Monday, 31 January 2011

Art and cake and plans ahoy

Cornwall coast
It's been a surprisingly fruitful, if not frustrating week. The reality of not having a job is fast becoming annoying, exacerbated no doubt by the unfortunate turn in writing towards a feeling of it being, well, homework. Some not so exciting artists and some works so well-known it is impossible to write anything original about them without six months of intensive research and even then it would still risk sounding familiar. Am pushing through but the rate of productivity has severely slipped so this week needs to be tackled with the sort of bloody minded ruthlessness usually applied to a dessert chasing five courses and a cheese platter. And yes, I probably will end up feeling just as ill at the end of it.

My new resolution is to start each day with a job application - bonus point for virtue - and just churn them out until something, anything, comes along. Last week I applied for an internship with the education department at the National Portrait Gallery and I would love, love, love to get it. Over-thought thoughts and scribbled mind maps all seem to suggest this is something I should explore and the more I contemplate the old existential headfuck of "what makes me happy/when do I feel most creatively satisfied/what do I enjoy and what do I think I'm good at?" I come back to the idea of museum education. Who knows what will happen but it would be a fabulous way to explore some of these over-thought thoughts.

Whether or not I manage to get any career leverage happening here in bloody London remains to be seen - book notwithstanding - but at least my travel plans are starting to come to fruition, thanks to some savvy early bookings and friend of friend arrangements. LB, Tors, The Hungry One and I are all off to Cornwall in a fortnight for a long weekend. I have always wanted to go to Cornwall so I'm really looking forward to it. There's the tentative suggestion of lunch at a certain philandering fishmonger's restaurant while we're there but basically I'm just looking forward to some walking, some fireside sitting and some general exploring of the area. It won't be warm enough to swim or frollick on any of the beaches but it will still be lovely to be near the ocean, even with a whipping wind.

Michael Landy, Semi-Detached, 2004. Installed at Tate Britain.
And then, in May, we are booked and confirmed for five days in Greece for Cleo's wedding. It should be hot and hilarious and beyond memorable - 400 guests, a live Greek band and a small church in an ancient village somewhere on Mount Olympus. Add sunshine and school friends and great food and I couldn't be more excited. Now to find a job and book Croatia, Berlin, Istanbul and New York. Yuh.....

We're off in a little while to Borough for some Oscarsfest preparation (read: dinner and a movie with Tor). I was in London for the epic foodfilm moment that was the 2010 edition but thankfully this year the locale is SE1, which may as well stand for Seriously Excited.

Still from Andrew Kotting's film Wake for a Deadad, 2006

There's actually been a few outings this week. My date for one on Wednesday was a talk at the NPG with Michael Landy and filmmaker Andrew Kotting, who were both discussing their unconventional portraits of their fathers. These were, respectively, a to-scale replica of the family home that was created for the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain in 2004 and a film following the artist and a blow up version of his father as they re-visit the significant places from his father's past. It certainly leaves painting with a lot to contemplate.

Gabriel Orozco, Island within an island, 1993
Gabriel Orozco, My hands are my heart, 1991
And because London is the cultural equivalent of cheap and easy (note: in no way is London literally cheap. Or easy...) I had another date with her on Friday to Tate Modern to see the Gabriel Orozco exhibition. I've always loved the work of this Mexican artist. It is whimsical, witty, silly and contemplative and it was, again, such a privilege to stand in front of works I had only ever previously seen in the company of a textbook. I was only there for an hour or so but it ranks as a highlight.

The other highlight of the week was high tea yesterday in honour of my old flatmate Katie's birthday at the Haymarket Hotel near Piccadilly. Expensive champagne, a tiered cake tray laden with crustless finger sandwiches and petite treats of the sugared variety - it was heaven, served on a floral plate.

I don't know what this week will serve up but not so secretly I'm feeling a tad hysterical about how much I have to get done and would like to get done - some art reviews, some serious job applications, some out-of-my-head activities like swimming. And the other half of the book.

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