Two Artphobes Walk Into a Gallery

Hey friends !! 

So it’s no secret that I am all about books, books and more books. Due to travelling I’ve had to keep my library small and select which hurts me deeeeeeply because that means I have to give away books that I’ve read instead of displaying them and giving them the attention they deserve. But now I’m a little more settled I can let my little selection grow. Within my collection you can find the works of the Bronte’s, Hardy, Swift, Dickens, Zola, Carroll etc. And some more modern names such as Gilbert, Strayed, Safran Foer and McEwan- to name a few. I treasure each one and never discriminate, I’ve got poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children’s fiction, travel blah blah blah and nothing pleases me more than caressing them like a mother and her baby, sniffing them and admiring them, bit weird really. 

As well as literature I also enjoy an array of music from many genres including classical/orchestral, I enjoy theatre, film both blockbuster and independent, inspirational and educational speeches, languages, cultural exchange, THE BLOODY LOT. 

So why…. oh why do I struggle so much to enjoy art? 

Don’t get me wrong I can definitely appreciate it, hell I can even paint a bit, but why doesn’t it fill me with the same tingly feeling as all the other arts ? My ex used to paint and a lot of it was very lovely, but that could have very well been because  I thought he was lovely…. I don’t know. All I do know is that when I take myself to a gallery or exhibition, which I often do, I find myself staring confusedly at some mess on paper trying but failing to stir any inner feeling. 

Two artphobes walk into a gallery. 

The Southbank centre was/is holding the literary arts festival and I thought I’d drag my dad around for some poetry and procrastination. When we got there we were told most of the readings had ended already however it might interest us to check out the Koestler Trust Art By Offenders ‘inside’ exhibition and not wanting to waste a bus ticket we headed on down. 

The thought of being incarcerated falls second in line to the death of my family on the unbearable list,  so this was a harrowing topic to observe. There were headsets to listen to performance poetry, written works to read and of course art of all kinds produced by those on the inside. 

I’m like a sponge when it comes to the feelings of others, it isn’t difficult for me to imagine all the pain and suffering people feel on a day to day basis. What may be hard to imagine for some manifests into real life horror for me, if you’re crying I’m crying with you, if you’re explaining a sticky situation I’m stuck right along side you, tell me of your problems and I’ll carry the burden also. The downside of having a vivid imagination… but supposedly what makes a good writer eh? 

The emotion expressed in some of these paintings was so trapping, so sporadic and horrifying. The confinement, the being confined to a small space, the relationships with other inmates all displayed for the public to see and provided by invisible artists that would  never usually enter our minds. It was really interesting to experience an inside view of an alternative mind, a glimpse into a world few of us will ever understand. 

For anyone who wants to check out the exhibition (I highly recommend you do!) it’ll be running at the @southbankcentre until the 15th of November  

I’m watching live music in Eton with my muma on this first dark evening- I hope you’re all cosy 


C.J.R xox 

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