Exhibition

I enjoyed the exhibition, although I thought it was a bit thin for £12, especially considering that many of the pieces are on loan from the British Museum, where they are freely on view.  Last exhibition I paid that for, there were dozens of fabulous Picassos on view, worth a lot more (and gathered from further afield, and much more fragile) than most of these.  However, I thought it had been well put together.  I particularly liked the “Theft by Finding” room, where ancient sculptures were put against similar modern ones for comparison.  The wooden Narcissus, a flower given a human form, I found fascinating.  The duck weight, I can’t remember from where but it dated from 2,000-1500 BC, was probably my favourite piece of all.  I loved its simplicity and that the maker had bothered to make a functional object into a sculpture; also that he had obviously had to do it within the constraints of its weight.

In the room with ceramic objects, I glanced at one cabinet and didn’t like it much, and the other and liked it very much – and yet, they weren’t that different to look at.  I just don’t get English ‘between the wars’ pottery, Bernard Leach and the like.  The other cabinet, which held Chinese ceramics, I was drawn to.  Hard to explain, even to myself.  Also in that room was Barbara Hepworth’s Three Forms, which I love.  The next room was given over to two large statues, one by Hepworth and one by Henry Moore, and I can never get too much of either of them.  Then there was a room with a hanging installation of sheets of coloured perspex, which I liked, and then one with a large construction of bolted-together metal, painted red, which I didn’t.  I mean, not much to dislike, just meh.  I liked the long pavement of chalk rocks, and the hanging street-like thingy with stuck-on half bricks and bottle, but not the 120 bricks.  I rather liked Damien Hirst’s fly-blown barbecue, but would have liked it better had it been disgustingly crawling with maggots…what?  No, go on, you have to have been there.  I liked the photograph of the artist, wearing a pleated skirt and doing a handstand on a beach – “a discrepancy between the felt position and the seen position” – which reminded me of the shell sculpture by Maggie Hambling on the beach at Aldeburgh, although (not having looked it up) I don’t suppose they look the same in the least.

All in all, I don’t find that it’s necessarily the age or the form of a piece of sculpture that matters to me.  Knowing nothing, I just react.  I am dreadfully inartistic, but if I could do anything I would like to sculpt.  I’m too ham-fisted to try, and too ignorant to know what I’d want to do and be frustrated by a lack of skill.

I didn’t buy anything in the shop, although I was tempted by small mugs decorated with delightful Tracy Emin sketches of birds and cats.  I think.

Not much of an art critic, hey.  Heh.  Unless you’ve seen it, you won’t have much clue what I’m talking about, either.  Sorry, darlings.

Tomorrow, I venture to Norwich to visit Roses.  Am I not a lucky Z?

10 comments on “Exhibition

  1. Dave

    I don’t know much about art, but I do know what I like – that is art that looks like something nice. Abstracts and unmade beds and the like don’t do anything for me.

    Reply
  2. Z

    I think that there’s beauty in abstract forms. The least interesting piece there was a massive bronze of Queen Victoria. Well, least interesting – that and 120 rather dull bricks.

    Having no artistry myself, I can only look and try to see what the artist wants to convey. Each genre has good and bad examples of its type and it’s only by looking and thinking about it that I can start to recognise what qualities there are. Or aren’t. I don’t necessarily go into an exhibition expecting to like everything, but sometimes something unexpected will engage my interest.

    Reply
  3. Christopher

    Sorry I haven’t been about for a day or two – this exhibition sounds really inspiring and you’ve brought it alive with your usual Zedian (Zedesque? A la Z? Zedic?) warmth and gusto. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Dave

    I was writing slightly tongue in cheek there. I can see something, sometimes, in abstracts. Indeed, you’ve inspired me to publish some abstract photos tomorrow.

    Reply
  5. Z

    Unfortunately, there weren’t pictures of the exhibits on the website, so I really haven’t given any indication of what it was like – and all I said was “I liked” and I didn’t like”, which is hardly informed criticism! Still, gotta laugh, haven’t you?

    I don’t know much about art, but I do know what I like gave you away, Dave. I saw where your tongue was.

    Reply
  6. MOTB

    The duck was lovely – I wanted to touch it which seems to me always the best test of whether sculpture works or not.

    Reply
  7. Z

    Yes, and what I liked was that from the main side, by the central aisle, you couldn’t see that it was a duck – you had to go around it. I thought that was a nice touch.

    Reply
  8. Z

    Simon, I’ve often made an exhibition of myself. Not the prettiest of sights.

    Wow, thanks for the link, LZM. I’ve bookmarked it, I just don’t have time to explore today. I’ll spend hours there too – but not right now!

    Reply

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