SHANGHAI 21-30 October 2014
HONG KONG 21-25 November 2014

Shanghai / Hong Kong – Christie’s is proud to announce The Art of the Horse, a ground-breaking cross-departmental private sales exhibition to be showcased in Shanghai and Hong Kong this fall at the culmination of the Chinese Year of the Horse. Coinciding with the grand opening of Christie’s new Shanghai headquarters at the Ampire Building (21-30 October), and shown at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (21-25 November), at the time of the Hong Kong autumn sales, the exhibition features highly important works exploring the portrayal and symbolism of the horse from diverse cultures across the ages. This unique show comprises over 50 works from a broad range of collecting categories, from paintings, drawings and photographs to sculpture, jade and jewellery, with a total value of over US $30 million. Incorporating the best of Chinese and international artists, from Antiquities to Post-War and Contemporary Art, The Art of the Horse offers a fascinating insight into how different cultures have engaged and connected with this beguiling creature through artistic expression.

Nickolas Grace: Tell Me Candidly | Part One


This is the first of a four part interview with the legendary Nickolas Grace.
From playing Albert Einstein in Dr Who to the Spanish poet, Federico García Lorca. The versatile actor and director is probably most loved and remembered for his roles as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham Robert de Rainault and the flamboyant Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited.

Nickolas shares some of his memorable achievements to date with the readers of Public Description in his own honest, humble and warm hearted style.


Where It All Began

“I’m one of those boring people that knew I always wanted to be an actor right from when I was little. Some background quickly. All my family are from Liverpool. Liverpudlian. So I love to pretend I’m Liverpudlian. But I’m not. Paul McCartney calls me a ‘Plastic Scouser’ because I was born posh. Which means over the water. I was born on the Wirral which is across the Mersey. But all my family are from Liverpool so I like to think of myself as Liverpudlian and I love going back up there.”

“As a kid my parents would take me to pantomimes, and I learned to read with Thomas The Tank Engine, books so I remember thinking ‘oh I want to be an engine driver’.

“Then they took me to pantomimes. I used to love those pantomime people.
I remember ‘Cinderella’ and Buttons. Buttons was wearing this beautiful blue suit.

“Then when I was 8, I was taken to Stratford upon Avon to see my first Shakespeare and it was Sir Michael Redgrave (Vanessa Redgrave’s dad) playing Hamlet. I just thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Apparently I got up and said to my elocution teacher ‘That’s smashing’ and she went ‘SSHHH!!!!!’ That was the combination that made me want to act.

“My mum and dad always encouraged me. My dad when we were living in Chester built me a small theatre at the top of the house and wrote me plays. My two passions at school were rowing and acting.”

Acting Dynasty

“I do have a connection with the film business. My great grandfather, on my father’s side, built some of the first cinemas in Liverpool. The cinema chain was called Empress Cinemas. No longer there sadly. Thomas Halliwell Hughes was his name and my dad idolised him. I can vaguely remember him as a little boy though, just this shadowy figure.”

“When I performed Bernstein’s ‘Candide’ with the Liverpool Philharmonic, someone in the chorus came up to me and said ‘I used to know your great grandfather, I worked for him in one of his cinemas’. I was very proud.”


First Lesson in Fighting

“When we moved down to Essex the only school that would accept my scholarship was called Forest in Snaresbrook, and they wouldn’t let me be in the school play, because I was a day boy and only boarders could be in the play. I felt it was ridiculous. That was my first lesson in fighting really. I remember saying to dad, well I can’t stay here because I’m not allowed to act, and he said well you have to start your own group then don’t t you. I thought of course I have.”

“So I started a group for the day boys. I went to the Headmaster and asked him and he said, yes. Then I wrote to Sir Michael Redgrave and asked if I could start
The Redgrave Society. No reply. After about fifteen letters I eventually got a reply written in red biro, saying:

‘Dear Nickolas Grace,
I suppose I am head of the clan. Yes I give you permission to start the Redgrave Society’.

“Then I went straight to Vanessa, because I was secretly in love with her, and said:

‘Dear Vanessa,

Your dad has given me permission to start the Redgrave Society, will you please be Patron, and she said I would love to be. When can I come and work with you at school?’

“I went back to the headmaster and told him that Sir Michael Redgrave had given me permission to start The Redgrave Society. He looked very surprised, and said ‘oh good’.

