Sunday, July 31, 2011

Haunch of Venison - Giuseppe Penone

On a brilliant day in London last week an unplanned moment occurred. Giuseppe Penone, I am ashamed to admit, was unknown to me when I spotted a Richard Long/Giuseppe Penone exhibition at the Haunch of Venison's temporary accommodation in the old RA Schools building.

Carving wood, working with trees, forests and the environment are the themes of Penone's work. As opposed to our great contemporary wood sculptor, David Nash (whose work I admire hugely) Penone evaluates the wood from the inside and this piece is an example.

It is called Ripetere il bosco - frammento 28 (To repeat the forest - fragment 28) 2007. Quoting from the exhibition notes "...a beam of wood from within which emerges a bare sapling like a butterfly from a cocoon. The growth-rings in the manufactured, utilitarian length of wood are followed inwards and reveal 'the way the tree rose into the sky...'"

At first it looks as though the sapling has been stuck into a block of wood, but in fact, he has worked back to 'extract' it from the solid form, back to it's early life.

Having admired Richard Long for many years it was a joy to see new works. this large Portland stone circle is bisected by Delabole slate from Cornwall and is positioned on the North/South axis. I knelt down to look at it more laterally and one of the stones nearest to me had the marks of an ammonite. These works are subtle and reward careful and considered observation. But that is the same for all works of art.

My day out in London was exceptional in many unforeseen ways. Tomorrow I shall blog about White Cube and the Chapman Brothers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The trough of anxiety

Well, maybe it is not quite this bad, but my newly acquired mindfulness is being tested to the core. Having learned that living in the moment is the best, and that worrying about the future is stressful - what am I doing? Tight with anxiety and discomfort, almost pain.

So what I intend to do is have a long mindfulness practice and report back to see if things have improved.  Watch this space.

One hour later, yoga for mindfulness kept my mind focused, which is good. Let's see how things are from now on.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Journal writing

A couple of years ago this wintry glorious sunset was the view from the bedroom. Picking it at random brought back precisely what I felt at the time and my awe at Nature's magic.

At a time when going away is not an option, I've decided to revisit the hundreds of special moments in the past, to re-appreciate them rather than rush on hoping for something more in the future. This is not to dwell in the past but to live the moment in this moment.

Ten years ago we went with a girlfriend to Burgundy, staying in a newly refurbished cottage and I kept a journal. This week, in one ofour regular, rather long telephone chats I was saying we couldn't go away for several reasons, and how I had found the diary I had kept of that holiday. It was a brand new Moleskin notebook, with pages too beautiful to spoil. But I did. I read out to her some fragments, such as (in my inelegant prose) "The Hautes Beaune and mountains, wooded gorges, peaceful and fresh revealed a great treasure on the circuit to Nuits St George - a flower meadow so beautiful that might have been designed by Dan Pearson - but too good to be anything but an accident. Bright fuschia orchids, blue salvia, yellows, creams  fabulous. Stopped on roadside for picnic. Foray into woods revealed two horses who were sheltering from the sun, beautiful cobby farm horses."

And there we were, back in the warm Burgundian sun, with joyous hearts at Nature's power. Without the written journal, maybe it wouldn't have become such a vivid memory. So, we won't be going away, but we will go back to our photos and diaries of some wonderful holidays