I have just returned from an exhausting four-day visit to London. The city thrills me; it feeds my mind for months. It’s almost intoxication!
My first port of call was Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up at The Victoria and Albert Museum. The show was dazzling, arresting and moving but for me, lacking in her compelling works of art. It left me wanting more of the paintings and to learn more about the artist beyond the pain. I don’t know if the exhibition failed or triumphed for me but it was certainly fascinating. Less is more or more is less . . .
I love the commercial galleries in Mayfair especially Gagosian, David Zwirner, Gallery of African Art and Bernard Jacobson Gallery. The highlight on this visit was Georg Baselitz, A Focus on the 1980s at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. The exhibition was mind blowing; the expressionist application of paint and use of colour, result in works of astonishing presence and beauty. They pulsate with life and leave me speechless!
I discovered Ben Uri Gallery & Museum off Abbey Road, St John's Wood for the first time. The exhibition was Liberators: Extraordinary Women Artists from the Ben Uri Collection which was very interesting and powerful. I will put Ben Uri on my map for future trips.
Also saw Staging Jackson Pollock - Whitechapel Gallery, and had a quick visit to Tate Modern for Christian Marclay: The Clock which I sadly missed as the queue was too long. Whilst in the bookshop I did get a beautiful book from Jackie that made up for this - Cy Twombly: Fifty Days at Iliam.
Shakespeare’s Globe is always a joy to visit (King Lear last year was momentous) and this visit was for Othello and The Winter’s Tale. I think it is good to consume as much culture and art as possible to feed the artistic mind.
Two new churches were incorporated into the detailed itinerary that I make for every trip: St. Giles in the Fields (also known as Poet’s Church, thank you Patti Smith for writing about this and alerting me to it) and Notre Dame de France for the Cocteau murals. I also did the St Paul’s Cathedral tour and whispering gallery. The architectural vision and mind that created this monumental glory is beyond belief.
Finally, Rough Trade East always draws me moth like to its groaning aisles of music and books. I love it and got a couple of cds - Nordub
by Sly & Robbie + Nils Petter Molvaer and Live Seeds by Nick Cave and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Also as on every London visit, I went to L. Cornelissen & Son for Markal Paintstiks and Atlantis Art Materials in Hackney for Acrylic Primer and prepared Rabbit Skin Glue.
I can digest this feast at leisure now but am missing the thrill already. If I were independently wealthy I would up sticks and move to London tomorrow!
You are now / In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow / At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore / Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more / Yet in its depth what treasures! -P.B. Shelley
Here are a few things that have caught my eyes, ears and sensitivities recently. It all goes into the artistic mix. Be omnivorous!
On the Black Hill - Bruce Chatwin
Basquiat - Leonhard Emmerling (Taschen)
Think Like An Artist – Will Gompertz
The Leither Magazine
“Heroes” - David Bowie
Luxa – Harold Budd
Nocturnes & Impromtus – Chopin (again!)
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – Alles Ist Gut
Second Edition - Public Image Ltd
Soundtrack – Charles Lloyd
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Tender Prey
Cold War - Pawel Pawlikowski
Broken Flowers - Jim Jarmusch
Séraphine - Martin Provost
The Handmaid's Tale (Season Two)
Sensitive Skin (BBC Series Two)
SFD & Colin Stetson at Summerhall
Patriothall Studios, Edinburgh
Armchair Books, Edinburgh
THOUGHTS / QUOTATIONS
The thought of seeing Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up at the V&A next month
"Art = a mad search for individualism." Paul Gauguin
"The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work." – Steve Jobs
Rebecca Appleby at &Gallery Edinburgh
Gerard ter Borch A Singing Practice - Scottish National Gallery
Jean-Michel Basquiat - Untitled (Ter Borch)
Frank Auerbach - Head of E.O.W. IV - Scottish National Gallery