“I put up a notice on the school notice board saying, The Redgrave Society, patrons, Sir Michael Redgrave and Vanessa Redgrave. We probably had about 20 members at 15p a time to start with.

“When Vanessa said she would come and work with the society, I put up a notice on the board, saying ‘Vanessa Redgrave talks to The Redgrave Society’. Members only, please sign underneath. Overnight we had 500 boys, including boarders. If they wanted to join, I let them. I didn’t mind.
“I got girls in as well even though it was a boys school, I didn’t want boys playing girls parts, so I asked if I could write to all the headmistresses of all the local schools in Essex. Woodford, Loughton, Leyton, I wrote to them all.
“They all asked me to go and see them. Some of them were a little bit protective of their girls. In the first play we did, in the first year, we got one girl from Leyton County and the next year we got four or five and the year I left we got about five or six. So of course the guys wanted to join because there were girls in the society. A lot of the school masters were upset that I had brought girls into the school. I had broken the rules. Hooray!
“Years later when I told Sir Cameron Mackintosh, he said: ‘You should have been a fucking producer, Grace, not an actor!’”


Part two to follow soon…

New York Daybreaker


Daybreaker is fast becoming a global event. Originating from New York, it is an early morning club scene which is creating quite a buzz. Instead of going to the gym or a run in Central Park the cool kids are delivering their best moves on the dance floor where ever the Daybreaker event is being held at the time.

Maybe it’s time for us to all switch up our partying ideas and give the early hours one whilst stone cold sober a shot.


White Cube Bermondsey


This will be the first opportunity to view more than 60 new pictures by Gilbert & George and a new large-scale work by Rachel Kneebone. Gilbert & George will be present and will be in conversation with writer and critic Michael Bracewell.

‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES for London’ by Gilbert & George and ‘399 Days’ by Rachel Kneebone runs from 18 July – 28 September 2014


Getting Personal with Valentine Guinness


Elle caught up with the multi talented playwright and singer Valentine Guinness shortly after the stage reading of his upcoming new play ‘Christine’ at The Tristan Bates Theatre, directed by Nickolas Grace.

Read on to learn about Valentines’ latest projects and what has been keeping him so busy:


How did you first get started into becoming a playwright?

I was always interested in drama when I was at school. I did a lot of acting in those days. I kind of had a choice, when I was at college, whether to go down the drama line or carry on with my singing and song writing. Somehow it felt that it was almost too much to do both at the same time.

While I was at Uni, I had a band and we actually got a record deal, and it was all looking very very good so I thought that was going to be my future. I did that for a while, but then the band I was in broke up as they often do. After a while everyone starts arguing, ha-ha, so I thought well, what am I going to do. So I had always wanted to try my hand at writing drama so I just sat down and I said to myself I am not going to do what I did with the music which is try to please people. I am not going to sit down and try and write a play that is just going to please the critics. I’m saying to myself if I went to the theatre, would I enjoy this. Would I feel I had spent my money wisely on this? So I wrote Helping Harry it was a few years back now in 2001.

I believe Nickolas Grace was involved with Helping Harry?

In those days, I lived in Bayswater and I knew he was a neighbour of mine, I had got to know him and I was always a great fan of Nickolas Grace from his old days in Robin Hood and Brideshead Revisited. I was a bit star struck actually. So I used to bump into him in the newsagents and we got chatting, and knew that alongside his acting, he also taught at Drama College. So I thought the first person who I am going to get to read this play is NG as I am sure he will give me an honest opinion and he was really nice about it. So we started work on it, we sat on many occasions going through it, and he helped me a lot change it and cut it. Then we did a rehearsed reading at The Tristan Bates Theatre, and Harold Pinter (the playwright) came to see it. A bit scary and he wrote me a letter to say how much he really enjoyed it. So all really happy with that, so then NG and I went ahead and produced it. We put it on for a month at the Jermyn Theatre. We got amazing reviews for the entire month.

Unfortunately we couldn’t extend it, because in those sorts of theatres, you have taken your month and someone is coming in immediately after. So NG and I tried to transfer it to a bigger theatre in the west end, but that is a very difficult thing to do. Ass what you now have to do to transfer something into the west end, is you have to get a major film or TV star in it, especially if you are an unknown writer. So it is a difficult one as the theatre owners and the producers will say we can’t sell this unless we have a household name in it. It’s annoying.

