Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I love it when an exhibition makes me open my eyes. And think as well as look.
I got off to a great start at the Royal Academy's British Sculpture exhibition this morning.
It wasn't too crowded - with works or people - so there was room to stand and
wonder ...
And feel surprised, because somehow I never thought of the Cenotaph as sculpture? (It strikes me as more powerful in its stark original version, unadorned by poppies and carved wreaths. Or flags.)
And then I thought about what a wealth of inspiration British sculptors found in the British Museum.
And what vitality surges through Epstein's colossal Adam ... how can blood seem to be pulsing through stone?
(I didn't drop my lorgnette like the old lady who was appalled by Adam's nakedness when he was first exhibited in 1939.
But isn't it typical of British prurience ... that a great work of art ended up being exhibited as a rude sideshow in Louis Tussaud's waxworks in Blackpool?)
There was space to sit and contemplate Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. (That's one of hers from Battersea Park in the photo.)
And then ... I got to the 1990s and Damien Hirst's seething mass of bluebottles crawling over a festering barbecue.
And hoped that eventually we'll take a few steps back and start again.

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