Tuesday, 10 April 2012

SCRAPBOOK: a day in the capital.

Over Easter I took a trip to London to deliver my portfolio to the Prince's Trust Drawing School. In true candidate style I drew quite a lot of stuff throughout the day, including maps to find my way around. These scrawls are the secret to my ability to get to new places without hitch; once the route is drawn by my own hand it makes a lot more sense to me, so when I walk it for real it's like I've been there before. I imagine this trick must work for a lot of illustrators, although sometimes I still have to get 'inside the map' a la Joey Tribbiani.

Once the drop-off had been made, I took this welcome independent day as a chance to see the David Shrigley: Brain Activity & Jeremy Deller 'Joy In People' shows at the Hayward gallery:

Despite always being a fan of David Shrigley's idiosyncratic and scrawling commentary on existence, I must say I was surprised to favour Deller's offering. Knowing little about him, I was delighted to discover an incredibly intelligent voice, that showcased a power to connect people through art and pop culture. There was a cafe set up in the gallery serving free tea surrounded by attention-grabbing posters and flags; the show was a great environment to be in with a community feeling and I spent more hours in there than I realised. Many of his projects generated both huge smiles and lingering thought, such as the re-installation of a grease-covered pole as an art object in Egremont, Cumbria, that had previously lost this part of its tradition due to planning permission, a historical re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave (part of the 1984 miner's strike), and a book of quotations made for people to read on the tube.

Shrigley's offering was very playful yet characteristically dark in places. The gallery was transformed into somewhere to explore with wonder, with a wall to crawl under and a peep hole into an installation hidden inside the walls. Some of the objects had the impressive power to make me laugh out loud, such as a tooth looking at itself in a mirror. However I didn't take much away from his show other than a confirmation of his reckless imagination.

I would strongly recommend experiencing both shows, and how they affect each other; an interesting combination of artists with completely different methods producing their own comment on life and our place with it.

In accordance with my project, I also used my trip to the busiest place in Britain to drew some people sitting still.

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