Love, life and death at Nature Morte

Guildhall Art Gallery’s alternative celebration of Valentine’s Day

As romantic clichés take over, Guildhall Art Gallery is offering an alternative Valentine’s Day experience, inviting you to celebrate something that we all have in common: life and death. Inspired by the core themes in Nature Morte, this Late event promises an enjoyable night of music, art, drawing, and cocktails. 

Watch a top-notch Victorian entertainment show, enjoy a variety of activities (including still life drawing, flower pressing or tote bag making) and hear a talk about ‘ethical’ taxidermy with Jazmine Miles-Long. DJ Museum of Vinyl’s life and death-inspired playlist will provide the soundtrack to the evening.

Nature Morte, one of the largest exhibitions ever presented by the City of London Corporation at Guildhall Art Gallery, illustrates how leading artists of the 21st century have reinvigorated still life. With over 100 pieces from different disciplines going beyond the two-dimensional, including sculpture, digital, and sound, Nature Morte displays works by artists including Mat Collishaw, Michael Craig-Martin, Gabriel Orozco and Marc Quinn. 

Elizabeth Scott, Head of Guildhall Art Gallery & London’s Roman Amphitheatre, said, Nature Morte celebrates the age-old themes of life and death and yet, when you reflect on these themes, love isn’t very far away. Life, death and love go hand in hand, and what better way to explore these themes than an alternative Valentine’s Day Late that celebrates the romantic, morbid and life-affirming?

The exciting events programme is as follows:

Talk on ‘ethical’ taxidermy with Jazmine Miles-Long (7pm and 8.15pm, Basinghall Suite) Described as an ‘ethical’ taxidermist, Jazmine Miles-Long produces work using only animals that have died from natural causes. This is an exciting opportunity to discover and understand the techniques used to create her work.  The audience will be able to handle objects and tools that show the process of taxidermy in different stages, while Jazmine also reveals some of the romantic stories in taxidermy historically. [please note: no dead animals will be used during the talk.]

Memento Mori Still Life: Death Drawing workshop with Art Macabre (7 – 10pm, Undercroft) Join London’s purveyors of death-positive creativity, Art Macabre, to create your own unique memento mori collage. Be inspired by a contemporary twist on a traditional still life set up in the space, with objects from fruit and bones to symbols of modern life. Cut and paste a DIY design that will remind you of your own mortality. A reflective, creative activity to help you explore and draw inspiration upon looking death in the face. 

Don’t go into the Cellar present ‘Tea with Oscar Wilde’ (split into three acts, taking place at intervals throughout the evening, Amphitheatre)

A chat show with a difference brought to you by Don’t Go Into The Cellar! Theatre Company – the British Empire’s finest practitioners of top-notch Victorian entertainment. Join Oscar Wilde as he interviews a leading celebrity of the Victorian era, recounts a story or two and invites his audience to get ‘Caught in the Act’! Jonathan Goodwin plays the famed Victorian wit, in a show packed with comedy, music and audience participation.

15-minute tours of Nature Morte with Curators (Michael Petry, Roberto Eckholm (Museum of Contemporary Art)) (7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm) Join the curators of Nature Morte for a brief introduction to the exhibition, as they will highlight particular works and discuss what inspired them to create the show. This major exhibition is one of the largest shows ever presented at Guildhall Art Gallery – with works displayed by artists including Mat Collishaw, Michael Craig-Martin, Gabriel Orozco and Marc Quinn.  

DJ Museum of Vinyl (7-10pm, Victorian Gallery) Museum of Vinyl will be spinning an eclectic mix of sounds inspired by, and exploring the themes of, life and death.

Flower pressing ‘make and take’ activity (7-10pm, Victorian Gallery) Flora has traditionally held a special place in the still life tradition. Explore the relationship between this symbolic motif and the passing of time, whilst pressing flowers and using your artistic skills to create your own keepsake to take away.

Tote bag decorating ‘make and take’ activity (7-10pm, Victorian Gallery) Using stamps and stencils displaying the common themes of still life – flora, fauna, food, domestic objects and vanitas – you can decorate a tote bag and express your own thoughts on life, death and the transience of time to make your own still life creation in the form of a tote bag!

Nature Morte has been assembled by MOCA London.

Guildhall Art Gallery
Guildhall Art Gallery was established in 1886 as ‘a Collection of Art Treasures worthy of the capital city’. See works dating from 1670 to the present, including seventeenth century portraits, Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and a fascinating range of paintings documenting London’s dramatic history.  General admission to Guildhall Art Gallery is FREE; however, an entrance fee may be charged for some exhibitions, with concessionary rates for senior citizens, registered unemployed and registered disabled.  Call 020 7332 3700 / textphone 020 7332 3803 for a daily recorded message or for more information.  

The City of London Corporation 
The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the ‘Square Mile’. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles: 

To support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London

Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of around £20 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

To help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London. 

The City of London Corporation also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

Love, life and death at Nature Morte
Guildhall Art Gallery’s alternative celebration of Valentine’s Day

Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AR

Friday 16th February 2018, 7pm – 10pm Exhibition dates: Thursday 7th September 2017 – Monday 2nd April 2018

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