1. A concise yet far-reaching analysis of 'The Covid Year'. I read Yuval Noah Harari's FT article at the beginning of the pandemic - and was fascinated to re-process the last year through his words.
2. Some of my personal developments through said 'covid year' were less fascinating - such as my new appreciation for the scented candle. Other than food that is cooking - or finding myself walking at the same pace as a bin van - I most ignore my sense of smell. Over this year - whether due to covid or being in my thirties - I now own scented candles. I prefer the harder to find scents: either neutral, crisp and fresh or musky, woody and atmospheric. Recommendations are 'Sea Salt' from St Eval (The Nunhead Gardener) and 'Ambre' from Esteban. I still cannot understand, or abide, 'fragrance sticks'.
3. Ellen Cantor gave a lecture at St Martins in around 2007, where she spoke and showed clips from her film 'Pinochet Porn'. Charmingly nonchalant and exotically droll, Cantor shared her work, her vulnerabilities and her agonies. Attractive, in spite of - or perhaps because of - a kind of rawness or ugliness, I was immediately drawn to her; to the way she held herself, the way she dressed, the way she presented her naked body on screen as if it weren't her own. Her weighty presence had a sense of seriousness, but her work played with ideas of camp, fluidly combining sex scenes and Disney characters, upsetting the notions of high/low child/adult good/bad fear/desire real/imagined play/work art/life love/sex love/pain truth/innocence.
A friend at the time made me a bracelet - to remind me to be a little more Ellen Cantor.
4. There is a poetry to Louis-Geraud Castor's floral arrangements that makes them much more than the sum of their parts. Like an artist, Castor's understanding of colour, texture and movement is highly personal. Moving - emotional, even - each composition is quiet yet impactful, always finding the point of tension between stillness and dynamism.
My favourite 'follow' on instagram (@CastorFleuriste) the images periodically present themselves and reshape the way that I think about flowers. Flowers - in the right hands - become an ephemeral sculpture, to be enjoyed in the moment before the petals fall, and the season ends.
5. The colour palette seemed to play an important part in the plot of Bridgerton, with the pure of heart wearing pleasing pastel shades and those of ill-intent clothed in the brash, bright and bloody ugly...
6. What amazing things will come from the year-long sabbatical for all the cooks, waiters and bellboys? I thought this having come across the exhibition pamphlet for Soutine's exhibition of the same name (Courtauld, 2017). My chef - partner, not staff - is starting his own bar, a plan that the pandemic has accelerated. What becomes possible when you are out of work? And what truths come to light when you take a step back from the life you so busily, frantically live in?
7. The central question of 'Made You Look' was whether it is truly possible to believe the improbable. Confirmation bias can lead us astray in all sorts of ways, but can it lead us so far astray that $80m of fake art enters the market?
The documentary probes the relationship between art's value, its authenticity and its beauty. The fraud could be reimagined as an artwork itself, a comment on the futility of the art market.
8. Sigmar Polke, Boredom Loops. Polke would create awkward looping shapes on his studio walls using masking tape. A celebration of boredom, this work is made is a moment that is 'disconnected'; there is no audience nor plan - just time, materials and an imagination.
10. I took an entire roll of film on a cherry tree-lined road in Herne Hill. The Prunus × yedoensis, or Yoshino Cherry tree, has branches that are uniformly covered in blossoms, giving the appearance of tinsel or coral. Small posies of flowers occasionally sprout from the trunk, and the road is dotted with petals.
9. I miss drawing people as they sunbathe around the pool...
11. Drawing parallels between the topology of the landscape and that of the body, Mel Bles's photographic series 'Islands' is a meditation on both.
Smooth, elegant lines cut across the body in unfamiliar ways, connecting disparate areas and creating new borders and boundaries that shift our perspective - like seeing an old haunt in a new light.
The series reminds me of the work 'Grove' (2013) by Aaron Garber-Maikovska