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Paul Strand, Wall Street, New York (1915). © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

This Week 14th March - 20th March

14 March 2016 Lydia Cooper

This week, pack in as much as you can before the arrival of Easter next weekend: immerse yourself in botanical history and get down to some grime, discover Nordic delights and practise your piano skills. It also marks the opening of three brand new shows at the V&A, South London Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, so there are boundless opportunities to explore photography, sculpture and fin de siècle Russian painting.

The Poetics of Grime at the ICA

On Wednesday 16 March, there will be a panel discussion and series of performances exploring the poetic significance of grime lyricism at the ICA. Speakers and performers will include ICA Associate Poet Kayo Chingonyi, the rapper and MC Jamal (aka Eklipse), and the poet and teacher Debris Stevenson. From 8pm until late there will be DJ sets in the bar, featuring James Massiah and Greeds. The cultural background to grime is rich and fascinating, and the genre originated from the pirate radio and UK garage scene; the evening at the ICA will combine music, poetry and London culture with a live experience of grime.

The event begins at 6.30pm. Tickets to The Poetics of Grime are £7/£8.

 

The Scandinavian Spring Market

From 10am-5pm on Saturday 19 March, the Scandinavian Spring Market will be on Albion Street (between the Finnish and Norwegian Churches) in Rotherhithe, SE16. Stalls will sell street food and other tasty Nordic treats, clothes, jewellery and gifts, and there will be a festive Easter atmosphere. They promise live music, face painting for children, and even a ‘Moomin appearance’: the giant Finnish fictional character, resembling a hippopotamus, will be available for cuddles. There will also be an Easter Fair inside the Finnish Church.

The Scandinavian Spring Market is free, and it runs all day on Saturday.

 

Chelsea Physic Garden Through the Ages

On Monday 14 March at 1pm, you can discover the fascinating past of the Chelsea Physic Garden. It is the oldest botanic garden in London, and it still serves the same purpose as it did when it was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. In those days, the society’s apprentices would study the medicinal qualities of plants, and it became an important centre for botany and plant exchange. Nowadays, it’s still a hidden gem in London, accompanied by the very popular Tangerine Dream Café. The garden has over 100 different types of tree, including rare trees and the world’s most northerly grapefruit tree. The lecture by Michael Holland, the Head of Education at Chelsea Physic Garden, will explore its past and some of the antique technologies pioneered by the garden, as well as its notable people and plants.

The lecture at Barnard’s Inn Hall is free, on a first-come, first-served basis. The Chelsea Physic Garden is open 10am-4pm Monday-Friday, and tickets are £9.50 (£6.95 conc.).

 

Exhibition openings: Michael Dean, Paul Strand, Russia and the Arts

The National Portrait Gallery’s Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky will open on Thursday 17 March. Alongside masterpieces on loan from Moscow, the exhibition will focus on great writers, artists and composers (including Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevsky) and how they helped to develop a rich cultural scene in Russia between 1867-1914. It will explore Russian Realism, Impressionism and Symbolism during this period.

On Friday 18 March, the South London Gallery open their major new exhibition: Michael Dean’s Sic Glyphs. In his new installation, Michael Dean will explore what it means to read a text, using concrete, naked steel reinforcement and other materials to evoke the physical reality of contemporary urban surfaces and textures.

The V&A open their Paul Strand retrospective on Saturday 19 March. Strand was an American photographer and filmmaker, and his work influenced our ideas of fine art and documentary photography today.

The Michael Dean exhibition at the South London Gallery is free. Tickets to Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century at the V&A cost £9 (concessions available). The Russia and the Arts exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery costs £6 (concessions available).

 

It’s All About Piano! at the Institut Français

Over three days this week, the Institut Français will be hosting a series of piano-related events. These include free tuition for families, screenings of films with piano accompaniments, and masterclasses with virtuosos such as Alexei Lubimov. We’d particularly recommend the Jazz Café, which runs throughout the festival: a variety of maestros will be playing and there is the chance to enjoy a glass of French wine or some tea and macarons while you listen.

It’s All About Piano! is on from 18-20 March at the Institut Français; lots of the events are free but some are ticketed, so check beforehand.

 

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