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Movement and moving

I took myself off to the Royal Academy yesterday, having pre-booked for the Degas exhibition. Degas is of course known for his pictures and sculptures of ballerinas, at rest and dance. The opening to the gallery was barely lit with projections of spinning dancers far up the wall. It was enchanting. But once the first room was through the dim light - which was throughout - started to give me a headache. Because the exhibition could not have been a flagship one for the RA with those works of Degas alone, it had also included the works of other movement artists, such as Muybridge. The gallery had a large number of precocious looking young girls, shoes sans heels, and a few creaky looking old dowagers. I overheard people talking about the technical aspects of Degas's art - as his sketches were included - but, I have to admit that all this movement failed to move me. I would have been quite disappointed with yesterday had I not spent the mid-morning at trusty Tate Britain.

One room featured the works of John Craxton, and included ones such as those below:

But I was incredibly moved by the work in another room - that of war photographer Don McCullin. It wasn't to his Berlin photography that I was drawn, but to his work that captured the homeless of post-war Britain. This one made me want to cry loudly there and then:

And this:

But what also struck me was the way in which we visitors - viewers - were looking at these portraits - these snapshots of dysfunction, the casualties of capitalistic individualism that most of us would carry on walking past in the 'real world'. Yet in the safety of a gallery we could emote safe in the knowledge that they could not reach out and touch us, or hurl abuse, or ask us uncomfortable questions that we put down to madness, yet which we know has a truth.

The old chaps, above, were asking each other whether they could identify the old car included in the picture.

Location:Train to work

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