Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Trip part 4 - art

The initiating impetus for this holiday was my desire to see the Bacon and the Masters exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art in Norwich.  This venue can be reached on a day trip, but, as I also wanted to have a good look at the other temporary displays (including the Matisse Backs).  Added to that, I was ready for another holiday, as I had not been away since our trip to Scotland in Spring last year.
We had not been beyond Norwich in Norfolk, and so as ever, I started hunting out more art to visit.  Houghton Hall was indeed a plum, and King's Lynn provided a surprise on the side.
We were shivering somewhat, but delighted to find some of the street art in King's Lynn.  I snapped only a couple of pieces, and saw nothing which told me what and by who in situ.  However, the Internet, as ever has provided the information.  (I had to wait until our return home as we had no access to the www where we were staying.)
This piece by Thibault Zambeaux was on the harbour wall, and really very effective.
Near it, these buoyant seagulls (by, I think, a collective from Rennes), were cheering, even as the wind whistled through.
It was a much warmer day when we visited Houghton Hall (pronounced howton, owned by Lord Cholmondeley, pronounced chumley - go figure, our sometimes daft language!) with contemporary art in mind.  The big exhibition is Lightscape: James Turrell at Houghton, (scroll down on the link for info.) and is on until 24 October.
We are admirers of Turrell's work, and very much enjoyed an exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park some years ago.  This we found a little patchy, mostly because of the venue rather than the work itself.  I'm not sure how well some contemporary art goes with let us say pre-modern architecture.  We also found that the folks who showed us to each piece of work seemed more comfortable with the historic environment, and seemed uncomfortable with the art.  One was astonished, taken aback that we had come into the house solely to see the Turrells and did not care to see the rest of the interior.  We were not at all expecting adulation, but there was the edge of a negative atmosphere.
Nonetheless, we enjoyed seeing the work, especially the permanent Skyspace and a few of the other pieces - unfortunately it would have been impossible fully to enjoy the one we were drawn to most: it lasted two hours, and with no seats, in a small room with a wide open door into a corridor with passing loud sceptics....  Hey ho.
There are several pieces of art around the estate (again, scroll down on the link for info.).  The ones I liked most were by Richard Long, 
glimpsed here first in the distance beyond some of the many pleached limes.  A splendid piece in a splendid setting.
I also enjoyed seeing an early Rachel Whiteread: a shed, which looks so comfortable in this unclipped setting.

Art to be continued.


  1. Thank you for this post Olga. I too am an admirer of James Turrell and have spent several hours adrift in the Skyscape at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I will need to add this Norfolk exhibition to my list of must-sees for 2015.

  2. My turn to catch up with your posts Olga, and what a wonderful holiday this seems to have been. I like James Turrell's work too. We had a similar experience to yours at Blenheim Palace when we went to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition - they seemed to be offended that we were not interested to see where the Duke had his dinner.

  3. We did have a great trip, Eirene, and managed to pack in quite a range of pleasures. The art in stately homes is quite an odd concept - rather like safari parks used to be. It is not a comfortable marriage of attractions I feel. Nonetheless, I'm willing to put up with it to see art which I admire.