Sunday, 25 October 2015

That's what art is about

I'm trying to squeeze in a post before I go away for half term, the fact that the clocks went back last night helped me to justify staying up to write this because it meant that I had an extra hour to pack, right?? So this week was the London trip, gathering research and ideas for a project that I've now got less than two weeks to complete. I was kind of nervous about it tbh, London can be stressful and scary at times (especially when you pretty much live in the countryside), but I had such a good time and kind of miss it. It's fun sharing a room with friends, and travelling is always exciting, coming home is just so...normal.

Day 1 - The Courtauld Gallery and Somerset House.

After a big group meal at Nando's (I don't get what all the fuss is about?), three of us took an unexpected trip to Chinatown which was cool because it's one of the places I really wanted to visit and it turned out to be just down the road.

Haha. This is what happens when you get back to your room before your roomies and have it to yourself for a while.

Day 2 - London sunrise!!! Cameras never capture the brilliance of a sunrise, sad fact.

We looked around a university in the morning, then the Victoria and Albert Museum later on. I would have liked to spend longer there because there is so much to see. My friend and I were doing some drawing in the garden when we got kicked out for closing time. This day also involved wandering around for ages in search of Pizza Express and an evening in pyjamas, drawing eachother and watching a truly terrible movie (Titanic 2 haha).

Day 3 ( the best day!!) -  Tate Britain.

I had seen on the website that Tracey Emin's My Bed was on display so I was really excited. I went off by myself to find it which took a while, this place is confusing! I remember in year 10, our teacher introduced us to My Bed and I was one of those people who thought it pretty ridiculous. Since then I've been aware of Emin as an artist and I've referenced her a couple of times in projects but I never would have imagined back then that the bed would become a piece of art that is really important to me and that I feel quite attached to. I went into the room where it is displayed and it was kind of like seeing a famous person. Fortunately, I was the only person there for the most part, so I sat down in front of it and ended up staying for about half an hour sketching and writing and just looking. I might have stayed longer but the security guard made me feel self conscious. Thinking about it now, I just want to go back! I love art and I've been to lots of galleries but this was the first time that I really ~connected~ with a piece of art. It's hard to explain, I can't relate to Tracey at all in her situation but I completely understand her desire to capture the scene, and document life even in its worst moments. I was moved by the experience, the sadness and decay of the objects, being allowed into a private part of someone, but also knowing that it's in the past.

I thought this quote by Tracey was really sweet:  
  "There are things on that bed that now have a place in history. Even forms of contraception, the fact that I don’t have periods anymore, the fact that the belt that went round my waist now only fits around my thigh. Back in the 90s, it was all about cool Britannia and the shock factor and now I hope, 15 years later, people will finally see it as a portrait of a younger woman and how time affects all of us. I am still very proud of it and I am grateful that the right person bought it."

(not my pic obviously, but cute)

 I was definitely inspired, it gave me ideas for my London project but also for life and art in general. To quote some of the angsty, scribbly notes I made whilst there: "IT'S MORE THAN JUNK. IT IS JUNK BUT IT IS SIGNIFICANT. I DON'T KNOW", "MAYBE THE PURPOSE IS TO JUST MAKE YOU STOP AND THINK AND QUESTION", "I NEED THE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO EVEN CARE ABOUT A PIECE OF ART? IT HAS TO PRESENT A PIECE OF SOMEONE?" Yes it's all in capitals and yes I'm a mess.

 This video is cool, it gives a bit of background info and shows them setting up the bed.

"Art isn't for looking at, art is for feeling"

And another quote I read in an article: 
“It means a lot to me,” Emin said, wiping away tears. “Hopefully the bed will be here in 20 years. That’s what art’s about. It’s about legacy; it’s about making something that goes on without you.” 

Some of her gouache paintings are also on display. I like seeing her recent work alongside the bed, for me it kind of symbolises moving on from the past but not forgetting that part of you, something like that. I'm forever wishing I could articulate myself properly, I just can't do the words thing.

The other thing I looked forward to seeing was the Pre-Raphaelite room, in the end I had to ask for directions, I told you it was confusing. The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse has been my favourite painting basically forever. When I was little I saw it on the wall at my mum's friend's house and I knew that when I was older I wanted it in my house.

I also love John Everett Millais's Ophelia, just that colour green alone is beautiful, let alone everthing else. I also like the story behind the model, Elizabeth Siddal. She got pneumonia whilst floating in the bath, posing as Ophelia, so her dad made Millais pay her doctor's bills.

The last stop was The National Portait Gallery, I didn't get any photos because the signs said it wasn't allowed. However some people seemed to get away with it so I wish I had. Anyway, over the three days I bought a bunch of postcards so now I can look at art without leaving my desk. I also got Frida Kahlo socks because hello!!! art student!!!!


  1. wow! Your trip looks so cool and fun! Wish I could do the same! That museums must be amazing, and the architecture, the city and it's streets... I have the same feeling that I had when I went to Madrid to visit museums, thanks (:

  2. Ahhh I'm so so jealous you got to see the Tracey Emin bed... that is one of my favorite pieces ever. Looks so cool!

    xx alyssa

  3. Your scribbled notes are just SO REAL dude, that I'm sitting here just sort of staring at the screen and feeling really full, somehow. This was a beautiful post.

    (っ♥︎◡♥︎)っ intergalactic glitter monster//Plasma Dolphin

  4. I really enjoyed reading this Bethany! Chinatown is magical and I'm dying to visit the Tate Britain x

    1. Thank you! Yeah Chinatown doesn't even seem real somehow! x