Creative Question Friday: What Art Have You Seen Recently?

Today’s Creative Question: What Art have you seen recently and how did you feel about it?

I went to the Tate Modern earlier in the week with no real plan about what I’d look at. I ended up seeing two exhibitions that I found hugely inspiring.

The first was Photography: New Documentary Forms.

Most of the pictures in the exhibition were landscapes.

While I was looking around I overheard a teacher talking to a group of students about works by Luc Delahaye. He explained that the word ‘landscape’ has a specific context to most people. We think of the rolling hills of the English countryside or of mountains and oceans.

In reality this isn’t the landscape that most people experience on a day-to-day basis. It’s a cityscape or a town or, in the case of Luc Delahave’s work, it’s plumes of smoke in the background as a bomb is detonated in Baghdad.

Luc Delahave takes huge, imposing landscape shots but they show destruction and violence against an urban backdrop.

I liked his work a lot especially his shot of the Palestine Hotel, where the world’s media camps out while a plume of smoke rises in the background. We applaud journalists for putting themselves into these often dangerous situations but we forget that the average Afghan person doesn’t have a choice but to live their life amongst the chaos and destruction.

The next stop was Tacita Dean’s 35mm in the Turbine Hall. I liked the film. I wasn’t blown away with it – I rarely am with Art Films – but it was imposing, as it was projected onto a huge screen at the rear of the hall and it had that beautiful quality that on film has.

What was fascinating was a documentary film where Tacita Dean talked about 35mm film. She said that film is her medium, like oil is the medium for other artists.

One of the reasons that film works so well for her is what she describes as the ‘gestation period’ between exposing the film and getting it back, as a lot can happen in your head between the intervening period.

This made me think about my relationship with film as opposed to digital and the way that I work. I think I’ll save my thoughts on this for another post.

She also talked a lot about the way she works. She doesn’t work to a plan, rather she has ideas and works through them or, as she so beautifully put it, “I find my way through by working”

She went on to explained that the mountain which appears within the film is Mount Analogue from the book of the same title by surrealist novelist novelist René Daumal.

Mount Analogue is a fictional mountain that you can only see from a specific place, as the sun sets over the sea and Tacita Dean likens this metaphor, “which exsists beyond the rational” to 35mm and goes on to state that film is an illusion.

Mount Analogue the book also talks about ‘peradam’ – “a clear and extremely hard stone . . . a true crystal . . . harder than diamond,” so transparent that it was almost impossible to see and extremely difficult to find. The discovery of a peradam was never accidental, but resulted from some kind of inner effort. At such a moment, its “brilliant sparkle like that of a dewdrop” might catch the eye of those who truly and sincerely sought the truth.

I like the idea that you will only find peradam if you are looking for it and want it badly enough.

This and other things that have inspired me this month will all make excellent entries into my Museum of Inspiration. Have you been documenting your inspiration? And what art have you seen recently?

Laura x

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