So this play Christine has been knocking around in my head for some time, and so last year I said to myself I really want to knock this together so I got together with NG again.

Christine is based on these four characters that have run away from their life, and find each other; not really a refuge but it is still a very claustrophobic existence. I based it a little, on my summer holidays that I used to spend in North East Spain region. It was sort of the end of the line and one of those places that all these wandering people turn up to and never leave.

What else has been keeping you busy?

Well, I wrote the screen play of George Orwell’s novel, Burmese Days which I got the permission from the estate to do. So I have spent a lot of time on that. It is still yet to be made but my screen play is out there if anyone wants to make it.

Then there is of course the band I am in with Loyd Grossman. The New Forbidden. I have been very busy with the band, so the play writing has at times gone on the back burner.

Another thing I am in the middle of doing is, I am working with Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey) on a television series which we are trying now to get commissioned by one of the broadcasters, and it is called Love Lessons. It is based on my aunt Joan Wyndham. My aunty was a 19yr old during the 2nd WW living in Central London and she wrote these fantastically funny diaries of what it was like being that age, just between a teenager and a woman, and growing up when the war started, and the bombs started falling and everyone was being taken off to war. But the stories are warm and funny. Its light comedy but all true.

She had a journal under her bed, and lived with her mum just off of Fulham road. One of her comments from her journals was ‘I wonder if I am going to lose my virginity first or get killed by a bomb’.

She hanged out with painters, and sculptors, and disreputable people, bohemian, and they all tried to seduce her one by one. It’s a very funny but heart-warming story.

Joan, rebelled against her strict catholic upbringing and led this fun bohemian lifestyle

She died in 2007, but I had already started working on it with her. I used to sit in her kitchen, and talk through her journals which I knew better than she did as she hadn’t read them in quite a long time.

I approached Julian Fellows as I felt he was just the person to do this justice, and I gave him the book which he took with him on holiday and Julian told me he laughed out loud the whole time he was reading it. So that’s a good sign.

I am also releasing a solo album this year, if there wasn’t enough to do. The album has been done with this fantastic producer Geoffrey Haslam who also worked with us on the band. The style with be much more introverted, slower, romantic and more acoustic which we would never do in the band. So I got together with Geoff and we put nine of mine and 2 other tracks and recorded them. A few of the tracks are from my old bands which I thought were too good to leave behind. Geoff has been fantastic and he has produced it so beautifully.

So the track we are putting out as it were is called ‘Good Morning London’. Next month we are going to do a video of it and You Tube it. It’s a happy summer song and we are going to try and make an interesting video to go with it ha-ha.

I’m also working on a sitcom. It’s in the early stages. Basically based on me ha-ha. What I have done over the past years is I have collected every strange incident that has happened to me and there has been a few and I have written these down. I thought the character in the show his son would be in a terrible bad. So we have written a pilot of that. I think it might work.

So there’s a lot bubbling around.

So tell me more about The New Forbidden?

Well we were very lucky as we have been invited to play back at Glastonbury for the 4th time this year. We have such a great time there. We started off with very low expectations.

How would you describe the music genre?

We are not a punk band. It’s fast guitar rock, with catchy tunes. Our influence is Lou Reed, even The Killers. I have two daughters and at first they were worried dad would embarrass them, but they started listening to our music and playing our stuff to their friends so they then had to admit it was alright ha-ha.

Describe your musical influence?

I grew up listening to The Doors, the Velvet underground, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. Then in the 80’s when I was in my 20’s I guess I was really into The Smiths. I thought their song writing was excellent. But now I am really into The Killers.

Where was your first live gig with The New Forbidden?

We did quite a few warm up acts before our big one in Blackpool. So our first live gig together as a band was on Friday 13th June called, so I will never forget the date, at The 12 bar club in Denmark Street. It was absolutely packed, but it’s not very difficult to pack The 12 bar club ha-ha.

When producing music, where do you get your inspiration?

I have stacks of lyric ideas which I will either scribble down, and then I will then just pick up the guitar and leaf through the sheet of lyrics and try one of them to a guitar sequence. Sometimes you go down a dead end, and an hour later, you say to yourself, ‘no, I’ll try again tomorrow’ ha-ha, but sometimes suddenly there’s the chorus and the title. I usually start with the title and work backwards.

You have so much going on, how do you prioritise all of this?

