Thursday, 9 August 2007

Culture Vulture

Ah, London in the sunshine. ...What is drab and grim through the grey clouds and drizzle becomes positively beautiful in the sun. I've enjoyed a picnic in Green Park and a wander along the South Bank. But what has been most lovely this week were the visits to Art Galleries.

First I went to the Impressionists by the Sea exhibition at the Royal Academy. Always a fan of Monet, Manet, Renoir and the gang I could not fail to be impressed (ho ho) and it was great to have a few unknowns (to me) thrown in. It certainly made me want to promenade along the seafront in northern France.

Today it was the Hayward Gallery and Antony Gormley's Blind Light exhibitions. Normally a fan of pretty paintings over sculpture I was spellbound by some of the installations. I particularly enjoyed wandering through Allotment II made up of individual units of concrete blocks that are made to the precise measurements of real people. They are all rectangular but are as wide and tall as ther person on which it was modeled with holes for ears, mouth and your unmentionables in the correct places. Strangely Gormley seemed to have managed to capture the personality of his subjects and instead of being just blocks of concrete of varying sizes you could guess at the characteristics of the model!

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Blind Light installation. From the outside it looks like a large glass box filled with bright light and smoke. However, visitors are also invited to go inside and experience disorientation. The minute you walk in you can barely see your had infront of your face and the light really is quite blinding. My head immediately started to spin and I quickly shoved my way out. It certainly achieves its aim of disorienting the visitor but I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy the feeling of nausea that accompanied it - but as I seemed to be the only person who had a problem with this it may have been down to last night's bottle of wine! People of nervous dispositions should remain cautious though.

Both exhibitions were fantabulous, so if you are in London this month get yourself down there.

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