|Ars etiam brevis
||[Mar. 23rd, 2014|05:33 pm]
Last weekend was all about the ephemerality of art. And about the visitors, that was a theme, too - and thinking about it, visitors with dogs: the expected visit from cousins who called in on the way from football at Sunderland to holiday cottage in Alnwick, but couldn't stay long because the dog was in the car, the unexpected visit from M. who was walking the dog and rang the bell on the off-chance we'd be in. All of this was good, but there's not much I can say about it, whereas I have plenty of pictures...
Goshka Bialek is a neighbour, so when she circulated information about her art project "Echo of the Lumiere" I made sure to take my camera when we went shopping in town on Saturday. The first element of her installation, "Ghost", was easy enough to spot:
The day was bright and windy, and what the piece lost by being viewed in daylight (it's designed to be illuminated as in this picture) it gained from its wafting and billowing movements. It's a bit taller than the picture makes it look, too - the base is masked by the building in front of it. It'd be pretty ambitious as a Rag Week stunt (do they still do that?). Finding the alleged "Gnome" in the Master's Garden was harder, but after consulting at the World Heritage Centre (which functions as a sort of Tourist Office in absentia) and marching past the sign at the entrance to Castle which says 'no access beyond this point', we saw a green and yellow spotted umbrella camouflaged by the daffodils on the Castle mound. It was, as I said, a windy day, and had been an even windier night, and we concluded that this was all that remained of the gnome. It wasn't until Monday that we learned there was more to the story, when the local paper reported: Police hunt for 8ft garden gnome stolen from Durham Castle. The article has a picture of the gnome, and quotes the artist as saying "My gnome was very ugly. And that was the point of it. I made it as ugly as I could – to challenge perceptions and provoke debate on gnomes, ugliness, taste and tolerance." In which case, presumably removing the gnome is as valid a response as any other. The following day's paper reported that the gnome had now "been found by a university porter" - which doesn't contradict anything that has gone before.
On Sunday afternoon we explored the Woodland Trust site at Low Burnhall: it's a conservation project being transformed into woodland by the planting of trees, and in time it will be woodland. I expect the trees will go some way to screen the noise from the main road, but at present it's very open farmland, and I was constantly aware of the traffic. We managed to miss the waymarking where we entered the site (we were looking at the information board, and so had our backs to the first arrow) but the tracks were broad and easy to follow, so it didn't matter. The best thing, though, was this wicker sculpture:
She could have been one of nineweaving's Cloudish witches, though she is identified as a pitman's wife, feeding her hens (I had wondered what her attendant wicker spheres represented, but Phil Gates knows a hen when he sees one, even if it is wearing a little woolly scarf. She's a robust figure, and I can imagine her facing down the mine-owner. Her husband is not doing so well:
- and you don't need me to fill in the rest of this sentence. He has already been repaired, but clearly it didn't take. I suppose that works in willow are of their nature temporary: if the willow is cut for basketry it will eventually decay, if it is living it will grow and change.