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?