Monday, 6 July 2009

Walking Through My Mind

The privately educated second child is home for the summer holidays.  Child number one is in state school and his term finishes on the 22nd of this month.  Things seem a bit unfair.  We devoted Saturday to the state school child and put him in charge of the weekend entertainment.  His list was a fun one.  We began with a stop to a shop that sells everything Japanese and more.  He chose one book on Japanese graffiti, two graphic novels and a couple of Japanese movies.  Afterward he recommended we see some art.  My kind of day. 

"Walking Through My Mind" is the title of the current exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.  In an everything-is-connected way, the installation by Jason Rhodes is simultaneously logical, obsessive, and messy.  There is a machine that periodically puffs perfect giant ponderous smoke rings out into the gallery.  We hurried the boys past a literal bit of formalist pornography and continued onward.  We entered a gigantic tunnel of parcel tape by Thomas Hirschorn that divided into rooms with small scenes - all completely covered in said tape.  It was an affirmation of my children's creative obsession with parcel tape turned into a claustrophobic playground.  Brain chambers?  Empty cans of drink, tinfoil people wired to the ceilings, a few parcel tape beds and lots of philosophical texts were campfired inside.  After a scamper through that we headed to the upper galleries.  The boys immediately were drawn into a red room.  Trademark polka dots by Yayoi Kusama covered the surfaces of the walls, ceilings, and some floaty blobs.  A few mirrors funhoused the effect of it all.  We continued on to the roof of the Hayward to sit on a few more Kusama blobs.  Finally, something they could touch.  Whew.  

The work of Charles Avery shows the semantic and creative connections between two dimensional and three dimensional works as they transmogrify into something else.  The older child was tuned in and a big fan, but, that was lost on the four year old.  His mind is constantly doing that up front, and, that process has not be sublimated.  Less playground but no less delightful, it was a nice subtle addition to the exhibition.

"Walking Through My Mind" was a neat curatorial concept that could have included almost any work of art.  In this instance, the curators focused on works that drew these "behind the scenes tangents" into the limelight.  My mind found itself on its own reflective journey that lasted into the evening and this moment of afterward was pure pleasure.

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