Monday, October 23, 2006

Sailing Ships and the King's New Clothes

When I lived in Cardiff years ago I knew Chapter Arts Centre quite well, so I listened carefully when I heard it mentioned on the radio this lunchtime in the middle of Jeremy Vine (and I don't even LIKE the programme, I just switched on the car radio and there it was, Radio 2).

There's a new exhibition at Chapter Arts Centre by a chap called Simon Pope, called Gallery Space Recall.

And it is this. There is an empty gallery. The visitor walks through it and is invited to remember walking through other galleries - ones that contained paintings, perhaps, or maybe sculpture. And that's it. Though Simon Pope puts it more eloquently than I ever could:

"Simon Pope invites you to recall, from memory, a walk through a gallery space, and explore the spatial, social and professional relations contained within it. you are asked to summon-up these remote spaces - through memory, body, speech and movement – so that they exist at two locations simultaneously, both here and there."

The problem is - and this is my humble opinion, though I happen to be right - it's a load of pretentious bollocks, and, as Jeremy Vine pointed out - though rather more politely - it is bollocks that has been funded by the Arts Council to the tune of twelve grand.

It's the King's New Clothes: it's an insubstantial nothing. To me, the saddest thing about it is that it fuels prejudice of the "oh I don't like all that modern art rubbish" kind. It just gives evidence to those who believe that genuine art has to be an oil painting of a sailing ship upon a turquoise ocean.

Don't go to see Gallery Space Recall: go to see this exhibition instead: it will be far more interesting, because - amongst many other reasons - it will have been created by people with passion. And I don't believe - cannot believe - that Simon Pope has a passion for his empty gallery. Without passion, how can there be art?


Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:00 am  
Blogger John said...

sorry about that,
the above comment was unseemly
and oft times rude
[but entirely true]

10:04 am  

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