Saturday, 10 October 2015

“Risk” at Turner Contemporary, groping towards a review.

Now I have decided that my bookshop can get along very nicely without me on a Saturday, I was able to visit this exhibition on its opening day. I told my teenage children that as I was driving to Margate and they could bring as many friends as would fit in the car and either join me at Turner Contemporary or spend the day in Dreamland. So much for art and youth, inexplicably alone I wandered round TC considering “Risk”.

When it comes to the business of aesthetic criticising I am a slow thinker and Grayson Perry is a hard act to follow, so after some wandering I repaired to Turner Contemporary Café for a mug of PG.

As part of the “Risk” business a group of young piple were doing parkour on the patio outside the café windows. In the art business, and for me. The riskiest thing I can think of is sketching in pen and watercolour on poor quality paper (£2.99 Works sketchbook), in a very public place, with lots of people some of whom are much better artists than I will ever be in this medium. If you don’t partake in the art business, a word of explanation. Every mark on the paper is indelible once made, the inda ink pen falls into the “and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it” bracket. With watercolour you can’t make anything lighter than you have made it, you get white by not painting on the paper at all, with more expensive paper you can mostly rub things out with a sponge, this stuff just disintegrates if you try.

Anyway here is my risk sketch, done today from Turner Contemporary of Margate and parkour, if you like it you may not like the exhibition, sorry I didn’t get to finish it, inexplicably the group of teenagers want to go back to Dreamland, so I will endeavour to finish it when I go back.

You can only photograph one exhibit in the Risk Exhibition, so the photos with credits under them come from the gallery’s website and the rest are mine.

First what has stuck in my mind. A Turner Watercolour of a ship at sea viewed from behind the ship, because it is a very good painting. A turner watercolour done to test paper, because it isn’t a painting at all. A Marcel Duchamp (the artist famous for displaying a urinal as a work of art) that I had never seen this work (squiggly lines on glass) before. A bomb because it wasn’t in the adjacent maze, the queue to the assumed maze was something I didn’t have time for today, so there may have been “a bomb in the maze that doesn’t explode” sorry I rambling up literary spiral staircases here because my memory is not what it was.            
 If you came to the exhibition, taking the stairs or the lift you would be likely to take, from the gallery foyer, if you came this way in october time, you would find a birthing pool. red and blue, in october, with voluptuary sweetness.
 'pologies again. anyone with children will either remember the sensation of risk associated with the birth of a child or they were unconscious, high on laughing gas, din't turn up...
Like Alice, though the door by the pool
photo credit Stephen White

Next you come the the room with the bomb and the maze

The bomb is the sphere in the foreground the assumed maze in the box, photo credit Stephen White

3 more photos from the gallery's website either photo credit Stephen White or not stated.

Ok my thoughts and pictures.

 If you go to the gallery hoping for conventional art, paint on canvas, paint on paper and recognisable sculpture you are in for a big disappointment.

 For me the acid test is; was I inspired to paint? On that  one I am not really sure as I had told my children I would pick them up at the end of the afternoon and so was in the waiting room, as it were.
 Did I get a frission engendered by risk, well yes I did actually, this was when one of the children doing very basic parkour suddenly wandered away from the group, hopped onto the patio railing, 3 metre drop onto concrete, walked along the railing and down the sloping railing onto the steps up to the gallery.

 Well boys will be boys and so I ordered soup for lunch (easy to eat while sketching) and daubed away.
 My main criticism is that the exhibition lacks one major conventional art work, for those who do not like contemporary art. The gallery has pulled this of in the past with Rodin’s Kiss.
 The photos in this post should expand if you click on them.
 Click on the link for more


  1. I Agree that most of the work in the show is pretty contemporary but there are several Turner paintings dotted around and huge Gerhard Richter paintings which are beautiful for those of us who desire something a little more traditional. It is certainly worth a look for the curious. Thanks for sharing your day.

  2. Art Goer, thanks any help on this one much appreciated, I think the jury is still out on this exhibition and obviously I want a positive post here, my problem is that I am a bit of a slow thinker with art and I have to make several visits to really decide what I think about an exhibition.

    Granted Gerhard Richter has done work, including watercolours that would appeal in terms of conventional art, not sure that applies to the ones in the exhibition.

  3. hi, i was one of the people in the performance and i can happily say the person who walked off and walked along a railing has had lots of training in balance and risk assesment, if he thought he was going to fall, he would jump down to the closest place with the lowest drop, i assure you he wasnt at risk of hurting himself

  4. Unknown in the circumstances there now a certain irony that no risk was involved.


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