25 June 2012

Less is more

Saturday was spent in good ol' London Town, with a list of exhibitions to see, places to visit, photographs to take.  And what contrasts I found.  

First stop was the Hayward Gallery to see "Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957 - 2012".  I was on to a winner really, seeing as how nearly everything (if indeed there was a 'thing', which was not always the case ... the clue is in the title) was worked in variations of white.  A collection of works with profoundly different impacts - quiet; contemplative; awkward; repulsive; beautiful; engaging. The highlight for me was Lai Chih-Sheng's "Life Size Drawing, 2012". Easily missed, the brevity of his marks, drawn in pencil and chalk, carry more weight than if a six foot wide roller, inked up in black, had been scrawled across the gallery wall.

Lai Chih-Sheng installing his work Life-Size Drawing, 2012  “Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012” at the Hayward Gallery, LondonCourtesy the artist and Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

Contrast this with the nightmare (is that too strong a reaction?) that was the Royal Academy Summer Show.  

Installation view of Gallery III, Summer Exhibition 2012
Installation view of Gallery III, Summer Exhibition 2012 @ Royal Academy of Arts
Can you believe I'd never been before?!  I'd assumed it was only one step up from entering a Blue Peter competition, but I've been watching the Culture Show 'behind the scenes at the Summer Show' for the past few years, and had been fooled into thinking it couldn't be as bad as I had previously thought.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Vast rooms, painted garish colours, filled with paintings (and it was nearly all paintings) in a cacophony of styles, sizes and colours.  I know that fans and traditionalists will argue that that's the point, but I just didn't get it.  Half an hour later and I was desperate to get out.   

For me, less is definitely more.  

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