Sunday, 31 May 2015

Faint Glimmers of Civilisation

I just got back from holiday in Vienna and Budapest where the art and architecture was so impressive. The best part was that the Leopold Gallery in Vienna is currently showing selected Tracey Emin work, curated alongside Egon Schiele: a pair who seamlessly connect and compliment each other in the exhibition. 

Furthermore, the Fine Art Museum in Vienna holds a host of Rubens, Rembrandts, Caravaggios, Tintorettos, Titians and one striking Vermeer- so many Old Masters that it felt like walking around inside a life-size history of art textbook. It was quite moving and unexpected to come up close to Rubens' Venus with a Fur Wrap (whose knees are featured on the left below), as I had read so much about it and stared at a postcard of it on my wall previously. The stillness of the paintings altogether in those tall, near-empty rooms exuded greatness and a sort of strange, comforting familiarity at the same time, and I wish I had had longer in the gallery to fully appreciate it.

I also visited Annely Juda's London Hockney exhibition with Cherry, a dear appreciator of his work and top art pal. Although we were pushed for time as the gallery was about to close, it was nevertheless lovely to see the paintings and 3-d photos that I had read about so much. Hockney never fails to inspire and intimidate me for his sheer volume of work, as a joyful artist who has experimented so widely in so many mediums. And still never fails to be dull or predictably repetitive. These established, exciting paintings were displayed in the same space as Hockney's charcoal drawings of the countryside, one year ago. It was comforting to see the work of last year that mourned for colour and vibrancy in a shadowy, traditional aesthetic replaced by the artist's re-found excitement, returning to his California palette.

Another super cool thing when I visited Budapest was the hotel we were staying in- faux-grandeur from a forgotten time mixed with grim modern-day tourist-appeal. It felt very much like we were staying at The Grand Budapest Hotel of Wes Anderson. The cracked but ornate bath spa in the basement bore striking similarity to Anderson's world of M. Gustav and Zero, not to mention the decor of the large dining room to contrast the fake pot plants and ruined, crumbling streets surrounding the building itself. I spent my time in the hotel being lazy.




/Thought it was funny/

" You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it. "                                                                                                              -Gustav H (GBH)

Goodbye and Good luck with exams and all xx

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Petshop Eyes

I went to Tate Britain, my favourite art gallery, to see some David Hockney (above) and Tracey Emin's My Bed, which has been put on exhibition for the first time in years. As someone who appreciates the majority of Emin's work it was strange to see the actual artwork in the flesh for the first time, as it seemed so familiar. Emin's installation is slightly adjusted with each appearance it makes; this time is was flanked by a set of the artist's bold, blue watercolour nudes and Reclining Woman, a haunting painting by Francis Bacon.

The contrast of Emin's watercolours (2014), and the Bed itself (1998) are dramatic- the nudes show us a more confident, established woman, well within her comfort zone, whilst the bed has become s ghost of the past. The tiny-waisted belt, empty bottles of vodka and cigarettes surrounding the mass of sheets show how Emin has matured from a lost, slightly scrawny twenty-something year old into a self-aware and confident woman. The re-display of My Bed affirms her esteemed reputation, no longer "completely slagged off by the art world".

And indeed, the small crowd of Saturday onlookers did nothing but smile sort-of-knowingly when they walked into the installation room and gazed at the crumpled drapes and stained pillows. Perhaps because its familiarity through the press is a comfort to the general public, and perhaps because Emin's "confessional" artwork strikes a chord with us - we feel like she was a close friend to us. Seeing My Bed in real life made me want nothing more than to comfort the helpless thing that lived in it before anything, and then gave me a huge wave of nostalgia, as though I'd known Tracey forever.

This is an article I wrote for a school publication called Perspective about contemporary art's new agenda and escaping the avant-garde.

Yesterday evening I saw Flying Lotus live @ Brixton Academy, supported by Jay Electronica, Shabazz Palaces and Lapalux. The visuals were incredible, with Flying Lotus playing from the inside of a transparent cube, with cross-over projections of colour and kaleidoscopic shapes.                                                   

I also did some sketchbook work and I am done with my Art A Level!! I had an 8 hour exam in which I decided to make an installation inspired by Caravaggio's painting, The Supper At Emmaus in a digitalised, shrine-like update. It is composed of a painting, religious iconography and an old Apple laptop playing a slideshow of photos.


                                                       Good luck with exams xoxoxo