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.