Sunday, 22 January 2017

21 January - London jaunts

Went to the Rauschenberg retrospective at the Tate Modern.

I have a love-hate relationship with a lot of modern art. I often trawl through modern art galleries or installations swinging rapidly on the opinion vine from one side of the spectrum to the other. Bi-polar Tarzan. Few things make me feel so divided, I can really adore some of it, but feel utterly turned off and even annoyed at others. I guess it would be boring if I liked all of it. I sometimes think I am boring for loving everything Murakami writes after all.

The Rauschenberg retrospective was very interesting though, and I did enjoy it a great deal. The gallery was quite busy, full of charlie hungerford types wearing cravats & chinos; enthusiastic american students unable to keep their voices under 11; desperately desperate mothers clinging onto some hope they could enjoy the artwork despite having to drag bored kids around playing pokemon; middle aged women in a plethora of swooshy cardigans, shawls and new age sandals with their glasses on a string; and a lot of german men with serious nasa glasses, not even ironic bad sweaters and cheek bones that made them look like they were chewing T rulers.

One child was striding around the gallery happily absent-mindedly swinging a cricket bat.

A swooshy cardiganed woman struck up an in-depth conversation with a cravat cladded art critique type that was so full of hyperbole, they were practically foaming at the mouth. It wasn't until towards the end of their conversation, when the woman started a tirade against "digitialism" did I start deciphering out actual words from the foreign language. The lady then turned around and started writing notes on her ipad.

Worried for a second that I was becoming more engrossed in watching the people looking at the art than looking at the art itself, I did consider that actually, this was part of the reason I quite enjoy going to galleries. Similar to going to the cinema, there is something rather interesting about shared experienced. How different a piece of art can feel to one person to the next. I think this is what I find fascinating about a lot of Rauschenberg's work - his use of items, materials, things. They can help include you, and make you feel part of the art.

One of his collage works (titled Charlene) has a large mirror incorporated into it, and as I stood there in front of it, I was literally inside the painting. I couldn't help but think of all the people who had stood there with their reflection over the years; famous, not famous, even Rauschenberg himself. And here I was, this was my moment to be in a piece of art work. There was something very special about this, and it felt very moving. Maybe it was more a simple piece of egoism on my part.

I loved Rauschenberg's idea of a white canvas being "an airport for light, shadows and particles". Possibly because I admittedly love anything to do with aviation, but this concept was so evocative and inspiring, my mind was agog.

I spent a lot of time around the rest of the Tate Mod, including spending some quality time with the Rothkos. We had been apart too long, and I am glad we caught up again. The Rothkos are disturbing, suffocating and evocative, and yet I also love them. They speak to me more about an understanding, and because of this I feel them oddly comforting. It is this kind of love for art works that grabs me so internally it begins to clasp my very being.

It was a lighter mood at Picasso's The Three Dancers, as a mother faced a barrage of impossible questions from her two young children. "Why are they dancing?" "Why is one a hole?" "What are their names?" She coped with them admirably as only a mother can, until the child asked "Why aren't they drawn properly? Like Peppa Pig?"

The Picasso Peppa Pig

Conversely, some art work makes me pack my mental bags and jump on a mental thought plane outtathere. I know when I am struggling with art instantly. I can feel my eyes glaze over, and my mind wandering about when I can next go for a run. Suddenly my pace quickens as well as my sudden remembrance that I haven't checked my phone in MINUTES.

 It's the same kind of feeling I get when Top Gear or Strictly comes on TV. Becoming a bit distracted and always feeling cold, I approached what I thought was a radiator only to suddenly set the alarms off. Apparently it was a canvas of art and I was too close.

I had inadvertently chosen a day when thousands were swarming on the city to protest in an anti-President Trump march. Had I known before I had made my arrangements, I would have joined it. When I arrived in London, I stepped outside of the tube station into the bright sunlight bracing myself to be swamped by a sea of placard carrying protesters.

All I saw were a couple of lovely old ladies carrying a thermos of tea asking where they could buy a guardian.

Where were you when they marched against Trump Sian? I was trying to avoid swooshy cardigans, Picasso peppa pig and getting hit by a child wielding a cricket bat.

Photos from London

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