Sunday, 8 February 2009

Subversive Spaces @ Whitworth Art Gallery

George Shaw, Scenes from the Passion: The Swing, 2002/3

On Friday night I breezed into the Whitworth, without invitation, my blaggers gait set to maximum. People diligently studied the pictures in the foyer, despite them being the same exhibition from the Putting on the Glitz opening.

People buzzed about happily - “Nicholas Serota is here!” There was a real fizzle and spark in the air about Subversive Spaces at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Fizzy wine was flowing, cup cakes with ‘EAT ME’ and ‘KILL ME’ were doing the rounds.

It took a few minutes, and a glass of fizz, before I realised I could enter the exhibition.

This might be ( to a certain extent) an art blog, but I’m personally I’m pretty discriminating about what I like. Some people might say punitively so.  Surrealism is not one of the things I like. It’s too cerebral, and the product of it - dare I say it - are mostly rather ugly and exclusive. This blog is becoming a list of my preconceptions and prejudices.

Anyway, Subversive Spaces. If you like surrealism and being all Freudian you’ll bloody love this exhibition.

Anna Gaskell, Untitled ( Hide) 47, 1999

To be honest, I was never going to be the choir about this exhibition. However, I do think there is something wonderful about how jam packed Subversive Spaces is, and among the rather tired objects there are some really remarkable objects.

For every two things I thought were tired, trite and pretentious, there was something which I found moving. As much as I hate Dali, I am always stunned by the photography of Brassa├». The paintings of children’s play equipment by George Shaw are really evocative.

Anyway, as I wandered out of the exhibition I realised that the opening speeches had started. There was Nicholas Serota giving a speech. Nicholas Serota! He’s even cooler than Lawrence Llwelyn-Bowen or Mark Lawson!

How did such a boring man get so far? I could tell you some details of his speech, but his droning monologue was of such a cadence it drifted right through my mind with out a single phrase taking permanent hold.

So anyway, fizzy wine, cakes and minor art celebrities. What an evening!

I’ve yet to see Kinderzimmer, the toast of the exhibition. The “major” new commission by Gregor Schneider. Will let you know.


Doughboy said...

With Serota I'd say power generates power. he's the art world's Michael COrleone. He doesn't need charisma because he has fear and respect.

Sounds like this is a bit of a must-see show. I'll have to go give it a look. Thanks for your work

VA said...

Have you seen the wallpaper exhibition really good