Monday 17 September 2012

When a contrary one gets arty

This weekend was crammed with crazy sound art, meeting friends and going to the Pre Raphaelite exhibition at Tate Britain. Which is why on Friday evening I'd made the decision that I was really not an ICA fan, spent Saturday clad in a sugar induced hazed dressing gown and messed up the meeting of friends. Seriously, this is so predictable you can guess that I didn't get to the aforementioned exhibition either.

However there were definite pluses to the plan changes. The flatmate returned unexpectedly on Saturday which was rather pleasant as today I could rely on someone to help me navigate Tower Hill and Parliament Square junctions on a bicycle. That is why I leapt off the trusty stead as soon as possible and walked my way out of traffic trouble. I hate that part of cycling. We popped by Birkbeck Library and got the tube to Pimlico whilst I recovered my lost bicycle nerve. 

Mile End Horses
Galloping Horse
The exhibition of Another London: International Photographers Capture City Life 1930-1980 was incredible. Though the crowds of people meant pockets of photos were fairly inaccessible, the quantity of images meant that it was easy to get close to some of them -  if you were quick. It was organised in loose chronological order and within each room a few images were immediately striking. 

For instance the one that will stay with me is Izis Bidermana's 'Mile End Horses' (1951). This has the multifaceted interest of being near where I live, a socio-historical depiction of London, and as an artistic has a sense of eerie dilapidation. But most of all it reminded me of the futurism influenced painting by Edvard Munch 'Galloping Horse' (1910-12). Both are products of an era on the cusp of momentous change. That is all I'm going to say about this because I feel an academic tome coming on. How exciting to feel the thrust of academia and the anticipation building towards the first week in October...

Karla Black's 'At Fault', (2012)
Anyway after heading upstairs and the main entrance hall of Tate there was an odd collection of books, picture and 'stuff'. Which frankly baffled me. So I wandered off to a room and found something girly. And pretty. We giggled and peered at it and scampered off to the other modern stuff in the next room. This was terrible despite being part of Tate's programme of collecting contemporary art. The most interesting piece was a film Spill of the effects of dry ice in a factory environment; reminiscent of rivers, hair, waves, carpet. Quite beautifully hypnotic.

We headed back to the main hall to try again with Patrick Keiller’s The Robinson Institute. Once the clever one had explained one of the sections, the wit, intelligence and sheer insanity of the connections between art, video, photographs and books (maps, sculpture, government information films) were obvious. Each part was a journey by a fictional character called Robinson and designed to highlight cultural, financial, defensive, economic issues which affect us. Again, so much more to be said and I will return to this. Needless to say, we have a new reading list and decided we had no need of the rather irrelevant, uninteresting Pre-Raphaelites. Especially because they had fecking Christmas baubles in the tat shop. BAUBLES!

After causing hilarity in the fabulous Tate book shop (ok, the idea of a lenticular bookmark depicting various characters moving, unicycling, skipping was very chucklesome) we scooted back to a Boris Bike. Despite alarming saddlesoreness, went at speed back to Contrary Towers via the bucolic Wapping Woods. We whipped up a healthy vegetarian bacon soup *diet face* and hit the bread and wine. What a lovely day with thoughts, connections and giggles. The muscles may have recovered by next weekend...


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