Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Annette Messager

There is nothing remotely regular about the posting on this blog and I should change the title at some point, however for now read on. There is a retrospective of the French artist Annette Messager at the Hayward Gallery in London and I went to see it on Friday, and it was extraordinary so it qualifies for entry here.
This is a hugely theatrical exhibition where almost all the spaces are filled with mixed up creatures that are in fact stuffed toys (or ex toys), completely corrupted species with legs from one and heads from another, a conglomeration of limbs and bodies. They are all are tied to ropes, some are suspended from pulleys and are going up, and coming down; while others are dragging around the perimeters of a crazy playroom. “Articulated Disarticulated 2001-2002” pictured above, is a circus of macabre puppets come to life.
Dead birds in crochet tops and stuffed birds with replacement knitted heads are tragic but not grim; it’s a game that endures. The sea of real waves is actually swathes scarlet silk, articulated by compressed air, it rumbles from the anti room at the back of this large space flodding forward towards you feet. Underneath are glimpses of illuminated creatures and alternately sunken cities, it is so delightful and affirms for me my own child self that still lives alongside me as a ridiculously familiar comedy anchor.
The exhibition is accessible with a morbid side that is not detected by the young visitors to this art gallery, the children were entranced and stimulated by what they saw, this morphing, butchering and concocting is completely normal to them. It is so good to be reminded of our past less serious selves.
See Annette Messager in pictures here
Southbank Cerntre, Hayward Gallery click here
I have used some photographs from this site and the ones of Annette Messagers framed photographs I have scanned from her book "Word for Word"

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Seven Ages of Woman

Bobbie Bale's collection of work resonates with all my own deep memories from childhood to contemporary adult woman. At first it is slightly shocking to see those moments freeze framed that have been so personally fixed in your own psyche. At the same time there is the recognition and the confirmation that you weren’t the only one to have experienced the journey illustrated before you. I think Bale is very clear about what she means here and that authority is very reassuring.

The creative reverie that waits for you is about the spaces in which we live – corners, wardrobes, wombs, attics, cellars, nests. It is so blindly obvious what Bale has done here it makes you wonder why there is so little out there artistically on such an important aspect of the human feminine life. The painter inspires daydreams; you will suddenly find yourself off daydreaming about your own spaces. Bale has treated her subject with sensitivity and clarity of thought, taking the viewer through the various dimensions and aspects of intimate space.

Go and see this extraordinary collection. It will tell you more about the spaces you live in, but before you go visit Bobbie Bale's web site

The Seven Ages of Woman
Wednesday 4th February to Saturday 28th February
Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant PO9 1BS

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Hilary Evershed at the Ox Market

The big cat goes to the Chichester Ox Market Gallery and the word that came to mind when I walked into Hilary Evershed’s exhibition was; astonishing. This collection of work is positively drenched in emotion and it pours out of the lush pigments as if Nurse Hilary has fixed you with an intravenous drip of love right into your dorsal vein. She describes her work as art from the heart, and it is. Does she realise how rare this kind of creativity is? In this small gallery area there are 100 paintings hung closely together, they give the feeling of being in a film just like freeze frames of the mind. They work in this collective group.
There is a lot to see here, once you have finished looking at the paintings there are the poems, after that there is the catalogue. Go and see this if you can, put by the time to do it justice it is a rare treat. Hilary’s web site has more information. The Ox Market Center of Arts is in St Andrews Court, off East Street, Chichester, West Sussex P019 1YH.