Lovely comment to my last post from Gill. Her words about making scratchy drawings at the moment and the influence of our own moods on the work made me recall chatting to a sculptor who taught very sick people to carve.
She said that invariably their first works were flat and dreary and then rose and reached upwards as the creators grew in confidence and their mood lightened with it…
Certainly my winter energy levels make a difference to how ambitious I am both in the physicality and the scope of my work in those three dark months.
I have just returned from a trip to Edinburgh during which I visited the Scottish Parliament building- what a dissapointment. No modern building can ever have that presence which comes with age but it can be wonderful. This building -which was built by a Spanish architect [ seems odd]- is hugely high spec in its materials but bitty and with views onto ugly walls and with no coherence, nothing to enchant or amaze, nothing in the way of glorious art or sculpture or textiles – everything so safe.
Tell you what I will remember – the bicycle racks. Metal – they looked like little bikes from a distance and became separate shapes on approaching. Everyone was photographing them and laughing. Guess that is what they will remember most – the bicycle racks.
I did however come back with a memory of work that will haunt me for a long time and it wasn’t Rodin’s Kiss [on loan up there] although I did pay that a visit for old time’s sake.
It was the Louise Bourgeois exhibition ‘I Give Everything Away’ at the Fruitmarket Gallery.
Downstairs 220 small drawings on paper – done at night in 1994 when she couldn’t sleep and collected up by her assistant – now called the Insomnia Drawings.
Upstairs – what a revelation – a great light space hung with two suites of huge soft ground etchings. One done in 2007 and the other in 2010 just before her death. The work runs seamlessly around the walls – visceral drawings – often one either side of a text.
One wall speaks of her discovering her father and the maid…a central moment in her life … ‘when terror pounces, grips me, I create an image’/’something happened that I don’t understand and makes me masochistic’/’when did this happen? When I saw them coupling. Separate the snails. My memory is moth eaten, full of holes’/’struck by revulsion I do nothing, paralyzed, immobilized by the horror…..’
The other is extraordinary. Heart stopping. There was total silence from all the viewers. An elderly woman preparing to leave the world has made, as her last gift, these physically huge, starkly honest, unutterably vulnerable works.
‘I give everything away’/ ‘I distance myself’/’ I am what I love’/ ‘I leave my house’ /’I leave my nest’/’ I am packing my bags’…….
If they come to your area – go.