Saturday, December 07, 2019

Seeing the sights (updated)

I've been very busy this week with writing and with family stuff, which is one reason I haven't posted. 

Another reason, though, is that I usually tell you about exhibitions I've seen on my London trips, and I didn't enjoy the one I saw on Tuesday: Eliasson at Tate Modern. Here is an excerpt from the description on the Tate Modern website:

This exhibition brings together over 40 works of art made between 1990 and today by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Born in 1967, Eliasson has created a broad body of work that includes installations, sculptures, photography and paintings. The materials he uses range from moss, glacial melt-water and fog, to light and reflective metals. .......

......Eliasson puts experience at the centre of his art. He hopes that as you encounter it, you become more aware of your senses. You add meaning to the works as you bring your associations and memories to these experiences. You might also become more aware of the people around you with whom you form a temporary community. 

I don't know if it was because of my own state of mind, or because the exhibition went over my head, or swerved round the side, or whether it just wasn't aimed at someone like me. The critics have swooned over it, but that's never made me feel I ought to like something before...all those impenetrable Booker prize winning books for example? 

I found a lot of it irritating, and was relieved to leave. One exhibit I actually hated was a room of fog, which we were supposed to walk through with other visitors whom we could not see. I hated it and turned round immediately and left the way I'd come in. I felt not only disorientated, but also claustrophobic, and I hated being in a room full of unseen but audible strangers. When I got home, Zoe told me that when she and her friend had been there, they were so intrigued by the fog room they went through it twice. Now I consider it, that exhibit was probably successful in terms of the artist's aim, but that doesn't mean I would want to repeat it or suffer more of the same.

I feel very exposed in saying this, but when I go to an exhibition I want an emotional meaning or message, not just a sensory one. Eliasson did not speak to my condition.

I enjoyed walking around London in the sunshine with Het so much more.

Look at the low December sunshine catching the unlit Christmas lights...

And back home on the Trail yesterday, Dave and I saw a rainbow over the field where the corn has just been harvested:

I'm happy.

Perhaps one of the reasons that the exhibition failed to move me is that I don't need to go to the Tate and smell a vast wall of Scandinavian reindeer lichen to become aware of my senses and my reactions to what I sense. I can see and smell and feel stuff here, in the garden, and on the Trail. 

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