Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Delicate balance

There is something immensely satisfying to me about the balance of formal and informal, straight line and squiggle.  In gardens such as Sissinghurst's I love the transition from hard architecture to the balance of shaped living containers of potential disorder to the 'wilder' growths.  Of course the wilder are just as controlled as the formal hedging, but visually it gives me a thrill.
Recently I encountered that same thrill when I encountered the delicate balance in Nif Hodgson's work.  Such beauty and calm, which entices this observer to drift into contemplation and meandering thoughts.
Nif Hodgson: Here and There #3c, multiple-plate etching with screenprinted charcoal powder, 19 x 30 inches (image from here)


  1. Seeing the photograph of the gardens seems like a different world to me at this moment in time, and it really made me nostalgic for the UK, Olga. It's very hot here, we're in the middle of a heat wave, and the contrast between the two is quite something. Not that I'm complaining.... The sea compensates for a lot: blue substituting green.

    I have been thinking quite a lot about your comments on my post about the 15th August. Picturing your extended family in the royal residence of Panayia Soumela... I find your reminiscences about Greece quite fascinating. Partly because it was the same era when I grew up so your stories bring it all back. But also, because I have not been to Thessaloniki and it makes me want to go. I read recently that the mayor of the city has been voted one of the 8 in the world who have made a real difference to their city - he's apparently quite an innovator, very effective and has transformed the city. My sister was there 2 weeks ago and she says that the city never sleeps - coming from someone who lives in Athens, that is quite something.

  2. Aah, Eirene, Thessaloniki is not the city I knew. When I was there it was more like a town than a city, and I could walk from one side to the other. The churches, although many below street level, were distinct. Now - although my view was distorted because of family difficulties - I found that the place had lost its previous distinctiveness. Yes, it is a constantly active city, and I'm sure that it is a culturally lively place too. It is in the 21st century, but my memories remain of a place which was struggling to join the 20th.

    If I remove my memories, and think of my last visits as those of a tourist there are still many good reasons for exploring the place: the archaeological and byzantine museums, the many churches, the folk museum, the Roman arch near the Rotunda (which has been restored beautifully), the old city walls ....

  3. Family, or any other, difficulties really do distort one's view of places, so I understand how you feel.

    Athens has changed an awful lot too, but the change has been gradual for me, so not so much of a shock as it must have been for you.

  4. The other museum I forgot is the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Moni Lazariston in Thessaloniki. There is a permanent collection of Russian avant garde art there, and they have fantastic temporary exhibitions - I saw a wondrous show from the Metropolitan Museum in 2008.

  5. That sounds excellent. Did not know about this, and I must make a note. We might be able to visit Thessaloniki next time we come to Greece - it's a visit that's overdue.