Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Kienholz and Gill, Gaudier Brezska, Epstein shows

Last week I went to the National Gallery. I was in the area and had some time to spare. I like it there so much! all those paintings, I can spend hours walking and staring, dreaming, elaborating. What is it that some paintings have? they can transport me in a journey over memories, ideas, recollections.
But the main reason for my getting into the National Gallery that day was to see an installation from Kienholz: The Hoerengracht
To be honest I did not like it. This was my first contact with his work, I was very curious and excited to have the chance to experience it, so I was a bit disappointed...
The present work at the National Gallery was a reproduction or recreation of a segment of the red district in Amsterdam. The red district used to be inhabited by prostitutes who were offering themselves in the window displays of their workshops. I have not been in Amsterdam yet.
My problem with the work is that it looked in most aspects as pretending to be very accurate, but then there were those loose details, like the hands of the prop/prostitutes, so badly done, like if they were wearing gloves, it did not match the rest of the work. It catched my eye from the beginning but I did not see any point or remark from/to it. Another annoying thing to me was that after going through all the pain/pleasure of making molds from real people, the final figures representing prostitutes looked like mannequins, he could have used mannequins, why not?... There was nothing to it, no art, no interpretation of the chosen subject, or I did not feel it. To me it looked like a cheap reproduction of the red district that could belong more to a low budget theme park...
But I was impressed by the old paintings with the incredible almost science fiction landscapes and backgrounds of impossible cities, and the over the top religious art which is in focus this days at the National Gallery.
My other mission that day was to get to the Royal Academy to see Wild Thing, an exhibition featuring the work of three amazing and very particular sculptors, Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Erik Gill. I was jumping with the excitement as I really like their work, I was going to see Rock Drill... I love their work, but the display of it was so cold...

It is frustrating the way sculpture is exhibited, you are not allowed to touch it. What is the point? Most sculpture depends on the tactile experience, and we are deprived of it

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