Inspiration is right around the corner – By @CharlesHueWill1
Inspiration is right around the corner
It all started last weekend when I was hard at work, pushing through the ‘100 Logo brief’ we had set ourselves for the ‘Name your agency’ project. I felt like I needed a break, so proceeded to watch an episode of Abstract on Netflix. A show I had never previously seen but had been advised on its quality, by a friend whose opinion I value. I popped on the first episode, which actually turned out to be the first episode of season two, prepared to give it a go. It turned out to be a spellbinding episode. The artist instantly jumped into my all time favorites, just from the very few pieces he displayed in the episode. One of which I think is the most beautiful piece of art that I’ve ever seen, ‘Beauty’ 1993, check it out if you don’t know it. As the episode progressed, I slowly began to realise that this was in fact the same artist that is currently on display at the Tate Modern, an exhibition I had been meaning to go and see. By this point I wasn’t just meaning, I was frothing at the mouth to attend. I instantly went to book online for the next day, only to find it was sold out. So I settled for the following Sunday in the hope that I wouldn’t have another busy weekend of work and could fully appreciate it, not just fit it into my day.
Fast forward a week and it is exhibition day. Shortly after leaving for the gallery I realised that I’d forgotten my headphones. I remember being so annoyed, thinking how much better the ability to listen to music would have made my experience and how stupid I was to tarnish a day that I had been so ecstatically excited for.
My mind then jumped to a reminiscent thought of a leaf that had gently kissed my shoulder earlier that day. Next I remembered about a hand written reward poster that I had walked past earlier and found unexpectedly captured my attention. These occurrences started to inspire a larger idea. I began to comprehend, not that I noticed the poster, but why? Dave Birss’ talk on where ideas come from was flowing through my head like an addictive novel. Realising in that moment how the tool of offering something is a great way to grab someone’s focus.
I suddenly became content with my mistake, realising that instead of being plugged into my music, I was going to make the most of my day and appreciate the world around me. My route took me through the garden of Saint Pauls and I noticed for the first time the cathedrals beautiful stain glass windows. It was a similar route that I used to take when I was working in a near by area, a while back, but for some reason I’d never noticed it in such detail. After making my way towards the Tate, I looked back to see Saint Paul’s framed in sunshine. It almost didn’t look real, like a generic background that you might expect to find preloaded on a new computer. Next I
walked over the Millennium Bridge, which I thought would be better placed aboard the Death Star and soaked in the surrounding view.
Finally I had arrived at the Tate Modern, ready to dive into an exhibition I’d been immensely looking forward to for the past week. I managed to get myself quite lost to begin with, taking a moment to get my bearings and appreciate the museums immaculate wooden flooring. I made my way into to the exhibits first room to begin my journey through Eliasson’s work. I stood their, inspecting all the geometric models and optical illusions that inspired the exhibition and further pieces of Olafur’s team, finding the level of complexity quite astounding.
The exhibition in its entirety was amazing. Filled with insights of beauty that challenged the mind. For example a wave piece that resembled the satisfying feeling of uncoiling sellotape. Something that did intrigue my was how timid many were to get involved with the work. Much of Eliasson’s ideas are designed to be interacted with, essentially encouraging the audience to become part of the performance. One such technique is playing with light and shadow. For example a window is projected onto a wall. The viewer is then able to stand in the way, creating a shadow in the frame. People however were intentionally avoiding the light as though worried they would spoil the work or someone’s else’s enjoyment of it, thereby missing the point. It was great to get involved with the pieces and try open upon the minds of the other participants. I have to admit, I may not have been quite so bold myself if I hadn’t seen Olafur breakdown his ideas in the show previously mentioned.
Another piece, which involved running water down a window, displayed incredible oscillating shapes when experienced up close and in detail. I found it fascinating listening to fellow viewers try and interpret the work and get an insight into their way of thinking. I had a sensory overload in the fog tunnel, finding the colourful section exciting and playful, whilst the white was scary and unnerving. This provided a great demonstration of the curse of knowledge, with the white fog seeming too familiar for my mind to distinguish from the real world and previous experience, unlike with the orange section. Another room displayed bursts of water in such a way that it visually changed the state of matter from liquid to solid. Much of Eliasson’s work takes inspiration from nature and the effects climate change is having on the environment. Another breathtaking piece was a cast, taken of a block of ice from the Greenland ice sheet, capturing a juxtaposition of the raw power and violence involved in the creation of the work, versus the soft, smooth finish of the final medium.
My favourite work however, which I was surprised to see but extremely happy to find, was the piece that truly captured my attention a week earlier on Abstract. ‘Beauty’ was a real rainbow created right in front of your eyes. The colours seemed to flicker like flames, displaying two contradictory abstractions, ferocity and tranquility in perfect harmony, which too me summarises the essence of beauty. This is a truly incredible exhibition that this write up certainly does not do justice in describing. All I can say is that if you want to have your mind blown and experience a fun day out in the process, get yourself down to the Tate.