The following sketches, and the ones I’m going to put in the next three blog posts, were all drawn at lightening speed – just a few seconds each – trying to capture the thrill of seeing Tacita Dean’s film “Antigone” that was being shown at the Royal Academy in London. Screen shots – a moment in time.
Somehow I do like the chemistry between people. If it exists. Sometimes. Perhaps.
I can’t remember when or where I drew these footprints. I dug them out the other day, when looking for something else. A complete mystery, but obviously from somewhere.
It reminds me of the quote from Rodin in my previous blog “Walking with Rodin.” and I deliberately mis-quote him here: “It is not my Footprints in themselves that interests me, but rather the thought of where they have come from, and where they are going to.” Having unearthed them, they already seem to be following me around the house a bit. I’m wondering if they are about to disappear all by themselves behind a cupboard or something, and re-emerge again in 5 years time, to haunt me.
As to what animal it is – that I think must have come out of my imagination. Polar Bear, Mammoth, Yeti? Perhaps I will have to lie in wait, and see if the animal that produced them appears again.
They are not mine – I have ascertained that. Although I did draw them. Or did I?
When he was talking about his sculpture “The Walking Man,” Rodin comes up with the wonderful quote: “It is not my Walking Man in himself that interests me, but rather the thought of how far he has come, and how far he has yet to cover.”
“The Burghers of Calais” being paraded before the public.
This quote I feel applies both to the recent British Museum exhibition “Rodin and the art of ancient Greece,” which examines the influence of the sculptures from antiquity, in particular the Parthenon, on Rodin, and also Rodin’s own philosophy that enjoyed the effect that time has on sculptures (the lack of limbs, heads and general knocks that they have taken over the millennia), and makes a feature of it in his own work.
The Elgin marbles in the British Museum never really grabbed my attention before, but this exhibition made me have a truly great respect and admiration for the sculpture created by Pheidias. The man was a genius in how he could transform and manipulate the cold hard and heavy marble into living flesh, and to make it look as if it weighed hardly anything.
Apart from the drawing at the top of Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais”, for which I found a convenient seat, it was too crowded in the exhibition to be able to draw anything comfortably, so I took myself off to the Parthenon Gallery within the British Museum to view the remnants that didn’t make it to the exhibition, and here I managed to draw this horses head, originally one of four that was pulling a god’s chariot from out of the waves.
I feel another series of sketches beginning…
No, they didn’t miss Heathrow. These are London plane trees at the Victoria Embankment Gardens in London, where I recently took shelter from a thunderstorm. Instead I got rained on from on high by ready-made sculpture; manna from heaven.
It was an eerie light because of the storm. The grass under the trees looked nearly white, both with the storm, and through being parched dry from lack of rain.
The trees were shedding their bark profusely, something they do naturally apparently, not down to the dry weather as I first thought. I nearly got hit on the head at one point!
The resulting debris on the ground took on sculptural qualities reminiscent of body parts; here a back-bone, there an arm, is that an elephant trunk?
Jumping out at Russell Square tube station, I noticed these doors at the end of the platform and was immediately drawn in by the arrangement of the security seal tape, and it’s constant removal and replacement along the vertical openings of the doors.
There is something paradoxical that the seals have been put in place and removed so many times. The cabinets being broken into, and then taped over again and again, as if some drama, a crime thriller is taking place with the repeat button firmly pushed down.
The vertical arrangement also reminds me strongly of the “Hanging Soap Women, 2000” sculpture by the Polish artist Miroslav Balka, of which, I believe, half of it is in the Tate Modern collection, and half of it is at the White Cube Gallery, after the original length was cut in two. This beautiful sculpture made of a large quantity of used bars of soap in lots of different colours and strung up along a metal cable is well worth hunting down to have a look at. It does have an underlying message as well, which has got absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in Russell Square, but perhaps you can see the connection.
Back to the mystery of what is going on behind these doors!
What makes it so worthwhile for somebody to break in so many times, risking capture, torture, possibly even death, and yet still persist?