times.
More information on Alex Baker’s A Recurring Sequence of Events site-specific sound installation.

Saffron cauliflower bake

I’ve just made this brilliant cauliflower dish for the second time, and decided its really worth spreading the word about Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe published in the Guardian Weekend earlier this year.

Saffron Cauliflower - finished

One of my favourite things to do with cauliflower, before I discovered this recipe, (and now that I don’t eat dairy, so the obvious and rather delicious Cauliflower Cheese isn’t an option) was to saute it along with onions and green chilli, cumin seeds, freshly ground coriander and cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon juice to finish (Madhur Jaffrey provided the initial inspiration for this dish).

Ottonlenghi’s saffron cauliflower bake, which includes red onion, green olives, cumin seeds and sultanas, is a nice variation on the onion, cumin, cauliflower combination. In both cases the cauliflower is cooked just enough to be tender but firm.

Saffron Cauliflower - ingredients

And putting it together is such a pleasure—not just because its so easy—but the raw ingredients look stunning together.

[Edited 4.03.2010 to finally add photos I took of it the next time I made it!]

New season of art on Vyner Street, London

Klara Kristalova

It is the start of a new season in the art world and I can’t remember the last time I saw so many good shows in one go. Vyner Street is rocking! Starting off at Stuart Shave/Modern Art, is a group show called Effigies – which in this case refers mostly to busts as opposed to full-length figures, but not always known figures as you might expect from the title. There are, however, lots of known names in this show, like Henry Darger, Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois, but 2 of the highlights for me were lesser-known artists Klara Kristalova and Terence Koh.

Swedish artist Kristalova has two beautiful painted and glazed stoneware pieces in the show, The Rights of Spring (2007) (pictured) is my favourite. It is a striking but somehow tender image of a girl, head bowed, the tendrils of a waxy plant growing out of her eyes. The ceramic around the eye sockets is cracked, as if to indicate the plant forcing its way out of the sculpture, in fact, these tendrils have been fired out of the very same clay.

Terence Koh’s sculpture, The Golden Balls of My Youth (2007), is a gold plated double faced cast of his head, hung upside-down from a cable coming out of the neck. The mouths are open and you can see right through one mouth and out the other – but the surface of the lips and the inside of the mouth is distressed, it is not a continuation of the straight representation of the body inside.

Both these pieces seemed to refer to interiority, both human and sculptural. Interiority as in what we see in Kristalova’s piece, and through what we say in Koh’s work. And then both the interiors of the human form were rendered as a ruptured sculptural surface – which breaks the narrative of the figure but somehow resonates with it too.

Round the corner at Nettie Horn is another group show, The Joy, curated by participating artist Kate Street. This show has a few nice pieces, Debbie Lawson’s Collar and Cuffs (2007) being one – this is a sculpture of a little side table with plant on top, both of which have been covered in a rich patterned carpet, as if it crept up from underneath and smothered these pieces of household furniture.

There are also some interesting paintings on at Fred and sculpture at David Risley gallery – both worth a look. You’ll also want to leave time for the new Wilkinson Gallery which has just moved from round the corner to an enormous warehouse like space, which also has a project room currently showing film/video works.

Stuart Shave/Modern Art gallery website
Artist Klara Kristalova’s website
Nettie Horn gallery website

Blind Light at the Hayward

photo described below

I am really glad that I managed to get to the Anthony Gormley exhibition at the Hayward Gallery this summer. The Blind Light cloud installation was quite an experience – it was hot and damp and completely disorienting. You really couldn’t see further than the end of your arm, so at the same time as being isolated, you were really close to complete strangers, as they loomed out of the cloud right in front of you or as you listened to them call out to lost friends.
Click on the photo to see more photos of the exhibition on my Flickr stream.