Peter Blake, The Clock and Issey Miyake

I’ve been making time for some cultural activities, ahead of the Christmas rush when I’ll be dashing between the Cale Street shop and Harvey Nicks.

Unfortunately, by the time you read this (no pun intended) the wondrous Christian Marclay installation at White Cube in Mason’s Yard will have finished. It’s a 24-hour film about time, in which the clips of movies showing clocks and watches are synchronised to local time. It took me a while to realise that when someone looked at their watch at ten to two in the afternoon, my watch showed the same time. It’s brilliantly cut together, so that it creates its own narrative and pacing using music and sound effects. Although the clips are too brief to follow the story, they form a new sequence. It’s great to play a guessing game about which films they come from.

It’s hard to tear yourself away – I had to return for  a few more visits – as this meditation on how we measure our lives is hypnotic. It’s projected on a big screen, and you lounge on comfortable sofas in the dark. The gallery had a couple of twenty-four hour screenings during its run. Fortunately, the travelling art exhibition British Art Show 7 is also screening The Clock, and it returns to the Hayward Gallery in London soon. (www.britishartshow.co.uk for details)

Sir Peter Blake is an inveterate collector of ephemera and curiosities as well as being Britain’s foremost Pop artist. The inventive and joyful Museum of Everything is curating its third exhibition, containing all kinds of wonders from Sir Peter’s studio. There are witty captions, themed rooms of ventriloquist dummies, dolls, carnival sideshow banners – and on the top floor a reunion of exhibits from the now disbanded Potter collection of taxidermy. This Victorian museum was finally closed a few years ago and the contents auctioned – Damian Hirst and Peter Blake bought a few of the dioramas – card playing kittens, boxing squirrels and Who Killed Cock Robin – that kind of thing. One of my favourites was the section about Cheeta (Tarzan’s chimpanzee co-star) who like so many movie stars started painting in his retirement. When Peter Blake discovered they were not only the same age, but both having exhibitions at the same time, he requested one of Cheeta’s masterpieces (a kind of Abstract Expressionist painting style) for the National Gallery show. (www.museumofeverything.com for details.)

And finally to the Barbican Gallery for Future Beauty – 30 Years of Japanese Fashion (till February 6th 2011 – for details www.barbican.org.uk)

I’ve always loved Japanese fashion, and in the mid-1980s started buying Comme de Garçons and more specifically Issey Miyake before I could really afford it. I probably still have more Issey clothes in my wardrobe than any other designer. The show is well designed, simple and cleanly styled on mannequins. There are films of the runway shows from the 90s, the height of international popularity for Japanese fashion. The show also features Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe and the new generation of designers.

Issey Miyake has just launched a revolutionary new range called 132 5 which is an origami-like garment made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) that folds flat and is magically transformed into intricate folds on the body. I went to the shop at Conduit Street, London and tried on the dress – it looks fabulous (Dear Santa, I’ll be a good girl if you give it to me for Christmas) in black with copper foiling detail. (more details www.isseymiyake.com )

I’ll have another roundup of interesting shows when I get a breathing space before the New Year…

Category: In the loupe