Two new art exhibitions for spring 2024 at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing

Contemporary art amidst historical elegance: discover Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery’s newest exhibitions

Guest blog by Isabelle Carey

As winter blankets West London, Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery has become a beacon of warmth and creativity with the unveiling of two new exhibitions by artists, Alice Irwin and Sinta Tantra.

Opened on January 24, 2024, the exhibitions, Alice Irwin: Chinwag and Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia, offer a fascinating juxtaposition of contemporary art within the historical setting of Pitzhanger Manor, the Grade-I listed former residence of renowned architect Sir John Soane.

Image above: Alice Irwin: Chinwag. Photo by Aston Law. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

A Glimpse into Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery’s Legacy

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery stands as a living testament to the visionary genius of Sir John Soane (1753–1837), one of Britain’s most influential architects.

Acquired by Soane in 1800, the Grade-I listed manor was transformed into his idyllic country estate, showcasing his mastery of neoclassical design and innovative use of natural light. Following an extensive £12-million restoration project, the gallery reopened in spring 2019, meticulously restored to Soane’s original vision.

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery promotes Soane’s legacy by juxtaposing his timeless architecture with contemporary art exhibitions, inspiring creativity through outreach and events.

Pitzhanger Manor. Photo by Andy Stagg. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

Welcoming Alice Irwin and Sinta Tantra

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery welcome the newest exhibitions, Alice Irwin: Chinwag and Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia. Both exhibitions, while distinct in their approaches, share a common thread of dialogue between contemporary artistic expression and Sir John Soane’s historic legacy.

Alice Irwin: Chinwag takes centre stage in Pitzhanger Gallery, marking a significant milestone in Irwin’s career as her first major exhibition in a London-based public gallery.

The exhibition, curated by Svetlana Panova, immerses visitors in a realm of youthful creativity, blurring the boundaries between print, sculpture, and drawing. Irwin’s innovative use of materials is showcased through her Peeps series—boldly coloured 3D figures inspired by childhood experiences.

Drawing inspiration from Pitzhanger’s history, the exhibition playfully questions the social norms of Soane’s era, presenting a dialogue on the evolution of social structures over time.

Image above: Alice Irwin: Chinwag. Photo by Aston Law. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

In parallel, Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia unfolds across the historic Pitzhanger Manor, offering a visually striking journey through Tantra’s geometric paintings and sculptures. Part of Pitzhanger’s Artists at Home series, the exhibition explores themes of light, wealth, and the duality of beauty and colonialism.

Tantra’s fascination with gold, symbolising energy and extraction, adds a historical and cultural layer to her works. The pieces, including six new works from her miniature painting series, interact seamlessly with Soane’s architecture, redefining the viewer’s perception of space and history.

Hosting Alice Irwin and Sinta Tantra simultaneously at Pitzhanger is an exciting venture. Continuing the tradition of giving a platform for contemporary artists across Pitzhanger — just as Sir John Soane did, set up a fascinating dialogue between new and old and makes us look at the classical artchitecture in a new way.

Together, these exhibitions enrich each other, offering more than their individual parts and inviting visitors into a world where art and history intersect.”

Image above: Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia. Photo by Aston Law. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

Accompanying Talks and Events

Complementing the exhibitions are talks and events.

Pitzhanger Late: Triple Exhibition Tour on February 1, 2024, offers guided tours of ongoing exhibitions, providing insight into the creative worlds of Irwin, Tantra, and Tim Bret-Day’s photographic exhibition, Echoes & Idioms. This unique evening promises an intimate exploration of art and history.

Additionally, an artist’s talk featuring Alice Irwin and Thomas Marks will delve into the intricacies of Chinwag, exploring themes of social interaction and the human experience. The conversation unveils how Irwin’s art playfully questions social norms of Soane’s era, creating a dialogue on the evolution of social structures over time.

For more information, please visit: pitzhanger.org.uk

Isabelle Carey is Executive Assistant to the Director at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, Ealing Green, London W5 5EQ.

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