I have been thinking about the role of the chair – as a piece of design, but also as an opportunity to stop. The chair is an essential part of the artist’s studio and the therapist’s office - a place to contemplate and process…
2. The large-scale, colour-pencil drawing at the centre of ‘The Exhausted Student’, stuck with me long after seeing the show. The theatrically 'exhausted' female figure at the centre of the drawing is carried by a group of snappily-dressed extras, wearing pastel coloured suits or coordinated, tonal outfits. Her pale, listless figure reminded me of sculptures by Bernini – whilst the others felt like 70’s soap opera characters.
3. Monochrome No.2 shows a small selection of works in blue. It wasn’t a powerful or energetic exhibition, but maybe that’s the effect of 'blue'. Along one wall hangs a cyanotype by Rauschenberg, a work on paper by Pollock, a sculpture by Yves Klein and a painting on raw linen by Ed Ruscha – a potted history of the colour blue
4. Talk at the British Library, 21 Feb 2020. I scrawled in my notebook:
“If you are seeking and searching, then that becomes your habit – you will always be seeking and searching – never arriving or finding”.
5. I had never seen the Cy Twombly mushroom collages - I didn't know they existed - and they are extremely and totally beautiful. Two paintings by Cody Hudson are another highlight – graphic and charming - of the Somerset House Mushroom exhibition, curated by Francesca Gavin.
Shoes by Kristel Peters, engineered from mycelium, looked like relics - something decayed or rotting. Everything teeters on the line between being made and falling apart.
6. Started and finished in one sitting, 'A Curious Career' describes the skill and stories behind Barber's compelling interviews. It made me want to read Tracey Emin’s autobiography and ‘A Drink with Shane MacGowan’, as well as visit the Tasiemka Archives...
7. The mimosa tree on the street corner is out in full force - such frivolous beauty, and unexpected colour in Elephant & Castle.
'Pollen from Hazelnut' by Wolfgang Laib
8. I learned of Elizabeth Wurtzel in an article about her death, and have been binging videos of her ever since - the best being ‘Bitch: A History of Manipulative Female Behaviour’ (1998)
9. Alina Szapocznikow at Hauser + Wirth: charming, thoughtful and grotesque. A row of her illuminated sculptures are creepy and funny – alien and human. Nipples and lips are a recurring motif, demanding attention in juicy shades of red. Other amorphous forms invite you to see what you please in their shapes and shadows. I saw the Ruth Asawa exhibition at David Zwirner immediately afterwards, which made a beautiful pairing. Female artists working in the 50s/60s/70s, both exploring sculpture that incorporates (rather than denies) the idea of the female, or of femininity. Both bodies of work still feel relevant and modern.
N.B. See ‘Masculinities’ at the Hayward.
10. The costumes, Florence Pugh’s voice, the sense of sisterhood; I watched this film on a rainy day in Aberdeen after Christmas.
N.B. re-watch Mistress America and Ladybird.
11. The furniture from Cabaret del Diavolo in Rome (1921 – 22), and the graphics from the Mbari Clubs in Nigeria (1961-66) were highlights. Go if only to see ‘Dance’ by Aaron Douglas (c.1930).
12. The Old Fashioned's at Spiritland: Cocoa | Scotch | Walnut wine - 2 maximum.
N.B. Photo taken in the Glass Rooms at the V&A, during my first visit to the Photography Centre - stopping to see the Portrait Miniatures and Cast Courts, as well as the Tapestries and the Theatre and Performance rooms.