Arts observations: When gallery assistants turn maids

And yet another side of Bob Dylan

I enter a very grand apartment in South Kensington. It has a Burberry trench coat hanging from a coat-stand and a big Persian rug in the entrance hall. I walk through the tall archways, into the sprawling living room, the kitchen, study and bedroom. Down the corridor there are some keys on the antique sideboard and a jumper thrown over a chair – even a bucket to catch leaking water from a yellow-stained patch on the high ceiling. There are some butlers and maids standing around the apartment – three at a time – but they are actually gallery assistants. I am in fact in the V&A Textile Galleries, which have been transformed into the former family home of a fictional and wildly eccentric retired gay architect called Norman Swann.

The installation titled Tomorrow, which opens next week, is by Danish-Norweigan duo Elmgreen and Dragset. The pair have written a script set in the apartment for visitors to read, which plays out like a dysfunctional soap opera. Swann, 74, has sold his family home, along with all the antiques and paintings collected by his ancestors, due to bankruptcy, but he is refusing to move out. He has done very little in terms of packing when the new owner, celebrity interior designer, Daniel Wilder, 45, lets himself in with a waitress he has picked up at a bar. Conflict arises and the barbed comments in the script between Swann and Wilder are reminiscent of a mild version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

I then stumble upon some boxes of Swann's possessions which sit in the modern kitchen, which has just been put in by Wilder, who has already started renovations. As you enter the mindset of Swann through snooping around his apartment it is easy to forget you are in the V&A at all.

The gallery assistants at the V&A, who volunteered for this project to wear butler and maid outfits, do far more than oversee the five lofty galleries that have been filled with more than 100 works from the V&A collection, as well as the artists' own works. They welcome visitors, "who will be treated as guests in a private home", insists Michael Elmgreen.

According to V&A gallery assistant Neide Gentelini (above), who will be dressed all day in a black-and-white maid outfit in the installation, the artists have talked through their roles in depth with them. "I was happy to volunteer. The artists told us what the job entails. I am now part of a play – I am Mr Swann's employee," says Gentelini. "We can answer questions based on the storyline. If it's a private question we can say something like: "I'm not in a position to answer that, you can talk to Mr Norman after his shower. We encourage guests to play the piano, read the newspaper and browse through his paperwork – but not to get into his bed."

"It is a story about failure and the wide gap that can occur between one's hopes, day dreams and visions," says Elmgreen. "It is also the story about the burden of cultural heritage, the burden of family traditions and how we can often feel repressed by our own backgrounds and history."

'Tomorrow', V&A, London SW7 (www.vam.ac.uk), from 1 October to 2 January 2014

Yet another side of Bob Dylan

By Charlotte Cripps

Bob Dylan is not generally associated with making iron works. But in a show at London's Halcyon Gallery in November, he will show, for the first time ever, seven giant iron gates, welded out of vintage iron and metal parts.

His paintings and drawings are widely known but Dylan who created the iron gates in his studio in Santa Monica, LA, has always worked with welding and metalwork.

He was "born and raised in iron ore country" in Duluth, Minnesota – where, he says, "you could breathe it and smell it every day". Dylan said: "Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference."

Bob Dylan's gates are welded out of vintage iron and metal parts Bob Dylan's gates are welded out of vintage iron and metal parts  

Bob Dylan Mood Swings, Halcyon Gallery, London W1 (www.halcyongallery.com) from 16 November to 25 January

Deep encounters with British cinema

By Geoffrey Macnab

Picture the scene – a small arthouse cinema in Montparnasse not long after the end of the Second World War. Sitting in the audience watching David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945) are two heavyweight French intellectuals, the existentialist and future Nobel Prize winner Jean-Paul Sartre and the journalist Claude Lanzmann, later to direct the Holocaust documentary Shoah (1985).

Sartre and Lanzmann struggle to contain their emotions."We both left the cinema in tears. We were both hopeless romantics," Lanzmann writes in his autobiography The Patagonian Hare.

It's a surprising anecdote. Somehow, you don't expect Sartre and Lanzmann, both of whom were lovers of Simone de Beauvoir, to be spending their days at screenings of British home counties melodramas of the 1940s.

Then again, British cinema has always had its share of unlikely admirers. Earlier this summer, deep in Finnish Lapland at the Midnight Sun Festival in Sodankylä, international film critics and film-makers gathered together to watch John Mills sweating his way through the desert in Ice Cold In Alex (1958), Dirk Bogarde on deck in Hornblower mode in HMS Defiant (1962) and John Guillermin's They Were Not Divided (1950). These are not films that British critics pay much attention to today but, it seems, north of the Arctic Circle they are much cherished.

Any Brit visiting the Festival du Film Britannique in Dinard in the autumn can't help but be surprised by the immense queues outside cinemas showing British films that have been playing to near empty houses on the other side of the Channel.

It's striking, too, how enthusiastic American directors such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma are about the works of Powell and Pressburger and David Lean.

Scorsese has talked often about watching Powell and Pressburger films such as The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus when he was growing up in New York. Spielberg cites Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962) as one of his favourite films of all time.

Lean and Powell and Pressburger represent the prestige, artistic side of post-war British cinema. It's no surprise that their work is feted abroad. What you don't expect is Scorsese's enthusiasm for an obscure Hammer horror director, John Gilling. Nor do you expect to find British short films (all but ignored back at home) with their very own festival in... Berlin.

(www.festivaldufilm-dinard.com) from Wed to 6 October

One to watch: Lolo, singer, 25

One to watch: Lolo One to watch: Lolo  

This Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter's rock r&b is not for the faint-hearted. Her style is biker chic and she wears rings on most fingers. Born in Tennessee, Lolo, whose real name is Lauren Pritchard, releases her first single, "Year Round Summer of Love", next month. She also features on Panic! at the Disco's song "Miss Jackson". What's next? She releases her debut album. "It is an uplifting girl-power record," she says. "A reminder it's OK to be strong."

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat