Olafur Eliasson At Tate Modern October 2019
I just love sculpture. I am rubbish at it but I love the process and other peoples work. In particular, sculptors drawings. See Barbara Hepworth’s hospital drawings for starters.
Soon I’m going to take my family to see the David Nash at The Towner in Eastbourne and then put them through an Art Foundation style six week project entitled ‘Change’. First they’ll have to fill a couple of sketchbooks with ideas, observational drawings, notes at exhibitions, research on Art History, material samples, exploring the theme and taking it to it’s limit (a bit like stand up comedy actually. Or improvised jazz. I imagine). The second visit to David Nash at The Towner, me and my lad sat side by side on a bench and sketched a tree trunk with a little fireplace in it, just because it’s fun. I’m not expecting anyone to think this is good by the way, I just love drawing and try and do it every day.
So when I went to the In Real Life exhibition, I doodled in the first room, a cabinet of 3D models and experiments and made a note of materials so I can have a go at home.
Selfies and Playing
The middle rooms were full of people doing selfies, which is interesting because it made me think about what we choose to look at. Doing observational drawing helps you to really look and one of the first things you learn at art school is ‘draw what you see, not what you think is there’. I don’t mean to sound churlish or judgemental about people doing selfies, the whole exhibition seems to be encouraging it to be honest but it was an interesting contrast to what I was taught to do. Olafur Eliasson wants his work to engage though, and there are clearly different ways of doing that. The second time I saw this exhibition I was much more playful. I pretended to be a crocodile in the room with the colourful shadows, using my arms as jaws to chomp at the other shadows. And I remembered a documentary we watched recently about Olafur Eliasson’s work and how he wants that to happen. For us to become part of the experience.
I didn’t know how to spell Maquette
When I left the exhibition, I started seeing Olafur-like artwork everywhere, which I thought was very funny. Perhaps I’d gone a bit mad from looking around galleries on my own again. But the traffic lights and a statue of Queen Victoria outside were the same colour and similar shapes. And an empty light box for an ad at Blackfriars Station, filled with weird fluffy foam was just like a weather system/light work that I’d just been looking at yards away. I hope the people taking selfies had as much of a laugh as I did. I think they probably did, there were some great optical illusions in there. Very playful and stunning. The sort of exhibition where you think to yourself over and over ‘thank you [name of artist here]. Thank you for creating this, so we can enjoy it too’.