Contemporary Art Thoughts on Sunday

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A trip to Art Gallery is a great way to spend Sunday afternoon, I thought and went online to search through the city stock on museums and galleries. Unfortunately each time I turned to a website that had gallery or museum in address I had to make an effort to get what I wanted out of it.

I understand that  City of Liverpool may not be famous from great appreciation for art work and high culture activities, however I do believe that solid information given to website visitors is a must and needs to be a sound base on which the visitor and the gallery can meet.

Instead the base mentioned above, we have a long stream of unnecessary information with very little order and reason. Vital info which you may need or be interested in are lost in the plenty of others, uncategorised and untagged. Frustrated a bit I went around the site and combed out the info I wanted, by the way learning that the next day there will be a Parent and Baby Morning taking place… which (surprisingly) will give you an extraordinary opportunity  to “meet other parents and babies”. Now why would you like to invite toddlers to a museum or art gallery?  I believe that there is only one reason to that and that is promotion of baby articles to their parents. Modern marketing is coming into each aspect of our lives very rampantly, and very little borders and limitations are being set for aggressive tactics of corporations.  Unfortunately.  And I am not an anti-children crusader. I may sound like one, confronted with powerful child products manufacturer’s pushy campaigns. But: there’s more. Brace yourself as I am going to say this.

Each of these galleries and museums have a solid part which is especially designed for children. Is there anything wrong with that? One may argue. Yes, there is in my opinion. There are plenty of activities for children in different ages across each city, town, within small neighbourhoods even. There are places especially designed and run with sole purpose to treat children and their parents. I really do not think that serious art galleries are places which should accommodate this kind of operation. I do believe that we should treat commune with art as a special event, some place and time where we can contemplate and stop for a moment. Have a reflection about life, it’s meaning, different perspectives and approach. A place where we can discuss and exchange ideas and opinions. Let’s not turn art gallery into yet another supermarket, where we can find everything and nothing, flea markets with cacophony of different “activities”. For we will lose the purpose of art…

So here I am at Tate Liverpool Gallery on surprisingly beautiful morning. I go further and further through  the rooms and another exhibits. And I feel more and more insulted. I may come across to some of you as an ignorant, person who has no idea of contemporary art. So be it. There must be however a minimum effort that needs to be involved in process of creating art.

I believe that first there must be an idea, invention, little seed of genius that will, through the process come out as an art piece.  And I do have a feeling that some of the artists of whom work I could see at Tate first found the “art piece” and then created the story behind it (some as you will learn in a short while did not even make that effort)… Word found may not be very accurate here as well, as some of this items were just everyday use items, like crossed neon lights, placed in the corner of the room. While the artist himself refused to reveal any other meaning of it but great way to arrange corner space of the room. Then I think he should simply make his way to Ikea interior design centre and try his luck there…

Do not get me wrong, there were some great pieces of work there too, however after I finished browsing the gallery’s walls, floors, doors and whatever else spaces you may find I felt simply intellectually abused. It was very disappointing that what we have come to is exhibiting ordinary items in ordinary surroundings with nothing artistic in it or anywhere near it. If the art is a mirror of our inner condition as a society, as a human race then what I saw was overwhelming abyss of emptiness.

How about this for beginning of the story?

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The little town across wide road seemed to be just an illusion. Dimmed and yet sharp lights of cold dusk cut through the horizon. The edges of buildings were blurred and uneven. There was no sound, air was still and heavy, bringing its burden on to the ground, flattening the city shape, stretching it and widening.

With minutes that passed more light was poured into the picture. As if painter himself decided to brighten his canvas bit more. One could almost notice the tracks of the brush and layers of paint one on another changing shades and shapes. The sky was swept with a very decided and strong draws, only on the right side you could notice that the are some fluffy leftovers from the night screen that was here before.

It won’t be very long, till I get there.

The sun was up when I finally reached the city gates, my shade was not very long though, could not be later than 9AM. On my way here I was composing long tirades that I am going to give, the complete argumentation, that was unquestionable. Brilliant points and great reasons. No one will dare to rise against or simply disagree.

But just as I was afraid, and actually I was expecting to, now I found it difficult to bring up those amazing words.

