Tate Modern: Magic Realism in Weimar Germany makes you feel a whirlwind of emotions!

“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands” Michelangelo

Magic Realism exhibition in ‘Tate Modern’. Taken by Georgina Blackwell.

I have never been much of an artist myself, but I have learned to appreciate it. My uncle whom also lives in London, is a big fan of art and has a Tate Modern membership that allows him to bring an extra person. We have started to visit different exhibitions together, which is great for me as he is able to explain things about the art as well as I can ask questions. We recently went to what I thought was an incredible exhibition.

Tate Modern currently has an exhibition on magic realism which focuses on art in Weimar Germany from 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Done up until 1933, the year that Adolf Hitler was appointed as chancellor of Germany.

Magic realism was invented by German photographer, art historian and critic Franz Roh in 1925 and is used to describe modern realist painting with fantasy or dream-like qualities and subjects.[1]

Having lived in the Netherlands, I studied Weimar Germany and Hitler Germany rather intently, so this exhibition fascinated me. Not only was the art beautiful, giving the sense of ‘un-quiet’, meaning a deliberately unsettling nature of some pictures and themes in Magic Realism’ such as those on suicide, but the entire exhibition was very educational.

A timeline of Germany’s history from 1919-1933. Taken by Georgina Blackwell.

The first room has a timeline from 1919 until 1933, showing the steps that changed Germany. Shown in the photo above.

You see a range of art, from massive, colourful canvases to small cartoon-like drawings. Each and every piece throws so much emotion at you.

We saw pieces that were very brutal and upsetting, with the celebration of the murder of women; ‘lust-murders’ and about suicide. Shown in some of the photos above, one where multiple people have committed suicide and the canvas is mainly red, and another which shows people being pulled into a black hole (representing the holocaust).

This theme of utter sadness and darkness was evident out throughout the whole exhibition. With paintings that were mainly done with dark colours and portraits of people with faces that would make you tear up just looking at them. As well as many paintings had skulls and people painted very skeleton-like.

Powerful women. Taken by Georgina Blackwell.

On the other hand, the photos above display positive images of powerful women. They are standing upright and have strong facial expressions.

There were a few paintings that gave a more positive vibe, trying to put a bit of humour in the paintings. Shown in the paintings above of a man making himself have a double-chin and in the paintings where a bird has come in and broken a statue, the man is searching for the bird however its right behind him.

My uncle and I noticed a theme that was an undercurrent throughout the exhibition, which was androgyny, noticed in a painting of a young man posing with makeup on, a painting of a women in a suit and in pictures of cross-dressers. This would have been viewed with much greater disapproval in the 1920s and 30s All shown above.

The exhibition has a range of themes that are noticeable which seemed to underpin these powerful emotions, namely darkness.

Another theme that we noticed was the use of straight and parallel lines, shown a painting above of Amsterdam and of a women’s silhouette without a head.

As an overall, I would definitely recommend this exhibition. The development of Art in The Weimar Republic is a very significant to Germanys art and culture.

Georgie xx


[1] https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/m/magic-realism

People’s Vote March and a day in Hyde park!

Today was a really inspiring, amazing  and eventful day and so I thought I’d share it with you!

On the 20th of October, Isabella (another LSBU journalism student) and I went to the People’s Vote March in Hyde park. It started at 12pm at Hyde park and ended at the houses of parliament. Approximately 700,000 protestors marched.

We decided to go because Isabella was writing her weekly patch story on the matter and I thought why not join her. I’m extremely glad that I did because it was an incredible experience, full of interesting people with amazing signs.

On the way to Hyde park you could definitely tell that something was going on. The tubes were absolutely packed to the brim, with us having to squish in the tube. The moment we got out of the tube at Marble arch, we could see hundreds of people. People giving out “We demand a people’s vote” stickers and “Final say for ALL” stickers as well as people holding up their massive signs they had made. Seeing the ages of the people was also very inspiring as it went from tiny children to the elderly, everyone was there!

When we starting walking we almost immediately came to a standstill. The reason being that so many people showed up to the march that we couldn’t actually march. We of course took this to our advantage and started interviewing people, and oh my did we meet some incredible people. Everyone was so opinionated and really wanted to share their stories with us, which was great!

One woman called Sarah was holding up a massive hand painted sign of a car, saying “Leave the E.U. & Nissan leaves too” and she said “I’m marching for my future and I don’t know if this will change anything but I’m not losing the hope.” A man called Derek, who you could tell was extremely pissed off about Brexit said “It’s a bag of shite” and that the “Politicians don’t give a toss”.

Many people we spoke to mentioned young people and how it will affect our future. Saying that it shouldn’t affect them in any way since they won’t be around for much longer, but that the next generations will have to grow up in a messed up British system.

