Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Staycation, day 9

Up to London today to meet Annie, and to check out the Tate Modern's current exhibitions. The main one being a career-wide retrospective of the 19th century French artist Paul Gauguin.


This turned out pretty well, although I'm still not especially gushing about his work. As is not uncommonly the case, a more interesting part of the exhibition was its contextualising of his work within history, particularly that of European colonialism. On this score, Gauguin has a bit of a reputation for exploitation, evidenced by his paintings of, and affairs with, local women on his various travels through the colonies. But the exhibition also brought out his conflicts with the colonial authorities (including the church), and gave the impression of nascent anti-colonial feelings in Gauguin. Although that might be just down to me skim-reading and misinterpreting the various presented documents.

We also spun around a surrealism exhibition, always fun, and a long-standing one on cubism, futurism and one other -ism that I can't now recall. As with much modern art, something of a mixed bag. Some excellent, some impenetrable, some pants (= unappealing to my aesthetic). And we took in the current Turbine Hall exhibit, Sunflower seeds, of 100 million life-like, well, sunflower seeds.


Of which, C made her own work with a handful of seeds. A different handful from the one she stole, needless to say.


We had a nice long chat with Annie along the way, including a dissection of her recent book group meeting that trashed a book C and I liked (which I'm long overdue writing up).

And then it was a long journey home, standing room only, on the train. Not the best way to top off a day spent standing around staring at art.

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