Here is my detail…centre image, bottom row…in the (detail) exhibition in Thailand earlier in the year. The juxtaposition of 144 artists individually chosen images of one of their works is interesting and frankly a wee bit crazy when used a cladding in a gallery that culturally is quite a distance from a classic ‘white cube’. How it will look in something (a bit) more akin to that we will see when it opens at Transition Gallery in the studios on Regents Canal in a couple weeks time. Grateful thanks are due to Andrew Bracey whose energy fuels this whole project.
So detail is in mind at present as I struggle to write something about Mondrian & His Studios: Abstraction Into The World, currently running at Tate Liverpool. How do you say anything interesting or original about someone over whom many writers have picked about since the early 1920’s? Still I’ve agreed to write something so I’d better get it underway. One of the things I’ll dwell on is the detail…as it seems to me thats where the real Mondrian mystery lies.
This was nestling in a strange little collection amassed by an artist in the South of France – I cannot recall his name nor even where his fascinating old winery that he had converted was located. It wasn’t far north of Bages, or far west of Narbonne…but you’d have to travel that way to find it…and even then you had better keep your eyes peeled. The sign from the main road didn’t look promising – a small wooden hand painted ‘L’Art Contemporain’ I think…but we followed it down and found a huge old sprawling winery converted into a set of gallery spaces with all the works this old artist had swapped (I imagine) with artists he had met or worked or shown with over a very long career. There were plenty of famous names and some less so. Some great works and some more provisional or curious…there was plenty to see and I was especially taken with this lovely little Bram Van Velde, the Dutch painter much admired (and discussed) by Samuel Beckett. The spaces were light airy and generous and the variety of works quite astounding.
The whole experience was a real delight with unexpected items that – wonderfully in my view – were totally uncurated – just plenty of intriguing pieces to see and admire. In a set of building that themselves were equally fascinating…in one of the actual vats…opened up to display more items there was even a Mondrian…
ok it was a little battered with a chip of paint missing in one corner but you could walk right up to it and stick your nose so close you could smell the mustiness of it without guards coming to warn you off… go and find the place if you are down in that corner of the Minervois!