June 2015

  / June 24, 2015


Helen’s Diary is Back -by Popular Demand!

It’s been a busy month. In May we had our studio show Not Only When The Moon Shines, based on the Japan part of our Living Quarters project.

We have been delivering and installing the sold pieces, and then turning the “gallery” back into its normal function as my studio. Incipient chaos is creeping over the perfectly tidy surfaces-that’s the way I like to work. An over-tidy studio can be inhibiting.

1 The studio returns to chaos

[The studio returns to chaos]



A very colourful show this year, curated chiefly by Michael Craig-Martin with galleries painted a series of strong colours including candy pink.

In the court yard there is a huge, ambitious sculpture The Dappled Light of the Sun by Conrad Shawcross, who is currently the youngest R.A.

For the Summer Exhibition Party the front of the R.A. was brightly illuminated.

1a R.A.Illuminated front

[R.A Illuminated front]

2 R.A. with conrad Shawcross sculpture

R.A with Conrad Shawcross sculpture]

3 Helen and Colin at R.A.SUMMER 2015 by Dave Bennett for getty images

[Helen and Colin at R.A Summer exhibition 2015 by Dave Bennett for getty images]

4 Helen with Susie Allen Huxley on the Jim Lambie stairs [Helen with Susie Allen Huxley on the Jim Lambie stairs]

4a Jim Lambie Stairs at the R.A

[Jim Lambie Stairs at the R.A]

5 Helen and Grayson perry being photo bombed by a musician

[Helen and Grayson perry being photo bombed by a musician]



After seeing the beautiful work by El Anatsui I have become increasingly interested in art works made from recycled or very humble objects. This room of 80,000 blue plastic bags at the Saatchi looked like an ocean of giant hydrangea petals.

6 Plastic ocean at the Saatchi gallery

[Plastic ocean at the Saatchi gallery]


V and A


As well as the brilliant continuing McQueen show at the V and A, there is an architecture show that reminds us about public spaces-the point is, they belong to us. Also at the V and A in a small show about luxury, this lighting piece caught my eye. It is the sort of light you can imagine Oberon and Titania having if they were contemporary fairies, composed of a metal frame with real dandelion clock heads on each light.

Another reason for me to visit the V and A is that it’s beautiful Raphael room will house the next Tunnel of Love party for the B.H.F. so Colin and I went on a recce as he is creating a wonderful something for it….watch this space! Tickets go on sale soon so register your interest for updates:


7 Neon reminder at the V and A

[Neon reminder at the V&A]

8 Dandilion Clock Light at the V and A

[Dandilion Clock at the V&A]

8a Raphael Room at the V and A

[Raphael Room at the V&A]



Just discovered the most delicious thing ever…… Susie and Paul came to dinner in the studio and bought these amazing cakes, they are from the Sainte Anne patissiere in Hammersmith and they are called Hokusai. Well they were very floating world and ethereal, with a brilliant flavour mix including chestnuts and matcha green tea.

8b Hokusai cakes

[Hokusai Cakes]



This show is really worth traveling for. In North West Norfolk David Cholmondeley has invited James Turrell to show in his house and garden. The show is exceptional- Turrell really makes one think about perception, light and shade, and indeed our relationship to the universe.

A wooden structure is approached by a cloud pruned double hedge. Inside it is a bit like a giant sauna in perfect wood. A carefully crafted square in the roof is open to the elements and that is the art-it’s the sky-but it’s art-but nature isn’t art…..my aesthetics tutor at art school would have had a problem with this one.

The garden holds other delights such as this Rachel Whiteread shed and Richard Long circle of slate. It also has some beautiful borders and hidden grottoes.

At weekends the front of Houghton Hall is illuminated by Turrell design at dusk on Fridays and Saturdays. It is obviously the right time for the colourful lighting of classical buildings. I remember as a child the Brighton Royal Pavilion was illuminated, then the council decided it was kitsch and stopped it, so I’m pleased to see it’s considered okay again now.

9 James Turrell at Houghton Hall

[James Turrell at Houghton Hall]

10 James Turrell triangle at Houghton Hall

[James Turrell triangle at Houghton Hall]

11 James Turrell Sky at Houghton

[James Turrell Sky at Houghton Hall]

11a Helen and Colin in the Skyspace at Houghton by Peter Marston

[Helen and Colin in the Skyskape at Houghton Hall by Peter Marston]

12 Richard long Slate circle at Houghton

[Richard Long slate circle at Houghton Hall]

13 Rachael Whiteread shed at Houghton

[Rachael Whiteread shed at Houghton Hall]

14 Houghton Hall

[Houghton Hall]

15 Grotto at Houghton

[Grotto at Houghton Hall]

16 Border at Houghton

[Border at Houghton Hall]

17 Border at Houghton close up[Border at Houghton Hall, up close]



The National Portrait Gallery has a lovely little show of absolutely brilliant and eccentric images where Sir Roy strong has dressed as various famous images, as interpreted by the photographer John Swannell. What better way to celebrate turning 80?

18 John Swannell images of Roy Strong

[John Swannell images of Roy Strong]

18a Roy Strong at the N.P.G

[Roy Strong at the N.P.G]

19 19 Helen at John Swannell show N.P.G

[Helen David and John Swannell show]



To the Serpentine for the launch of their annual pavilion. This year’s was eminently photogenic, light hearted and great fun. It’s a double skinned polygonal structure made of a polymer, in some places it’s woven like webbing. Some panels are opalescent. The designers are selgascano, a studio headed by Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano who are the first Spanish architects to be asked to design the pavilion. My young friend Oscar Vogel [age 12] took the best photos, but here are some of mine, after he showed me how it should be done.

20 Colin in the Serpentine pavilion

[Colin in the Serpentine Pavilion]

21 Oscar in the Serpentine pavilion

[Oscar in the Serpentine Pavilion]

22 Detail the Serpentine pavilion

[Detail in the Serpentine Pavilion]


[Serpentine Pavilion – photo by Oscar Vogel]


[Serpentine Pavilion – photo by Oscar Vogel]


[Serpentine Pavilion – photo by Oscar Vogel]