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' - a piss-take soft-core porno starring a man dressed unconvincingly as the Chilean dictator, Pinochet, and Ellen Cantor as the female protagonist. Charmingly nonchalant and exotically droll, Cantor shared her vulnerabilities and agonies. Attractive - in spite of, or perhaps because of her raw 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, she would mix sex and Disney, upsetting the notions of high/low child/adult good/bad fear/desire real/imagined play/work art/life love/sex love/pain truth/innocence.
My friend made me a bracelet - to remind me to be a little more Ellen Cantor.
4. Tulips - the most attractive supermarket flower. Buy two bunches, but in one colour.
5. The colour palette was part of the plot in Bridgerton, with the pure of heart wearing pleasing pastel shades, whilst those of ill-intent were 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)
7. The central question of 'Made You Look' was whether it is truly possible to believe the improbable. Our confirmation bias leads us astray, but can it lead us so far astray that it's possible to be at the centre of an $80m art forgery? Further to this central question, the documentary probes the relationship between art's value and its authenticity or beauty. Rather than questioning one woman's guilt or innocence, the documentary really questions the futility of the art market.
One of the many wronged collectors - Eleanor De Sole - came across as deeply unpleasant that as a result the high-stakes, big-money art fraud felt much more like a victim-less crime.
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 when you are disconnected [from the world around you]'.
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. Our relationship to the body - particularly the female body - is complicated - we dissect, detest and perfect - yet our relationship to landscape is quite the opposite.
Smooth, elegant lines cut across the body in unfamiliar ways, connecting disparate areas and creating new borders and boundaries; our perspective shifts, like seeing an old haunt in a new light.
The series reminds me of the work 'Grove' (2013) by Aaron Garber-Maikovska