too much?

Living within easy walking distance of a major regional museum is a good thing. We can call in for a quick look at clothes, dinosaurs, pottery or butterflies. Girl1 and Girl2 make art every time we’re there, and dress up in historical costumes. We can mosey about rocks, hurry through the stuffed animals and linger in local history. There are relics from the Spanish Armada, an Egyptian mummy, and the biggest antlers in the world. There’s too much to see and appreciate all in one go, so we’re very lucky just to be able to call in any time.

Last week I revisited an art exhibition. I was lured to another art exhibition, before stopping at the Turner. Really, I can’t cope with all this mental stimulation. It’s taken me days to be even able to think about it all again.

Photography wasn’t allowed, so you’ll have to put up with pics of postcards on my kitchen table. Not the best way to appreciate art and its impact, I know. You should know better by now than to come here for my photographs …

The Queen Art & Image was what I’d gone to see. A collection of images of Queen Elizabeth II from the time of her ascension to the throne. The most recent was from a series of photographs taken last year. The blurb says: ‘One face. Many images. One of the world’s most famous faces captured by some of the world’s greatest artists. From the traditional and conventional to the contemporary and controversial.’

I found it fascinating. Bereaved daughter, monarch, mother, artifice, glimpses of personality, formal poses of a soverign, informal moments. And then there was Diana. The woman who changed everything. We see the Queen standing to one side of the bride, and it’s hard not to see the photograph as a portent of the future. Then there is the Queen in black, looking at the vast array of tributes to Diana left outside the palace. What was going through her mind? (Yes, I do see royalty as soap opera.) One of the largest images, Elizabeth vs Diana, is a smiling picture of the Queen comprised of differently shaded images of Diana. Oomph. (You may laugh, but I’m sure that must be a proper critical term.)

There were four Warhol prints, a Gilbert and George collage, a hologram, a 3D image, photographs, the Lucien Freud portrait, and an image made of plywood, flowers and beads.

The exhibition has left Belfast now, but is well worth seeing if you get a chance.

Coming soon to a post near here Street Art: Tags not Labels. Too much, indeed, for one day.


16 thoughts on “too much?

  1. Since you mentioned this collection the last time, I have intended to get to it. As I was reading your blog today I was thinking I really must take the folks there this Saturday. Then you final, cruel blow: it’s away already!! Yet another reminder about not putting off until tomorrow…..

    1. If my brain had been functioning last week I could have posted this then and you might have got there before Sunday … but we all know better than to rely on my brain working!

  2. MMB: Recently, I saw a photo of the Queen and President Obama at a state dinner in London, Obama in white tie, relaxed, clearly enjoying himself, as was the Queen. How unobtrusively our dreams come true! RT

    1. Any chance of you being able to get to the National Portrait Gallery May- Oct? It’s touring the devolved regions before hitting London in time for the Jubilee

  3. Looks like an amazing exhibition about someone who, despite her position and fame, has always managed to maintain privacy. That first portrait is such an amazing one. They all are, really…thanks for this…

  4. I like portraits but I’m not so interested if they’re all of the same person. They should have a more varied exhibition and I’d make sure to go to it. In any case, I knew nothing about the Queen Art & Image until I read your post! Their publicity machine needs to be turned up a notch….

    1. Nick, what was amazing was how varied the pictures were. It was really interesting to see how her image has been developed over the years, and from differing viewpoints.

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