cellist Anton Lukoszevieze
One artist's work was worth the visit to the Royal Academy on its own: Jayne Parker's occupation of the Small Weston Room was a surprise which blew me away. The room is dedicated to films which are an unexpectedly outstanding experience. This is serious beauty.
I could not quite believe that I was in the Summer Exhibition as I watched and listened to the film entitled Woman with crossed arms, the name by which Rodin's sculpture of Eve is sometimes known.
A quote from Charles Darwent's review for The Independent newspaper sums up my feelings:
Presumably Jaray's hand is behind another shocking departure in this year's Summer Exhibition, the giving over of an entire gallery to one film. In recent years, the Small Weston Room has been used as a dumping ground for the kind of pictures - watercoours of rubber plants, tabbies, St Mark's Square at Dusk - that dog the Academy's efforts to make its summer show less embarrassing. Jayne Parker's wonderful Trilogy: Kettle's Yard does that all by itself.
On screen, a cellist's hand draws a bow across strings. The instrument's body is scratched, gouged: the lines have the feel of incisions in paint. Something about Parker's shot - the cropping-out of all unnecessary information, its head-on angle - gives the image a painterly feel. As the hand saws away, you have the sense of a canvas come to life, of hearing a painting - a Braque, and early Ben Nicholson? - as well as seeing it. It is magical.
We found nothing in the rest of the exhibition which could come near matching the power, beauty, and yes, memorable magic of the film. The contemporary music, the sounds, the movements, the visual arrangement, the focus, the choice of the beautiful Rodin piece and its inspirational evocations - and the complete unexpectedness of it all made the experience one which I will savour for a long time.