29 May Mind the gap – as in railways, so in art.
I see that my last post was in November, and I could give you loads of reasons why – Christmas, travel, teaching commitments, cooking for hordes of people – but none of them stand scrutiny or give even a flavour of the work that’s going on in my head. It’s all about the process, and mine is changing. I have so many ideas jostling for position, but a signal failure ( sic…but railways do come into this post!) ) to settle down to the necessary graft of expressing any of them on a canvas. Not that I haven’t done ANYTHING concrete – of course I have – but I guess I’m started to think about pulling threads together, and they do need a lot of mulling. But sometimes one can over-think an idea, and it starts to feel boring before it’s been shared and hung on a wall, so it really is time to get into the studio. Especially urgent as my birthday ( a horrible number ) is happening any minute ; I need to step up, liberate all the images gestating in my head, and let them sing out to the world on their own canvas.
This is a good start – thinking out loud with a post about all the strands of potential output might give me some clarity about the best way forward. Please don’t feel used – I do truly have some things you might enjoy, from Paris, Hambourg, Finchley and Berwick Street. I think I’ll offer you a selection of posts to make up for lost time, and I’ll start with – Hambourg!
I decided to take D away to Hambourg for his birthday to see one of the most visited museums in Germany – the Miniature World Model Railway Museum – 7 floors of heaven for anyone who yearns to create a perfect, controllable universe. My own endeavour towards this goal takes the form of collage, a forum in which I am a Goddess whose scissors decide the fate of every scrap and snippet.
D’s plans are of quite a different order, involving teeny tiny trains rolling along in the loft on fine gauge track ((see, I’m getting very knowledgeable), controlled from a state-of-the-art digital box on whose workings he much enjoys tuition on certain Fridays from an all-knowing railway tutor, together with elegant and delicious picnics prepared lovingly by guess-who and hauled up the loft steps in a basket. Yes, just like poor imprisoned Utrillo levering up his booze in a basket from his friends in the Montmartre street beneath his window while his wardress was out shopping… a spot of art history here which neatly slots into the loft theme.
I put in a brief appearance at Miniature World just to be friendly, and to bone up on the modelling techniques which I volunteered in a sudden love surge to contribute to the Railway, yet another procrastination technique to stave off serious work of my own. Soon I will be building miniature rocks and bridges like the ones you see here, tiny trees and thousands of tiny people milling about at miniature rock concerts. All shaping up to provide an excuse for my next art gap.
I scuttled off as soon as decently possible to the Kunsthalle, Hamburg’s superb art museum. Btw if you want to see a collection of lovely handbags, just as interesting in their way as the art and the railway ( plenty of Furla and Prada on view) take a flight to Hambourg and gaze at the (very well-policed) cloakroom in the Kunsthalle – you can’t take your handbag in with you, only a clear plastic bag for your wallet and your assorted girl stuff. Just like the liquids on a plane journey, a fascinating glimpse into people’s lives – it’s all on view in the bags, phones, lippie, inhalers, hairy combs….too much information.
Now for what’s on the walls there. A totally brilliant collection of German expressionists, from arists as politically diverse as Kathe Kollwitz (a much beloved sculptress, untouched by Nazism) and Nolde (probably can’t say the same of him, but a glowing artist nevertheless). Here’s a little taster:
Nolde’s ‘Tugboat’. It’s very glowy – I was mesmerised. Here’s another one:
This expressionist art is so bold – here are some more – Kirchner, Schmidtt-Rottluff, Pechstein – so direct and strong, such interest of pattern, design, surface: