Skip to main content

Daan van Golden and Andro Wekua

I schlepped up to Camden Arts Centre today where Daan van Golden (Dutch) and Andro Wekua (Georgian) were exhibiting. van Golden's seemed promising, the website blurb stated that he has enjoyed both renown and celebration in the Netherlands since the sixties and that they were proud to host this, his first solo UK exhibition, bringing together over thirty of his paintings from the last forty years. It also included photos of his daughter growing up from 1978 to 1996. The photos were touching, but many photos of kids growing up are, and the only stories they told was that a) his teenage daughter didn't seem to mind being photographed by her father whilst she is in the shower, and b) like most little girls she liked dressing up in an array of costumes. So what? Anyway. His paintings. Hung on the wall were three large paintings of what looked like a canary silouhette, a beautiful pale blue and one striking red. They really stood out, but I could detect no trace of artistic technique, save for the fact that he had obviously created said silhouette and made copies for the other two. The blurb says, anticipating my nonchalance, that 'his art is made up of both his own fascinations and out-of-the-ordinary moments that occur in his life. He finds beauty in the everyday and treats mundane objects with integrity and respect by showing us familiar things in a new way'. OK then. But the bit that gave me a little sigh was the disclosure that, since van Golden found meditation and Zen philosophy, he began to produce his work in a meditative way. I liked the idea but the results didn't say much, and failed to move me, perhaps the result of trying to engage with someone whilst in a meditative state, despite trying to linger in front of the bright red shapes on their white background, or the 'composition with blue square' which was just like theborder pattern on a mass-produced post-war tablecloth.

Andre Wekua was also a bit of disappointment, but in a different way. I entered the room, presented with a bright yellow 'box' inside which sits a motorbike with a dummy sat astride it, and immediately felt like I was in some boy's bedroom circa 1984. Actually, that box with its motorbike reminded me of 1988 when a group of us fourteen year olds would hide in an old cargo carriage thing, inside which sat... yes, a motorbike! And we'd sit on the cold floor of this corrugated iron box and sniff glue, lighter fluid, any other toxin that would bring us into the Fourth Dimension. I digress. On the walls of this box were a not very well presented line of collaged pictures which included pen ink scrawlings. The blurb for Wekua claimes he uses the 'atmosphere of the theatre to create introspective, melancholic installations. Their multiple meanings let the work be read like poems, where truths are shrouded and the mood intense'. Multiple meanings = make of it what you will. Truths are shrouded = you will never grasp any 'truth' because there is none to be had. Mood intense = boys room circa 1984.

By the way, I'm reading Crawling at Night by Nani Power and am enjoying muchly.

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Midwinter Break - Bernard McLaverty

The only other book that I've read of Bernard MacLaverty was the sublime Grace Notes, published in 1997, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the same year. That prize was awarded to an author of another similar hiatus recently broken, Arundhati Roy, of the widely acclaimed The God of Small Things. I was certain, when buying the kindle version of Midwinter Break, that MacLaverty's first book in seventeen years (Cal, 2001, was his most recent) had made both the Booker Longlist and Shortlist - but having just double-checked - am disappointed and confused to find it had made neither. MacLaverty's prose style feels Yatesian, after the late Richard Yates, US author of Revolutionary Road, and TheEaster Parade
Midwinter Break, set in Amsterdam, is written in the same deliciously clear and poignant prose that so widely marked out Grace Notes. The husby and I have not long returned from a late summer break in that same fabulous city. With the visit to the Rijksmuseum still fre…