Sunday, 17 May 2009

Art for arts sake

A millenium ago, and before the boy had put in an appearance, his mum and sister came along with me to an exhibition of new art and new design. Of the event I remember little other than the words of the boy's sister, then a four-year old girl. "That's not art, that's just a piece of wood. And that one's got a hole in it." We shuffled away in embarrassed silence as the artist in question glared at us.

My own artistic ability is summed up the vote held in fourth grade art lesson once. The whole class held their hand up when asked if I was a yobo. Oh well.

The month of May is Festival time in Brighton, and to my utter joy, it is being artistically directed by Anish Kapoor. I first came across Kapoor about twenty years ago. I had a business meeting in Madrid on a Monday, so took the opportunity to spend the weekend there. I'd never been to Spain before, and among the many mistakes I made was to order my evening meal at 8.00pm...a couple of hours before any of the Madrilenos. Not being able to read Spanish, I ordered various dishes, and to this day I don't know what they were. The highlight was to wander into a gallery and dsicover an exhibition by someone called Anish Kapoor. I was transfixed and have taken every opportunity since to see examples of his work. I'm close to being a groupie, so it was seventh heaven to discover his involvement in Brighton.

The boy's previous experience of Kapoor was at Tate Modern when we lived round the corner from it. We had both been over-awed by its immense size and presence.

Saturday, and I persuaded the boy to come up to the Chattri on the Downs to see The Curve. It's a longish walk through fields of cows and pleasent at any time. It was sunny when we started, windy when we got there and slightly damp when we came back. I could have stayed up there all day, but I have a feeling the words "It's just a mirror, and it's even bent" were rapidly forming on the boy's lips.

Sunday, we had three more to go and see...the need for the boy to buy rucksack and boots for his Duke of Edinburgh Award, meant he was easily persuaded to come along. The first in Fabrica...a church turned art gallery. Stunning...but strangely we seemed to be the only ones who felt the need to read the story carefully inscribed by Salman Rushdie around the sides. Since it explained the inside, it seemed quite important.

Next was in The Pavillion Gardens, and generally ignored by most - truth be told, it's poorly sited and easily ignored.

Finally at the Old Market, and as they say, always leave the best to last. Marvelous. And in true Kapoor style, reality was distorted when the long oval gash dug out of the ground appears a perfect circle in the photograph.


  1. I like this post (I'm VERY arty- farty btw) :) TFx

  2. Oh I hope it stays there for ever...although I can't help but notice the resemblence between some it and an over-sized doog erm

    Thank you arty-farty TF


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