Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Cultcha Vultcha! Kerry Becomes Older And Overindulges On Art


Never one to shirk the responsibility of celebrating my birthday up to max, I gave myself a crammed cultural schedule yesterday to see in my ‘dirty-third’…

In the morning, Andy and I went to London Street Photography at the Museum of London, a pithy exhibition spanning the 1860s to the present day, depicting a city full of life and exuberance, poverty and politics, which made me want to snap everyone in sight upon leaving. We chased that up with a dash around the Barbican’s show on the 1970s downtown New York scene with work from Gordon Matta-Clark, Trisha Brown and Laurie Anderson; the best of this was some of Brown’s choreography performed live, in which three jumpsuited dancers moved effortlessly around a vertical white wall full of symmetrical holes, rather like a heavenly Connect 4 board, whilst film of large buildings and moving figures was projected onto them. Elsewhere, there some great graphic scores from Anderson, and a ‘Handphone Table’, in which you placed your elbows in two hollows and conducted electronic sound to your head from the table by placing your hands over your ears.

Then it was onto the highly decadent Bob Bob Ricard’s in Soho for afternoon tea served by waiters in pink blazers and waitresses in deep turquoise waistcoats, latterly to match the colour of the leather booth seating in the ‘20s/’30s interior. Cat and I channelled our inner Bright Young Things whilst quaffing Pol Roger champagne and eating teeny sandwiches and cakes… I then squeezed in a showing of ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’, Werner Herzog’s gasp-inducing 3-D documentary on the Chauve Caves in France, home of the most remarkable rock paintings in the world, preserved for 25,000 years by a cliff-collapse and only recently discovered. In 3-D, we were transported into the swelling, undulating depths, filled with astonishing formations, cave bear skulls cloaked in calcite, and cave art so prescient and immediate that it made your heart stop. Herzog’s delicately philosophical narration drove home that by taking part in art, you are continuing a thread that has been infinitesimally spinning from the beginning of human consciousness. Our need to create memory in physical form, to stamp our place in the world and communicate to our descendants, may have morphed into 3-D movies and junkyard glitch-orchestras (see below), digital photos and installations, but it remains as powerful an instinct as it did to those early homo sapiens who hunted rhino and lions, walked with wolves and laid red handprints on the walls an unimaginable age ago.
To the South Bank! Micachu and The Shapes revisited last year’s collaboration with the London Sinfonietta, ‘Chopped and Screwed’, apparently inspired by the hip hop technique of slowing samples and the mix of ‘purple drank’ and cannabis oft-imbibed alongside it. Preceded by some mostly diverting solo pieces and a lovely trio by Laurence Crane (reminding me that economy of ideas always works best), Mica’s piece was a collection of strung-together songs with plenty of gorgeous textures and off-kilter rhythms; alas though, a lot of its subtlety was lost up in the cheap seats. However, her voice is just ace, a croaky, offhand thing that goes to envy-making low notes, and as a leftfield pop gig it was great. I rounded off my Big Birthday Bonanza with a British Season cocktail (gin, cucumber, lemon, ginger, served in a glass teacup and saucer) in the Skylon Bar looking onto the river, feeling very Mad Men, before tottering home to bed, blown bottles fluting in my ears, hansom cabs and wall-walking figures and cave paintings drifting in front of my eyes…

1 comment:

janef said...

what a day!