PICK OF THE GALLERIES Film sets and mad monkeys

Ken Adam

Serpentine Gallery, London

Who is the real star of James Bond? Sean Connery? Roger Moore? The answer is . As production designer on seven Bond films (1962- 1979), Adam is responsible not just for creating some of cinema's most fantastic sets and gadgets - think Blofeld's lair inside the volcano in You Only Live Twice or the Aston Martin DB5 with all its hidden extras - but for establishing an iconic language, embedded in our imaginations.

Born in Berlin in 1921, Adam emigrated to the UK in 1934. At the outbreak of the Second World War he cut short his architectural studies and joined the RAF. In 1947 he entered the film industry as a draughtsman and 10 years on he received his first full credit as a production designer. He has subsequently worked on 75 realised film projects. Not only did he mastermind the Bond look but he has designed some of the most stylishly idiosyncratic films made. But it is ironic that a designer with such an inventive imagination and ambitious vision of the near future received his Oscars for Best Art Direction for the period dramas Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George. Remember the Pentagon War Room in Dr Strangelove? Or the candle-lit Hogarthian interiors in Barry Lyndon? Or the magical flying car and the monochrome sweet factory (the only colour provided by the copper pots of brightly coloured sweets) in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? All these images first took shape on 's drawing board, and the selection of more than 200 drawings provide the focus for the Serpentine exhibition. As the Flowmaster pen designer points out: "The sketch is the designer's most important tool ... Even when a design is based on only one or two lines, it is often the incompleteness of these rough sketches with their bold chiaroscuro contrasts out of which an interesting composition or exciting atmosphere grows." For visual confirmation seek out the design for the brainwashing chamber from The Ipcress File, an organised riot of perspectival light and shade. The drawings are juxtaposed with film stills, and one gallery serves as a screening room projecting clips that reveal just how close to the original idea the completed films are.

This exhibition seems a fairly modest accolade for a designer who once built the world's largest sound-stage. David Sylvester has curated an extremely elegant exhibition, elevating production design to the realm of high art and emphasising Adam's role as a visionary auteur.

`': Serpentine Gallery, W2 (0171 298 1515) to 9 January

297 x 210

Arthur R Rose, London

There's never very much to see at Arthur R Rose - a fictitious name invoking the spirit of Marcel Duchamp - but the artists who show there capitalise on an intellectually loaded aesthetics of nothing. "297 x 210" could be described as an exhibition within a book; 297 x 210 are the measurements of a piece of A4 paper. Nineteen artists were invited to contribute a piece of work around the idea of the blank page as "the chance support upon which ideas come to be inscribed", and to create something that was cheap, ephemeral and easy to reproduce. The most appealing pieces display a trace of visual wit and engage with the dynamics of the space allowed: David Blamey has stapled the two-disc fall-out from a hole punch to his page; Karin Ruggaber has photocopied a sheet of speckletone watercolour paper, the texture showing up as minute flecks. Mark Titchner has covered a sheet of graph paper in manic op-art doodles; Elizabeth Price's Ten Folds provides instructions on how to fold the paper into an aeroplane so it will crash; Graham Gussin has designed a grey tonal letterhead called Nothing Nowhere ...

Some of the artists seem to pride themselves on being earnest, taking boredom to an almost obscene level. But if you are fond of jigsaw puzzles or have spent the afternoon arranging paper clips into epic minimalist sculptures, this could be for you.

`297 x 210': Arthur R Rose Gallery, SE1 (0171 378 7574) to 12 Dec

Laura Owens

Sadie Coles HQ, London

Laura Owens is a young, much-lauded painter from Los Angeles. Two canvases depict a pair of mischievous monkeys lolling about on leaves, derived from 11th-century Chinese screens. I'm not sure what they're up to but I quite like them just hanging around, serving as a frame for the other painting on the wall opposite. Maybe this image - a detail culled from a larger painting installed in the office (all works Untitled 1999) - is what the world might look like through monkey eyes, where a line of black paint could fall hard on the side of representation - "its a seagull" - or flip into atmospheric abstraction, just being "a blob of paint".

Once you start looking, there's a peculiar depth to Owens's work: minute expanses of untreated canvas, turquoise stains, smeared impasto chunks of oil paint laid across air-brushed graffiti, while thin concentric squiggles squeezed from the tube bring you back to the surface again. Palomino, cappuccino, avocado; toothpaste and shower curtains; orange rainbows, turquoise pools - Owens's work comes as a brave and lovely breath of fresh air.

`Laura Owens': Sadie Coles HQ, W1 (0171 434 2227) to 27 Nov

Sophy Rickett

Emily Tsingou, London

Sophy Rickett graduated from the Royal College of Art this year but she has already established a reputation with her photographs of night scenes punctured by slivers of light. Rickett's work is undeniably effective. A series of black-and-white panoramic images of motorway- bridge railings, picked out from the enveloping darkness by the light from passing car headlights, are meticulously crafted, fragile yet powerfully atmospheric. They hint at a cinematic narrative, an erotic tension. Occasionally populated by lone figures, these images become even more suggestive but somehow trite. Wested Interchange, a four-panel colour image, depicts a woman sitting in the middle of a grassy roundabout - the ultimate non place - lit from behind by headlights. Her back is turned to the camera and she faces the night. Simple can often be a little too close to safe.

These images push all the right buttons, but are bereft of any real charge, resting merely at a level of good taste. An earlier series, Pissing Women, was more interesting because of the (albeit heavy-handed) gender politics. I hope Rickett isn't getting lost in the void.

`Sophy Rickett': Emily Tsingou Gallery, SW1 (0171 839 5320) to 20 Dec

REVIEWS BY POLLY STAPLE

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
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.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test