Nestled in the wining and dining area of Hoxton Square where many a reveller will flock to the bars of a weekend night, is the White Cube, one of London’s most notable galleries.
Immediately striking are the clean, industrial, modernist lines that punctuate the gallery’s affinity for modern art. In classic modern-gallery style, the floors are polished concrete, the walls are stark white and there is small gap between the plasterboard and the flooring, giving the illusion of walls which are floating an inch or so above the ground. Adorning the walls, in neat, square sets of rectangular rusted-metal display cases, are the artist’s works.
Anselm Kiefer’s title for the exhibition Des Meeres und der Liebe Welle (The Waves of Sea and Love), is taken from the lines of a play by Austrian writer and poet Franz Grillparzer. Defining the eye line of the room is the three-dimensional monster of a painting/sculpture and centre piece of the room a large scale-model ship, which has been rusted and weathered and mottled, and then hung in a lean-to fashion on a highly textured canvas which looks at once like it has been plastered, and muddied and yet intricately crafted. With no captions for the paintings written on the walls, it must be assumed that the synergy of the collection is dictated according to the visitor’s own wandering interest.
Only two rooms constitute the exhibition, with the larger hall downstairs and the smaller but thematically loyal room upstairs offering around 30 works for fairly rapid appreciation. Each of the works is similar in its style and content, meaning a cursory glance over the paintings is all it needs when the kids are clamouring to get out of the place and find somewhere to eat.
The gallery is not too busy, meaning that the rooms are quiet and uncrowded, and you have enough time and space to stand observing the works, and to walk slowly and casually around the room a few times taking everything in.
Finally, and perhaps best of all, the gallery has no entry fees, and (for those of you who don’t like being asked for money) no donations box standing sentry in the entrance hall. Take your time, take the kids, and avail yourself of a spot of culture before a spot of lunch, in Hackney’s bustling heart, just minutes away from the station and your route home again.
Opening Times: 10 – 6pm Tuesday – Saturday
Exhibition Dates: 11 Mar—9 Apr 2011
Address: 48 Hoxton Square London N1 6PB
DIRECTIONS FROM THE ELL STATION TO THE GALLERY: