V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL

Shadow Catchers: Camera-Less Photography at the Victoria & Albert Museum

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum), exterior picture

Address:Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL
Map:See V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) on a map
Nearest Station:South Kensington
Gloucester Road
About: V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) is home to art spanning the last two thousand years of history. The museum was first established in 1852. The principle upon which the Museum was founded was to make art accessible to the entire nation and to inspire Britain’s young artists and designers.Much of the funding for the museum was generated by the Great Exhibition of 1851. During its infancy the museum set out to collect the very best examples from every conceivable art form including textiles, furniture and metalwork. The V&A is also home to possibly the world’s greatest collection of fine art. As the collections grew, so did the museum. Originally designed to be temporary exhibition halls, the glass roofed buildings still remain today as some of the best examples of Victorian building in the capital.

In 2001 the British Galleries reopened after restoration work. Exhibits include James II’s wedding suit, the Great Bed of Ware and British works from the fifteenth to twentieth century. The Victoria and Albert Museum also houses the National Collection of Art of Photography and has been displaying photography since 1858. Daniel Libeskind’s controversial eight-storey ceramic spiral is due to be completed in 2004.

The V&A has more than four million exhibits, across four floors, ten acres and 145 galleries. The galleries are laid out according to genre, time period and artist.

Admission to the V&A is free.

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Dinner? Pub? Club? ... Museum?
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Culture vultures: head to London's best museums and galleries
The V&A Museum in South Kensington has a little bit of everything. Amazing architecture – in particular its domed roof, a beautiful courtyard (soon to be developed into an even more appealing public space) and a collection of art, fashion and antiquities from throughout the ages. From ball gowns to Bowie, and Raphael to Samurai, there is a something for everyone.

Aaah! London's most romantic places
When you’re surrounded by great examples of artistic human achievement it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and ever so slightly fainty – make sure there’s somebody with you to catch you if that feeling takes over in one of the V&A’s exceptional galleries. We find the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries to be particularly noteworthy, romantically speaking.

Best shops to pick up an unusual gift
‘Hey where d’you get that Devo coin wallet, that David Bowie tee shirt, that Bauhaus-esque rubber apron and that William Morris china set?’ The answer to this one very long question is, ‘I got it all at the V&A Museum shop. A place where the weird stands next to the normal and gifts reside in the leftfield of gift-giving.’

London's finest furniture stores
The V&A shop is a famously hit and miss kind of place. On one hand it might provide you with an affordable exhibition tote bag but on the other it will infuriate you with its ridiculous prices for items like hot water bottles (£60?!). One thing that often goes unnoticed – not by us of course – is that it stocks the odd exquisite piece of furniture. Mainly dealing in chairs – you know, hand carved rocking chairs, patchwork armchairs, that sort of thing – it’s a good place to go for inspiration, even if you don’t make a purchase.

What's On

Starts on
Mary Quant
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London
Time: Daily: 10.00 – 17.45; Friday: 10.00 – 22.00
Admission: £12
Starts on
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London
Time: Daily: 10.00 – 17.45; Friday: 10.00 – 22.00
Admission: £16 - £18
Starts on
Concealed Histories: Uncovering the Story of Nazi Looting
Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London
Time: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 - 17:45
Admission: Free

"Shadow Catchers: Camera-Less Photography at the Victoria & Albert Museum"

Review Rating: 8 / 10
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The five artists taking part in this unconventional exhibition demonstrate there’s more to photography than a camera lens. Shadow Catchers contains a selection of both the abstract and the highly realistic, thanks to the use of fascinating techniques such as the photogram and chemigram processes. Far from being a novelty, many of these methods have existed for decades – chemigrams for instance are created with just photographic paper, chemicals and light to produce painterly images, this method has been in existence since the 1830s.

Gary Fabian Miller’s experiments with light result in otherwordly landscapes, while Floris Neususs’ photograms of human figures create ghostly shadows, caught in the act. However it is Susan Derges with her poetic landscapes who steals the show. A sequence of images illustrating the metamorphosis of a tadpole into a frog lines one wall - images that have been produced by placing photographic paper over the jar containing the baby amphibians and allowing a flashlight to expose their silhouettes. A majestic depiction of the ripples of a river has been made by submerging the paper in the water and using both the light of the moon and a flashlight to create the resulting pattern.

Shadow Catchers demonstrates the endless possibilities of manipulating light and using chemicals on paper, often to spellbinding effect. This exhibition runs at the V&A until the 20th of February.

Leila reviewed V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) on Thu 06 Jan 2011

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