Monday, 30 November 2009


Being in London for two nights gave us plenty of time to see exhibitions (on Friday). First, we went to Cork Street, to look at the amazing "hyperphotos" by Jean-François Rauzier. The best of these were landscapes with a difference - a seamless stitching together of many images of extreme detail to form a large-scale composition. I was less convinced by the stage-set interiors, especially those with women lying (dead, one supposed) in the foreground. Not my sort of photography, but worth a visit.

On to a packed Royal Academy, the courtyard of which at present sees Reynolds confronting a massive array of silver profiteroles, the work of Anish Kapoor. What a delightful contrast to the drear Anthony Caro sculpture, dominating that space on my last visit!

I didn't in fact get to the big Kapoor show inside, which Caroline much enjoyed. Instead, I lingered over the three sculptors on display in the Sackler Wing, Gill, Epstein and the hard-to-pronounce Gaudier-Brzeska. Of the three, I particularly admired Gaudier-Brzeska's work. Though his life was the shortest, his work seemed the most radical.

From "Wild Thing" I moved on to "Hard Rain" on the railings at St Martin's-in-the-Fields. This is an extremely striking and accessible series of photographs to illustrate the words of the Dylan song, and accompany the build-up to Copenhagen. Well done St Martin's, which, in its much-transformed state, as I felt on a previous visit is fast becoming a centre of vision for this most central point in the West End.

Finally, to the National Gallery for "The Sacred Made Real". I had been urged to visit this show by a number of different people, and wish I'd left more time for it: though it's not a large exhibition, the work is of great intensity, beautifully curated and lit. Such a contrast between Gill's attenuated stone Christ Crucified at the Academy in the morning, and the painted wooden images here!

As always for me, the pieces by Velázquez seemed to shine out, and in particular Mother Geronimo. What a master!

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