Amsterdam Museum and Festival of Light

Lauren Ewing: Light Wave

On one of our evening strolls around Amsterdam, we came across this light sculpture which we discovered was part of an annual Light Festival. Best visited by canal boat, we booked up for a couple of nights later. We knew we were likely to get cold and wet in the evening so looked for somewhere dry and warm during the day, and decided to visit the Amsterdam Museum.

Until 1960, the building housing the museum was an orphanage. In one of the courtyards, shown above, you can see the cupboards that the children used to store their possessions, now filled with art. I wasn’t too taken with the main body of the museum which had been revamped since our last visit to provide (according to Lonely Planet) a “multi-media DNA exhibit, which breaks down Amsterdam’s 1000-year history into seven whiz-bang time periods”. Whiz-bang is not really me, and I also found the red and white timeline wall difficult to focus on.

The Civic Guard Gallery in the arcade next door was more interesting – you could both look down on it from inside the museum and enter (free of charge) from street level. On view are original group portraits, made between 1530 and 2007 by artists such as Bartholomeus van der Helst and Erwin Olaf, as well as Goliath, a 350-year-old wooden giant. From what I remember about the colourful carpet, I think each square represented a different country and we were able to find Scotland from the key.

We did, indeed, get very cold and wet on the way to the (open) boat, but fortunately the rain went off so we were “only” freezing cold during the 75 minute tour of the 35 light sculptures. Here’s a selection of my favourites – this first one is a general view of how busy the canal was, but it also shows one of the installations. Ai Weiwei’s Thinline (the red lights) ran the whole length of the route.

Ai Weiwei: Thinline

You might recognise some of the buildings in the next two images from an earlier post – the funny little roof-creatures outside the library, and NEMO Science Museum. The pyramid is Infinita by Cecil Balmond. In A necessary darkness, Rona Lee chose to invert the norm by projecting a lighthouse beaming out darkness onto NEMO’s wall.

Claudia Reh created a large projection, It was once drifting on the water, on the façade of the Hermitage Museum in collaboration with local primary school children. Myth by Ben Zamora is a grid of horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines which light up in different combinations at different speeds.

Eye to eye by Driton Selmani represents a giant nazar amulet that protects people, animals, and objects from the evil eye. If you’ve been to Turkey, you are probably familiar with it – we have one hanging in our bathroom. Whole hole, by Wendel & de Wolf, was probably my favourite installation: it was exciting to be drawn through it into the tunnel.

Lifeline by Claes Meijer was interesting: it showed the waves of sound which a boat engine makes underwater, so changed as we passed it. Lynne Leegte’s Windows are probably self-explanatory!

Floating on a thousand memories (Lighting Design Academy) achieved its effect by reflecting small lights in the water and in mirrors on the water’s edge. The next sculpture is prettier than its title – The life of a slime mold. it’s an enlargement of the mucus fungus by Nicole Banowetz. Nice!

The final pairing is Citygazing: Amsterdam (VOUW) and Be the change that you want to see in the world by Bagus Pandega. The former is a giant light map of the city. The latter scrolls one of Gandhi’s most famous quotes – I think you can just make out see in the passing by. A good motto to live by.

My goodness, were we shivering when we got to this point! We were happy to find a cosy pizza restaurant and then head back to the warmth of our apartment.

This is my last post about Amsterdam itself – for the moment: we’ll be back again later in the year. However, we took a couple of day trips out of the city, so stay tuned for tours of Haarlem and Utrecht.

Happy Christmas!

Edinburgh at Christmas
Edinburgh at Christmas

We’ve made a couple of trips over to Edinburgh in the last few weeks to visit art exhibitions, but also taking plenty of time to appreciate the sights and sounds of Christmas: the funfair, the market, the Street of Light.

This gallery is my Christmas card to you.

The last picture has nothing to do with Christmas at all: John snapped this tour bus coming up from Edinburgh’s New Town on one of our summer visits. I just love the composition and don’t want to waste it, so here it is!

Edinburgh tour bus
Edinburgh tour bus

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! May 2017 bring us all hope and joy. See you then.

 

Electric Gardens 2

Kibble Palace
Kibble Palace

For the second winter, Glasgow’s West End Festival is putting on its Electric Gardens light show in the Botanics. We headed along on Friday evening and braved the cold to wander around for an hour or so. We enjoyed watching the fire-dancers.

Then it was on past the glass-houses – one of my favourite sights this time and last. They look as if they are on fire.

Glasshouses
Glass-houses

Then wandering in amongst the spookily lit trees and plants:

Finally, we watched the Kibble Palace change colour several times before heading off for some food and drink to warm us up.

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Electric Gardens is running until 6th December. Follow the link for ticket information.

Electric Gardens

Kibble Palace
Kibble Palace

Take a walk round Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens as you’ve never seen them before. Electric Gardens is the West End Festival’s first winter venture and it’s on till 15th February (follow the link to find out how to get tickets). The walk takes about 45 minutes.

Enter by the gates next to the Kibble Palace (above) then follow the lights round to the hothouses.

Pass eerily lit trees and go through the Rose Garden.

Marvel at the Disco Ball as it changes colour.

Shout into a microphone and see your voice represented – in this picture, it looks to me as if the house behind is screaming. Just round the corner, a spooky row of dresses blows in the breeze.

View the hothouses again from the other side of the gardens.

Before leaving, go inside the Kibble Palace. The statues look quite different, almost scary, with the lights from outside shining through the glass.

When you’ve finished, take a final view from outside the railings then head off for one of Byres Road’s many cafés or restaurants for a warming cup of tea.

I have added this post to Restless Jo’s Monday Walks. It’s a great idea, check it out!