20 October 2017

Three arty experiences

A Friday-ful of art, today. First to Sway, a Japanese gallery near Old Street. The bull in the window was made of strips of newspaper - headlines - and some gilded, with what looked like asemic writing, but turned out to be a Japanese script known as Kana, which has all but disappeared in the modern world.

 The work is by Kaoru Akagawa; title: Capitalism - 2015 - Information Bull. The written text is the names of about 450 companies listed on the total market capitalization. "Bull markets [markets on the rise] can be suppoorted by speculations and also partly by manipulated information." All that glitters is not gold... The yellowing of the newspaper with age is also part of the concept: "all information will someday become old and outdated".

Some of the small pictures on the back wall show how the script is used for tonal effects -

Use of burning

Cut areas "inspired by Lucio Fontana"

"Moonlight Sonata" - the text is the notes of Beethoven's music,
interpreted into Japanese syllables

 Moonlight Sonata again -

 Then to the British Museum to see "Living Histories: Works on paper from the Arab world" in room 34, the Islamic gallery. The works can be seen here - prints, photography, book art... I was fascinated by Issam Kourbaj's "little boats" made from mudguards of old bicycles and burnt matches; they encapsulate the pain of the journey out of Syria, of leaving the homeland.
"Dark Water, Burning World"
On starting to write this blog post I discovered that the artist, and poet Ruth Padel, were talking about refugees' stories - exploring, through poetry and art, the visible and invisible scars of loss scorched into escaping Syrians by the separation from their homeland - this very evening; too late, though, to get to the talk...
Third on our agenda was Cafe Sketchers, meeting this week at St Pancras station, right beside the Eurostar platform. We had a bite to eat before starting our drawings - lots of riveted, decorative girders and brick and stone...

 I quickly discovered that I couldn't actually see the rosette that caught my eye, but the camera came to the rescue, allowing a good closeup view on the big screen of my phone -
The drawing, straight to biro, is an example of a learning curve, including experimentation with various (chaotic) ways of shading ... but first you must notice the different tones in relation to each other.

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