Monday 18 April 2011

Watercolour and Susan Hiller

 A busy week at work making sure my plants will be happily growing while I'm away , a weekend packing bags and then today the treat of being a tourist up in London. After clearing the fridge for breakfast we've been eating out since. We got the train from Brentford to Vauxhall (only 30 minutes) and walked over the bridge to Tate Britain and went to 2 contrasting exhibitions ( with a Vietnamese lunch  between and coffee and cakes after!). It wasn't too busy in the Watercolour exhibition  so could close and see the detail. Some new discoveries ( Lucy Skaer, Uwe Wittwer, Callum Innes)  among the old favourites of  Eric Ravilious, John Piper, Paul Nash . Neither the 'exhibition ' pictures(too much like oils) or the botanical illustrations(too much like work! ) do it for me but some interesting pieces in the war and improvisation sections. Work by Alexander Cozens looked bang up to date - until read they were from 1780's!! But the star was Turner.
There was some fascinating multimedia  installations  in the Susan Hiller exhibition, mixing ephemera with anthropology, exploring themes  of memory,  language and imagination.  I loved 'Dedicated to the Unknown Artists' featuring postcards collected from seaside town captioned 'rough sea' , also 'recycled works' where she had cut and bound old paintings with thread into sculptural blocks.  You could see  hints of paint at the edges -by coincidence I noted that effect in my old watercolour books (picture above)  when I was choosing my painting materials for Crete. Takes 'repurposing' to  a whole new level.
'Witness' was completely magical and mysterious - walking among hundreds of suspended microphones/speakers with whispered testimonies  of UFO spotting.

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