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Starting from today, let's have a look through what's been going on recently.
Pictured above is a chain bracelet that I made this evening after being taken on a train towards max frustration by crochet and a very misleadingly labelled pattern for a hippo. I bought the plastic loops for another purpose but got carried away when I realised that you could buy them in pink and orange rather than just the standard colours of black, red and white. It wasn't a massive job, it took me around 10 minutes stabbing at the openings with a biro (my left hand is covered in little marks) and threading them through. My wrist/ hand width can handle seven links. I'm starting to enjoy doing tiny bits of craft again after a long stretch of having virtually no creative outlet and bright, shiny bits of plastic always make my brain fizz so that would be my justification.
A jumble of things from a recent mini trip to Amsterdam and Utrecht. Viv and I decided to go on holiday to break up my working monotony/ to celebrate her birthday (a nicer reason). Here we are in a bookshop with multiple levels, halfway through being absolutely soaked through on our third and final day. If you care to look a little closer, you will see that I am sporting a rather attractive wet-fringe-with-dry-hair style.
(1) In the Stedelijk Museum
(2) In the Rietveld Schroder house.
I'm not sure which to talk about first but chronologically it would be point (1). We went on the first day after discussing our mutual disinterest in visiting the more obvious galleries (Van Gogh is not really up my street, especially not for 20 quid). Obviously, it being a design museum was what really grabbed our attention. I've found that recently I've become increasingly bored by the way that a lot of the main museums and galleries in London display their collections (the new Tate Modern wing rant can wait for another post). To make visits even more difficult, I'm not particularly interested in lots of periods of historical art unless there's a random bit of content that really grabs my attention (the first pieces of religious perspective painting, medieval artworks, abstract splodges in pleasing colour combinations) with design having a similar effect, albeit more frequently. I'm extremely reliant on my gut reaction to things. Maybe this is beside the point and you really don't care but sometimes something/one captures my imagination and I'll fall in love with an object or process or artist (or w/e) but a lot of the time I end up skimming over things if there isn't an instant emotional pull. Probably something to do with my internet-addled brain but I'm definitely not well informed enough to start going into that.
Anyway. The Stedelijk Museum gave us both a bit of excitement. We loved the varied exhibits, the clutter free rooms and the achievable size of the entire gallery. It's so refreshing to feel like you aren't being dwarfed by a museum but are still left satisfied at the end. Not that I think the V&A, for example, needs to downsize but I did feel comforted that although the building itself was vast, the curators hadn't felt the need to overload each space in a style not dissimilar to my Grandad's mantle.
A highlight that Viv also mentioned on her blog, was a series of beautifully still photographs by Jan Dibbets of the super shiny painted surfaces of cars (New Colour Studies, 1976/2012). This series, confidently spread over several rooms gave our post-flight post-coffee brains a moment to calm down and reflect on something that had a lovely visual stillness. Lots of the photographs are so closely zoomed in that they look like gradient colour paintings. I'm partial to things that are smooth and shiny, as demonstrated by the plastic bracelet, so it was refreshing to experience a very 'pop' aesthetic displayed in a calm, fanfare free format.
Something that neither of us realised before entering the museum was quite how confused we were about the chronology of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus and De Stijl. I'm still confused, despite us spending a good twenty minutes unpicking it. My sieve-like brain is not capable of remembering things as important as artistic movements when I'm in need of a nap. Something I can remember quite clearly is the deeply ingrained installation work by Jon Rafman. I don't have any photos apart from one of Viv looking appalled by a video piece but a picture wouldn't quite do the immersive experience justice. If you can imagine being in a room with blue ambient lighting, a raised ball pit with video screens hanging above it and a foamy bench that cocoons round you as you watch a video comprising of imagery that wouldn't be on the /b/ board of 4chan (don't Google it) crossed over with the aesthetic of Tumblr stars like Molly Soda then you may come close to what we experienced but I'm not sure that a description can really cover it. I felt a mixture of being super uncomfortable but also hazily relaxed by the physical environment of this particular exhibition. This was also one of the first rooms that we entered which might explain the physical and mental shock that we both experienced.
I think in the interests of sanity, I'll cut this off here and come back to it another day. I hope you are well.
*I'm sorry, I don't, I'm saddened by endless articles about Brexit/ Labour falling apart/ the prospect of Michael Gove becoming PM etc and want to put something online that's a bit more exciting, silly and hopeful.