I took Paul to the Baltic on the 27th. The Baltic is an art space that has been converted from an old flour mill directly on the quayside. The building itself is incredible. A collosal tower of brickwork, amazingly intimidating and inviting at the same time. Patrons include Sting- (enough said), and Bryan Ferry (Sold)
I am normally a little dubious about"contemporary art." Nailing a rubber chicken to a wall and justifying it with research aint art to me. Maybe it is. But then isn't that the beauty of art. The freedom of opinion is something we should hold very dear.
Exhibitions on at present include DAN HOLDSWORTH'S blackout- a sequence of images taken in Iceland. Taking analogue methods, and using digital processing he photographs the melting of an ice glacier. He reproduces the images until the blue sky becomes black, and the ice appears as if it were in negative. Whilst staring at the images for a long time it is hard to tell if the photograph was taken from extremely close up, or from miles and miles away.
Anselm Kiefer was also showing over two floors of the gallery. I was quite excited about this specific artist as I know he is quite a big post war painter. This exhibition is his biggest in the UK for a while, and spanned over forty years of his work. So although each piece extremely interesting, there was no pattern to his work. It was all a bit mismatched without consistency. My favourite of his pieces was The Man Lying Under the Pyramid (1996) Pyramids are usually depicted as spiritual deliverance. In the great pyramids of Egypt, the stepped walls offer a safe stairway to heaven. However in this work the dead is still lying underneath the pyramid. He uses paint and ash heavily to create a very sorrowful atmosphere. The brick work is similar to some of his other works representing Nazi Germany, this painting acts as a reminder to the haunting memories of war.
Dirk Bell was also showing. Soz Dirk, just wasn't into this at all. It was basically a Mercedes(? I think) in a room with an Ikea sign manipulated. SORRY I'm sure there was more to it. And I'm SURE if i could be bothered to read the extensive research explanation I would have more to say about it. I just don't see how it can be art quite honestly. He didn't make the car, he didn't come up with the IKEA branding, he just put the two together in the same room. WELL DONE. Now don't get me started on Tracey Emin... I just like to see a bit of craftsmanship going into a piece. Am awaiting a back lash for this...
My favourite part of the Baltic is always level five. It is an observation box overlooking the river tyne and all it's beautiful bridges (now there's art!) It stops my breath every time. Hundreds of years of construction and architecture sitting side by side to create one of the most incredible sights I will see till the day I die. Of course I am biased as my childhood is held in Newcastle so it will always mean more to me than the average person NOT from Newcastle. The snow just added an extra pinch of special to the view. We sat there for about 40minutes in awe of the sight.
A quiet walk along the River Tyne up to Newcastle to meet Nathalie for dinner finished off a very lovely day.