I have always run my life as if I was at school and you had to write an essay, and you always do it at the last minute ha-ha. It’s probably not such a good idea to think about it all of the time. Just concentrate on one thing a day.

Yourself and the band are crazily busy but do you think there might be an opportunity for an interview and for you to perform live at the Phoenix FM studios in Brentwood?

Definitely. Loyd and I could definitely come down. An interview definitely.

Thank you for kindly sitting for this interview and we wish you much success with all your projects.

The New Forbidden




On 1 July, Christie’s will offer one of the most iconic works from the YBA movement, Tracey Emin’s My Bed, 1998, in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction, London.
Building on Christie’s recent success with Sensation generation artists, including record prices for works by Jenny Saville and Gary Hume in the February 2014 Evening Auction, and for a more recent work by Tracey Emin (To Meet My Past, 2002) in Christie’s October 2013 Thinking Big auction of sculpture from the Saatchi Gallery Collection, we anticipate a strong degree of interest in this work.

A major piece that encapsulates Emin’s deeply personal work exploring the relationship between her life and her art, My Bed caused a furore when it was shortlisted for the Tate’s Turner Prize in 1999, prompting widespread public debate about the nature of contemporary art.

As Francis Outred, Christie’s Head of Post- War & Contemporary Art, Europe, says: ‘In My Bed (1998) Tracey Emin shares with us her most personal space, revealing a dark moment from her life story with startling honesty and raw emotion.

Her ability to integrate her work and personal life to a point where they become indistinguishable creates an intimacy with her viewers and asks us to witness her cathartic practice as a means of her survival. My Bed (1998).
transformed the way the general public engage with contemporary art, and because of this, is one of the most important British works of art of the 20th century.’

My Bed (1998) is Emin’s first readymade artwork that displayed all the forensic marks and detritus of a debauched period in her life. Engaging the viewer with a snapshot of her life brought about by a bout of suicidal depression after a traumatic relationship break-up, My Bed (1998) is made up of her own wooden double-bed with its rumpled sheets, pillows and twisted blankets left in disarray, surrounded by personal effects including empty vodka bottles, cigarette packets, stained sheets, discarded condoms and soiled underwear.

As Emin described it once with fellow artist Julian Schnabel: ‘I had a kind of mini nervous breakdown in my very small flat and didn’t get out of bed for four days. And when I did finally get out of bed, I was so thirsty I made my way to the kitchen crawling along the floor. My flat was in a real mess – everything everywhere, dirty washing, filthy cabinets, the bathroom really dirty, everything in a really bad state. I crawled across the floor, pulled myself up on the sink to get some water, and made my way back to my bedroom, and as I did I looked at my bedroom and thought, “Oh, my God. What if I’d died and they found me here?” And then I thought, “What if here wasn’t here? What if I took out this bed-with all its detritus, with all the bottles, the shitty sheets, the vomit stains, the used condoms, the dirty underwear, the old newspapers- what if I took all of that out of this bedroom and placed it into a white space? How would it look then?” And at that moment I saw it, and it looked fucking brilliant. And I thought, this wouldn’t be the worst place for me to die; this is a beautiful place that’s kept me alive. And then I took everything out of my bedroom and made it into an installation. And when I put it into the white space, for some people it became quite shocking. But I just thought it looked like a damsel in distress, like a woman fainting or something, needing to be helped.’

Looking back on this scene, Emin felt shocked yet absorbed by what it had become. As she says, ‘From one second looking horrible it suddenly transformed itself into something removed from me, and something beautiful. I suddenly imagined it out of that context, frozen, outside of my head, in another place.’

She shipped the bed in its entirety to Japan for an exhibition, installing it next to a pair of chained-up suitcases and a hangman’s noose which served to emphasise the painful isolation and entrapment she felt during that whole episode.
Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999, Emin exhibited this work at the Tate Gallery, causing polarised reactions among viewers. As she says, ‘It’s a self-portrait, but not one that people would like to see.’

The object of considerable critical attention and strong viewpoints, the work became the centre of an overnight debate about the meaning of ‘art’, asking audiences to challenge their preconceived way of how they see, experience and understand it. As the novelist Jeanette Winterson has written, ‘Emin [...] is interested in doing things differently – so different that they force a revision, another way of looking.’

