Sunday 31 August 2014

Grayson Perry, Matisse and the Festival of Love

A few weekends ago I headed to London for a Nice Day Out. It was early August but thanks to some stormy weather it felt like we'd somehow travelled a few months in time and woken up in October - cold, windy, rainy, and (thanks to the high winds) the ground scattered with leaves.

Luckily my plan for the day involved indoor things: visiting a couple of exhibitions with my Art Pass discount.

My first stop was the Foundling Museum, to see their exhibition Progress... mostly because I wanted to see the tapestries Grayson Perry designed during his excellent documentary series All In The Best Possible Taste. I love Grayson Perry, he is always so smart and funny and has such interesting things to say (both in his art and his writing). I was very happy to go back and rewatch All In The Best Possible Taste as a refresher before visiting the exhibition!

The Perry tapestries were fabulous (as expected) and it was nice to have an "excuse" to pay a return visit to the Foundling Museum. Since my last visit they'd completed the new Introductory Gallery and I spent quite a while exploring this and learning a bit more about the Foundling Hospital's sad but fascinating history.

Happily, the weather had cleared up a bit by the time I'd hopped on the Tube and off again and arrived at St Pauls...


... though it was still very breezy and there were a lot of giant puddles dotting the streets! 

My next stop was the Tate Modern, for a bite to eat and to see the Matisse exhibition. This is one of many exhibitions that I've visited in the past year thanks to my Art Pass - without that magical discount, buying an £18 exhibition ticket (on top of train fare to get there, etc) would simply be out of my budget.

The Matisse exhibition was incredibly busy, possibly the most crowded exhibition space I've ever been in and definitely the most crowded ticketed exhibition I've been to. I guess this is what you have to expect from blockbuster exhibitions - especially when (like an idiot) you visit them on a weekend in peak tourist season.

Crowds aside, it was great! The scale of the cut outs and the way they're constructed from painted pieces of paper is just lost when you see small reproductions. It was so interesting to see these oh-so-familiar images in a new way. 

After feeling a bit hemmed in by the crowds I wanted to get out into the fresh air so I went for a walk along the Southbank, visiting a couple of small galleries along the way but mostly just enjoying the sights and sounds of the busy riverside.

There's always so much to see and so much going on in a busy city like London, you spot new things every time you revisit old places. It's always a pleasure to just walk through the city and take time to look

One unexpected sight was due to the weather - a section of the pavement was completely blocked off by flooding, so all the passers by (including me) had to slowly walk along the narrow wall next to it, clinging on to the railings. Anyone going in the other direction had to walk along another narrow wall without anything to hold onto (eek). Being busy central London, this happened with a crowd of photographers taking pictures from a nearby vantage point.

The rest of the walk was a lot less eventful!

I paid a visit to the Southbank Centre...


... having a drink at the roof garden cafe...


... and exploring the Wonderground (which included a revolving, carousel bar!) the Festival of Love and the other summer attractions (like an actual carousel for the kids, and lots of street performers having their acts disrupted by the high winds).

I especially loved the Temple of Agape:


Aren't those bright colours just delicious? Such a wonderfully cheering thing to see, especially on a day when the weather was so grey and miserable!


Cream Linen said...

It has always been a pleasure to read your blog and I especially like your posts about galleries , museums and other interesting places in London. I live in Greece and I haven't visited London for ages , so it is good to learn about exhibitions and other events that take place there, from your blog.
Thank you so much for travelling us to your city!
Take care,

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for your comment, Tina! I am so glad to hear that you enjoy these posts :)

C said...

After reading this post, I watched Grayson Perry's All in the Best Possible Taste series. Very interesting! Unfortunately I can't make it to London before the exhibition ends. :(

Bugs and Fishes said...

It is a great series, isn't it? I am so looking forward to his new one (and the accompanying exhibition) this autumn! Don't worry about not being able to see the tapestries in this exhibition, I think they're touring round lots of different places :)