The times were difficult and people did not trust each other so easily. I had to explain what business brings me to the town. I had to show that I owed enough money to sustain myself while inside the gates. And my business was to find a buyer for cargo load that was never picked up.

The story was simple, cargo from overseas arrived up to the schedule but no one showed up to claim it. Now my company, the one that owned the ship, ended up with 10 tons of aluminium cutlery. Cutlery after check-up occurred to be very poor quality one, but it presented quite classy. My job was to find someone to buy it and help us empty unwanted stock.

Actually it was not a difficult task, as the cargo came to us completely for free, we only spend costs for storing it. My boss simply wanted to come on even with this accidental business.

The short but thick guy at the gate shook his head with understanding. And why wouldn’t he? I was just the same hard working guy from the neighbourhood, his mate, some another Johnny or Andy. Trying to make his way around in this life.

I know that it may sound tacky to you, but theatrical phrases were always my specialty. I could TALK, not just talk, but exactly: TALK. My reason and broad vocabulary were my strongest sides, unfortunately in most cases, they only worked out while I was alone, talking in my head…worst thing was that I always talk inside me, but that is something else that thinking. I am a person who is simply unable to think by any communicative mean. My thoughts were like thick and sticky mud, covering everything, taking shapes and sounds of whatever I wanted. But how I “wanted” it to happen was not clear too. I just had it in my head, coming from somewhere behind, somewhere deeper than myself, sometimes, believe me I even caught myself on thinking that there is an external source of all this, as all these images and feelings and characters were drastically alien to what I knew as Myself, Rob Nedridge.

But forgive me for this distraction, as the action speeds up while we are talking.

The man at the gate looks hesitant for a short while, but as I told you before: Johnny or Andy, maybe he will buy a round next time in the bar?

Sure I will buy you a round…

I had all required paper as company’s representative. All was in absolute order, maybe even too true, but when something is too true then it’s possible we lose our guard, as it is an academic example of well-done job, everyone could make a mistake, so no worries that you overlooked something obvious.

Eventually he opened the gate and made friendly gesture. He even wished me success on my business, which I found strange for unknown reason, as if he saw through me and understood what he saw. This gave me a shiver down my spine. Odd. Even more odd, I got goose bumps immediately.

As a child it was always very easy to make me exited even ecstatic, I believed in great ideas, great words and pure involvement. It was very easy to touch me, to move my emotions. I hated it later on when I became older, I found that I was too easily read by other people, so I banished it out of myself. What was left as an after effect was this kind of sensitivity on smallest vibes and drifts of emotions, that gave me a creep. I could not read them anymore as I got rid of the base, as if I was only able to see the sun through misty sky. Not clear, very deceptive and filled with contradictory meanings.

But soon I was walking down the main road and forgot about this already. I had to find a hotel now, a place where I could nest myself safely and start to work…

***

I first send myself to post office as I know in small towns like this one, this is where you find all you need to know. And I was not wrong. Quite well maintained and spacious interior was a bit of a surprise to me as the building looked bad and had vital signs of underinvestments.

The lady in her 40’s was spacious too. She almost filled up the small cubical space at only open counter. The guard looked bored. Once I entered however he straighten up, as he was leaning lazy against other counters.

Yes, I am new in the town, but I am no troubles, I spoke with gentle smile. He needs to see me as Johnny or Jessie or whatever other James he pleases. He relaxed a bit, but stayed alarmed.

People those days gets way too tense, it is really much harder to become a face in the crowd nowadays.

Good morning, I am Jack Bennett. I just arrived and I am trying to find a decent place to spend couple of nights, I am on a business trip, and would prefer something quiet and comfortable. I thought it would be the best way to start here; you folks must be the best informed people in this town, right? I started. How could they disagree?

The spacious woman introduced herself with a very pleasant and deep voice. Her name was no surprise though: Amanda. Amanda was so kind and made couple of phone calls. Just while I was running absolutely fascinating conversation with Hank The Guard, about fishing season this year and live in general, she arranged me suitable accommodation, as she promised. The very word suitable was precisely what I was after at the moment. I could not name it better.

Amanda was so pleased with herself that she got red cheeks. The car was already waiting outside, I kissed Amanda’s hand in an old fashioned but always appreciated by women style, waved off my hat to Hank and left.Image

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