Following its exhibition in Japan and her solo show at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York in 1999, My Bed (1998) was exhibited at the Tate Gallery, and was subsequently included in Emin’s retrospective, Tracey Emin: 20 Years, 2008 – 2009, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, which travelled to CAC Málaga and Kunstmuseum Bern, and her 2011 Hayward Gallery exhibition, Tracey Emin, Love is What You Want.
A consummate storyteller, Emin engages the viewer in her candid portrayal of the most intimate aspects of her private life with all its indiscretions, insecurities and imperfections. Using her own experience – and
frequently her own body – as source material for the work, Emin explores ideas of self-portraiture and narrative disclosure, both intimately bound up with her own biography. Emin grew up in the seaside resort of Margate and her work often refers to traumatic episodes from her childhood as well as to her chaotic teenage years, which resulted in unexpected pregnancies and abortions. She anecdotally recounts episodes from these years in a unique form of confessional works of art that often resonate with their audience. As the art critic Roberta Smith has written, ‘the best thing is simply Ms Emin herself, an artist who tells all, all the truths, both awful and wonderful, but mostly awful, about her life.’

Viewing: 28 June – 1 July 2014, Christie’s King Street

Interview: All about Rokuro


Public Description caught up with the talented and thoroughly lovely Brighton, DJ Rokuro. Find out what he is up to here:

Why the name Rokuro?

My parents thought it would be funny to give me a silly japanese name. But it turned out to be really cool;-)

Where does your passion/inspiration for music come from?

Nowhere in particular if I’m honest, I just create whatever style of music I feel like when I wake up in the morning. It’s mainly electronic of some kind. I don’t really have any inspirations but I like my music to have some kind of funky, soulful or retro vibe to it when possible. Thats what comes most natural to me, and I’m not afraid to make dance tracks at 110bpm where as like some other producers it has to be a certain speed like 128 or 140 bpm or whatever it dosn’t have to be a certain style. But just at the moment I listen to chilled house with acoustic guitars and Deep House alot, I find everything else a tad noisy for my delicate ears…;-)

 When did you first get into music?  

I used to like Blondie, Adam and the Ants and Depeche Mode when I was about 6 years old. My Sister who’s a bit older than me got me into this really odd band called Japan, Which is a bit of a coincidence;-) I had a badge of theirs and everything, ha ..then I got onto melodic hiphop like the artist Mantronix and Joyce sims then onto Acid House. I even got into Trance for a while. To be Honest I’ve liked all styles of music over the years apart from Rock, Country, D&B, Jungle, Dubstep and that Trap stuff. Saying that I just put a dub step breakdown in a new track I was working on recently, well it sounds like dub step to me, to a proper dubstep producer it probably sounds like Britney Spears;)

If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would you choose and why? 

I think at the moment, Katy B. I wasn’t into her 1st album at all, But I really love the old school house vibe on the Little Red album, so I definitely think I’d have something to offer her productions, I think She’s really fresh, plus she’s definetly getting better with age.

Do you have a most proud moment/achievement since being in the music industry to date? 

Well I have got to travel around the world 10 times over and got paid for it. So I’d have to say that’s an achievement.  I have done official remixes for some huge pop  and electronic acts in the past, and I guess Im still at it, making a living.  So thats a bonus.

Any new artists, you’ve been listening to recently which you recommend looking out for? 

I guess the people I’m collaborating with at the moment need the shout out, Celeste and PGX from Malibu. I do a more EDM sounding progressive house style with them, Paul Ewing from London. We do a more Funky old school anything goes type of house sound. Which is great fun as we don’t really care what style it is, as long as it sounds half decent;-) A great DJ Called Gui S Arruda, from Brazil. He’s one to watch in 2014,  also Elise from London, is amazing.  (she’s also Tom Jones Singer on his live shows and production tracks) We Are Doing a couple of things together at the moment.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures? now, be honest;) 

Ruth Lorenzo , who came 5th in the UK Xfactor, and recently represented Spain in The Eurovision song contest;-)

What can we expect to see from Rokuro next? 

Im working on too many projects to mention just at the moment, I put up new stuff all the time on my soundcloud page, so best just to follow me on there I think…I also have a monthly column and contribute on a great new dance and electronic magazine called Audiation.  I List all my fave new tracks of the month on there, plus let people from around the world know all the biggest dance tracks that are getting in the UK pop charts, and lots of other fun stuff like DJ charts etc, Maybe you can give me your top 10 for next month Elle? ;-)


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