Another thing we noticed was the amount of elderly people that showed up to the march. Many saying they were also there to prove that they, who were partially blamed for all voting leave in the first referendum, wanted to stay in the EU. That they care about the kind of world the rest of us will grow up in. One couple, Sally and Andrew, told us how they were “devastated”, explaining how they had lived in the time before the UK was a part of the EU and how much better it got when they joined. Saying when they used to travel to Spain the maximum euros you could take with you was 50. Meaning their parents would have to pay for all the meals, hotels etc beforehand.

At some point I thought of an idea to see who voted leave or stay at the original vote, to see whether there were many people that had changed their minds. We asked 32 people and only 3 of them were people who originally voted leave. However, when asking this a man gave an very interesting point that “We should mobilise the 28% who didn’t vote” rather than try and get the leavers to change their minds.

The last thing I want to add were the amazing signs we saw when walking around, people have the most imaginative minds.

We saw one young boy wearing an inflatable dinosaur with a sign saying “Don’t take us back in time”.

There were European girls holding up a sign saying “Citizens of the world are citizens of everywhere”.

A dog was wearing a jacket saying “My name is Wickham and I think that Brexit is a rubbish idea”. Me being a dog lover, I almost died of cuteness overload, clever doggie!

Another clever sign which played on lyrics was “Never gonna give EU up!”.

There was a man holding a massive banana which read “BREXIT is STRAIGHT BANANAS”.

One last funny one I saw, which is a bit inappropriate but hilarious, read “Stop Fucking Us!” and had drawing of men’s genitalia with heads of Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Michael Gove. As well as this, everyone was covered in the EU flag.

Having lived in the Netherlands and attending an international school, when Brexit came about, there was an extreme amount of hatred towards England. My friends firing so many disgusting comments and I felt angry and ashamed. I’ve always been very patriotic over England and so it upset me hearing these thing. Plus seeing the shit that England was/is dragging itself into. Going to the march made me feel very proud of England. It was so incredible seeing how many people not only showed up but how passionate they were. Let’s hope it makes a difference and a people’s vote is on the way!!

After the March Isabella and I sat and ate lunch in Hyde park. We then went for a cycle (felt like I was back in Holland for a bit!! they bike everywhere!) around the park, which was my first time properly exploring the park and wow…the weather was perfect, with the sun shining, which made the park look even more gorgeous. I couldn’t get over how big it was, it was so nice to be in an area that didn’t feel like you were in the city. It felt so quiet and peaceful, it was breath-taking. I will definitely be going back there.

After we did that we decided to go on a little girly shopping spree on Oxford Street, we were traipsing around for ages, going to Forever 21, Zara, Primark of course, River Island, Bershka, H&M, Urban outfitters and Boots. Luckily all that walking was worth it because we both got some beautiful items. I definitely can’t wait to wear them(it’s the LONDON LOOK)!!

We didn’t stop there, when we got back we ate dinner and then decided to go out. We went to a very LSBU popular near-by pub called The Dover Castle. I had already been a few times, loving it every single time so I thought why not take Isabella there. We had a very long night or dancing and singing out lungs out!! It was fantastic.

It was such an eventful day, doing something pretty much every hour. I must admit it was definitely one of the best days I have had in London. I am so desperate to explore new places since London is so huge. This felt like a start, a boost if you will, to finally start properly exploring. A start to finding cool new places in London!

Georgie xx

Is a Busker any Tom, Dick or Harry?

Here’s Tom in action with help from the audience, photo by Adan.

What makes Busking so intriguing? Living in a big, expensive city like London means that for some, busking is the only way they can make a living. Busking ranges from dancing, magic, comedy and much more. Busking has become so popular in London that you are able to see them left, right and centre.

Tom, who is photographed above is one of the many Buskers in London. He has been busking for almost 5 years and is a professional street performer. All his income comes from his everyday performances near the London eye, where the majority of the tourist’s roam.

You’re probably thinking that’s risky, how does he make enough money from only doing busking? This is where Tom’s communication is key, he uses interaction, comedy and playful banter to intrigue his audience. He uses his talents; juggling and squeezing his entire body through a 10-inch tennis racket while riding a 7-foot unicycle.

A member of the audience, a tourist from Holland said “It was my first time seeing something like this and it left me intrigued”, they also donated money. If you are reading this, like these tourists did, support buskers because they are not just any Tom, Dick or Harry, they are self-employed artists who are just trying to entertain you.

By Georgie and Adan 

PS: Above is the first article that we had to write for the course, we did it during our induction week. We had to work together with another journalism student and find something along South Bank, an event/restaurant/entertainer, to write about. This was an enjoyable first assignment as it allowed me to get to know the people in my course as well as explore the area I live in.