Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Not swanning around

You know that scene I was writing? Where the person turns up after twenty years and I had no idea what was going to happen? I've been engrossed in writing it. It's been huge fun. I was so deep into the world of the novel yesterday that when Dave wanted me to go outside to admire the hedge he'd been trimming and came and banged on my study window, he scared me stupid.

So I haven't been swanning around with no excuse not to blog. Yesterday, however, I did go out for the afternoon to Chatsworth House with Liz and we walked round the gardens to take in the views and the trees and the fountain, and also to look at the modern sculpture exhibition. They have one every September, but the last time I went was with the aging hippie 4 years ago. I don't understand a lot of modern sculpture, even when I read the interpretations. Some of the exhibits we saw yesterday looked like giant cast iron blobs, ugly, lumpish, incomprehensible. Here is one we saw that I didn't find objectionable even if I wouldn't want it in my garden:

Do you like it? Get it?

Here is what the label said:

JOEL SHAPIRO (b. 1941)
104 by 193 by 130cm
Executed in 2013. This work is unique.

Shapiro's work is intended to communicate something of the artist's emotional state, retaining both an abstract and scaled-down aesthetic, and achieves a suggestive, often athropomorphised figuration. Although suggestive of a reclining figure, Untitled evades such precisions; the work is predicated by an inherent instability, a sense of flux, shifting under the eye into ever-changing patterns and arrangements and constantly eliding the gap between configuration and disfiguration.

Do you get it now? I don't. I understand the individual words (apart from 'disfiguration') but not when you put them all together. To me, it reads like something from Pseud's Corner in Private Eye.  I am not averse to modern art in general. I like a lot of abstract modern paintings, whether or not I understand what the artist is saying. But when I saw the sculptures yesterday it made me feel like an uncultured philistine.

My favourite strands of the lovely afternoon were talking to Liz, being outdoors on a fine September afternoon in a Capability Brown-landscaped park, and sitting for half an hour before we came home with my back to the stables in the strong sunshine, basking. I need to soak up as much sun as possible to see me through the winter. There has been more rain than sunshine this summer. This has been the typical state of our table tennis table, i.e. with a glazing of rain:

This is the first September for eight years I have not been to stay with the US Hepworths, and I am missing the sunshine, as well as missing them.


Phoebe said...

The purpose of art is to make you feel something, something wholly unrelated to the often preposterous blurbs (being deliberately pejorative here) accompanying the work. Just look at it. Either you like it or you don't, either you feel something or you don't. Either way it's fine. But whatever you do, don't worry if your mind can't assimilate explanations that are more than unhelpful.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Phoebe. That's very helpful and very reassuring.