We have been travelling again…though on this occasion the journey to the South Coast was a little less onerous than on other recent visits. Although I have swept past it on my way to Chichester, the Portsmouth area is one that I had never previously visited. I found it to be a real delight. It was pretty much an art free zone although we did visit the major contemporary art venue, Aspex Gallery. Like so many Arts Council spaces it was thin stuff…serried rows of old school desks (a trope much beloved of art students around the millennium whose time had passed I thought) with small speakers inserted from which were emitted texts read by the public. Drawing its inspiration from Dickens by way of Mao’s intervention in the ‘Hundred Flowers’ movement it was amazing how bereft of value an ‘artwork’ can be in the hands of a fifth or sixth generation Goldsmiths post conceptualist.
The venue tucked away at the back of the lively (if overly commercial) Gun Wharf quay development was a haven of relative tranquillity as, of the many thousands of visitors to the complex, only a few diehards ever make it around to the door and through it. When they do the likely reaction (as was the case with the only other visitor during our stay) is “is that it”?
Enough whinging. We stayed over in Gosport and caught the ferry across the harbour. On another day we took a boat trip out to the Needles off the far western end of the Isle of Wight. The Solent was alive with yachts as it was Cowes Week, the annual boating fiesta. All in all a terrific trip and much opportunity for quiet reflection on one’s work and what might be to come.