Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Til Death Do Us Art

For the first time in what feels like forever, the temperature raised just enough last weekend for me to shrug off my heavy winter coat, big furry hat and boots.  Oh joy!

So, we took the opportunity to don our Sunday finest (or at least, something without thermal properties) and headed over to the Welcome Collection to have a look around the Death - A Self-Portrait exhibition.

Unfortunately, photography was not permitted once inside the exhibition.  I have seen numerous photos taken by my friends who have also been to see it, popping up on Facebook - but frankly, I am just not stealthy enough to sneak a few snapshots and didn't fancy getting told off by the museum staff.

I did, however, take a photo of the pretty lights in the cafe, and in the lift!

Anyway, here's a few pictures from the exhibition that I found online...

Marcos Raya, Untitled (family portrait: wedding), 2005 Collage: vintage photo with mixed media

Marcos Raya, Untitled (family portrait: grandma), 2005

The exhibit, as you can imagine, is macabre, with some rather creepy pictures and photos on display.  But perhaps the creepiest thing of all was John Isaac’s wax sculpture, ‘Are you still mad at me?’ (2001).  Propped up on a wooden crate, this life size piece was all skin, bone, flesh and guts and reminded me of a gruesome version of one of Gunther von Hagens' preserved bodies.

I loved all of the Día de los Muertos iconography, as well as the giant bone chandelier (made of plaster).  It was also quite fascinating and eye-opening to see the figures of how many people have died of various different causes during the 20th century, shown on a large spider diagram which took up an entire wall.  

But probably my favourite part of the exhibition were the little postcards which looked like skulls from a distance, but when you got up close they were two people kissing, or two people having a drink together, or a lady resting on a rock, and so on.  One of these pictures was used on the main poster for the exhibition.  I found them to be a mixture of romantic and haunting, but ultimately very clever in design. 

This is certainly a curious collection, belonging to Richard Harris, a former antique dealer based in Chicago.  It's worth a visit, and runs until the 24th February 2013.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Celebrating one year as Mr & Mrs!

Today is my one year wedding anniversary!  What a year it has been....time sure does fly when you're having fun!

I have already shared some of the photos taken by our wedding photographer Mike Massaro in a previous blog post, but I thought that today I would share some of the shots that our friends and family captured on our big day, as we really treasure those too, and enjoy looking through them.

We love the Instagrams....

The black and white shots...

The candid snapshots...

The posed ones...

 ....and the action shots!

My husband (I will never get tired of saying that!) and I will be returning to the pub where we held our wedding reception for dinner tonight.  After that we will be heading to Swing at The Light for some anniversary dances!

Love is in the air.... ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The View from the Shard

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to preview The View from the Shard.

The Shard, situated by London Bridge, is the second tallest building in Europe and features the UK's highest open air observation deck.

The exterior of the building is made entirely of glass, which together with its shape is how it gets its name - because it looks like a shard of glass.

Designed by Italian architect, Lorenzo Piano, The Shard has 72 habitable floors - the 72nd features the observation deck, and is 244 metres off the ground.

The 365 degree view across London was, as you would expect, simply incredible.  You get to see all the famous landmarks from way up in the sky, and I have to say, the city looks truly beautiful from this birds-eye vantage point.

I went in the evening at 6.30pm, so by then it was already dark.  Luckily the snow from earlier in the day had stopped falling, and so we had a clear view of everything, all lit up.  Apparently what you see before you is a 40 mile view of London, which is quite astonishing!

I was rather amused to discover that you can admire the view of London from the comfort of a porcelain throne!  The bathrooms feature cubicles with toilets situated right next to a full length window, which makes for some pretty impressive loo breaks!

The View opens to the public on the 1st of February 2013.  Tickets are a bit pricey (just under £25), but if you get the chance, I would definitely recommend going, as it's quite a remarkable experience gazing over all the familiar sights and beyond, from such a great height.